Eco-Coach

Green your life at home, work & play

Ventilate, ventilate, ventilate! January 2, 2007

You may have heard it before, but it is worth repeating, especially if you’re not doing it! One of the easiest ways to reduce pollution in indoor spaces is to ventilate. Yes, open those windows, even if it’s chilly outside! It’s a great and easy way of bringing in fresh air. Even though we all hear about the high levels of outdoor air pollution, the air outside is three to five times cleaner than the air you’re breathing right now (assuming you’re sitting somewhere indoors).

Use exhaust fans in places such as kitchens and bathrooms where the air may not circulate as much even with an open window. If the space is hermetically sealed, like many office spaces, be sure that there is a mechanical ventilation system in place with a high exchange rate (i.e. high percentage of the air is from the outdoors). For more information, check out the Home Ventilation Institute’s site.

Another option to consider if additional ventilation is not possible is installing an air filter. There are many out there, so you will need to do your homework. However, I’ve found many HEPA(high efficiency particulate air) filters to be effective. These are said to remove at least 99.97% of allergens and contaminants like dust, pollen, mold, bacteria and airborne particles larger or equal to 0.3 microns. These filters can be costly and energy-intensive, therefore they may not be for everyone. Be weary, too, of filters that produce ozone; these are bad for the lungs as well as for the environment — look for filters that has minimal to no ozone emission. Review sites such as Consumer Search to determine which filter is right for you.

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