People are steadily becoming more aware of how our environments impact our health, but those who suffer from environmental illnesses such as Sick Building Syndrome experience these dangers more acutely than most. In order to create healthier living and working environments that reduce the risks of such illnesses and make spaces more accessible, construction companies are working to adopt greener building solutions.
Are you ready to adopt these health measures in your new constructions? Here are X easy steps that make buildings less hazardous for those with environmental illnesses.
The Power Of Inert(ia)
Many companies only adopt greener building practices with restrictions are put in place preventing less environmentally friendly old habits. It’s the power of inertia – we just keep doing what we were doing before, going in the same direction or not moving at all.
When we break free of this construction habit inertia, we have room to start thinking differently about how we build and what we build with. Consider home siding. Vinyl siding is not uncommon in the construction business, but as a material it can be hazardous to those with environmental illnesses as vinyl leaches chemicals.
A better material is fiber-cement siding, which comes mostly from recycled materials instead of fossil fuels. And what’s more, fiber-cement is biologically inert, making it much safer for chemically sensitive individuals.
Carpet With Caution
Synthetic carpet fibers are another major offender against those with environmental illnesses. Most of us are familiar with that “new carpet smell” – new carpet goes down in your home and there’s an odd smell, but it fades over time. This smell comes from a process called offgassing and can be tied back to the fibers, glues, and other chemical treatments that carpeting is exposed to.
Instead of synthetic carpet fibers, hardwood floors topped with natural carpets made from cotton or wool are much healthier. These natural fibers don’t produce the uncomfortable symptoms of environmental illness like headaches, nosebleeds, coughing, and rashes.
Be Air Aware
Air quality is one of the most important factors in building safe environments for those with chemical sensitivities and environmental illnesses. That’s why best practices dictate that new constructions have excellent air filtration systems with specific controls, especially if the space is shared. Even storage areas need to be fully ventilated.
Additionally, no matter how powerful the air filtration system, buildings need a complete inspection for mold and other airborne toxins and all signs of mold must be removed before anyone enters the building. Even for extremely healthy people, mold can pose significant health dangers, particularly toxic black mold varieties. These can lurk behind walls, making them especially difficult to eradicate.
Green building practices that emphasize sustainable materials alongside body-friendly ones are poised to take over the construction industry in the next few decades. These buildings have the potential to dramatically improve the health of environmentally sensitive individual who aren’t served by current toxic building practices. In fact, we may all be surprised how much better we feel as these practices begin to take hold.
A Good Look At How Homes Will Become More Energy Efficient Soon
Everyone always talks about ways they can save energy at home, but the tactics are old school. They’re only tweaking the way they do things at the moment. Sealing holes in your home isn’t exactly the next scientific breakthrough we’ve been waiting for.
There is some good news because technology is progressing quickly. Some tactics might not be brand new, but they’re becoming more popular. Here are a few things you should expect to see in homes all around the country within a few years.
1. The Rise Of Smart Windows
When you look at a window right now it’s just a pane of glass. In the future they’ll be controlled by microprocessors and sensors. They’ll change depending on the specific weather conditions directly outside.
If the sun disappears the shade will automatically adjust to let in more light. The exact opposite will happen when it’s sunny. These energy efficient windows will save everyone a huge amount of money.
2. A Better Way To Cool Roofs
If you wanted to cool a roof down today you would coat it with a material full of specialized pigments. This would allow roofs to deflect the sun and they’d absorb less heat in the process too.
Soon we’ll see the same thing being done, but it will be four times more effective. Roofs will never get too hot again. Anyone with a large roof is going to see a sharp decrease in their energy bills.
3. Low-E Windows Taking Over
It’s a mystery why these aren’t already extremely popular, but things are starting to change. Read low-E window replacement reviews and you’ll see everyone loves them because they’re extremely effective.
They’ll keep heat outside in summer or inside in winter. People don’t even have to buy new windows to enjoy the technology. All they’ll need is a low-E film to place over their current ones.
4. Magnets Will Cool Fridges
Refrigerators haven’t changed much in a very long time. They’re still using a vapor compression process that wastes energy while harming the environment. It won’t be long until they’ll be cooled using magnets instead.
The magnetocaloric effect is going to revolutionize cold food storage. The fluid these fridges are going to use will be water-based, which means the environment can rest easy and energy bills will drop.
5. Improving Our Current LEDs
Everyone who spent a lot of money on energy must have been very happy when LEDs became mainstream. Incandescent light bulbs belong in museums today because the new tech cut costs by up to 85 percent.
That doesn’t mean someone isn’t always trying to improve on an already great invention. The amount of lumens LEDs produce per watt isn’t great, but we’ve already found a way to increase it by 25 percent.
Maybe Homes Will Look Different Too
Do you think we’ll come up with new styles of homes that will take off? Surely it’s not out of the question. Everything inside homes seems to be changing for the better with each passing year. It’s going to continue doing so thanks to amazing inventors.
ShutterStock – Stock photo ID: 613912244
IEMA Urge Government’s Industrial Strategy Skills Overhaul To Adopt A “Long View Approach”
IEMA, in response to the launch of the Government’s Industrial Strategy Green Paper, have welcomed the focus on technical skills and education to boost “competence and capability” of tomorrow’s workforce.
Policy experts at the world’s leading professional association of Environment and Sustainability professionals has today welcomed Prime Minister Teresa May’s confirmation that an overhaul of technical education and skills will form a central part of the Plan for Britain – but warns the strategy must be one for the long term.
Martin Baxter, Chief Policy Advisor at IEMA said this morning that the approach and predicted investment in building a stronger technical skills portfolio to boost the UK’s productivity and economic resilience is positive, and presents an opportunity to drive the UK’s skills profile and commitment to sustainability outside of the EU.
Commenting on the launch of the Government’s Industrial Strategy Green Paper, Baxter said today:
“Government must use the Industrial Strategy as an opportunity to accelerate the UK’s transition to a low-carbon, resource efficient economy – one that is flexible and agile and which gives a progressive outlook for the UK’s future outside the EU.
We welcome the focus on skills and education, as it is vital that tomorrow’s workforce has the competence and capability to innovate and compete globally in high-value manufacturing and leading technology.
There is a real opportunity with the Industrial Strategy, and forthcoming 25 year Environment Plan and Carbon Emissions Reduction Plan, to set long-term economic and environmental outcomes which set the conditions to unlock investment, enhance natural capital and provide employment and export opportunities for UK business.
We will ensure that the Environment and Sustainability profession makes a positive contribution in responding to the Green Paper.”