Green Building Materials for Improved Indoor Air Quality

Poor air quality inside your home can have a negative impact on both your health and comfort level. Indoor pollutants and allergens, as well as excessive moisture or heat, can make for potentially hazardous living conditions. Luckily, there are a variety of options for preventing poor air quality before it ever becomes a problem.

Green Building

Photo: TreeLine Homes

When building or remodeling your home, you should consider all of the factors that might affect the quality of the air you’re breathing during time spent indoors. There are two primary sources of potentially toxic substances in the home: those that are brought into the home by way of building materials and chemicals, and those that seep into the home from your outdoor environment. The latter is of particular concern in urban areas where environmental pollutants tend to be more of a problem, and it’s not something that you can easily control. Choosing the right building materials, however, can make a huge difference in helping you control the chemicals that are brought into the home during the construction process.

Choosing the Right Building Materials

Many of the materials that were used in decades past did not take off-gassing into consideration, and as a result, our families and our environment have been exposed to a variety of unnecessary and potentially life-threatening chemicals.

Today, most people understand that the VOCs (volatile organic compounds) produced by paints, stains, and sealants are harmful. So, it goes without saying that painting your home with eco-friendly paint is one easy way to promote healthier air quality. Paints with low to zero VOCs can help reduce air pollutants, unlike conventional paints that can release potentially harmful chemicals under the stress of heat or moisture.

There are numerous other sources to consider when choosing the materials for your home construction or renovation project, many of which are often overlooked. Composite materials (especially particle board), for example, are known to contain a significant amount of formaldehyde, a confirmed carcinogen and respiratory irritant. Certain types of flooring contain phthalates, a chemical compound known to disrupt a person’s endocrine system.

Of course, you will also need to consider what type of air control system is best for your property. Your contractor will discuss numerous factors with you, including the home’s location, the general layout of the home, and your overall lifestyle. He or she will then use that information to create an HVAC solution that will maximize efficiency while minimizing negative factors, such as moisture and indoor air pollution.

When speaking with your builder, be sure to discuss all of your questions regarding indoor air quality. It is, in fact, a well-founded concern, and he or she will be able to offer a variety of options that will help you achieve your goal of creating a healthier home for your family.

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