Creating a
Greener Home
Mary Gatch
info@dwellsmart.com
(843) 805-7055
www.dwellsmart.com
Introductions
• DwellSmart opened in
November 2007
– Healthful, eco-friendly
products for safe,
comfortable, and
efficient...
Introductions
• Inspiration and motivation
– Living in a not-so-healthy house …
– Struggling to build an eco-friendly hous...
Introductions
• Who is …
– Personally impacted by allergies,
asthma, or chemical sensitivities?
– Living with an impacted ...
Part 1: Creating a
Healthier Home
Mary Gatch
info@dwellsmart.com
(843) 805-7055
www.dwellsmart.com
Presentation Overview
• Trends and Statistics
• Environmental Illness
• Top Home Health Hazards
• Reducing Exposure
• Ques...
Trends and Statistics
• Charleston County air quality rated “F” by ALA
• The EPA increasingly concerned with indoor air
qu...
Presentation Overview
Trends and Statistics
Environmental Illness
Top Home Health Hazards
Reducing Exposure
Questions & An...
Environmental Illness
• Some common illnesses caused by
and/or exacerbated by our
environment
– Allergies and Asthma
– Che...
Environmental Illness
Allergic Reactions
• Common and well recognized
– Skin: rashes & hives
– Eyes: excessive tearing, it...
Environmental Illness
• Headache
• Dizziness
• Blurred vision
• Mood changes
• Difficulty
concentrating
• Forgetfulness
• ...
Environmental Illness
• Everyone is susceptible
• Key factors
– Exposure (degree and duration)
– Genetics
– Other factors ...
Environmental Illness
• Protective organs
– Skin
– Lungs
– Liver
– Kidneys
– Colon
Environmental Illness
Organs
Can’t
Keep Up
Organs
Can’t
Keep Up
Toxins
Stored
Toxins
Stored
Toxins
Overflow
Toxins
Overflo...
Environmental Illness
• How do you break/reverse the cycle?
– Support organs of elimination
• Diet
• Exercise
• Supplement...
Presentation Overview
Trends and Statistics
Environmental Illness
Top Home Health Hazards
Reducing Exposure
Questions & An...
Top Hazards
1. Mold
2. Chemicals
• Cleaning and personal care products
• Formaldehyde and other VOCs
• Pesticides and inse...
Top Hazards
Mold
• Do symptoms occur or get worse …
– With exposure to hay
– When raking leaves
– When mowing the lawn
– I...
Top Hazards
Chemicals
• Do symptoms occur or get worse when
exposed to …
– Smoke
– Mothballs
– Paint or gas fumes
– Solven...
Top Hazards
Dust
• Do symptoms occur or get worse …
– When the heating season starts
– During house cleaning
– When making...
Top Hazards
Dander
• Do symptoms occur or get worse …
– When exposed to cats, dogs, & horses
– When exposed to animal hair...
Top Hazards
Electrical / EMF
• Do symptoms occur or get worse …
– Indoors, at home or at the office
– When speaking on a c...
Presentation Overview
Trends and Statistics
Environmental Illness
Top Home Health Hazards
Reducing Exposure
Questions & An...
Reducing Exposure
• Moisture Regulation
• Controlled Ventilation
• Eliminating Sources
• Measure and Monitor
• Air and Wat...
Reducing Exposure
Moisture Regulation
• Why?
– Mold proliferates above 70% RH
– Dust mites prefer an RH above 50%
– VOC’s ...
Reducing Exposure
Moisture Regulation
• How?
– Use humidistat to measure
– Fix leaks promptly
– Use exhaust fans in bathro...
Presentation Overview
Trends and Statistics
Environmental Illness
Top Home Health Hazards
Reducing Exposure
 Moisture Reg...
Reducing Exposure
Controlled Ventilation
• Why?
– Remove indoor air pollutants
– Control level of particulates in incoming...
Reducing Exposure
Controlled Ventilation
• How?
– Natural ventilation – wind & stack effect
– Accidental
• Clothes dryer
•...
Reducing Exposure
Controlled Ventilation
• Tips for New Construction
– Don’t leave HVAC design to build stage
– Ensure HVA...
Presentation Overview
Trends and Statistics
Environmental Illness
Top Home Health Hazards
Reducing Exposure
 Moisture Reg...
Reducing Exposure
Eliminating Sources
• Cleaning and Personal Care Products
– Avoid disinfectants, anti-bacterial products...
