Im often asked how eco design can create healthy homes as a means to reduce asthma and allergies. More often than not the answer lies in the bedroom; its materials and potential toxins.
As we spend a round one third of our lives in our bedrooms focussing on the reduction of toxins, good ventilation and reducing the build up of dust will dramatically improve air quality in a bedroom. Along with reducing our use of heating, electricity and achieving the right levels of ventilation, these are the basic ideas behind creating eco bedrooms.
I recently took part in a short film made by Silent Night explaining these ideas and discussing a new eco mattress that they have produced. Take a look (and yes that really is me with a beard!)
A mattress like the Pocket Zing prevents the build up of dust mites is important as it is the dustmite faeces that cause breathing difficulties (yick!) – the Silentnight mattress contains Purotex creating friendly bacteria which help to reduce mould and moisture, keeping dust mites at bay, and reducing allergens, for a healthier night’s sleep. Sounds like a good idea, huh?
Not only that but i’m really impressed that Silentnight also now have a mattress recycling scheme, so if you buy a new one from them they’ll take your old one away and recycle it- if only moreÂ manufacturersÂ were looking at the bigger picture, there’d be a whole lot lessÂ wasteÂ heading to a hole in the ground, and for that matter old mattresses on streetÂ corner!
Reducing your use of dust trapping fabrics (such as carpets) will also help â€“ solid floor surfaces are easier to clean and keep dust free. For comfort I recommend floor rugs which can easily be taken outside and cleaned thoroughly.
Cutting down on toxins is key to creating healthy spaces and my first point of call is to use a natural paints. They don’t contain toxins or VOCs which are heavier than air solvents found in conventional petrochemical paints and off gas toxins as the paints are drying.
Toxins are also found on materials such as conventional cotton which uses a high proportion pesticides in its cultivation, so I always opt for organic fair trade cotton, reducing the possible toxin level and giving me a guilt free nights sleep, try Gossypium
It’s well known that a number of plants such as ferns, rubber and spider plants are good at removing toxins from the air, whilst moth orchids also create oxygen so and great for bedroom environments. But check out this fantastic little gadget I just found Â called Andrea Air Purifier which uses the cleaning properties of plants in a novel way, I love that mix of nature and technology. It reminds me of a number of sci-fi films about spaceships creating their own oxygen
Using vintage furniture and materials is also a good way to reduce toxins as many pieces would either have been made without toxic finishes or solvents in the first place, or if they have, the toxins would have off gased. In my own bedroom I’ve made the most of my local wood recycling store to create a floating bed base and reclaimed timber four poster canopy, which when combined with the hanging bedside chandeliers (with low energy dimmable bulbs of course!) create a touch of vintage eco luxe glamour.
So if you’re concerned about ongoing health issues caused by your home, take a fresh look at your bedroom, and make some changes for the better.