This "super plant" can actually absorb air pollution

February 19, 2021 by  
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Scientists at the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) have found that Cotoneaster franchetii could help absorb pollution on heavily trafficked roads. In a study that compared how different plants tame pollution, RHS scientists found this species of cotoneaster to be the most effective. The plant was compared to other shrubs, including western red cedar and hawthorn. According to the researchers, cotoneaster turned out to be a “super plant” that could act as a carbon sink for fossil fuel pollution. However, the study established that the plant was really only helpful in areas with high traffic. In comparison to the other plants in the study, cotoneaster was found to be 20% more effective in absorbing pollution. In quiet regions with limited pollution, the plant was found to be less effective. Related: The Ray integrates plants and pollinators along I-85 “On major city roads with heavy traffic, we’ve found that the species with more complex, denser canopies, rough and hairy leaves such as cotoneaster were the most effective,” said Tijana Blanusa, lead researcher. “We know that in just seven days, a one-meter length of well-managed dense hedge will mop up the same amount of pollution that a car emits over a 500 mile drive.” Air pollution is a big concern in the modern world. RHS conducted a survey that involved over 2,000 participants to find out their take on pollution matters. The survey revealed that 33% of respondents have been affected by pollution but only 6% had taken steps to combat the situation in their own gardens. But researchers are hopeful that sharing how powerful cotoneaster and similar plants are could help the public participate in improving air quality through gardening . “We are continually identifying new ‘super plants’ with unique qualities, which, when combined with other vegetation, provide enhanced benefits while providing much-needed habitats for wildlife,” said Alistair Griffiths, director of science and collections at RHS. “We’ve found, for example, that ivy wall cover excels at cooling buildings, and hawthorn and privet help ease intense summer rainfalls and reduce localized flooding . If planted in gardens and green spaces where these environmental issues are most prevalent, we could make a big difference in mitigating against and adapting to climate change.” + Royal Horticultural Society Via The Guardian Image via Père Igor

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This "super plant" can actually absorb air pollution

The environmental impact of used car exports

October 30, 2020 by  
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Environmentalists usually promote reuse . But sometimes reusing does more harm than good. Such is the case with many of the used vehicles exported to poorer countries, according to a new report released by the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP). According to the report, between 2015 and 2018, 14 million secondhand light-duty vehicles were exported around the world. Light duty vehicles include sedans, SUVs and minibuses. Many of these came from the U.S., Japan and Europe, and 80% wound up in low- and middle-income countries. Africa received the majority of these used vehicles. Related: No new gas-powered cars by 2035, California governor says Unfortunately, many of these cars are poorly made or in bad shape. As they spew emissions from Addis Ababa to Dhaka, they make it even harder for economically stressed countries to mitigate climate change effects. The answer? More regulations about exactly which cars are worthy of staying on the road, and which should drive (or be towed) straight to the junkyard. “Cleaning up the global vehicle fleet is a priority to meet global and local air quality and climate targets,” said Inger Andersen, UNEP’s executive director. “The lack of effective standards and regulation is resulting in the dumping of old, polluting and unsafe vehicles. Developed countries must stop exporting vehicles that fail environment and safety inspections and are no longer considered roadworthy in their own countries, while importing countries should introduce stronger quality standards.” The report studied 146 countries, concluding that two-thirds had weak or very weak policies about importing used vehicles. However, countries that imposed stricter regulations scored better imports. For example, because Morocco only accepts vehicles that meet European emission standards and are less than five years old, it gets some of the best used cars. In addition to the 40% of used vehicles bound for Africa, 24% went to Eastern Europe, 15% to Asia-Pacific, 12% to the Middle East and 9% to Latin America. Vehicles are responsible for nearly a quarter of energy-related greenhouse gas emissions globally. + UNEP Image via Shilin Wang

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Hurricane Laura causes dangerous chemical fire in Louisiana

