Our homes say a lot about our personalities. We spend a lot of time turning a new house into a home that functions as a living space for your families and reflects our personalities. Lisa and I take pride in the home we built – but we also believe in living a healthy, active lifestyle. And that includes making sure we appreciate our time spent out of the home, as well as the time we spend in it.
A new study dubbed The Indoor Generation by YouGov asked Canadians how much time the thought they spent indoors. Those surveyed believed that we only spend around 68% of our time indoors. The reality is, that statistic is much, much higher. The Indoor Generation found that we’re actually spending 90% of our time indoors – and that’s often spent in dark, poorly ventilated, and in some cases, unhealthy buildings. Despite the comforts of home, it’s time for us to acknowledge how much indoor living impacts our health.
Here’s a surprising fact you might not know: indoor air can be up to 5 times more polluted and worse than outdoor air, but 7 out of 10 Canadians are completely unaware of this fact. And this is a serious problem. If too much time is spent in damp, mouldy spaces, the chances of getting asthma increases about 40%.
We’ve talked about creating a safe and fun place for your kids to play at home. We made sure to highlight the importance of structural and air safety. But after reading this study, it reminded me why it’s so important that we care about the quality of indoor air at home – especially when it comes to kids, whose immune systems tend to be more vulnerable than healthy adults. Did you know that children’s bedrooms are often the most polluted space in the home? How does that happen in the first place? Well, in combination with the volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and other toxins found around the home, children toys and electronics can also be sources of potentially harmful emissions.
The good news is there is plenty we can do to turn this Indoor Generation around. From simple steps such as opening your windows around the house a few times a day to let air circulate, to turning on your hood fan while cooking, we can all be involved in not only improving indoor health but overall living.
Put emphasis on natural light. If possible, reposition your dining table or desk closer to the window. Science shows that daylight can improve children’s learning abilities by 15% and sunlight is a natural anti-depressant. Drying clothes outside, limiting burning candles, smoking and chemical cleaning products can all impact the air in your home.
Inspect home fans, installing Hypoallergenic air filters in HVAC systems and air purifiers (and make sure you check and change them at least every three months), cleaning and airing out your carpets and turning off electronics when not in use all help in creating a healthier environment. The most obvious tip is something you probably already know – get outside. It’s a great time to perform inspections in and around your home for any repairs or preparation needed for spring renos or maintenance. Taking advantage of the warmer weather to work on your home from the outside, planning family activities around outdoor time, meeting up with friends on a patio and enjoying your garden or balcony. Lisa and I are planning to take Caicos on some long hikes this season so we can do our part in kicking the habits of the Indoor Generation to the curb.
To find out more about The Indoor Generation study, and to learn more tips visit www.theindoorgeneration.com.