As the country continues to encourage the community to stay home and self-isolate to flatten the coronavirus curve, the importance of creating a happy, healthy home is becoming increasingly more important.
According to Hamoda Youssef, Head of Technical Affairs at Qatar Green Building Council (QGBC), our homes has now become a place where we do everything – live, work, learn, play, relax – and it is important that we keep it healthy. During the recent interactive webinar hosted by QGBC, Youssef enumerated a number of recommendations that are simple enough for people to follow, but with a huge impact to people’s health.
The first installment of the QGBC Healthy Homes series, which is set to air weekly on their Facebook channel (link available below), centred on three main topics – air quality, light and thermal comfort.
Indoor air pollution is as harmful as outdoor air pollution. And indoor pollution can come from cooking, heating, toxic chemicals, cleaning, furnishings, and paint.
Youssef explained that we need to ventilate our homes, and that there are a number of easy ways to improve air quality – including opening windows if the weather is good; installing air quality monitors and sensors; relying on natural air purifiers, such as plants; and using non-toxic (low VOC) materials. He also suggests reducing the use of incense and candles, not smoking indoors, sealing gaps and openings, and using green cleaning products.
The importance of daylight in your health goes beyond the basics of vitamin D.
Natural daylight regulates the circadian rhythm, improves sleep quality and productivity. Homes with insufficient light can cause headaches, insomnia and increase depression. Daylight can also help to fight mould and bacterial growth, helping to lower the risk of respiratory diseases.
And if you have daylight, you don’t need artificial light – a direct energy saving.
The QGBC expert also spoke about thermal comfort, which includes four environmental factors – air temperature, humidity, air speed, and radiant temperature – and two personal factors – clothing and metabolic rates.
He said that thermal discomfort can be associated with respiratory illnesses like asthma and poor mental health. Mental health, productivity and attention – these are related to feeling discomfort in the space. Exposure to noise can also increase stress and blood pressure. He suggested setting the room temperature to between 22°C to 24°C, while ensuring humidity levels are around 40%.
Youssef also explained how plants can be a natural source of purification.
Having plants will impact your mood and mental well-being. The effects are not just physical but mental, too.
He said that plants should be kept in the living room, bedroom, kitchen, and bathroom. Some plants emit oxygen during the day, while some emit oxygen at night – such as gerbera daisies and snake plants, which are ideal for the bedroom.
To learn more, or to watch the seminar in full, visit facebook.com/QatarGBC/