August 31, 2020 by  
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It’s bad enough to stay shut in your house, terrified, as you ride out a Category 4 hurricane. But the people of Westlake, Louisiana had an additional reason to stay inside last week with the windows clamped tight as Hurricane Laura started a fire at BioLab, unleashing chlorine gas over the small town. The hurricane killed at least 14 people, obliterated buildings and tore off roofs as it blustered through southwest Louisiana, home to many of the state’s petrochemical industries. It blew directly over the Hackberry oil field, an area south of Lake Charles that combines active and abandoned oil wells, pipelines and storage tanks with a sensitive marsh ecosystem. It will take some time to figure out the extent of structural and environmental damage. The health consequences may never be known. People who live in this region will only be able to guess in the coming years whether their cancers and other diseases were caused by the chlorine gas or other chemicals, to which they are routinely exposed. Related: Environmental racism in America Chemical leaks are common in Louisiana. Communities around petrochemical companies are accustomed to hearing emergency sirens. Unfortunately, petrochemical companies are often placed in elderly and Black communities. Westlake is less than 5 miles from the decimated town of Mossville, which was started by formerly enslaved peoples in the 1790s. In 2014, the South Africa-based fuel company Sasol bought out most of the residents’ houses to expand its enormous petrochemical plant. Mossville residents were known for staggeringly high concentrations of dioxins in their blood, as found in 1998 tests conducted by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. This highly toxic substance can impair the immune system, disrupt hormone functions, damage the reproductive system and cause cancer and diabetes . Dioxins can form by heating chlorine to high temperatures, which happened last week when BioLab ignited. The BioLab facility, which was built in 1979, occupies 15 acres inside a large industrial complex. It manufactures trichloroisocyanuric acid — a bleaching agent and industrial disinfectant — chlorinating granules and other chemical blends for cleaning products. The fire shut down nearby Interstate 10 and required residents to shelter in place for at least 24 hours. Petrochemical plants often cause problems in hurricanes. Chemical storage tanks are especially problematic. They are built to float, but when the water resettles, the tanks sometimes spring a leak. Floating roofs built to contain vapors often collapse or sink, the wind can buckle tanks and flying debris can puncture a tank’s sides. Because workers are generally evacuated when a storm is on the way, often nobody is there to fix a problem before it has major consequences. Via The Conversation , CNN and The Intercept Image via NOAA

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Worlds largest Passive House building to open in Kansas City

August 31, 2020 by  
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The largest Passive House building in the world is set to welcome its first tenants this October in the historic River Market of downtown Kansas City, Missouri. The luxury apartment community — dubbed Second + Delaware — will offer high-end amenities alongside energy-efficient advantages with 80% to 90% energy savings compared to conventional buildings. Jointly developed by Arnold Development Group and Yarco Development, the apartment complex will offer 276 apartment residences including studios, one-bedroom units and two-bedroom units surrounding a central courtyard. Set atop a bluff in the walkable River Market neighborhood, Second + Delaware champions sustainable urban design with its placement and design. The developers took on a 100-year perspective in creating the 330,000-square-foot property, which is centered on a large and spacious shared courtyard. Accessible green space is also found in the landscaping surrounding the building and on the planted rooftops. Related: Award-winning passive tiny house is insulated to combat New Zealand’s weather User comfort and energy efficiency is achieved with triple-glazed , certified windows set within highly insulated frames that let in an abundance of natural light without risking energy loss. Constant fresh air is funneled inside with a Dedicated Outside Air System (DOAS), while superior indoor air quality is ensured with a ventilation system and Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) heat pumps. The building envelope is also made airtight with 16-inch-thick walls that include a 6-inch layer of insulation sandwiched between 10 inches of concrete. “Now is the time for developers to think bigger than ever before,” said Jonathan Arnold, co-developer and principal of Arnold Development Group. “We have the technologies we need to deliver safer, more responsible, and equally beautiful solutions to the built world. I hope that Second + Delaware will be the impetus that moves our industry forward.” In addition to energy-efficient appliances, residents will also have access to a saltwater swimming pool, bookable raised rooftop garden beds, fitness and yoga facilities, bicycle storage and electric car -sharing stations. + Second + Delaware Images by Arnold Imaging

