May is national clean air month!

May 25th, 2021

Written by Katy Winship

One thing the last year has taught us is how important fresh and clean air is. In fact, it’s the largest environmental health risk we are facing as air pollution causes up to 36,000 deaths in the UK annually.

Poor indoor air quality has been linked to a range of illnesses, including asthma, pneumonia, lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and cardiovascular disease. One solution we’re all aware of after watching the adverts about keeping Covid at bay, is to make sure you open a window or two. But what else can we do?

One of the most dangerous pollutants is nitrogen dioxide (NO2) which is produced because of road traffic and other fossil fuel combustion processes. To reduce this, we should look at our use of transport and try to limit our travel – or invest in electric cars. Also, if businesses encourage their employees to car share there are many benefits – not only does it reduce emissions, it also reduces demand for car parking spaces, cuts costs for employees and encourages employee engagement and wellbeing.

Biophilic Design

Biophilic design is the latest trend in office interiors – it means incorporating nature into our built environment. Our Interior Specialists have increasing requests from the businesses they work with to feature plants and greenery. Not only does it mean you reap the benefits that plants bring – such as improved air quality and reduced stress levels but it also looks good!

Stop Burning Wood

Although many realise that soot can contribute to climate change as well as cause breathing problems, many people may not be aware of the dangers of some wood burning stoves - they can actually lead to a decrease in air quality. If you have one, do your research on how to use them efficiently and ways to ensure carbon monoxide isn’t emitted in your home, such as disposing of burnt logs immediately.

Considered Cooking

Indoor pollutants released by cooking have potential health effects – especially when you’re frying and using a gas hob as these can generate unsafe levels of indoor air pollution. If you can’t switch to an electric hob, minimise the harm by using an extractor fan or opening a window every time you cook. It’s also worth investing in an air purifier to directly combat the pollutants and clean the air.

Remote Working

One easy way to reduce your business’s NO2 is to encourage remote working. With the global pandemic changing the way we work and businesses seeing improvements in productivity, the "hybrid" working model is already here to stay. Some businesses are even putting limits on the number of days employees can visit the office. This not only improves a work-life balance, there are also fantastic benefits to our environment.

Careful Cleaning

Look at the type of vacuum cleaner you are using. It’s worth knowing that those with a High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filter are the most effective in keeping the air quality high in your home or office and removing those dangerous dust particles. Make sure to clean or replace these regularly too.

Also, be wary when mopping and scrubbing with strong toxic cleaning products such as bleach as they increase the levels of airborne chemicals and can cause coughing, eye and nose irritation and difficulty breathing. Using non-toxic products such as E-cover’s range of plant-based products will prevent this.

This year Clean Air Day is taking place on 17th June 2021, what difference will you be making?