How can you choose building materials for better indoor air quality?

Should you choose wood, plaster, steel or earth to optimise the air quality inside your home? Not all building and decorating materials are created equal. Does this mean you should consider doing some work or investing in accessories to improve the purity of your indoor air? Let's take a look at the characteristics of different materials on a building’s indoor air quality.

First, why improve indoor air quality?

Let's face it: we spend more than 80% of our time at home, in our house or flat (including sleep). This represents up to 22 hours per day. Take another statistic: indoor air is 5 to 10 times more polluted than outdoor air.
So how can we ensure satisfactory indoor air quality and thus limit the risks of illness, allergies, and other harmful effects? Firstly, the emission of pollutants must be limited. Secondly, you need to ensure that the air is renewed, but we won't go into that here.

Building materials, therefore, play a key role in reducing emissions. And in eliminating indoor air pollution As with insulation, they should be chosen wisely: wood, in particular, is known to be very advantageous in terms of level. And while building materials are important, decorative materials are also important.

You may have heard, but schools and other public places are now required to keep their air clean and healthy. The guidelines address, among other things, the nature of building materials, decorative accessories, and other products. Many have already started work.

Learn how to easily reduce indoor air pollution levels with the Netatmo Smart Weather Station and Netatmo Smart Air Quality Sensor. Use accurate real-time data to optimise your comfort and find solutions to make the air healthier.

The best building materials to promote good air quality

Improving air quality at home becomes a daily struggle
In addition to building materials, all products, accessories, decorative elements and other materials can play a role in the indoor air pollution of a building.

As you can imagine, candles emit pollutants. But so are your cleaning products, they can even be harmful. As for the furniture, have you thought about it? What about ventilation equipment? Even your pets can contribute to the deterioration of your air quality… but don't give up on them!

Among building and decoration materials, avoid carpeting in particular, as it retains many polluting elements.
In the building sector as well as in private households, the improvement of indoor air quality has become a very important issue in recent years. Fortunately, one particular building material can help you… and another may surprise you.

Is unprocessed wood one of the ideal materials for clean air in the home?

Among the construction or decoration materials that emit the least pollutants is wood in its natural, unprocessed state. It does not retain pollution, dirt, or dust. In addition, the moisture-regulating quality of the wood balances the humidity and reduces condensation with its pollution.

Wood is therefore the healthy material par excellence for keeping indoor air healthy in the home and free of indoor air pollution. After all, what could be more natural? When it comes to purity and respect for air quality, there is nothing like it. So how do you choose your wood? Preferably sapwood-purified, although this ideal is rather expensive. It is an air quality monitor.

However, beware of wood treatment and finishes that may emit pollution! Some recently developed "green" products are interesting and help to keep the air healthy.
But using wood in every corner won't save you: paints, varnishes, and other glues can ruin your efforts to switch to environmentally friendly materials.

Another solution is plasterboard, a specific type of plasterboard that allows you to reduce your VOC emissions by up to 70%. But this plaster is no ordinary plaster: it simply absorbs and destroys the majority of pollutants that affect the indoor air quality of your building, whether on the floor, ceiling, or walls.

To improve the air quality in your building, pay attention to every product, every accessory, every building material. The work is worth it and your health will thank you later.

Stay in control of your home's indoor environment by getting an alert when the level of air pollution in your home requires ventilation. This is possible thanks to the Netatmo Smart Weather Station which analyses the air quality, humidity and other characteristics of your indoor atmosphere.

The label for choosing low-polluting materials, products and accessories

An essential tip for choosing your building materials, products, and accessories are to rely on their labels first. Very practical and useful in our quest for clean and healthy air, this mandatory labelling of indoor materials introduced in 2012 provides valuable information on the level of pollutant emissions.
Does your floor emit a lot of formaldehyde? How clean is your paint concerning volatile organic compound emissions? Look at the label! Now you have access to this information. You can't say you didn't know…

When working on your project, give preference to wood, but also and above all to products with an A+ rating, as these are the ones with the lowest level of pollution emissions. As for product labels indicating C, they do not indicate anything good and are best avoided to protect your air quality such as scented candles. It is therefore essential to take into account the information that appears in the Environmental and Health Declaration Sheets (EHSDS) and on the labelling of products concerning emissions of volatile pollutants.

The days when floor-to-ceiling asbestos was seen as a respectable insulation material are long gone. Public services and companies no longer hesitate to pinpoint bad performers, penalise the most emissive and encourage the purchase of materials and products that respect air quality and the environment. Become an eco-friendly material supporter. Work is supported and wood is spreading like wildfire in construction and renovation.

Improving indoor air quality is not a trivial matter. The risks of fatigue, eye, skin, or throat irritation, headaches, or even asthma and other allergies are real. Opt for ventilation, aerate and let the sunshine in! Indoor air quality in buildings is a public health issue because of the stakes involved. The "trend" of ecological building and decoration materials such as wood is not a trend, it is a national priority.