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EPA loosens restrictions on methane emissions

August 18, 2020 by  
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As President Trump’s term comes to an end, his administration has busily rolled back Obama-era environmental protections. Now, the Environmental Protection Agency ( EPA ) has loosened standards governing how much methane oil and gas facilities can release into the atmosphere. Methane is a serious threat to the environment because the gas is so good at absorbing heat, making it 84 times more potent than carbon dioxide, according to the Environmental Defense Fund . While methane comes from many places, the oil and gas industry is its largest source. Related: Trump waives environmental laws amid national crises “Trump’s EPA has given the oil and gas industry a green light to keep leaking enormous amounts of climate pollution into the air,” said David Doniger, senior strategic director of Natural Resources Defense Council’s Climate & Clean Energy Program. In 2018, the oil and gas industry released an estimated 15 million metric tons of methane into the air. The American public isn’t happy about this. A recent NRDC poll found that 75% of respondents strongly support strengthening controls on methane pollution. The NRDC proposed a solution in 2015. If federal standards for oil and gas infrastructure were adopted nationwide, methane pollution could be halved in less than a decade. Unfortunately, Trump’s new rollback pushes us further in the wrong direction. The rollback allows companies to bypass installation of detection equipment, nor do they have to fix methane leaks. Lax emission standards are especially dangerous to fence-line communities, lower-income neighborhoods that have the misfortune of being close to polluting facilities. According to the NAACP website, Black communities are disproportionately affected by methane, benzene, sulfur dioxide, formaldehyde and other toxic and dangerous emissions released by industries in their neighborhoods. Among other health effects, these pollutants cause more than 138,000 asthma attacks in children per year. “We cannot protect the health of our children and grandchildren, especially in the most polluted and endangered communities, if the EPA lets this industry off scot-free,” Doniger said. “We will see EPA in court.” Via NRDC Image via Pixabay

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California passes landmark rule for zero-emission trucks

July 1, 2020 by  
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California has passed a landmark rule requiring all truck manufacturers to sell more electric trucks starting in 2024. This rule comes amid efforts to reverse climate change’s effects in America.  Several states  are working to reduce carbon emission and improve air quality. Seven more states and the District of Columbia are expected to have similar legislation underway. The decision to require California car manufacturers to sell more electric trucks came on June 25. The California Air Resources Board (ARB) unanimously approved the measure. According to the California ARB, the state has set several objectives for attaining clean air . Key objectives include working toward the state only selling electric trucks by the year 2045. States planning new measures to combat climate change could learn from California. The California ARB stipulates five key targets for attaining clean air. Key goals include reaching a 40% reduction in greenhouse gasses by 2030, a 50% reduction in petroleum use by 2030 and an 80% reduction in GHGs by 2050. Such landmark decisions did not pass without opposition. Though most automakers express interest in making electric vans and trucks, some industry members have opposed the move. Despite this, many companies have been working on electric car technology in anticipation of a zero-emissions future. Jason Gray of Daimler Trucks North America explained that the company has already built 38 medium and heavy-duty electric trucks that work even better than gas-fueled trucks. These electric vehicles produce less noise and no gas emissions. Daimler Trucks has already given drivers several trucks for testing. As it turns out, even drivers favor electric trucks. “They have nothing but great things to say about them — how quiet they are, how, you know, they don’t come home smelling like diesel ,” Bill Bliem, Senior Vice President of Fleet Services at NFI Industries, a logistics company, said. If other states adopt such practices, the clean air conversation may improve in the next few years. As things stand, California’s work is just part of a nationwide revolution towards zero-emission vehicles. + NPR Images via Pexels

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COVID-19 and its effects on the environment

