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Creating A Greener Home

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This presentation provides many tips for creating a home environment that is both healthy for occupants and more sustainable for our planet. It addresses the causes of environmental illness and steps ...

This presentation provides many tips for creating a home environment that is both healthy for occupants and more sustainable for our planet. It addresses the causes of environmental illness and steps to take to break the cycle and eliminate common home allergens and health hazards. It is part of a series of presentations by DwellSmart. For more information on health and sustainable living, please visit www.dwellsmart.com.

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Creating A Greener Home Creating A Greener Home Presentation Transcript

  • Creating aGreener HomeMary Gatchinfo@dwellsmart.com(843) 805-7055www.dwellsmart.com
  • Introductions• DwellSmart opened inNovember 2007– Healthful, eco-friendlyproducts for safe,comfortable, andefficient interiors– Located at 804 MeetingStreet in Charleston, SC
  • Introductions• Inspiration and motivation– Living in a not-so-healthy house …– Struggling to build an eco-friendly house– Developing increased chemical sensitivity… and asthma and allergies• Key sources of my environmental illness– Toxic mold (stachybotrys)– Elevated levels of mercury, lead, aluminum,and arsenic– Exposure to excessive electrical pollution
  • Introductions• Who is …– Personally impacted by allergies,asthma, or chemical sensitivities?– Living with an impacted person?– Treating patients with environmentalillnesses?– Planning to build a new house?– Planning a remodel?– Updating interior design, furnishings?
  • Part 1: Creating aHealthier HomeMary Gatchinfo@dwellsmart.com(843) 856-2282www.dwellsmart.com
  • Presentation Overview• Trends and Statistics• Environmental Illness• Top Home Health Hazards• Reducing Exposure• Questions & Answers
  • Trends and Statistics• Charleston County air quality rated “F” by ALA• The EPA increasingly concerned with indoor airquality (IAQ)– many pollutants indoors are often at levels 2-5 times(and can be >100 times) higher than outdoors• People spend as much as 90% of their timeindoors• Asthma rates are rapidly increasing– up 450% since 1980, nearing 30 million in U.S.– 9% of Charleston’s children are affected• More than 50% of U.S. population test positiveto one or more allergens
  • Presentation OverviewTrends and StatisticsEnvironmental IllnessTop Home Health HazardsReducing ExposureQuestions & Answers
  • Environmental Illness• Some common illnesses caused byand/or exacerbated by ourenvironment– Allergies and Asthma– Chemical Sensitivity– Chronic Fatigue– Auto-Immune Disorders– Mental Illness– Cancer
  • Environmental IllnessAllergic Reactions• Common and well recognized– Skin: rashes & hives– Eyes: excessive tearing, itchy, & red– Respiratory: sneezing, coughing, &shortness of breath• Common reactions by other systems– Digestive system– Brain and neurological system– Heart and circulatory system
  • Environmental Illness• Headache• Dizziness• Blurred vision• Mood changes• Difficultyconcentrating• Forgetfulness• Decreased hearing• Sore throat• Excessiveperspiration• Heart palpitations• Flushing• Chronic obesity• Excessive thirst• FatigueCommon Symptoms
  • Environmental Illness• Everyone is susceptible• Key factors– Exposure (degree and duration)– Genetics– Other factors (e.g. diet, exercise)
  • Environmental Illness• Protective organs– Skin– Lungs– Liver– Kidneys– Colon
  • Environmental IllnessOrgansCan’tKeep UpOrgansCan’tKeep UpToxinsStoredToxinsStoredToxinsOverflowToxinsOverflowChemicalImbalancesChemicalImbalancesEndocrineDisruptionEndocrineDisruptionDigestiveTroubleDigestiveTroubleFatigue,NeurologicalTroubleFatigue,NeurologicalTroubleToxinsAllergiesAllergiesMalnutritionMalnutritionToxinsToxinsImpacts of Exposure
  • Environmental Illness• How do you break/reverse the cycle?– Support organs of elimination• Diet• Exercise• Supplements– Reduce exposure– Detoxify• Colon• Kidneys• Liver
