Breathing: The Good, The Bad, & The Funky
Greetings building science enthusiasts!
Thanks for joining me out on the range here to visit the ole family blog and help me wrangle up a herd of thought cows... I seriously need to get better at opening lines.
I'm here to do a bit of a recap of a fantastic article that was just posted on The Royal Society of Chemistry's site called Every Breath You Take. If you've got time, definitely give it a read. It's got some quality analysis and framework to help us think about and relate to indoor air quality in homes. For those who are less inclined to read an entire article, here's the Positive Energy's Digest version.
Indoor Air Pollution
Positive Energy has taken particular interest in the topic of indoor air quality as the scientific community is increasingly pointing to negative health outcomes deriving from indoor exposure to pollutants. This is particularly alarming as we've learned from The National Human Activity Pattern Survey (NHAPS): A Resource for Assessing Exposure to Environmental Pollutants that we spend 90% of our time indoors. Even more remarkably, 70% of your time is spent in your home.
We need to be thinking about the kinds of exposure we're experiencing in homes!
How Do We Know?
The article takes a light touch approach to looking at how we know what we know about indoor air quality. It turns out that there are some really fascinating and meaningful studies and meta-studies that are going to seriously impact the way we think about indoor spaces. Scientists are studying how to measure the air and what's in it and they're studying how different exposures cause reactivity with other surfaces (including how pollutants get into our bodies, which isn't just through the lungs!). Why is that important? Well just take a look:
With so much surface area for pollutants to react, there are serious health implications. There are pollutants and then there are pollutants that interact with other chemicals and become unknown and unstable pollutants... Seriously. Add to this that each time we cook, we're creating a whole microscopic world of combustion particulates and it's a doozy!
That's why it's so crucial that this is getting research attention. These data will literally support groups like ASHRAE as they endeavor to understand and recommend better ventilation standards, filtration standards, and deal with related thermal comfort potentiality. It's a big deal.
The time has come for us to pay attention to indoor air quality. Scientists and researchers already are. It's only a matter of time before these findings affect the laws that dictate what we're allowed to design and build, but we think we can do better already. Pay attention. Incorporate this into your practice!
Thanks for reading! See you next time.