Reducing Exposure
Eliminating Sources
• “Bad” VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds)
– Combine with Nitrogen Oxide to form Ozon...
Reducing Exposure
Eliminating Sources
• How to reduce harmful VOCs?
– Avoid products with formaldehyde
• Particle board, M...
Reducing Exposure
Eliminating Sources
• Pesticides and Insecticides
– Linked to asthma, cancer, birth
defects, learning di...
Reducing Exposure
Eliminating Sources
• PVCs / Phthalates
– PVC = Polyvinyl Chloride “Vinyl”
– Phthalates are plasticizers...
Top Sources
1. Mold
2. Chemicals
• Cleaning and personal care products
• Formaldehyde and other VOCs
• Pesticides and inse...
Presentation Overview
Trends and Statistics
Environmental Illness
Top Home Health Hazards
Reducing Exposure
 Moisture Reg...
Measure & Monitor
Tools for a Healthy Home
• Monitors
– Smoke detector
– Carbon monoxide detector
– Humidistat
• Test kits...
Measure & Monitor
Electrical Pollution
• EMF = Electric and Magnetic Fields
• May impact
– Pineal gland and production of ...
Presentation Overview
Trends and Statistics
Environmental Illness
Top Home Health Hazards
Reducing Exposure
 Moisture Reg...
Air & Water Purification
• Air Purification
– Whole-house or room/area
filtration system
– UV purification
– Central or HE...
Presentation Overview
Trends and Statistics
Environmental Illness
Top Home Health Hazards
Reducing Exposure
 Moisture Reg...
Dust & Dust Mites
• Air purifiers
• Vacuum: central, HEPA filter, or water-
based
• UV wand
• Minimize carpeting
• Moistur...
Presentation Overview
Trends and Statistics
Environmental Illness
Top Home Health Hazards
Reducing Exposure
 Moisture Reg...
Safe Sleeping Zone
• Natural or organic bedding
– Mattress (latex is especially good)
– Pillows
– Comforter
– Bed Linens
•...
Part 2: Creating a
Sustainable Home
Mary Gatch
info@dwellsmart.com
(843) 805-7055
www.dwellsmart.com
Heating & Cooling
Reduce energy consumption for heating & cooling
• Adjust thermostat
• Caulk/seal around windows, doors, ...
Water Conservation
• Conserving Water = Conserving Power
– Reduced power to clean and pump water
– Reduced power for heati...
Lighting & Appliances
• Choose Energy Star lighting and appliance products
• Lighting
– Use dimmer switches, timers, and m...
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, alu...
Composting
• Greens:
– garden waste: grass cuttings, non-woody garden
prunings, leaves, and flowers
– kitchen waste: veget...
Q&A
• Call or e-mail Mary Gatch
– (843) 805-7055
– info@dwellsmart.com.
• Visit DwellSmart (please call for appointment)
–...
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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 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

  1. 1. Creating a Greener Home Mary Gatch info@dwellsmart.com (843) 805-7055 www.dwellsmart.com
  2. 2. Introductions • DwellSmart opened in November 2007 – Healthful, eco-friendly products for safe, comfortable, and efficient interiors – Located at 146 Williman Street in Charleston, SC
  3. 3. 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
  4. 4. Introductions • Who is … – Personally impacted by allergies, asthma, or chemical sensitivities? – Living with an impacted person? – Treating patients with environmental illnesses? – Planning to build a new house? – Planning a remodel? – Updating interior design, furnishings?