  • Presentation OverviewTrends and StatisticsEnvironmental IllnessTop Home Health HazardsReducing ExposureQuestions & Answers
  • Top Hazards1. Mold2. Chemicals• Cleaning and personal care products• Formaldehyde and other VOCs• Pesticides and insecticides• PVC’s/Phthalates• Petrochemicals (synthetics, paints, finishes, fabrics)• Chlorine & water contaminants1. Dust and dust mites2. Animal dander3. Electrical pollution4. Carbon monoxide5. Ozone8. Lead9. Asbestos10. RadonAnd…
  • Top HazardsMold• Do symptoms occur or get worse …– With exposure to hay– When raking leaves– When mowing the lawn– In a damp basement– During damp weather– When you eat fermented foods (beer, wine,cheese, pickles, vinegar) or mushrooms• Are you allergic to penicillin?Source: Why Your House May Endanger Your Health
  • Top HazardsChemicals• Do symptoms occur or get worse whenexposed to …– Smoke– Mothballs– Paint or gas fumes– Solvents– Insect sprays & lawn products– Perfumes, lotions, shampoos– Petroleum residues (e.g., tar, newspaper ink)Source: Why Your House May Endanger Your Health
  • Top HazardsDust• Do symptoms occur or get worse …– When the heating season starts– During house cleaning– When making the bed– In a library– In the bedroom– When sitting on upholstered furniture– When you wake up in the morning (withgradual improvement during the day)Source: Why Your House May Endanger Your Health
  • Top HazardsDander• Do symptoms occur or get worse …– When exposed to cats, dogs, & horses– When exposed to animal hair (rabbit, mohair,wool) in sweaters, blankets,rugs, or furniture– When exposed to feathers(birds, pillows, down comforters)Source: Why Your House May Endanger Your Health
  • Top HazardsElectrical / EMF• Do symptoms occur or get worse …– Indoors, at home or at the office– When speaking on a cell phone– While traveling by car or plane– In the kitchen and laundry room• Do you feel significant relief …– In the shower– At the beach– In the mountains
  • Presentation OverviewTrends and StatisticsEnvironmental IllnessTop Home Health HazardsReducing ExposureQuestions & Answers
  • Reducing Exposure• Moisture Regulation• Controlled Ventilation• Eliminating Sources• Measure and Monitor• Air and Water Purification• Dust & Dust Mites• Safe Sleeping Zone
  • Reducing ExposureMoisture Regulation• Why?– Mold proliferates above 70% RH– Dust mites prefer an RH above 50%– VOC’s outgas more quickly with higher RH– Increased electrical chargeswith lower RH– An RH from 35-55% provides:• Increased Comfort• Healthier Skin and Nasal Passages• Energy Savings
  • Reducing ExposureMoisture Regulation• How?– Use humidistat to measure– Fix leaks promptly– Use exhaust fans in bathrooms– Install good and consistent insulation– Right-size HVAC system– Ensure air flow & ventilation throughout home• Closets• Micro-climates around windows• Attics and basements– Use dehumidifiers and humidifiers (w/ caution)
  • Presentation OverviewTrends and StatisticsEnvironmental IllnessTop Home Health HazardsReducing Exposure Moisture Regulation Controlled Ventilation Eliminating Sources Measure and Monitor Air and Water Purification Dust & Dust Mites Safe Sleeping ZoneQuestions & Answers
  • Reducing ExposureControlled Ventilation• Why?– Remove indoor air pollutants– Control level of particulates in incoming air– Reduce carbon dioxide buildup– Circulate air for moisture regulation– Methods• Traditional - air exchange throughcracks and insulation gaps• Better – tight insulation withplanned air exchange method
  • Reducing ExposureControlled Ventilation• How?– Natural ventilation – wind & stack effect– Accidental• Clothes dryer• Central vacuum• Chimney• Leaky ducts & air return impediments– Controlled• Local – bathroom & kitchen exhaust fans• General – supply ventilation (air intake) andbalanced ventilation (e.g., ERV)
  • Reducing ExposureControlled Ventilation• Tips for New Construction– Don’t leave HVAC design to build stage– Ensure HVAC designer has experience withyour insulation method• Correct sizing will help control moisture, and• Will save energy/money– Route ducts through conditionedspace
