12 Rules for Building Clean Air Indoor Environments (Infographic)

BY ON March 21, 2016

The EPA estimates people spend up to 90% of their time in buildings. Many homes are built with materials that are synthetic and chemically-processed or treated. Families are increasingly aware of the impact building materials have on their indoor environment, as unhealthy indoor air can lead to a multitude of ailments: chemical sensitivities, asthma and allergies.

When building or renovating a home, here are a few ways to keep the air clean during construction and after move in: (Tweet this)

  • Use pre-fabricated roof trusses – When I built my house, the roof arrived in sections that had been built in a factory. Going pre-fab saved a lot of money, since it takes less time to produce the trusses in advance Installation can usually be done on-site in a day, saving on labor costs. Pre-fab reduces material waste, because in a controlled environment, saws are computer controlled and precision jigs guarantee 100% consistent quality.
  • Install formaldehyde-free furniture and cabinets – Furniture made from pressed wood or particle board rather than solid wood may be glued together with adhesives full of formaldehyde. Because it is actually a gas, formaldehyde “off gases” into your home over time. The Centers for Disease Control says, “formaldehyde can make you feel sick if you breathe a lot of it,” causing sore throat, cough, scratchy eyes and nosebleeds. Solid wood is better.
  • Stain and seal floors with water-based products– Many stains and sealants are filled with volatile organic compounds that off gas into the room and persist for a long period of time. Fortunately, that are no- and low-VOC options that won’t make it difficult to breathe.
  • Choose carpeting and carpet padding free of stain protection, dyes, pesticides and other toxic chemicals – Consider carpeting made from pure wool and backed with hemp, cotton, and/or jute. Ideally, the carpeting and carpet backing would be held together with something like a natural rubber adhesive rather than formaldehyde-laden glues.
  • Decorate with no-VOC paint – VOCs or volatile organic compounds are a group of chemicals that evaporate at room temperature. When I used to use “conventional” or “regular” paint that was full of these chemicals, I’d have to leave my home while it was being painted, the odors were so intolerable. No-VOC paint spares you consequences that range from nausea, vomiting and dizziness to worsened asthma and even damage to the liver, kidneys and central nervous system.

Green building isn’t only good for the air, it can reduce your resource impact, too. Take a look at this infographic from Build Green that suggests 12 simple rules for selecting healthier and more environmentally responsible building products and materials.


Indoor Air Infographic

TOPICS: Allergies, Asthma, Children's Health, EPA, Indoor Air Pollution, Toxics