What do the numbers 39 and 71 have in common? They’re the percentages of CO2 emissions and electricity consumption by buildings in our country.  I’m not meaning to trash talk here, but these are some seriously dirty numbers.

Most of us assume that we’re safe from the effects of these energy hog buildings, but as it turns out, EPA studies indicate indoor levels of pollutants may be up to ten times higher than outdoor levels.

Depending on the number of people, how many products you have that are off-gassing formaldehyde in your space, and even your brand of cleaning materials themselves, your indoor air quality already struggles to catch a breath.

Now this may seem all gloom and doom, but starting small can cut contaminates quick!

  1. Start with furnishings – choosing solid wood and stainless steel products, steering clear of composite woods and lacquers, or even better, upcycle with vintage pieces that have already off-gassed.
  2. Then, take a clean look at your cleaning products. Using label decoders, from folks like the Environmental Working Group, will help give you a real look at all those words we skim right over.
  3. While plants take in the carbon you’re giving out in exchange for more of the oxygen you’re needing, you can breathe easy with NASA’s easy rule of 1 plant for every 100 square feet that humans are using. Evening out the oxygen levels in the space will also aid your productivity.
  4. And when it comes to contributing less pollution to the outside world, less electricity means less light pollution and emissions caused through creation and consumption.   

The Details
USGBC on the health of buildings.
NBC News on the importance of plants.
Furniture Quality & Air Contaminates
Cleaning products
+ Photo by LaShonda Brown

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