How air quality and indoor setting can enhance Spirituality And Well-being
Health is defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) as ‘a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being.’ It’s not enough that there is access to medical care; it is vital as well to raise awareness of the factors in our built environment. Specifically, the design of homes and buildings can affect the level of well-being and comfort in several ways. Air quality in both indoor and outdoor settings affects the corporal, spiritual, and overall well-being of occupants.
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Indoor Environment And Spirituality
The availability of light, preferably natural light, affects indoor environment. On a spiritual level, light signifies the nonexistence of darkness and the ability to see and understand openly. The advantages of natural light include its variability and efficiency. In addition, it creates an awareness and connection to the conditions outdoors. Natural light is not only an energy-efficient strategy, but more importantly, it animates spaces. It also benefits the physical health, giving more energy, and can counteract seasonal affective disorder (SAD), reducing the risks of depression.
Another vital component of indoor environment is temperature, and because the body is sensitive to the thermal environment, the design of a structure should be both comfortable and stimulating. Sunny places should be available on cool days, while there must be opportunities to find shady places when it is hot. A structure must be able to cool down during hot spells by creating openings for night time ventilation, while the use of heavyweight materials absorbs and retains warmth during cold periods.
If there are extremely hot or cold spells, a heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system is part of a traditional home comfort system. Understanding how the system works helps in making the best decision about a home’s comfort levels. For example, adjusting the thermostat by using lower setpoints in winter and higher temperatures can improve efficiency. In addition, activating the ‘circulate’ function (available on new thermostats) is also effective, as is switching off the system when the building is not occupied. If there are limited possibilities to cool or heat the environment, use it as an opportunity to slow down, allowing the mind, body and soul to see, feel and listen more clearly.
Air Quality And Welfare
A major factor in the well-being of people is the quality of air they breathe in. Poor air quality has a negative impact on the physical health, and consequently, the mental welfare. Exposure to volatile organic compounds (VOCs), particulate matter (PM) or carbon dioxide (CO2) is catastrophic for those with lung conditions, as well as the young and the old.
The good news is that air quality can be measured and quantified. Design interventions can be prescribed, such as improved ventilation, whether through natural means (openable windows and doors) or by using centralized HVAC systems. These measures not only enhance air quality by filtering and removing offending pollutants; they also prevent the growth of toxic spores and mold. Among other actions, outdoor air quality can be improved by planting trees that will absorb pollutants or switching to electricity-powered lawn and garden equipment.
Furthermore, the use of the right materials in the design of a building or house can assist in removing threats to air quality that will also consequently affect the well-being of occupants. To illustrate, particle boards are made from recycled wood pieces, making them cheaper and more environmentally-friendly. Unfortunately, the resins used in holding the boards together may contain formaldehyde, which is a toxic material.
On the other hand, wood or timber has a positive impact on the human health, and recent research has found that its visual presence can reduce stress levels among occupants, improving moods and welfare.
Air quality and indoor environment are two vital factors to consider when designing a building or home. Well-being, comfort levels and spiritual peace of mind are greatly enhanced when these concerns are addressed adequately.
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