How your home’s indoor air quality is affected by its design

Construction methods that promote better indoor air quality may be the next frontier of self build homes and renovations. Here's what you need to know.

By Karen Stylianides | 3 March 2020

A recent report highlights evidence that what we’re exposed to inside our homes may have a detrimental effect on health.

IKEA GUNRID air purifying curtains -grand designs

Image: In response to growing concerns over indoor air quality, IKEA has developed curtains treated with a mineral-based coating which uses natural light to break down volatile organic compounds in the air. 

A new report from the Royal College of Physicians and the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health has reviewed the roles that building materials can play in reducing the indoor air quality of our homes.

More is known about the link between outdoor air pollution and respiratory and cardiovascular conditions, but evidence is emerging that what we’re exposed to inside our homes can also have a detrimental effect on health. The Inside Story: Health Effects of Indoor Air Quality outlines that poor indoor air quality can be linked to health issues ranging from respiratory diseases and low birth weights to reduced cognitive performance due to lack of sleep.

Sources of the problem include emissions from construction and decorating materials, furnishings and cleaning products. ‘Some building materials are treated with chemical flame retardants, which have been found in house dust and can have harmful effects,’ says the report.