Sustainable living is becoming more popular than ever. Most people practice sustainability to help the environment, but they don’t realize it could be good for their health as well. Reader’s Digest highlighted some of these benefits in one of their articles.
Unexpected Benefits of Green Living
Some health benefits of green living are obvious. If you bike regularly instead of driving, you will help the environment and get more exercise at the same time. It is not surprising that a Canadian study found people that biked 45 minutes a day had the lowest stress levels. Eating foods with fewer chemicals is also good for your body and the environment.
Some benefits are more surprising, especially when it comes to living in a green home. There are many benefits of green homes, as the World Green Building Council points out. One of the most overlooked is the positive impact that a green home can have on our health.
Nevertheless, this is a benefit that is still not given the attention it deserves. Today, health is less of a priority than energy efficiency when it comes to construction of sustainable houses.
Most sustainable materials do not negatively influence our health. Most of these materials are made from organic materials (i.e. they originate from vegetable or animal products). They do not emit toxins and are unadulterated.
Another advantage of using green materials that do not emit toxic substances is that these materials are either odorless or give off a pleasant odor. One of the things you should keep in mind is that glues are sometimes used in sustainable materials. They are mostly used to join pieces of wood.
Formaldehyde glues can emit toxic substances and therefore it is important to ask for a disclosure of all material components. Make sure to read it carefully.
Healthy materials must also protect us from noise and vibrations that exist outside or inside the house. Hemp, coconut and recycled cotton are optimal for noise protection.
One of our colleagues, Jamie, did a video for the Home Sweet Home section of his blog. We were inspired by his video and decided to go into further detail about health benefits of sustainable houses, particularly the benefits of natural materials and bioconstruction.
Do you know what the most sustainable materials are? Do you know whaat their main health benefits are? Here is a list of materials to consider using when building a sustainable home:
- Sheep wool
- Expanded natural cork
- Agglomerated black cork
- Coconut fiber
Health Benefits of Living in a Sustainable Home
The indoor environment of ecological houses is much healthier than traditional homes. There are many reasons for this. They can even fight depression symptoms such as TMS (find out what’s TMS if you need to know why this is important).
It is vital that the air we breathe is healthy. However, the air inside the buildings we reside in is even more important, as we spend most of our life inside them. You spend six to eight hours just sleeping in your home, so you need to make sure you are breathing in clean air. This is a major benefit of living in sustainable homes.
To create a healthy indoor environment, we will take into account these two variables of the environment of a house: humidity and ventilation.
1.- Optimum indoor humidity
One overlooked benefit of sustainable homes is that they regulate humidity better. Many of the different activities we carry out inside buildings (breathing, cooking, showering, etc.) create water vapour. Therefore, the interior atmospheric humidity varies.
The desirable indoor humidity limit is between 40%-60%.
If we maintain optimum humidity, we will also be controlling the following conditions:
- Pathologies and condensations that may arise in a building.
- Reduction of the presence of fungi, bacteria, dust and allergens.
Natural materials have the innate capacity to regulate humidity through a characteristic called hygroscopicity.
- Adequate ventilation.
If the interior of our homes are not ventilated adequately, there will be high levels of CO2 that will affect our health, well-being and performance.
The CO2 concentrations are measured in ppm (parts per million). Most health experts agree that CO2 levels should not surpass 700ppm.
If we were to analyze our workplaces, in which we spend so many hours, we would be surprised at how quickly the concentration of CO2 rises with only our breathing.
We should not underestimate ventilation in our homes and workplaces. We can affirm that ventilation = + life + O2.
Since most sustainable buildings are designed for optimal energy efficiency, they also have better ventilation systems. Green buildings also use organic materials that breathe better, which keeps CO2 levels better regulated.