With residential and commercial construction starts on the rise and the economy in an upswing, things are looking up for the construction industry. At the same time, there is a growing awareness of the impacts of building materials and furnishings on health and the environment – adding momentum to the move toward more sustainable, healthier building practices.
Armed with renewed confidence and looking for what’s “new and next”, building product manufacturers are ramping up investment in innovation. They’re allocating more resources to researching and bringing to market innovative eco- and “human”-friendly products and solutions that will differentiate them from their competition while adding value to the bottom line.
The Air That We Breathe
Finding ways to improve indoor air quality is a great place to start. According to the Environmental Protection Agency’s latest findings, the levels of pollutants that we breathe inside our homes and office spaces is estimated to be two to five times (and, in some cases, up to more than 100 times) higher than outdoor levels. Something to think about since most of us spend as much as 90 percent of our time indoors.
A number of factors can contribute to lower than optimal indoor air quality, including inadequate temperature control, high humidity levels, poor air circulation and ventilation system issues – all of which can promote excessive dust, along with the growth of mold, fungi, and other respiratory irritants. In addition, one of the most common (and often unrecognized) culprits of poor indoor air quality and its associated health problems is the off-gassing of chemicals and vapors from commonly used building materials and furnishings.
For building product manufacturers, this challenge presents a tremendous opportunity to not only develop products that contribute to healthier spaces and people, but also to generate increased profits. Today’s increasingly eco- and health-conscious consumers want what you’re selling!
Knowledge is Power(ful)
Founded by interior designer Jillian Pritchard Cooke, Wellness Within Your Walls (WWYW) understands the importance of healthy living and working environments. The Atlanta-based organization has made it its mission to offer design-build professionals and manufacturers accredited education and certification programs that arm them with the information and resources needed to create healthier spaces with significantly fewer toxins.
The day-long courses are approved for continuing education credits for NAHB designations, and are eligible for ASID and IIDA Health and Safety CEU credits.
A long-time advocate of healthy and sustainable building practices, Kleber & Associates has made the commitment to get its Lifestyle and Building Products teams WWYW certified. Kat Bowley, senior public relations account director, recently participated in the WWYW training program and became the first K&A team member to become certified.
Interested in becoming certified yourself? If you’re an architect, builder, designer, remodeler, manufacturer or other building industry professional, check out upcoming opportunities to attend a Wellness Within Your Walls training program, or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.