It is safe to say that the we have now entered the era of the Indoor Generation. Technology has abetted this transition- in this world of convenience and tech-connectedness made available via online shopping, food delivery apps, 24-7 online entertainment and social media-our entire days can be spent enclosed indoors.
We spend almost 90% of our life indoor either at home or at the office- a marked difference from generations before. We move from house to the car or train to the office and back home again-a daily routine for most of us. We forget, like plants, we too need the core essentials of life- sunlight, fresh air and the connection with nature.
At home, we replace natural lighting with the artificial lighting. We close every window and door, to keep our indoors ‘clean’ and to keep air-conditioned air in. Did you know that poorly ventilated indoor spaces can be 5 times more polluted than outdoor air?
What are the sources of pollution in indoor spaces? You may be surprised by the long list. It comes from excessive CO2 build-up, particulate matter and fumes from indoor cooking, pet hairs, moisture from bath, showers and washing machines. Nowadays, a lot of Malaysians who live in the high-rise apartments or due to long work hours dry their clothes indoors. This raises the humidity levels in the enclosed indoors spaces, up to 30%, from the damp clothing. High humidity levels in enclosed, poorly ventilated spaces are an ideal condition for the development of mould spores.
In an insightful study carried out by VELUX backed by date from YouGov, sees startling facts and figures relating time spent indoors and human health and happiness. Some of the findings are as follows:
Sick building syndrome is also very much related to poor ventilation- where air does not circulate efficiently resulting in indoor pollutants lingering in the air and causing acute symptoms such as headaches, dizziness, nausea, eye, nose or throat irritation, dry cough, dry or itching skin, difficulty in concentration, fatigue, sensitivity to odours, hoarseness of voice, allergies, cold, flu-like symptoms, increased incidence of asthma attacks and personality changes.
It is inevitable that a large portion of our days will be spent indoors-the question is, how do we avoid or mitigate these impacts?