  5. 5. Part 1: Creating a Healthier Home Mary Gatch info@dwellsmart.com (843) 805-7055 www.dwellsmart.com
  6. 6. Presentation Overview • Trends and Statistics • Environmental Illness • Top Home Health Hazards • Reducing Exposure • Questions & Answers
  7. 7. Trends and Statistics • Charleston County air quality rated “F” by ALA • The EPA increasingly concerned with indoor air quality (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 time indoors • 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 positive to one or more allergens
  8. 8. Presentation Overview Trends and Statistics Environmental Illness Top Home Health Hazards Reducing Exposure Questions & Answers
  9. 9. Environmental Illness • Some common illnesses caused by and/or exacerbated by our environment – Allergies and Asthma – Chemical Sensitivity – Chronic Fatigue – Auto-Immune Disorders – Mental Illness – Cancer
  10. 10. Environmental Illness Allergic 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
  11. 11. Environmental Illness • Headache • Dizziness • Blurred vision • Mood changes • Difficulty concentrating • Forgetfulness • Decreased hearing • Sore throat • Excessive perspiration • Heart palpitations • Flushing • Chronic obesity • Excessive thirst • Fatigue Common Symptoms
  12. 12. Environmental Illness • Everyone is susceptible • Key factors – Exposure (degree and duration) – Genetics – Other factors (e.g. diet, exercise)
  13. 13. Environmental Illness • Protective organs – Skin – Lungs – Liver – Kidneys – Colon
  14. 14. Environmental Illness Organs Can’t Keep Up Organs Can’t Keep Up Toxins Stored Toxins Stored Toxins Overflow Toxins Overflow Chemical Imbalances Chemical Imbalances Endocrine Disruption Endocrine Disruption Digestive Trouble Digestive Trouble Fatigue, Neurological Trouble Fatigue, Neurological Trouble Toxins AllergiesAllergies MalnutritionMalnutrition ToxinsToxins Impacts of Exposure
  15. 15. Environmental Illness • How do you break/reverse the cycle? – Support organs of elimination • Diet • Exercise • Supplements – Reduce exposure – Detoxify • Colon • Kidneys • Liver
  16. 16. Presentation Overview Trends and Statistics Environmental Illness Top Home Health Hazards Reducing Exposure Questions & Answers
  17. 17. Top Hazards 1. Mold 2. Chemicals • Cleaning and personal care products • Formaldehyde and other VOCs • Pesticides and insecticides • PVC’s/Phthalates • Petrochemicals (synthetics, paints, finishes, fabrics) • Chlorine & water contaminants 1. Dust and dust mites 2. Animal dander 3. Electrical pollution 4. Carbon monoxide 5. Ozone 8. Lead 9. Asbestos 10. Radon And…
  18. 18. Top Hazards Mold • 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
  19. 19. Top Hazards Chemicals • Do symptoms occur or get worse when exposed 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
  20. 20. Top Hazards Dust • 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 (with gradual improvement during the day) Source: Why Your House May Endanger Your Health
  21. 21. Top Hazards Dander • 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
  22. 22. Top Hazards Electrical / 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
  23. 23. Presentation Overview Trends and Statistics Environmental Illness Top Home Health Hazards Reducing Exposure Questions & Answers
  24. 24. Reducing Exposure • Moisture Regulation • Controlled Ventilation • Eliminating Sources • Measure and Monitor • Air and Water Purification • Dust & Dust Mites • Safe Sleeping Zone
  25. 25. Reducing Exposure Moisture Regulation • Why? – Mold proliferates above 70% RH – Dust mites prefer an RH above 50% – VOC’s outgas more quickly with higher RH – Increased electrical charges with lower RH – An RH from 35-55% provides: • Increased Comfort • Healthier Skin and Nasal Passages • Energy Savings
  26. 26. Reducing Exposure Moisture 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)
  27. 27. Presentation Overview Trends and Statistics Environmental Illness Top Home Health Hazards Reducing Exposure  Moisture Regulation  Controlled Ventilation  Eliminating Sources  Measure and Monitor  Air and Water Purification  Dust & Dust Mites  Safe Sleeping Zone Questions & Answers
  28. 28. Reducing Exposure Controlled 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 through cracks and insulation gaps • Better – tight insulation with planned air exchange method
  29. 29. Reducing Exposure Controlled 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) and balanced ventilation (e.g., ERV)
  30. 30. Reducing Exposure Controlled Ventilation • Tips for New Construction – Don’t leave HVAC design to build stage – Ensure HVAC designer has experience with your insulation method • Correct sizing will help control moisture, and • Will save energy/money – Route ducts through conditioned space
  31. 31. Presentation Overview Trends and Statistics Environmental Illness Top Home Health Hazards Reducing Exposure  Moisture Regulation  Controlled Ventilation  Eliminating Sources  Measure and Monitor  Air and Water Purification  Dust & Dust Mites  Safe Sleeping Zone Questions & Answers
