In recent years Chicago has been the subject of major building remodeling as well as new construction from small to large scale. A major health concern is with small scale remodeling, the kind that a homeowner would do at home. Having extensive experience in home improvement practices, I can honestly say that the average homeowner, especially in Chicago and other cities were most of the single family homes are close to 100 years old, if not
older, are unaware of the health dangers that lurk in their own homes when it comes to remodeling. One major issue is the existence of asbestos in many building elements in your average house. It is present in insulation, paint, and
even floors. It is important to educate the public on the dangers related to asbestos, such as respiratory problems, and lung cancer. But how does this relate to sustainability? We could learn from present health issues, such as this, in developing
new construction elements that are designed smart, requiring less raw materials and being more efficient, but at the same time safe, preventing health issues. This would prevent having to replace building components often and therefore becoming more sustainable.
Quality of air is always a health concern for any major city and Chicago is no exception. How is your home contributing to such pollution? The electricity you need to power essential like lightbulbs is a major factor in the pollution released into our atmosphere. If we would all retrofit our homes with low power lights as CFL’s and LED’s, as well as using solar panel on the roofs of our homes, we could drastically reduce carbon emissions and power needed to light up most of our public and private spaces. Sometimes small things like that can have a big impact. It is up to us to make the right decision and take the initiative.
“Health & Environmental Benefits of Solar Energy.” EnergySage. 11 November 2015. Web. 18 Feb. 2016. <http://news.energysage.com/health-environmental-benefits-of-solar-energy/>
“LED Lighting Retrofits” Boston University. Web. 18 Feb. 2016. <http://www.bu.edu/sustainability/what-were-doing/energy/led-lighting-retrofits/>
Braff, Danielle. “Your house can be more dangerous than you think.” Chicago Tribune. 11 June 2015. Web. 18 Feb. 2016 <http://www.chicagotribune.com/lifestyles/health/sc-hlth-0617-household-harms-20150611-story.html>
“Sustainable Urban Energy Planning” <https://us130urbansustainability.files.wordpress.com/2016/01/sustainable_energy_handbook.pdf>