April 20, 2020 by  
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As SARS-CoV-2, the novel  coronavirus  pathogen that causes the illness COVID-19, sweeps across the globe, social distancing measures are noticeably impacting the  environment . Consequently, both the preservation and restoration of environmental quality are experiencing a new normal as the pandemic continues. Coronavirus and climate change-related conservation COVID-19 has heightened wildlife conservation awareness. As  Scientific American  has cited, wildlife trade secured additional notoriety when the  CDC  broke the news of a zoonotic pathogen jumping from animals to humans, causing the current pandemic. Secondly, when the  American Veterinary Medical Association  announced the positive presence of COVID-19 in domestic animals, zoos and  BioTechniques Journal  likewise saw captive animals test positive with the new coronavirus. This elevated concerns for sources such as  UNESCO ,  Time ,  Nature  and  Smithsonian Magazine  about the future safety of already threatened species, like the great apes who are similar to humans. Additionally,  National Geographic  raised alarms on poaching proliferation in conservation reserves as rangers and keepers self-isolated. Related:  Discarded face masks now threatening wildlife habitats Should climate change run unabated, future zoonotic disease outbreaks may become the norm, asserts  Conservation International  and  Harvard University’s School of Public Health . Given that healthy animals living in healthy ecosystems are robust enough to resist diseases, by minimizing climate change and protecting habitats, we may be able to avoid future pandemics.   Social distancing has improved air quality The  COVID-19  crisis has forced activity freezes. Lockdowns and calls to shelter-in-place have closed schools and non-essential businesses. Minimal activity from industrial sites, factories and construction sectors has minimized the risks for toxins to escape, in turn improving  air quality . Travel bans have similarly restricted international flights. Canceled conferences, festivals, concerts and other public events have diminished interest in tourism, reports the  US Travel Association . Airline ridership has slumped, and airports are as near-empty as they were in the 2001 aftermath of the 9/11 attacks. As such, aviation emissions — which accounted for 2.4% of global  CO2 emissions  in 2018, according to the  Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI)  — have dropped significantly. Still, the  EPA  says vehicular activity contributes more to  greenhouse gas emissions  than airlines do. Presently, fewer people are commuting, not just in major cities, but all over the world. Traffic nowadays centers mainly around immediate household supply runs to nearby stores, trucking supply transports to retailers or wholesalers, plus commutes by those in essential industries. Both  Traffic Technology Today  and  The Guardian  have spotlighted the United Kingdom’s reduced traffic, which has plunged by 73% “to levels not seen since 1955.” And across the Atlantic Ocean, Canadian traffic has also declined,  GEOTAB  disclosed. As for the U.S., not only has road travel decreased, but congestion has all but disappeared, says  VentureBeat ,  Next City  and  USA Today . The decrease in congestion is critical, as idling  vehicles emit more pollution .  With substantially less vehicular movement, air quality has improved by leaps and bounds. Numerous sources have covered how air quality indices of the globe’s largest metropolitan areas have improved extensively since strict coronavirus lockdowns were issued. Even  NASA  satellites from outer-space show the significant reductions in air pollutants, which supports EcoWatch ‘s observation that the novel coronavirus  pandemic  has delivered the silver lining of decreased  air pollution .  