A Guide for Healthier Homes and a Healthier Planet
When it comes to the world’s infrastructure, can there be a better motto than the name of the World Green Building Council’s newest program, Better Places for People? At Haglid EngineeringTM, we love the message it sends. The global project is all about increasing the demand and supply of green building practices which support the health, wellbeing, and productivity of the people within them.
Last month (December 2018), as part of the project, the WGBC released their Guide to Healthier Homes and a Healthier Planet. An ideal guide for the layman due to its easy-to-understand stats and recommendations, it is information every homeowner and contractor should read and take to heart.
Among its key topics (Air Quality, Thermal and Acoustic Comfort, Light) are some details we’d like to highlight to our clients, contractors, and reps:
According to a joint study from the World Bank and the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, an estimated 5.5 million lives were lost in 2013 to diseases associated with outdoor and household air pollution, causing human suffering and reducing economic development. Those deaths cost the global economy about US$225 billion in lost labor income in 2013 and more than US$5 trillion in welfare losses, pointing toward the economic burden of air pollution.
Unfortunately, the average person doesn’t have much control over the outdoor pollution they encounter. Inside their homes, it’s another matter. According to WGBC, 52% of poor IAQ is caused by inadequate ventilation. So, apart from opening windows to introduce fresh air flow, what can you do? Utilize energy efficient mechanical ventilation, just as we’ve been saying at Haglid Engineering all along!
Thermal Comfort Zone
Extreme hot or cold temperatures in a home can cause health issues, waste energy, and hit your wallet up to pay energy bills that need not be so high. Among other solutions, the Guide to Healthier Homes and a Healthier Planet advocates tight home insulation for keeping heat indoors when it’s cold outside and preventing heat from entering the building on hot days. The benefit? “Insulation retrofits across 46 million US homes are predicted to result in 100,000 fewer tons of nitrous oxide emitted, corresponding to 6,500 fewer asthma attacks, 240 fewer deaths and $5.9 billion per year in financial savings.”
At Haglid Engineering, we say, “Build it tight, ventilate right!” We’re talking about building or retrofitting with proper wall insulation, plugging up cracks, checking the seals around windows and doors, joists, ductwork, etcetera. Obviously, too tight a building causes the aforementioned indoor pollution issues–exactly why it’s important to turn to balanced, efficient mechanical ventilation such as an energy recovery ventilator (ERV).
Bright Idea: Natural Light
By now, many people consider switching light bulbs over to more efficient LEDs a no-brainer for cutting energy use and lowering bills. Certainly, but what’s just as important? Making the most of natural light. The WGBC says, “Natural light regulates our body’s circadian rhythms, often disrupted by technology and light pollution, improving sleep quality and therefore health overall.” One suggestion for letting the sunshine in is solar-controlled glazing on windows. The coating allows sunlight to pass through while filtering out much of its heat.
With the World Health Organization calling climate change the greatest threat to human health in the 21st century, the WGBC believes in ‘positive personal action’ for addressing the matter. Saving energy and initiating energy-efficient renovation ought to be everyone’s goal and the opportunity to do so through innovative means is there. After all, 70% of the infrastructure by 2050 worldwide has yet to be built. So, we have the opportunity to build those better places for people—let’s not muck it up!
Ready to seek out innovative retrofits in lighting and ventilation for your home? Haglid Engineering has got you covered for making your home a model of energy efficiency. For one thing, the energy recovery modules we use to promote better breathing and reduce energy bills are already the most innovative ventilation systems you’ll find. Let us help you implement them as part of your positive personal action plan. Just contact us!