  • Presentation OverviewTrends and StatisticsEnvironmental IllnessTop Home Health HazardsReducing Exposure Moisture Regulation Controlled Ventilation Eliminating Sources Measure and Monitor Air and Water Purification Dust & Dust Mites Safe Sleeping ZoneQuestions & Answers
  • Reducing ExposureEliminating Sources• Cleaning and Personal Care Products– Avoid disinfectants, anti-bacterial products,and artificial air fresheners– Buy natural, biodegradable products (seewww.cosmeticdatabase.com), or– Make your own• Vinegar• Baking Soda• Lemon Juice• Olive Oil
  • Reducing ExposureEliminating Sources• “Bad” VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds)– Combine with Nitrogen Oxide to form Ozone– Some are chemical irritants, carcinogenic, orneuro-toxic– Examples: formaldehyde, benzene, xylene,toluene, trichloroethylene, and perchloroethylene(dry cleaning compound)• Why?– Short-term - irritation of nose, lungs, andthroat– Long-term - cancer– Formaldehyde causes increased sensitivityto all chemicals
  • Reducing ExposureEliminating Sources• How to reduce harmful VOCs?– Avoid products with formaldehyde• Particle board, MDF, Plywood• Paint and Other Finishes• Upholstered Furniture• Permanent Press Fabrics• Carpeting– Choose zero/low-VOC options– Seal existing sources– Air out dry cleaning beforebringing indoors– Ventilate and filter– Choose filtering house plants
  • Reducing ExposureEliminating Sources• Pesticides and Insecticides– Linked to asthma, cancer, birthdefects, learning disabilities,ADHD, and neurological disease• Avoid by– Using safer methods such as traps, boric aciddiatomaceous earth, or sonic repellors– Blocking entry by repairing screen openingsand caulking cracks and holes– Starving out by removing water sources likeleaky faucets and cleaning up food sources– Minimizing amounts ‘tracked in’
  • Reducing ExposureEliminating Sources• PVCs / Phthalates– PVC = Polyvinyl Chloride “Vinyl”– Phthalates are plasticizers used to soften PVC– Produce 30 mil tons/yr; 75% for construction– May cause kidney, liver, and endocrine problems; “tootoxic” to recycle (plastic #3)• Avoid PVCs in– Shower curtains, mattress covers, tablecloths– Vinyl flooring, carpeting, wallpaper,window blinds– PVC pipes, electrical cables– Vinyl siding, window casings– Baby toys and products
  • Top Sources1. Mold2. Chemicals• Cleaning and personal care products• Formaldehyde and other VOCs• Pesticides and insecticides• PVC’s/Phthalates• Petrochemicals (synthetics, paints, finishes, fabrics)• Chlorine & water contaminants1. Dust and dust mites2. Animal dander3. Electrical pollution4. Carbon Monoxide5. Ozone8. Lead9. Asbestos10. RadonAnd…
  • Presentation OverviewTrends and StatisticsEnvironmental IllnessTop Home Health HazardsReducing Exposure Moisture Regulation Controlled Ventilation Eliminating Sources Measure and Monitor Air and Water Purification Dust & Dust Mites Safe Sleeping ZoneQuestions & Answers
  • Measure & MonitorTools for a Healthy Home• Monitors– Smoke detector– Carbon monoxide detector– Humidistat• Test kits– Mold– Lead– Radon– Carbon Monoxide– Ozone– Asbestos• RF/EMF detector
  • Measure & MonitorElectrical Pollution• EMF = Electric and Magnetic Fields• May impact– Pineal gland and production of melatonin– Permeability of blood/brain barrier– Dream cycles• Levels dissipate rapidly as you move away fromsource• Common sources– Inside: microwave ovens, hair dryers, vacuumcleaners, televisions, computers, dimmer switches,panel boxes, air handlers– Outside: power lines, communication towers
  • Presentation OverviewTrends and StatisticsEnvironmental IllnessTop Home Health HazardsReducing Exposure Moisture Regulation Controlled Ventilation Eliminating Sources Measure and Monitor Air and Water Purification Dust & Dust Mites Safe Sleeping ZoneQuestions & Answers
  • Air & Water Purification• Air Purification– Whole-house or room/areafiltration system– UV purification– Central or HEPA vacuum– Register & window filters• Water Purification– Whole-house– Point of use• Drinking Water• Refrigerator/icemaker• Shower and bath