The Guardian  added, “In China, the world’s biggest source of  carbon , emissions were down about 18% between early February and mid-March – a cut of 250m tonnes, equivalent to more than half the UK’s annual output. Europe is forecast to see a reduction of around 390m tonnes. Significant falls can also be expected in the US, where passenger vehicle traffic – its major source of CO2 – has fallen by nearly 40%. Even assuming a bounceback once the lockdown is lifted, the planet is expected to see its first fall in global  emissions  since the 2008-9 financial crisis.” Reduced carbon emissions and global warming Just last week,  Carbon Brief (CB)  published that the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted  energy use  worldwide, which could cut carbon emissions by an estimated 5% of 2019’s global total. That means the coronavirus crisis is so far “trigger[ing] the largest ever annual fall in CO2 emissions in 2020, more than during any previous economic crisis or period of war.” While this is encouraging news, experts say it still may not be adequate for meeting  Paris Agreement  goals to keep global warming from rising above 1.5 degrees Celsius. What’s happening with fossil fuels during the pandemic? When the pandemic called for lockdowns, paralyzing both air and ground travel, the demand for fuel was likewise decimated. An oil price war ensued with drastic shifts in global oil politics, thus destabilizing the fossil fuel sector, reported  Business Insider . Even  Fortune  magazine highlighted the worry about where to store the surplus oil. According to  Forbes , this pushed President Trump to broker a historic deal, whereby the planet’s top oil producers — namely Saudi Arabia and Russia — agreed to cut oil production. As Sandy Fielden, director of oil research firm Morningstar, said to the  BBC , “This is an unprecedented agreement because it’s not just between Opec and Opec+…but also the largest supplier in the world which is the US as well as other G-20 countries which have agreed to support the agreement both in reducing production and also in using up some of the surface supply by putting it into storage.” Effects on the renewable energy sector CNBC  showed the  renewables  industry suffering supply chain cuts and employee layoffs during the deepening COVID-19 recession. There are worries that clean energy investments appear less desirable. Construction and development projects have been delayed as lockdown periods extend. Renewables, therefore, seek slices of the stimulus package to waylay progress derailments, which even the  International Energy Agency (IEA)  has cautioned about. What’s happening to climate change policy during the coronavirus pandemic? COVID-19 could portend future pandemics, particularly if  global warming  unleashes unknown diseases trapped in ice. Ensuring that global warming and  climate change  do not disrupt our planet’s health is still of paramount importance.  Green Tech Media  emphasized this, saying, “Climate change didn’t stop as the world turned its attention to combating the coronavirus.” Climate activism continues, despite cancellations to large climate change-related summits, negotiations and conference meetings. Not all  climate  advocacy during this time is lost. Optimism reframes these economic stimulus measures as helpful nudges for climate policy and the renewables sector to evolve for the better. Indeed,  Clean Energy Wire  upholds that these federally-backed stimulus packages can be leveraged to provide investment opportunities in both the infrastructure that can reduce emissions as well as in  clean  technologies.  Science Alert , moreover, contends, “the coronavirus has forced new working-from-home habits that limit commuting, and a broader adoption of online meetings to reduce the need for long-haul business flights. This raises the prospect of long-term emissions reductions should these new work behaviours persist beyond the current global emergency.” Images via Pexels

