I had the pleasure of traveling to a few cities in Canada this spring to share ways to be more productive this season. Not only do we need to think about being productive in how we accomplish what we want to do, it pays to find solutions which are as effective and efficient as possible. I gathered a few ideas which provide one-stop shopping or deliver complete solutions for you, and in the next five blog posts, I’ll share the benefits of each one.
In my model for sustainable performance, Productivity CPR™, the P stands for Performance which is all about taking care of the human animal that is you.
Because it’s invisible, it’s easy to ignore the air that is all around us, but did you know that according to the Environmental Protection Agency reports that indoor air can often be 2-5 times, more polluted than outdoor air. 1
Causes of Indoor Air Pollution
The air inside can contain a variety of pollutants from natural origins (including such things pet dander, pollen, dust, mold, and radon), the products of combustion (smoke and carbon monoxide), volatile organize compounds (like formaldehyde2 which vapourizes into a gas from pressed wood products and wrinkle-free clothing), ozone, other dangerous chemicals (pesticides, lead and asbestos), and biological agents (mold, bacteria and viruses). Many of the pollutants listed above originate within the home itself while others enter through the water supply, cracks in a building’s structure and via clothing and shoes.
Effects of Indoor Air Pollutants
People experience a variety of symptoms and adverse health effects and sensitivities may mean that one member of your household is seriously affected while another can tolerate the pollutant. Be careful not to assume that because you don’t sense something it’s not a problem.
One might experience eye, nose and throat irritation, respiratory challenges, dermatitis, and a host of neurological effects including nausea, headaches, insomnia, and attention deficit, and of course, cancer.
What Can You Do About Pollutants?
- Control the Source
You may be able to remove or enclose the source of the contamination. With chemicals like asbestos and lead, you’ll want to have professional help as disturbing some compounds releases them into the air which can be very dangerous. Use toxic chemicals outside rather than inside. For example, shoe care sprays need excellent ventilation. I always spray mine outside.
- Improve Ventilation
Bring outside air in through opening windows (not so comfy to think about in sub-zero temperatures!), running air conditioning units or exhausts connected to the outside or heat recovery ventilators (also known as air-to-air heat exchangers).3
Keep humidity between 30 and 50 percent 4
- Clean Your Air
Investing in an indoor air purification system can have you breathing easier. Air cleaners range from significant investments in whole home systems to affordable table-top models. To be effective, you’ll want to consider the size of the space and therefore the volume of air you want to clean, the amount of air pulled into the unit for cleaning and effectiveness of the filters.
In table-top models, Honeywell Air Purifiers are the number one brand recommended by 69% of surveyed allergists.5 They come in a variety of sizes and include both a HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filter for pollutants and a carbon pre-filter to trap odours.
Set a timer to run the purifier your ideal duration and choose the power level for the depth of cleaning you desire.
Being a highly sensitive person, I was curious about the amount of noise produced when running the unit. I found it very comfortable to have on. It produces a bit of white noise which can be conducive to good sleep.
Answer a few questions in this online tool to find the purifier best suited to your needs and check out these additional tips from Honeywell on how to improve your indoor air quality.
I work with organizations who want to achieve results without their people burning out by inspiring leaders and their teams to cultivate sustainable performance.
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