We as a species spend almost our entire day under a roof and between four walls. On average, we spend a whopping 90% of our time indoors, whether that be at home, work, shopping, cinema or gym.
We spend this time breathing in unhealthy, sometimes toxic air that builds up as a result of poor ventilation, lack of daylight and small, everyday things we do that at the time can seem absolutely harmless. The air in our homes, where we spent our days eating, sleeping, talking and living, is 5 times as polluted as the air from outside, air that up until the last week or so has been largely the sole focus of people’s attention.
That was until VELUX, the world’s premier manufacturer of roof windows, decided to launch an awareness campaign to shine a light on the poor indoor climates prevalant across the globe and the illnesses and medical conditions being developed as a result. VELUX’s ‘Indoor Generation’ movement has made headlines all over the world, making nations sit up and take notice, chiefly through an imaginative, and at times, deeply disturbing short film. Within a week of being uploaded to YouTube, the 3-minute-long clip had amassed over 7 million views.
So, what is all the fuss about and who really are the indoor generation? How do we address the concerns raised by VELUX and what can Sterlingbuild do to help?
Who are the Indoor Generation?
Well, certainly me and most probably you too. The Indoor Generation is the term used to describe the wide-ranging age group that is spending more and more time indoors and little time outdoors exploring nature or going for a short walk. With the rapid advances in technology that have occurred since the turn of the century and all that has spawned from it, from the internet and smart phones, to Netflix and Virtual Reality, people have steadily fallen into the habit of enjoying their home comforts a bit too much and have forgot about the important of getting outside.
Even when we do manage to turn our attention away from our screens, we are not doing enough to ensure the environment that we are spending all this time in is a healthy one.
In fact, a lot of us do the opposite, doing things that are detrimental to our indoor climate without knowing it. This could be the overuse of antiperspirants or air fresheners, constant burning of candles, drying clothes indoors instead of the garden or walking around the home with our shoes on. It is these seemingly innocuous every day habits that quickly add up and contribute to the harmful environments we are living in.
These are not the worst culprits, however. One of the biggest factors behind dirty air is simply not airing the home enough. Buildings should be given regular boosts of fresh air throughout the day, through the opening of either windows, ventilation flaps or doors. Windows should always be partly opened when cooking or showering to let moisture escape and prevent the build up of mould and damp.
How can we fix Things?
Do the opposite of what was written in the previous chapter. Take your shoes off before you walk through your front door or invest in a good door mat, limit your use of candles, open a window instead of spraying chemicals into the air, hang your washing up outside or place your clothes horse under a window. These are simple things that can be done by all of us to improve the health and wellbeing of you and your family.
Most importantly, don’t forget to open your windows. The contents of indoor air include gases, particles, biological waste and water vapour, which are all potential health hazards. Experts recommended that you air out your home three to four times a day for at least 10 minutes at a time, with more than one window open. Also, air out your bedroom before you go to bed and when you get up in the morning.
In addition to this, why not get your fresh air fix from stepping outside for a while. Even if that means just stretching your legs or going for a short walk, exposure to two hours of daylight per day, something that we are not currently getting, is a great boost to our mental wellbeing and general happiness.
Other things that VELUX list as ways to improve your indoor climate are turning off electricity when not in use, regular cleaning and/or airing of carpets and getting rid of any pre-2007 plastic toys as these have been found to contain harmful chemicals. Children’s bedrooms have been proven to be the most polluted of all rooms in the house, so special care should be taken in ensuring these are regularly ventilated.
How can Sterlingbuild Help?
While not all of us have the luxury of a home extension or are in a position to consider building one, for those who are, there are obvious solutions.
Opening up your roof with the installation of a roof window or rooflight is a surefire winner when it comes to creating a healthier, happier home. Pitched roof windows have long been proven as far better transmitters of daylight than vertical windows.
Perhaps you are thinking about moving home to find extra living space? If you are, why not consider the money-saving possibilities of building upon what you already have and love. Lofts or garages can be transformed into healthy bedrooms for your children or parents, while single storey and kitchen extensions can really help bring the goodness of the outdoors in with the addition of rooflights and bifold or sliding doors.
However big or small your budget, roof windows can be bought as a smart means of making sure your indoor climate is a more liveable one. Introducing additional natural light into the home can make spaces brighter and healthier, as well as improving home comfort levels in other areas i.e., insulation, space and outdoor views.
Manufacturers, including VELUX themselves, are now putting greater emphasis on products designed specifically with indoor climate in mind through the use of smart technology, evidenced through the soon-to-be-released VELUX ACTIVE that enables your home and windows to work automatically to improve air quality through regular monitoring of temperture, humidity and CO2 levels.
In regards to roof windows and rooflights, we can guarantee you will not find our brands cheaper anywhere else online thanks to the Sterlingbuild Price Match Promise. This means we will match the price of any other online retailer should their price beat ours. Some of the most innovative and affordable brands are available exclusively at Sterlingbuild, including ECO+, REAL and Lightway.
Whether an extension is on your radar right now or not, do not forget all those little changes you can make to improve your home's indoor climate and protect the health and happiness of all those who live in it.