  • Presentation OverviewTrends and StatisticsEnvironmental IllnessTop Home Health HazardsReducing Exposure Moisture Regulation Controlled Ventilation Eliminating Sources Measure and Monitor Air and Water Purification Dust & Dust Mites Safe Sleeping ZoneQuestions & Answers
  • Dust & Dust Mites• Air purifiers• Vacuum: central, HEPA filter, or water-based• UV wand• Minimize carpeting• Moisture regulation• Bed– Wash bed linens weekly in 130F water– Mattress and pillow encasements, and/or– Use latex or foam mattress & pillows
  • Presentation OverviewTrends and StatisticsEnvironmental IllnessTop Home Health HazardsReducing Exposure Moisture Regulation Controlled Ventilation Eliminating Sources Measure and Monitor Air and Water Purification Dust & Dust Mites Safe Sleeping ZoneQuestions & Answers
  • Safe Sleeping Zone• Natural or organic bedding– Mattress (latex is especially good)– Pillows– Comforter– Bed Linens• Zippered casings for mattress and pillows• Move bed away from areas withhigh EMF activity• Periodically check for mold• Air purifier– bedroom is most importantlocation for air quality
  • Part 2: Creating aSustainable HomeMary Gatchinfo@dwellsmart.com(843) 856-2282www.dwellsmart.com
  • Heating & CoolingReduce energy consumption for heating & cooling• Adjust thermostat• Caulk/seal around windows, doors, outlets• Insulate• Passive solar• Install efficient HVAC systems– Geothermal– High SEER and correctly sized• Efficient water heating– Solar thermal hot water– Instant hot or continuous– Insulate hot water pipes• Use fans and breezes
  • Water Conservation• Conserving Water = Conserving Power– Reduced power to clean and pump water– Reduced power for heating water• How?– General• Capture and use rainwater• Recirculate greywater• Recirculate for instant hot• Promptly fix leaks– Toilets• Use a dual-flush toilets or converters• Use a toilet tummy or brick– Faucets• Turn off water when not in use• Install low-flow faucets and aeratorsWe never know the worth of water till the well is dry.~Thomas Fuller, 1732
  • Lighting & Appliances• Choose Energy Star lighting and appliance products• Lighting– Use dimmer switches, timers, and motion sensors– Switch from incandescent to more efficient bulbs(e.g. CFL and LED)– Take advantage of natural daylight(e.g. windows and tubular skylights)• Appliances– Replace your clunkers(government program in 2010)• Refrigerators• Dishwashers• Washers & dryers– Run full loads through dish and clothes washers– Line dry (or use dryer balls to cut drying time by 20%)– Unplug appliances and chargers when not in use(use smart power strips for computer and media)
  • Reuse• Minimize “Disposable”, Choose “Reusable”• Reduce packaging• Choose quality, long-lasting products
  • • Containers:– #1 & #2 Plastic bottles rinsed with lids off– Motor oil bottles (unrinsed with lids on)– Steel food, aluminum, and aerosol cans– Glass bottles and jars• Paper products:– Junk mail, magazines, newspaper, office paper– Paperboard packaging (e.g. cereal boxes)• Other items: (must be taken to convenience centers or drop sites)– Cardboard– Used motor oil and filters, tires, car batteries, antifreeze– Electronics (e.g. computers), scrap metal & appliances– Paint, used cooking oil– Compact florescent light bulbs & tubes (CFL’s)– Household batteries– Old gasoline and two-stroke mix– Propane tanks (emptied with valves removed)RecyclingThis Information is applicable to Charleston County, SC.
  • Composting• Greens:– garden waste: grass cuttings, non-woody gardenprunings, leaves, and flowers– kitchen waste: vegetable peelings, leaves and stalks, fruitpeelings and cores, cooked table scraps, tea leaves,coffee grounds, egg shells and bread– herbivore manure (e.g., from vegetarian animal)• Browns: small amounts of shredded newspaper, papertissues, wood fire ash, sawdust, vacuum dust, and dryer lint• Do not put the following in your composter:– meat or fish scraps, fats, oils, and dairy products– Weeds or diseased plants– large branches– cat or dog droppings– large amounts of pine needles– anything else which doesnt decompose(e.g., plastics, glass, or metals)
  • Q&A• Call or e-mail Mary Gatch– (843) 805-7055– info@dwellsmart.com.• Visit DwellSmart– 804 Meeting Street, Charleston, SC– www.dwellsmart.com