It's a trend you're probably already aware of: people all over the world are spending more and more time indoors.
In fact, according to the US Environmental Protection Agency's estimations, we're spending, on average, 90% of our time inside. And during that time indoors, we rarely have optimal access to daylight and fresh air, two key factors that affect our overall health and wellbeing.
We've become a generation bound to the indoors, and while there may be some scary statistics about that, for every scary statistic, there's a feasible solution. Being indoors most of the time doesn't have to be a bad thing, we just have to work on making those spaces better. And that starts with bringing the benefits of outside in.
Not sure where to start? Check out these tips for bringing the outside in and thriving from the inside out:
Utilize Natural Ventilation
Sometimes, the solution really is as simple as opening a window. Roughly 84 million Americans currently live in homes with damp, moldy areas that can provoke a whole range of illnesses from headaches and sore eyes to allergies and asthma. And an easy way to prohibit mold growth is to keep the areas of your home where it's likely to pop up - like the bathroom - light and dry.
Fans and air conditioning can keep things from getting too damp too quickly, but they just recirculate old air. Regularly opening windows and creating a cross-breeze helps recycle the air in your home to keep you and your family breathing healthier.
Between cooking, showering, cleaning, and all the other activities that go on in your home, a lot of dust particles, chemicals, and moisture get mixed in with the air your family breathes. Thoroughly airing your home at least three times a day helps clear out these harmful components in the indoor air.
Install a Skylight (or Two!)
We'd be remiss not to mention just how much more daylight and fresh air can come into your home when you add a skylight or two. Or three, or four...
There's no denying you'll have more access to natural light when you put a window in your ceiling. But have you considered all of the benefits that come with that? For one, with some strategic placement, skylights can take the place of electric lighting during the day. For another, when you add a blind, you can help control the heat gain or loss through a skylight throughout the seasons.
If you go big and get a venting skylight, naturally ventilating your home becomes even more of a breeze. Opening your skylight instantaneously releases the hot air trapped at the top of your ceiling. And opening it at the same time as vertical windows will create what's known as the Stack Effect, a phenomenon where your house acts as a chimney, allowing outside air to continuously flow through your home.
Overall, modern-day skylights work harder to improve indoor air and light quality than their older counterparts. In many ways, installing a skylight improves the energy efficiency of your home and contributes to healthier, more sustainable living overall.
Keep Track of What's Coming in Your Home
If you didn't watch the video above, go ahead and take a guess as to which room in your home is the most toxic in terms of air quality.
The bathroom? Maybe the kitchen?
Believe it or not, the air in kids' rooms tends to contain more harmful components than any other room in the home. This is due, in part, to plastic toys. When plastics warm up - like when they're left in direct sunlight or on heated floors - they can give off toxic fumes. This is particularly true of plastic toys made before 2007, many of which contain chemicals that have been banned in Europe and other parts of the world because of their toxicity.
In a world where we're able to keep track of so many things, often right from our smartphone and/or smartwatch, it only makes sense to also keep an eye on how what comes into your home affects your family's health. And speaking of that smartphone and those skylights: most VELUX Skylights are now compatible with VELUX Active with NETATMO, a new app that connects to smart sensors to monitor and adjust the temperature, humidity, and CO2 levels in your home.
So maybe skylights aren't required to thrive while indoors, but they sure do make it easier! Skylights bring the very best of the outdoors inside, greatly improving the quality of the light and air we take in most.