  32. 32. Reducing Exposure Eliminating Sources • Cleaning and Personal Care Products – Avoid disinfectants, anti-bacterial products, and artificial air fresheners – Buy natural, biodegradable products (see www.cosmeticdatabase.com), or – Make your own • Vinegar • Baking Soda • Lemon Juice • Olive Oil
  33. 33. Reducing Exposure Eliminating Sources • “Bad” VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) – Combine with Nitrogen Oxide to form Ozone – Some are chemical irritants, carcinogenic, or neuro-toxic – Examples: formaldehyde, benzene, xylene, toluene, trichloroethylene, and perchloroethylene (dry cleaning compound) • Why? – Short-term - irritation of nose, lungs, and throat – Long-term - cancer – Formaldehyde causes increased sensitivity to all chemicals
  34. 34. Reducing Exposure Eliminating 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 before bringing indoors – Ventilate and filter – Choose filtering house plants
  35. 35. Reducing Exposure Eliminating Sources • Pesticides and Insecticides – Linked to asthma, cancer, birth defects, learning disabilities, ADHD, and neurological disease • Avoid by – Using safer methods such as traps, boric acid diatomaceous earth, or sonic repellors – Blocking entry by repairing screen openings and caulking cracks and holes – Starving out by removing water sources like leaky faucets and cleaning up food sources – Minimizing amounts ‘tracked in’
  36. 36. Reducing Exposure Eliminating 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; “too toxic” 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
  37. 37. Top Sources 1. Mold 2. Chemicals • Cleaning and personal care products • Formaldehyde and other VOCs • Pesticides and insecticides • PVC’s/Phthalates • Petrochemicals (synthetics, paints, finishes, fabrics) • Chlorine & water contaminants 1. Dust and dust mites 2. Animal dander 3. Electrical pollution 4. Carbon Monoxide 5. Ozone 8. Lead 9. Asbestos 10. Radon And…
  38. 38. Presentation Overview Trends and Statistics Environmental Illness Top Home Health Hazards Reducing Exposure  Moisture Regulation  Controlled Ventilation  Eliminating Sources  Measure and Monitor  Air and Water Purification  Dust & Dust Mites  Safe Sleeping Zone Questions & Answers
  39. 39. Measure & Monitor Tools for a Healthy Home • Monitors – Smoke detector – Carbon monoxide detector – Humidistat • Test kits – Mold – Lead – Radon – Carbon Monoxide – Ozone – Asbestos • RF/EMF detector
  40. 40. Measure & Monitor Electrical 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 from source • Common sources – Inside: microwave ovens, hair dryers, vacuum cleaners, televisions, computers, dimmer switches, panel boxes, air handlers – Outside: power lines, communication towers
  41. 41. Presentation Overview Trends and Statistics Environmental Illness Top Home Health Hazards Reducing Exposure  Moisture Regulation  Controlled Ventilation  Eliminating Sources  Measure and Monitor  Air and Water Purification  Dust & Dust Mites  Safe Sleeping Zone Questions & Answers
  42. 42. Air & Water Purification • Air Purification – Whole-house or room/area filtration system – UV purification – Central or HEPA vacuum – Register & window filters • Water Purification – Whole-house – Point of use • Drinking Water • Refrigerator/icemaker • Shower and bath
  43. 43. Presentation Overview Trends and Statistics Environmental Illness Top Home Health Hazards Reducing Exposure  Moisture Regulation  Controlled Ventilation  Eliminating Sources  Measure and Monitor  Air and Water Purification  Dust & Dust Mites  Safe Sleeping Zone Questions & Answers
  44. 44. 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
  45. 45. Presentation Overview Trends and Statistics Environmental Illness Top Home Health Hazards Reducing Exposure  Moisture Regulation  Controlled Ventilation  Eliminating Sources  Measure and Monitor  Air and Water Purification  Dust & Dust Mites  Safe Sleeping Zone Questions & Answers
  46. 46. 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 with high EMF activity • Periodically check for mold • Air purifier – bedroom is most important location for air quality
  47. 47. Part 2: Creating a Sustainable Home Mary Gatch info@dwellsmart.com (843) 805-7055 www.dwellsmart.com
  48. 48. Heating & Cooling Reduce 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
  49. 49. 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 aerators We never know the worth of water till the well is dry. ~Thomas Fuller, 1732
  50. 50. 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)
  51. 51. Reuse • Minimize “Disposable”, Choose “Reusable” • Reduce packaging • Choose quality, long-lasting products
  52. 52. • 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) Recycling This Information is applicable to Charleston County, SC.
  53. 53. Composting • Greens: – garden waste: grass cuttings, non-woody garden prunings, leaves, and flowers – kitchen waste: vegetable peelings, leaves and stalks, fruit peelings 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, paper tissues, 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 doesn't decompose (e.g., plastics, glass, or metals)
  54. 54. Q&A • Call or e-mail Mary Gatch – (843) 805-7055 – info@dwellsmart.com. • Visit DwellSmart (please call for appointment) – 146 Williman St., Charleston, SC – www.dwellsmart.com

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