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How clean is your indoor air?

April 17, 2020 by  
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The 2020 Coronavirus /COVID-19 pandemic has created a new normal for much of the population — a daily routine that now means moving from the bedroom to the living room instead of battling a commute and logging hours in an office building. With the kids tackling remote learning and you working from home, the carbon dioxide to oxygen ratio under your roof is likely different than it was just a few months ago. After all, there’s no doubt that an increase in the number of people at home affects the overall indoor air quality (IAQ) within the space. With that in mind, it’s important to give some consideration to the quality of the air you and your family are breathing in, both during the pandemic and in subsequent times. There is more to the equation than just making sure there is adequate oxygen in the building. Pollutants can float through your home, moving from one space to another. These pollutants can lead to allergic reactions and breathing difficulties. There might be other issues that go unnoticed too. Yet according to a study from Broan-NuTone, only 44% of Americans worry about their home’s indoor air quality. Related: Awair tracks 5 elements of air quality in your home In fact, there are many often overlooked clues that point to less than optimal IAQ. While you might recognize an increase in dust, most Americans don’t associate lingering food odors or allergy symptoms with poor IAQ. When evaluating IAQ, homeowners and renters should consider how effectively vent fans remove odors, smoke and moisture from the space. Lingering food scents, foggy mirrors and windows, and mold are all strong indicators that vent fans are not doing their job. Air filters, both stand-alone units and those inside the furnace’s forced-air system, are important tools in the battle for fresh indoor air.  This era of physical distancing has us spending more time indoors, and each activity, such as cleaning and cooking, can contribute to the toxins in your air. Then there is dust, dirt and pet dander thrown into the mix. Depending on the daily activities of your household, the number of people in the space, and the products you use, your IAQ might suffer more than you think. So it’s vital that you choose appliances and products carefully. Chemical pollution, for example, can be enough to exacerbate respiratory conditions. That means harsh cleaners can actually make you sick while you work to eliminate germs, especially if the fumes are left lingering around. It is imperative that filters in the furnace, air conditioner, air filter and grease filter above the stove are all washed or replaced frequently. In addition to cleaning filters, having effective exhaust fans is essential to maintaining healthy IAQ. To test exhaust fans, hold a ribbon of tissue near the fan while it is on. The appliance should suck the tissue inward. If it doesn’t, it is time for a replacement. In order for your bathroom and kitchen exhaust fans to benefit the air quality , they should be turned on before cooking or bathing and left on for at least 10 minutes afterward. The environmentalist in you might be screaming to turn off the vent, but the creation of mildew and other irritants isn’t a viable trade-off for the energy you’ll use running the fan a bit longer.  If you find that your home has excessive moisture in the form of damp towels, musty smells and foggy mirrors you may want to use absorption products such as Dri-Z-Air. The pellets are easy to refill and are versatile enough for the RV, garage or closet. A dehumidifier is another option to consider when moisture levels are high. While you know that dust is unsightly, it’s also a breeding ground for dust mites. Make sure to wipe or vacuum away dust often and clean linens in hot water frequently to keep allergens in commonly problematic areas low. To test your indoor air quality, you can buy an air quality monitor that ranges in price from $75 to around $800. You can also have your IAQ measured for you or purchase a VOC sensor or carbon dioxide meter to take your own readings. For safety, your home should also be equipped with a radon detector and a carbon monoxide detector. If any measure of IAQ shows the need for improvement, open windows and run fans to get air circulating. The recent indoor air quality study by Broan-Nutone highlights the need to spend a little time evaluating your indoor environment . According to the results, while the majority of people feel indoor air quality is exceptionally important since many of us spend more time inside than out, a fairly low number of respondents knew how to improve it by using appliances correctly. Remember that plants are another way to naturally filter pollutants out of the air. Outside of the standard household concerns, older homes should always be tested for asbestos, mold, lead -based paints and other toxic substances that could be lurking unnoticed. + Broan-NuTone Images via Broan-Nutone 

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How clean is your indoor air?

How clean is your indoor air?

