The Effects of Indoor Spaces on Our Health

How do our indoor spaces affect us? Most of us don’t give this much thought. But as we listen to the green building industry and consider the myriad chemicals that are outgassed from the products and materials that we build, design and decorate our indoors with, it gives us pause.

Consider this…we spend 90 percent of our time indoors. We sleep indoors all night, get up, jump in our car, work indoors all day, go back home, go to bed. A little simplified, sure. But for the most part, true.

What can we do? Since the majority of us can’t change our indoor environments too much right now, it means getting outside more: more fresh air in the morning, during breaks, at lunch, after work, after dinner. Walk the dog. Walk the kids to school. Eat lunch outside. Sit on the porch after work and enjoy nature.

For employers, it means encouraging employees to walk outside during breaks and at lunch and scheduling team-building activities outdoors.

For designers, architects and builders, it means 1) designing and building with products and materials that are certified green by an independent third party, 2) using products and materials that promote human health and wellness 3) and designing and building spaces with nature in mind. See biophilia.

The International WELL Building Institute (IWBI) is pioneering this effort in real estate through their WELL Building Standard®. Their mission is to “improve human health and wellbeing through the built environment.” Last week, as I listened during WELL 2014, the first annual symposium for those of us who want to propel this movement, this is what I came away with…

There are countless professionals working tirelessly to make our planet better for all of us. For now, accept what is, know that improvement is coming and we’re fast on the horizon of a better, healthier future. That was my mental/emotional health plug. (Remember: in the moment, all we have is how we are perceiving and reacting to our surroundings…so don’t complain, get some fresh air today and know that people are working on your behalf to make it a better world for all of us, inside and out.)

photo source: danilo rizzuti/

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