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7 Proven Benefits of Reducing CO2 Levels at Your Home

Carbon dioxide may be killing your mental performance while causing headaches, driving up your energy bills, and more.

 


Article at a Glance:

  • CO2 is the primary greenhouse gas emitted through human activity.

  • Fatigue, loss of concentration, headaches and even Sick Building Syndrome can all be caused by exposure to high levels of CO2.

  • According to various studies, reducing CO2 levels in your living and working spaces increases cognitive functions, improves sleep quality and can potentially reduce the energy costs.


 

Have you ever noticed that you’re starting to lose concentration, feel drowsy and and even get that annoying pain at the back of your head while sitting in a crowded meeting room or riding a bus full of people? That’s your body’s way of telling you that there’s not enough oxygen and too much carbon dioxide – commonly called by its formula CO2 – in the air for it to properly function! CO2 is the primary greenhouse gas emitted through human activity, and it can often reach suboptimal levels in conference rooms, classrooms and even your own bedroom within 10 to 15 minutes of being there. Here are some of the greatest benefits of reducing CO2 and taking control of the air quality at your home, in your car or at your office!

1. Reduces “Sick Building Syndrome”

 

Sick building syndrome, or SBS, is a condition that can manifest itself with a myriad of symptoms a person gets that is often attributed to poor indoor air quality. [1] [2] It is especially prevalent in office workers that tend to spend a lot of their time in the same tight workspace. While it’s certainly more common in older buildings, according to the research, the impact of the SBS can also be observed in about 30 percent of new and remodeled houses. [3]

 

Symptoms of SBS include fatigue, difficulty breathing, allergies, skin rashes and many more. [1] [3] While it’s difficult to pinpoint one exact cause of SBS, indoor air pollution is a real thing and therefore it should not be ignored. Luckily there are many at-home solutions that you can implement today in order to reduce the CO2 concentration and therefore SBS.

 

Opening windows, making sure that ventilation is working properly, and having plenty of house plants are just a few of the changes you can make in order to improve sick building syndrome in the spaces you spend the most of your time in! However, if you are serious about finding the underlying problem of poor indoor air quality, you might want to invest in a CO2 monitor that will tell you exactly which rooms in the house need better ventilation. Aranet4 is a perfect solution for measuring the CO2 concentration as well as the humidity level and temperature of air in any of the rooms in your house!

2. Increases Cognitive Function and Boosts Brain Health

It’s no secret that after spending a prolonged period of time in a tight space with a few other people around, our brain starts to feel the lack of oxygen by making us sleepy, unmotivated and overall sluggish. However, the opposite is true as well – taking in a few breaths of fresh air will noticeably increase our cognitive functions and performance. When brain gets more oxygen, it’s able to perform more efficiently – we get better at decision making, our mental state improves and we feel greater clarity and improved concentration. [4] [5] On average we breathe in about 11 000 liters of air a day so it’s well worth the time to spend a few moments thinking about the quality of air we have in our living spaces.

By making sure that the CO2 levels in the living areas are within the safe limits, you can double your performance and productivity [4].

3. Improves Sleep Quality

Given that we spend one third of our lives sleeping, it is crucial for our overall performance to make sure that we get adequate sleep and rest. It is common for CO2 levels to rise during the night when people are sleeping, especially if the doors and windows are closed. Unsurprisingly, unventilated bedrooms and poor air quality can hinder restful sleep – fresh air is just as important, if not more important whether we are awake or asleep. [6] [7] Lower carbon dioxide levels mean better sleep and lesser number of awakenings during the night, so opening windows and doors before hitting the sack can help you get a good night’s rest by reducing the CO2 concentration! [8]

 

4. Reduces Headaches and Stress

 

More oxygen in the air that we breathe every day results in an increased level of serotonin – the feel-good chemical in our bodies – which makes us feel calm, happy and relaxed. Moderate to high levels of CO2, however, have the opposite effect and can cause acute headaches, dizziness and even nausea in many people.  [4] [9] [10]

 

Ventilation should keep carbon dioxide concentrations below 1,000 ppm (parts per million), creating indoor air quality conditions that are optimal for most individuals. So if you notice a headache coming on while you’re driving in your car or just being stuck in a room for a while, try opening the window to see if that helps. Besides reducing headaches fresh air can also make us more resilient towards stress which in return improves our overall quality of life!

