The course on Building Science focuses on teaching students how to improve built environments and how to provide a clean and comfortable environment for the inhabitants or users of a building. In our class, we have discussed ways to make energy efficient environmental friendly buildings. This motivated me to find some naturals ways for air purification. Upon investigation, I gained knowledge on a couple of natural ways that can purify indoor air that I feel people with contaminated air in their homes and work spaces would benefit from because the current technologies on air purification come with their significant detriments and disadvantages.
As we make buildings with better insulation and energy efficiency, we tend to make buildings tighter with less ability for air to pass freely. Air quality can suffer due to that. Mechanical air purifiers and filters claim to be very efficient in cleaning dust particles, smoke and other contaminants. Now there are even ones that do not even require the filters to be changed, such as ionic or ozonolysis air purifiers. These filters are able to provide clean air without the noise of previous filters with older technology. But these mechanical air purifiers are not the ultimate solution they appear to be. These machines are not only expensive but can pose a threat to the health of those exposed to the air pollutants it ironically creates. There are about 2.2 miligrams of ozone released per hour by Ionic purifiers and 200 miligrams per hour released by Ozonolysis purifier. These amounts can cause lung disease and shortness of breath as well as asthma and throat irritation. There are four natural easy alternatives to this scenario.
The first of the natural alternatives is one that we learn about in high school biology. Plants have been shown in studies conducted by NASA to have the effect of eliminating toxic waste and cleansing the air of toxins. This is done when a plant emits water vapor which creates a pump action that pulls contaminated air down towards the roots of the plant where it is used by the plant to make food; this makes for a symbiotic relationship between the building inhabitant contributing to the pollution and the plants kept in the closed space. The second of the natural alternatives is Beeswax. Yes, Beeswax candles have the effect of cleaning the air of pollutants around it by negatively charging ions when it burns which cling to positively charged pollutants and allergens in the air. Yet another easy way to clean the air in an enclosed space is by using activated carbon. Installing activated carbon into the heating, ventilating and air conditioning HVAC systems can help purify the air because it has the ability to eliminate odors and trap pollutants in its pores. A final way to purify air that I discovered in my research was the use of salt lamps. Salt lamps are made by hollowing out large chunks of salt crystals; after hollowing it out, a light bulb or candle can be placed inside. When the salt is heated by the flame or heat, it releases negative ions just like the beeswax candle and ionic air purifier, and the ions attach to the positively charged pollutants and allergen. These four techniques are inexpensive and require little effort to maintain yet can have a significant impact on the purification of the air we breathe in some poorly ventilated buildings. The alternatives are worth considering when finding a solution to polluted air.
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