LAS VEGAS, Feb. 19-21, 2019
– Building trends over the last century have created spaces with poor ventilation and inadequate natural light that have negative implications for our health and well-being.
According to a global YouGov survey commissioned by VELUX, people vastly underestimate the time they spend inside, assuming just four hours, when in actuality they are inside more than 21 hours or 90 percent on average each day. 77 percent of people surveyed are unaware that indoor air can be up to five times more polluted than outdoor air, with kids’ bedrooms often the most polluted.
Yet, according to research from the Harvard University Joint Center for Housing, nearly a quarter of homeowners have healthy home concerns. And there is an increasing demand for healthier homes and overall wellness, including physical and environmental wellness. Wellness real estate grew to a $134 million industry, increasing by 6. 4 percent from 2015 to 2017, and is expected to grow 6 percent annually in the immediate future.
Adding natural light and fresh air to homes can be part of an overall strategy to combat the dangers of our indoor lifestyle.
“Opening up windows or skylights three to four times a day to freshen spaces helps create a healthier living environment by ridding it of recirculated stale and humid air,” said Ross Vandermark, national product manager for VELUX America. “Adding fresh air greatly decreases the risk of developing illnesses, like coughs and colds. The proper amount of natural light exposure contributes to our bodies’ circadian rhythms and can regulate our natural sleep and wake cycles, aiding in better sleep and increased energy retention.”
Health risks resulting from poorly lit and ventilated homes include:
- Homes with moldy, damp air can increase the risk of asthma by 40 percent.
- Poor indoor air quality can contribute to irritated eyes, nose and throat, headaches and fatigue. Long-term it can lead to development of respiratory diseases and heart disease.
- An estimated 15 percent of the population suffers from Seasonal Affective Disorder likely due to a lack of exposure to natural light.
- Insufficient exposure to natural light can contribute to disruption of our circadian rhythm, resulting in poor sleep-wake cycles. Sleep disorders can lead to a host of health issues including fatigue, irritability, reduced concentration, heart disease, weight gain and diabetes.
In addition to increasing fresh air circulation and natural light in their homes, there are other steps homeowners can take to make their living conditions healthier:
- Turn on hood fan when cooking and open windows or skylights
- Try cooking oils with higher smoke points
- Don’t burn candles or try beeswax candles
- Dry clothes outside
- Maintain pet grooming to decrease pet dander in the home
- Clean regularly
- Make home airing a daily habit by opening windows and skylights
The VELUX Group produced a short film and report that vividly illustrates the risks associated with the “Indoor Generation” lifestyle. The film is narrated by a young girl who tells the history of indoor living which has resulted in dark, sealed buildings that breed bacteria and unhealthy levels of moisture and chemical pollutants. To watch the video, visit “The Indoor Generation by VELUX.”