Research from VELUX has shown there is a real need to rethink building design and renovation, in order to avoid a future increase of children suffering from asthma or allergies.
The Indoor Generation survey was conducted across 14 countries, including the UK, shedding light on approximately 16,000 people’s perceptions of how they live their lives and what contributes to their personal health.
The survey revealed a worrying misconception that 62% of Britons believe indoor air is just as polluted or cleaner than outdoor air.
It also exposed a lack of understanding about how important adequate natural ventilation is.
Previous research has shown Europeans consider the quality of their home environment to be more important than a healthy diet or being physically active, yet this new YouGov survey suggests there is an alarmingly low level of knowledge of what makes a healthy home.
Jim Coates, Director at VELUX, commented: “Public buildings are just as important to consider as homes. Many offices have been designed with windows which do not open, leading to ‘sick building syndrome’ where carbon dioxide and viruses remain trapped in buildings with no means of escape.
“And whilst there is compelling research which demonstrates the positive impact which both daylight and ventilation has on exam results, for example, there is no clear legislation to influence change for the better.”
The YouGov survey revealed that most people underestimate the amount of time they spend indoors, with a quarter of people claiming to spend just 14 hours or less inside. We know, in reality, the majority spend more than 90% of their time indoors, and often in dark, poorly ventilated buildings, leading to the emergence of a so called ‘indoor generation’.
The Indoor Generation eludes to a growing number of people who spend the vast majority of their time indoors (currently 90% of their lives) compared to previous generations.
Dr Hilary Jones, GP & Health TV star, said: “The rapid change in our lifestyle from spending large amounts of time outdoors for work or relaxation to becoming an Indoor Generation carries with it several risks, not least when it comes to health in dark, poorly ventilated homes.
“Poor ventilation can lead to damp or mould in the home, and can trigger asthmatic symptoms – and it is worrying that the most polluted rooms tend to be the children’s – with asthma more common in younger people.
“Right now, more than five million people in the UK have asthma, the majority of which are children, and more than 20% of the UK will at one time in their life have a long-term lung condition, such as Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).
“Equally we must make sure that we’re getting the light exposure that we need in order to protect our immune systems. Many of us do not realise that lack of light can affect our sleep patterns and in turn increase our risk of health problems such as diabetes, heart disease and depression.
“We don’t want to alarm people – instead we want them to be aware of the impact our lifestyle choices are making and help them to make simple changes for the better.
“There are small steps to make the air inside your home or office healthier, such as opening windows to allow fresh air in, particularly when bathing or cooking and cleaning regularly to keep allergens – such as dust mites – in check.
By sharing the survey, VELUX intends to raise awareness of the importance of designing healthy buildings that are well ventilated and enjoy both good daylight and fresh air.
The company’s aim is to urge architects and planners to prioritise ventilation and light from the very start when retrofitting or designing buildings or city planning.
The top tips below can be provided as guidance to customers who are planning a renovation or new build – be it domestic or commercial…
– Fresh air ventilation – the importance of airing your home three to four times a day, including the placement of windows at different heights
– The importance of daylight in the home – for example re-designing the home to ensure the rooms you use the most are south facing
– Limiting sources of damp or moisture indoors
– Ensuring carpets are cleaned – or better still get rid of them
Velux Co Ltd
Phone: 01592 778927
Fax: 01592 771839
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