5. Boosts Your Immune System

The air around us is something we all  take for granted sometimes. However, stale indoor air forces the body to work harder in order to get the proper amounts of oxygen that it requires. Our immune system needs oxygen to kill bacteria, viruses and germs around us. [11]

 

Besides that carbon dioxide could be hazardous to us in two ways – by displacing oxygen in the bloodstream or even acting as a toxin. [8] Therefore even a seemingly minor change in the oxygen levels in the air can raise your immune system and help your body bust that autumn flu!

6. Lowers the Risk of Pollution

There is no doubt that properly working ventilation system in your home can significantly improve the general air quality. If the carbon dioxide isn’t circulating it can make the indoor air stale and cause tiny particles such as dust, chemicals or bacteria to build up in the living area. Besides that CO2 itself could be considered an air pollutant – extremely high levels of carbon dioxide are considered to be hazardous to health and can even be lethal. [8]

 

Pollution that develops in stagnant air can be especially dangerous in schools, offices and other buildings where people are often spending a lot of time – long-term exposure to different air pollutants can have a negative effect on your skin, respiratory, and neurological systems. Making sure that the CO2 concentration stays low in our living spaces is essential for optimal control of the overall air quality!

7. Reduces Energy Bills

Last but not least, monitoring CO2 levels and automating ventilation according the to the actual needs can significantly reduce the energy costs at your home or in the office space. Studies have shown that CO2 based air control can result in up to 34% energy savings if you compare it to a fixed ventilation strategy. [13] [14] CO2 reduction in your home can bring a positive change in the way you feel and function day to day. However, installing a full ventilation system in your home can be a pricey step to take, even if it pays off in the long term. Luckily you don’t need to splurge on an a high budget ventilation system just yet – the best way to know for sure if air circulation needs to be improved in certain rooms, is to measure it in hard numbers. So rather than investing in an oftentimes expensive ventilation equipment in every room in your house, you can start by getting a simple portable air quality sensor that can measure CO2 concentration.

 

 

Aranet4 HOME is a fun and easy-to-use device that anyone can try out at home. It’s a simple and effective solution for keeping track of the CO2 levels in the places where you and your family spend most of the time in, like your car, your office or your bedroom. Besides that it also measures air humidity, atmospheric pressure and temperature, and you can even set up an alarm to notify you when the air quality has dropped. The device itself has an e-link screen that shows real-time measurements, and it also connects to your smartphone via Bluetooth so you can view the previous data.

 

Find out more about Aranet4 HOME or go professional with Aranet4 PRO!

 

 


REFERENCES

[1] World Health Organisation. Sick Building Syndrome (accessed November 2019)

[2] Indoor Environment Dept., Berkeley. Indoor Carbon Dioxide Concentrations And Sick Building Syndrome Symptoms (2002)

[3] USA Environmental protection agency. Indoor Air Facts No.4 (revised): Sick Building Syndrome (accessed November 2019)

[4] Harvard University: Associations of Cognitive Function Scores with Carbon Dioxide, Ventilation, and Volatile Organic Compound Exposures in Office Workers (2016)

[5] Coley, DA, Greeves, R, Saxby, BK. The effect of low ventilation rates on the cognitive function of a primary school class (2007)

[6] Technical University of Denmark. The effects of bedroom air quality on sleep and next-day performance (2015)

[7] University of California San Diego, Respiratory Physiology. Room oxygen enrichment improves sleep and subsequent day-time performance (1999)

[8] Susan A. Rice, Ph.D., D.A.B.T. Susan A. Rice and Associates, Inc., Grass Valley, CA, USA. Human Health Risk Assessment Of Co2 (2004)

[9] PMC. Measuring serotonin synthesis: from conventional methods to PET tracers and their (pre)clinical implications (2010)

[10] H. G. Ruhé, N. S. Mason & A H Schene. Molecular Psychiatry volume 12, pages331–359 (2007)

[11] PMC. Hypercapnia Alters Expression of Immune Response, Nucleosome Assembly and Lipid Metabolism Genes in Differentiated Human Bronchial Epithelial Cells (2018)

[12] Canadian National Collaborating Centre for Environmental Health. Carbon Dioxide in Indoor Air (accessed November 2019)

[13] Environmental Health Perspectives journal. Is CO2 an Indoor Pollutant? Direct Effects of Low-to-Moderate CO2 Concentrations on Human Decision-Making Performance (2012)

[14] Energy and Buildings, Vol 43, Iss. 9, Pages 2499-2508. A novel and dynamic demand-controlled ventilation strategy for CO2 control and energy saving in buildings (2011)

 

 

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