The Indoor Generation campaign from Velux aims to get everyone, from individuals and architects to companies and governments, rethinking the way we live indoors to ensure our homes are healthy places to live and grow up in.
Research shows that we spend more than 90% of our time indoors and the condition of the home we live in has a direct impact on how healthy we feel. Therefore, it makes sense that our homes should promote good health, wellbeing and quality of life.
In reality, more than two-thirds of homes are old, unhealthy and inefficient having been constructed before thermal standards were introduced more than 40 years ago (Healthy Homes Barometer 2017).
Disturbing research from the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) indicated that indoor levels of pollutants may be up to five times – and occasionally more than 100 times – higher than outdoor levels.
Furthermore, the cost to the NHS linked to unhealthy homes is estimated to be over £6bn. Sadly, the economic impact is only part of the story. Unhealth homes cause and aggravate physical and mental health problems.
- Living in damp and mouldy homes increases our chances of asthma by 40%
- 84 million Europeans live in buildings so damp and mouldy it puts their physical and mental wellbeing at risk
- The UK experiences, on average, 9700 deaths each year attributable to the avoidable circumstances of living in a cold home
- Children in cold homes are more than twice as likely to suffer from a respiratory problem
- More than one-quarter of adolescents living in cold homes are at risk of multiple mental health problems
- Poor indoor air quality has been linked to allergy and asthma, lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and cardiovascular disease
Here at Blueoak, we take a quality over quantity stance, not simply responding to a need for housing but constructing homes which consider the mental, physical and social wellbeing of the people who will eventually eat, sleep, laugh, cry, learn, grow, work, rest and play in them.
We believe that we have an opportunity to improve the health and quality of life for many. Our careful fabric first approach to construction, orientation and layout has a huge impact on key health and wellbeing issues such as air quality, temperature and daylight which make our new build homes superior.
Research shows that fresh air boosts energy levels during the day and improves sleeping quality at night. The installation of Velux windows in many Blueoak developments provides a constant supply of fresh air even when a window is closed. This means homeowners can enjoy a healthy indoor climate even if the weather prevents them from opening a window. The Velux smartphone app also allows homeowners to open their windows remotely.
A study by Saint Gobain showed that many homeowners find their homes too cold in winter and too warm in summer. In our latest property developments, Velux windows automatically open and close based on the data gathered by indoor climate sensors. The gateway also adjusts the temperature in the room based on weather forecast information. Some developments also incorporate underfloor heating systems which creates a more even distribution of heat than conventional radiator systems and results in lower energy costs.
Blueoak also believes daylight is a ‘must-have’, not a ‘nice to have’ and science agrees.
Studies have found that:
- Employees are more productive (Edwards and Torcellini, 2002) and have greater job satisfaction when working in better lighting conditions (Veitch et al., 2008).
- Higher doses of light leave people feeling more positive about life (Espiritu et al., 1994)
- Individuals who report inadequate natural light in their homes have a greater risk of depression (Brown, 2011)
- Natural light is the single most important attribute in a home (Finlay, 2012)
Natural light is incorporated into every scheme we develop. In Village Mews, the Cabrio balconies boost the amount of natural daylight and fresh air coming into the master suite, as well as the views out to the estuary and beyond. Likewise, floor to ceiling windows in The Sail create a powerful connection between the indoors and outdoors, whilst simultaneously welcoming an abundance of natural light into the apartments.
Finally, there is significant and growing evidence on the health benefits of access to green spaces. A view can have a positive influence on a person’s sense of wellbeing, better subjective health, environmental satisfaction, mood, job satisfaction and more.
We handpick every location for our developments, as well as provide landscaped gardens as standard across all our new build developments. Village Mews offers beautiful mature pleached trees, turfed lawns and patio areas that families can enjoy together.
Carrington House has been designed specifically to accommodate the existing established trees which surround the property. Whether ground floor or higher, each apartment offers generous outdoor space in the form of patios or private balconies which overlook the rear garden and playing fields beyond.
Ultimately, the design and build of a home is a key contributor to the health and wellbeing of the people inside. When factors such as daylight, temperature, air quality and space are considered, it can lead to better educational attainment and workplace productivity; reduced emissions, lower energy bills and smaller carbon footprint; lower costs to the NHS and a healthier population; and improved health, wellbeing and quality of life for many.