April 17, 2020 by  
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The 2020 Coronavirus /COVID-19 pandemic has created a new normal for much of the population — a daily routine that now means moving from the bedroom to the living room instead of battling a commute and logging hours in an office building. With the kids tackling remote learning and you working from home, the carbon dioxide to oxygen ratio under your roof is likely different than it was just a few months ago. After all, there’s no doubt that an increase in the number of people at home affects the overall indoor air quality (IAQ) within the space. With that in mind, it’s important to give some consideration to the quality of the air you and your family are breathing in, both during the pandemic and in subsequent times. There is more to the equation than just making sure there is adequate oxygen in the building. Pollutants can float through your home, moving from one space to another. These pollutants can lead to allergic reactions and breathing difficulties. There might be other issues that go unnoticed too. Yet according to a study from Broan-NuTone, only 44% of Americans worry about their home’s indoor air quality. Related: Awair tracks 5 elements of air quality in your home In fact, there are many often overlooked clues that point to less than optimal IAQ. While you might recognize an increase in dust, most Americans don’t associate lingering food odors or allergy symptoms with poor IAQ. When evaluating IAQ, homeowners and renters should consider how effectively vent fans remove odors, smoke and moisture from the space. Lingering food scents, foggy mirrors and windows, and mold are all strong indicators that vent fans are not doing their job. Air filters, both stand-alone units and those inside the furnace’s forced-air system, are important tools in the battle for fresh indoor air.  This era of physical distancing has us spending more time indoors, and each activity, such as cleaning and cooking, can contribute to the toxins in your air. Then there is dust, dirt and pet dander thrown into the mix. Depending on the daily activities of your household, the number of people in the space, and the products you use, your IAQ might suffer more than you think. So it’s vital that you choose appliances and products carefully. Chemical pollution, for example, can be enough to exacerbate respiratory conditions. That means harsh cleaners can actually make you sick while you work to eliminate germs, especially if the fumes are left lingering around. It is imperative that filters in the furnace, air conditioner, air filter and grease filter above the stove are all washed or replaced frequently. In addition to cleaning filters, having effective exhaust fans is essential to maintaining healthy IAQ. To test exhaust fans, hold a ribbon of tissue near the fan while it is on. The appliance should suck the tissue inward. If it doesn’t, it is time for a replacement. In order for your bathroom and kitchen exhaust fans to benefit the air quality , they should be turned on before cooking or bathing and left on for at least 10 minutes afterward. The environmentalist in you might be screaming to turn off the vent, but the creation of mildew and other irritants isn’t a viable trade-off for the energy you’ll use running the fan a bit longer.  If you find that your home has excessive moisture in the form of damp towels, musty smells and foggy mirrors you may want to use absorption products such as Dri-Z-Air. The pellets are easy to refill and are versatile enough for the RV, garage or closet. A dehumidifier is another option to consider when moisture levels are high. While you know that dust is unsightly, it’s also a breeding ground for dust mites. Make sure to wipe or vacuum away dust often and clean linens in hot water frequently to keep allergens in commonly problematic areas low. To test your indoor air quality, you can buy an air quality monitor that ranges in price from $75 to around $800. You can also have your IAQ measured for you or purchase a VOC sensor or carbon dioxide meter to take your own readings. For safety, your home should also be equipped with a radon detector and a carbon monoxide detector. If any measure of IAQ shows the need for improvement, open windows and run fans to get air circulating. The recent indoor air quality study by Broan-Nutone highlights the need to spend a little time evaluating your indoor environment . According to the results, while the majority of people feel indoor air quality is exceptionally important since many of us spend more time inside than out, a fairly low number of respondents knew how to improve it by using appliances correctly. Remember that plants are another way to naturally filter pollutants out of the air. Outside of the standard household concerns, older homes should always be tested for asbestos, mold, lead -based paints and other toxic substances that could be lurking unnoticed. + Broan-NuTone Images via Broan-Nutone 

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How clean is your indoor air?

Giant wooden pavilion in Taiwan is a birdhouse for humans

April 17, 2020 by  
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Designed by the creative minds behind Taipei-based Phoebe Says Wow Architects , the Boolean Birdhouse is a massive pavilion built in the middle of a national park in Taiwan. Set up for an annual flower show, the wooden building features five individual pitched roofs that jut up into the sky to create a welcoming place for birds to perch, while humans can also find a bit of respite inside the birdhouse. Located in Taiwan’s Yangmingshan National Park, the wooden building gives visitors to an annual flower show a place to rest while enjoying the incredible views. In particular, the region is known for its feathered wildlife, which inspired the architects to create a pavilion that was geared toward giving native birds a place to perch while giving visitors a chance to be close to nature. Related: Dramatically twisted timber weaves together in the Steampunk pavilion Spanning almost 900 square feet, the building includes five separate volumes with soaring pitched roofs. Clad in cypress shingles, the natural timber exterior and bark finishes are reminiscent of small, ubiquitous birdhouses found in backyards around the world. In fact, there are several bird-sized openings found throughout the exterior facade to let birds come in and out with ease. Although the structure is “for the birds ,” it’s also designed to be a resting place for human visitors of the flower show. Guests who enter the wooden pavilion through one of the dual entrances will find a dark interior filled with oddly-shaped spaces. The interior features a public area for exhibitions, but there are also several private corner nooks and curved crannies where people can take a moment to meditate or just take a quiet break. + Phoebe Says Wow Architects Via ArchDaily Photography by Hey!Cheese, OS Studio and Shihhwa Hung via Phoebe Says Wow Architects

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