One should always put more thought into the choice of materials for their home than just what looks best. The right material for your surroundings can make a world of difference to your home.
Indoor air quality plays a crucial role in our health and general well-being, and in effect, our motivation to live, work and have fun. For the most part of the day, we stay indoors – whether at home, in the office, or at the gym – underlining the importance of good indoor air quality in keeping us healthy.
A variety of health-related issues including headaches, allergies, insomnia and chronic fatigue has been linked to poor indoor air quality. According to the U.S. Green Building, “Indoor air quality can be 10 times worse than outdoor air on smoggy days in big cities. Of all the chemicals that EPA regulates, only two are more prevalent outdoors than inside our homes and schools. This is a quiet epidemic brewing right under our noses. As the complexity of houses, especially with the dawn of synthetic products, increase, so do the risks to human health.”
This report made people more consciously aware of the impact that indoor air quality has to the health of those who live or stay for long periods of time inside their homes, or a building. The Sick Building Syndrome (SBS) is a condition in which building occupants experience or encounter acute health or comfort-related effect that point out to a number of unknown agents but mostly related to poor indoor air quality. Though no specific illness can be identified, SBS reduces work efficiency and increases absenteeism among those affected.
This led to escalating healthcare concerns, heated labor disputes and stricter implementation of new building standards. That is why it is important for both public and private sector buildings – new or remodeled – to follow air quality control methods and environmental building materials set by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Hygiene and other regulatory agencies.
Brick and stone are among the oldest, longest-lasting and most versatile materials for homes and buildings. They provide many environmental benefits including durability and high thermal mass.
Furthermore, brick, stone and masonry products can improve indoor air quality with increased energy efficiency and can contribute to low out-gassing and mould resistance because they emit much smaller amounts of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) than vinyl and other plastics and petro-chemical based building materials and furnishings.
- Bricks and stones are the only cladding materials that do not emit gases, are maintenance-free, and are resistant to chemical leaching.
- Bricks and stones require no interior finishing, second coatings or cleaning products because they are naturally fireproof – no harmful off-gassing or toxic fumes when burned.
- Bricks and stones are benign and non-toxic, making them able to buffer moisture and retain heat, while remaining odor-free.
- Masonry products do not provide an avenue for fungi spores and vermin to survive and thrive; so, when used in the exterior walls of homes and buildings, they stay drier and impervious to mould and vermin.
- Masonry products are available in virtually inexhaustible supply and can be salvaged, re-used which contributes to less carbon dioxide emissions.
- Masonry products, when used in its natural state, make ‘breathable’ walls, so you don’t have to worry about inhaling hydrocarbons.
- Bricks and stones limit the amount of outside air and moisture that can infiltrate the wall or a building, which can provide better control for the heating, ventilating and air-conditioning system.
- Masonry products used as flooring, do not require carpeting, which can be a source of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and higher levels of allergens.
Brick and stone are the original green material not only because they emit no VOCs, require almost no maintenance over time and can resist extreme weather events but also because they can greatly improve indoor air quality. So whether you are involved in the construction of a new building or reviewing your home improvement options, brick and stone can provide you with all the good benefits you deserve to have a healthier life style.