Healthy Indoor Environments for a Healthier Life

Window view


As Americans, we spend the vast majority of our lives inside buildings – about 92% of our time. 6% of our lives are spent in-transit and only 2% of our time is spent outdoors (The National Human Activity Pattern Survey (NHAPS) A Resource for Assessing Exposure to Environmental Pollutants). The experience and condition of the spaces we occupy 92% of our time on Earth have a substantial impact on our lives. One of the best things we can do for ourselves and our families is make sure our Indoor Environment is healthy. This post discusses what we do at SQFT Studios to ensure a healthy Indoor Environmental Quality for your Home Studio or ADU.

Key factors of Indoor Environmental Quality include; the quality of the air, thermal comfort, humidity, lighting, aroma, acoustics, access to nature and natural rhythms, look and feel, and other subjective considerations.

Air quality is critical to the health of the inhabitants of any structure. Fresh air is provided to the interior through mechanical means, natural means (like open windows and doors), and uncontrolled methods like cracks, gaps, and breaks. Air is exhausted through the same means and dedicated ventilation like kitchen and bathroom vents. Maintaining a good balance of supply and exhaust is critical to a healthy indoor environment. Modern buildings are tighter and allow for less uncontrolled ventilation which means unless the windows and doors are opened on purpose, very little fresh air is being introduced. Modern mechanical systems have been designed to provide fresh air to alleviate this issue. SQFT Studios uses one of these systems called an Energy Recovery Ventilator to provide tight energy efficient construction while providing excellent amounts of fresh air. Controlling humidity in the cold winter months is achieved through heating and fresh air supply, and in summer months can only be achieved through other mechanical means, most often air conditioning. With the hotter summers in the Northwest air conditioning is becoming more common and is an available option. Good fresh air eliminates built up toxins, moisture (which can cause mold and mildew), smells, and other negatives. SQFT Studios is committed to providing fresh healthy air in all of our structures while providing excellent thermal comfort.

Light, sound, and natural rhythms have a huge impact on occupant health and well-being. Providing natural light and access to views of the surrounding environment is the best and easiest way to maintain these environments. High quality electric lighting can provide additional healthy lighting where needed. Acoustics are more challenging and often ignored but are equally crucial to a positive environment. Excellent acoustics are achieved by minimizing noise pollution from both indoor and outdoor sources, as well as creating rooms and spaces with pleasant and comfortable acoustics for general and specific uses. Access to natural views and portals for daylight keep us in tune with the natural circadian rhythms of our environment. SQFT Studios designs with you and nature in mind to give you access to natural light, air, and views.

Any great design that takes the above factors into account can easily be undone by introducing toxic materials and gasses into our environments. You don’t have to be sensitive or allergic to be impacted in your life by these noxious elements. Every one of us is affected negatively by toxic conditions in our spaces. It is possible to develop serious health issues and greater sensitivity through short- or long-term exposure to these compounds. Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), allergens, mold, mildew, or toxins like formaldehyde are common in buildings and building products and represent a serious threat to our health. SQFT Studios has committed to using only Low- or No-VOC products and coatings, using only Floorscore Certified flooring, and eliminating added urea formaldehyde in our wood products.

SQFT Studios is committed to providing only the healthiest spaces for your family, and we pledge to build structures that we would be comfortable letting our families live in. Removing discomfort and nasty smells allows you to relax, work, sleep, rent, and create without distraction in a peaceful environment you know you can trust. Try out a healthy home studio today!