Before reading deep into this article, I invite you to look around. View your surroundings. Now stop for a minute and think to yourself, how much of this could be a risk to your health? Perhaps it is important to consider, what going green not only does for the environment. But what it does for you and your family’s health.
The floor beneath your feet may be off gassing formaldehyde, the carpeting other volatile organic compounds (VOC’s) that can irritate the throat and cause headaches. Your furniture may be flame retardant, which chemical compound has been linked to memory loss and infertility.
As scary as the picture may be, it is extremely important that you look at it in the grand scheme of things. It seems as though if you want to live a happy, healthy if you may need to spend the majority of it inside away from the elements. Additionally, the products you use for cleaning and decorating indoors likely contain chemicals that the manufacturers don’t even comprehend in terms of the negative impacts they may have on your health and indoor air quality.
Thankfully, The WELL Building Standard ®has been introduced as the world’s first building standard focusing on human health and wellness. WELL combines expert design and construction practices with proven medical and scientific research. A culmination of research with leading scientists, architects, doctors and wellness experts, WELL sets performance standards in seven different categories to enable built environment to improve nutrition, exercise, mood and sleep. These categories are air, water, nourishment light, fitness, mind and comfort.
There are more than 20 million square feet worth of real estate in twelve different countries across five continents that have been WELL certified, and it is now being embraced by the US Green Building Council (USGBC), the Canada Green Building Council (CGBC) and the Green Business Certification Inc. (GBCI).
Green buildings are built to be as airtight as possible and not just simply causing less harm then their non green counterparts. The focus in on energy use, water efficiency and lower utility bills. What better place to start actively and intentionally protecting and restoring our health than buildings where we spend most of our time.
Rick Fedrizzi USGBC’s CEO believes that “erecting sustainable, profitable green buildings are no longer enough, buildings also need to contribute to our overall health and well being of the people who live work and learn inside them. Healthy building will become the new green.” He also states, “Green buildings are healthier for their inhabitants, but until now we didn’t have an aggressive system looking at wellness and human condition. The WELL rating system will bring a better understanding of what it means to be healthy- and the ability to achieve wellness through technology and design -to the front burner”
An efficient house will have to be a healthy house according to WELL. While it may be difficult to determine if fresh food is available, if your house is driving you crazy or if your home gives you the ability to exercise, they will re-certify every 3 years, by checking the contents of the fridge and mileage on the treadmill.
While we can never be 100 percent sure we are living a green, sustainable, healthy lifestyle. Having a WELL built home is definitely a great start to improving your indoor air quality by reducing and even avoiding culprits such as VOC’s, formaldehyde, mold and other fungal particulates that put a burden on our air quality.