Topic: Blog

Home Electrical Safety After Hurricane Sandy


Hurricane Sandy has already come, rocked New York City, and left but the aftereffects of her wrath are an everyday experience for you right now. Cold, flooded out and possibly in the dark, you’re still trying to make sense of everything that happened – and get the lights on while you’re at it. Your survival rests beyond simply getting back into your home and cleaning out damage. You must ensure home electrical safety. Power outages and floods from Hurricane Sandy can cause electrical hazards which, left unchecked, can cause severe injury or death. (more…)

Green Roofing – Yes You Can!

Many things have changed in the years, nay, centuries since modern tile siding and roofing became popular. There have been advances in so many areas of home and general building design and construction that looks to the past, outside of aesthetic reasons, have been left just there: in the past. But what if the past is a gateway into a greener future that not only is good for the environment but also helps save on cooling and heating bills. As well, there are financial benefits to having a green, or living, roof. The past returns yet again with lessons for the current high tech age. (more…)

Green Spring Cleaning

Have you ever heard of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)? You’re not alone in perhaps not knowing what that is, but they are chemicals found in many things we use from carpet cleaner to surface disinfectant to air fresheners to paint. In reality, this does more harm than good as the release of VOCs from using these various chemicals pollute the very air we breathe in our homes/buildings. So with inadequate indoor air quality and the chemicals that are responsible for them, what can we do in fighting this? What can we do to make the air more breathable for ourselves so that what is indoors is as safe as what is outdoors? (more…)

Sick Building Syndrome – Is It a Joke?

Before you ask yourself “what is sick building syndrome?”, I want you to take a personal inventory of what your is health like? Right now. If, after your personal health inventory, you acknowledge that you have been sick often, and you spend the majority of your time within the same building, then chances are it’s SBS and not the common cold. Before you click to another blog post or another website altogether because you find it so hard to believe, please ask yourself this, “What is sick building syndrome?” 

Typically speaking, SBS is caused by indoor air pollution via poor ventilation and chemical and biological contaminants. Biological contaminants include, but are not limited to: pollen, molds, bacterias, pet dander and insect debris. Chemical contaminants can come from a wide variety of sources including carpeting, paint and airborne chemicals such as air fresheners. As such, our lungs can only take and filter but so much, sometimes leaving us with potential short-term or long-term illnesses. SBS is very real, especially if you are within the confines of a building for extended periods of time every day. Illnesses and symptoms that could develop include allergies, skin, eye, nose and throat irritations as well as other, more serious, ailments.

Although leaving the building can almost immediately relieve the symptoms you may be experiencing, there are sometimes lingering and long-term effects caused by SBS. Long-term effects of SBS can include the development of allergies, fibromyalgia, and even cancer. Perhaps the best indicator to whether or not you are suffering from SBS is to see if others within the building exhibit or complain of similar symptoms which you may be exhibiting. So what can be done to limit these symptoms or mitigate any long-term effects to  your health? One of the easiest ways to lower your chances of developing SBS symptoms is to step outside often during the day, every day. Being that the outdoor air is more often than not much cleaner than indoor air, it would behoove you and others to take frequent steps outside and/or to actually go outdoors for your lunch breaks.

As well, speak to your supervisor or manager about taking steps to lower the contaminants within the building, many of which are very simple. Besides removing and replacing the air filters of the AC system, simply putting some indoor house plants throughout the building as certain plants can absorb some hazardous airborne chemical contaminants. Their other obvious benefit is to provide pure oxygen, which we need to live. Another tactic to reducing these contaminants and allergens is to make sure maintenance cleans thoroughly and often and to make sure any leaks in the plumbing are fixed. Excess moisture promotes mold growth, so the fewer leaks there are the better.

There are many ways to diagnose whether or not you and/or your co-workers suffer from SBS and just as many ways to prevent or lower the risks of developing symptoms of SBS. Stay safe and productive.

Basements and Indoor Air Quality

The basement. Home to a myriad of things we put away for storage, college kids using it a “pad”, and as a not-so-secret “underground lab” for when we need to work on special projects that may or may not be picked up by big business. But it can also be a breeding ground of poor indoor air quality that can make any of us suffer while down there. The basement is often an afterthought for those of us too busy with maintaining cleaner IAQ in our normal living spaces but those areas which we generally do not always go to are equally important. So what dangers do basements present in relation to IAQ? (more…)