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F or some time now, there has been an increasing focus
on the amount of time we spend in buildings and its
effect on our wellbeing.
According to the World Health Organisation, most
of us spend more than 90% of our time indoors and regrettably,
I have to count myself among that group.
On an average week day, besides the few short steps from
home to car; car to offi ce and back (and perhaps a quick stroll
around the block at lunchtime, if I’m lucky), most of my day is
The health implications of such an existence are a disturbing
reality. According to Velux Group, which recently commissioned
a YouGov survey on the so-called ‘indoor generation’ (see page
6), internal air can be up to fi ve times more polluted than the
air outside, thanks to indoor activities such as cooking, cleaning
and drying clothes.
Besides aggravating conditions such as asthma, exposure to
indoor air pollutants can also cause irritation of the eyes, nose
and throat, headaches and fatigue; but it’s not just air quality
that poses a problem. Lack of sunlight can lead to vitamin D
defi ciency and depression, while artifi cial light and ‘blue’ light
emitted by electronics have been linked to complaints including
sleep disturbance and disruption of the circadian rhythm (your
body’s internal clock).
It’s clear we need to get out more, but in today’s society, that’s
easier said than done. So, it’s good to hear that awareness of the
evolution of humans as indoor beings is high on the agenda of
many building designers, product specifi ers and manufacturers,
who are continually looking for ways to bring the outside in
and improve our internal environment, be it through natural
ventilation or increased access to daylight.
In this edition of Building Products, the issues associated with
modern, indoor living are acknowledged by several contributors,
including Sensio (see page 26), which looks at how lighting
technology is advancing to better replicate natural light and
Saint-Gobain Building Glass, which looks at the role of external
glazing in maximising daylight (see page 20).
I hope you enjoy the issue and as usual, if you have any
comments or suggestions for future editions of Building
Products, I would love to hear from you.
Sophie Stevens, Editor
MONTH | BUILDING PRODUCTS