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The Symbiotic Link Between Clean Air And Energy Efficiency

Jun 18, 2021

The Symbiotic Link Between Clean Air And Energy Efficiency

Indoor air quality is in a bad state in the USA, and it has gotten worse over the past 12 months. Figures reported by Scientific American indicate a 15-30% rise in carbon dioxide and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) indoors, a testament to the increased time spent in the home, using all of the appliances that help to make it tick. Improving air quality will lead to clear quality of life improvements, but what many homeowners aren’t aware of is the clear link between improved air quality and improved energy efficiency.

Air quality basics

The home adopts air quality problems not from smoke, smog, or vehicle pollution, but from the breakdown of chemicals used around the home. Everything in the home, from cooking appliances to furniture, have to some degree been treated with chemicals. Over time, these break down and contaminate the air. On a daily basis, human skin, clothing fibers, bacteria, and microscopic insects become part of the dust of the home. This imperceptible dust cloud can have big impacts on energy efficiency. According to studies, there is a link between air pollution and electricity usage: one 2020 study published by the Journal of Nature Energy found an 11% increase in energy consumption when even a minor increase in indoor pollution had been recorded.

Rectifying the issue

As households strive to rectify this problem, the consumption of energy rises further. Air filtration devices, dehumidifiers and HVAC all work to reduce the impact of indoor pollution. Unfortunately, they are also huge consumers of electricity; research conducted by Camfil US HEPA found that common air filters, when replaced, can save businesses and homes up to 50% of the cost they had been paying in electricity bills to help remediate the quality of the air inside the home. Having to take steps to fix the cleanliness of the air in the home impacts on emissions and energy usage, just in the form of remediation alone.

Energy efficiency improves air quality

Just as poor air quality can create worse energy efficiency, so can improving energy efficiency often help to clean the air in the home. The EPA list this as a key principle of the energy efficiency strategy for homes. Looking for ways to improve air flow across the home and how your air can benefit the energy efficiency of the home will also help to improve ventilation. Furthermore, regular cleaning of the home with energy efficient, smart devices can remove a lot of particulates that absorb energy and can make the home feel warmer or colder. Taking this approach will help you to improve the overall quality of your home, and ensure that you’re doing your bit for both energy economy and your own pocket.

Homes built in this fashion will be truly sustainable. Matching good building standards and a commitment to smart, air-quality-led design is a powerful way to improve air quality and energy efficiency – and, as a result, health. With smart devices always improving, a real strategy for good quality air can be formed.