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A Guide to Healthy Housing

By: James Murray-White - Updated: 2 Jan 2013 | comments*Discuss
Consumer Healthy Housing Online Internet

This guide can take the form of a booklet, or instead be an online, Internet resource, which gives consumers or ordinary householders the means to make sensible, informed decisions about the factors, both environmental and otherwise, affecting them in their house and neighbourhood.

The guide can help both home buyers and renters alike identify, understand and assess potential environmental issues in their home, or in the neighbourhood, that may affect their health, or their lifestyle while living in that particular dwelling.

These guides and resources are being compiled by environmental organisations, in collaboration with some Local Councils, around the UK and in other Cities and Countries around the world, where human environmental impact, and health-related issues, are seen as important. The guides are available to everyone – either direct from the organisation, Council, or at the local library. Some organisations and Councils will distribute the guide to every household in the area that they cover.

What Issues Are Covered Within the Guide?

Taking one guide to healthy housing as an example, this guide is broken up into seven areas, with further sub-divisions within each topic.

The first section looks at ‘ground’, which includes whether there may be gases, pesticides or other harmful air-borne substances in the area, either occurring naturally, or through agricultural or Industrial work. Some neighbourhoods in a particular town or City may be more affected by air-borne substances, and it is important that a prospective house purchaser or renter is aware of this. Also, if people in the area don’t already know of this issue, it is important that they do.

The second section covers ‘air’, which examines both the outdoor air quality; looking at possible air pollution from transportation, incineration, or Industry, and indoor air quality. This could include potential pollution from a building’s structure and any materials used in its construction, or EMR, or electro-magnetic radiation. Other issues may include cellular radiation, asbestos, and the potential in the neighbourhood for noise pollution, which is a rising problem across the UK.

The third section looks at ‘water’, and any issues arising from that: these might include the potential for water recycling, rainwater collection, and the quality of water in the area.

The fourth section, ‘neighbourhood access and movement’, covers a lot of issues, and is of importance when considering the desirability of a neighbourhood for residential purpose. Potential householders should consider the following issues: walk ability, availability of neighbourhood shops, public transportation, schools, community and entertainment or cultural centres, proximity to centres of work, bike and walking trails, disability access issues, and nearby sporting and other recreational facilities.

Other sections in a guide could include a detailed look at ‘parks and green spaces’, ‘waste management issues and recycling initiatives’, and ‘personal/neighbourhood carbon footprint issues’. This last section would look at insulation and energy efficiency, and any use of solar panels in the neighbourhood, or the potential for the installation of solar panels, and possibly wind turbines, to generate electricity.

Using a Consumer Guide to Healthy Housing

It is a good idea to check if there is a consumer guide for healthy housing for the neighbourhood or area where you live. It can give tips to green your lifestyle, and to look out for any potential environmental hazards – for you, your household, and the local community.

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