Thursday, 28 July 2011

Negative Ions and Green Interior Design

The Triple Bottom Line

The triple bottom line states that we should assess a project according to ‘people, planet and profit’. In other words something is good if it helps the environment, helps people and if it makes a profit.

Recently, scientists have realized the importance of negative ions to human mental and physical health. If people spend a long time in an interior with a low negative ion count they are liable to feel depressed, lethargic and generally out of sorts. Often increasing the negative ion count in a room can do more for a person’s well being than prescribing medication. The situation is made worse by the fact that electrical appliances give off positive ions that make people feel bad.

This is the reason why people only need to open a window and take in a breath of fresh air to feel better, to feel energized.

Negative Ions and Green Interior Design

Negative ions are produced by moving water and air that breaks down molecules into negative ions. Places such as beaches and waterfalls have lots of negative ions. It is perhaps no wonder that people feel more relaxed on a beach than in a city.

The challenge for a green interior designer is to increase negative ions in a building in a cost effective manner. The Japanese who tend to live in very similar houses seek a technological fix to the problem – they buy negative ion producing air-con units. This is not very green because the machines require a big input of resources to make and they use electricity that is probably made by burning fossil fuels. After the earthquake and tsunami of March 11, 2011 the imperative for Japan is to save electricity. One low priority is surely negative ion machines, especially when negative ions can be generated without wasting electricity.

Since negative ions are produced by movement of air, having good ventilation in a home will naturally increase the negative ion count. Open windows and fans in the summer will improve the negative ion count of a room and make people feel more comfortable.

Another great sustainable interior idea is to use bamboo charcoal. Bamboo is a renewable resource that can grow in virtually any climatic conditions. Bamboo uses less water than trees and produces more oxygen than trees.

Bamboo charcoal emits negative ions

When bamboo is heated in a kiln bamboo charcoal is made. It is a substance with a great many uses for the home and garden. The property of relevance to this post is that bamboo charcoal emits negative ions.

By leaving a few sticks of bamboo charcoal around the house the negative ion count is increased. It is a simple and elegant solution to environmentally unfriendly ion machines. Bamboo grows everywhere in Japan. They should grow up and put consumerism aside for a second and use bamboo charcoal in their homes to make them happier. The money they save will also make them richer.

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