The American Lung Association of Virginia chose Applegate cellulose insulation for its 12,000 square foot Breathe Easy office complex because it helps them realize their primary goal of minimizing indoor air pollutants. The offices will house the ALA headquarters, training facilities, and a statewide lung resources center.
The Breathe Easy office was designed using the latest technologies to combat indoor air pollution. The boards, sheathing, insulation, nails, glues, paints, and varnishes were scrutinized for their impact on air quality. Once completed, the carpeting, floor coverings, upholstery, furniture, and cleaning products received similar examination.1
Many common building materials release and/or contain fairly dangerous substances. For example, particle board emits formaldehyde. Carpeting outgasses volatile organic compounds. Fiberglass insulation is a listed potential carcinogen2 and contains respirable glass fibers and formaldehyde.
The Breathe Easy office is being built by Dick Collier of R.E. Collier, Inc. in consultation with Chuck Bowles of The Energy Consortium. Collier and Bowles were part of the team that built the "Come Home to Health" house in 1996 (also insulated with cellulose). That home won the National Association of Home Builders Energy Value Award.
"The air in the workplace and in our homes is unlike anything that has existed throughout history. We really do not know all the ramifications of how it affects us in the long term," explains Chuck Bowles of The Energy Consortium, an energy efficiency and air quality expert. "By selecting healthy building components - like Applegate Cellulose Insulation - we are enhancing indoor air quality and significantly improving the workplace quality of
life. This is an increasingly important feature in office buildings and homes."
Donna Reynolds of the American Lung Association says that "Poor indoor air quality affects millions of workers? health, decreases productivity, and increases the amount of sick leave. The Breathe Easy office shows how commercial office buildings can be constructed to create a healthier working environment at a cost that is about the same as typical office buildings."
Bowles explains that "the environment of our home and workplace is a closed environment - like a terrarium. Our health is affected through the interaction of pollutants, biological molds and mildews, pesticides, gases, metals, minerals, radiation and vapors." Chuck has taken the healthy home concept to entire neighborhoods and has received several national awards for indoor air quality and energy efficiency.3
For more information about healthy building products, the Breathe Easy Office building, the American Lung Association, or for additional copies of this article, please call: 800-627-7536 or contact us.
1 American Lung Association of Virginia, "Breathe Easy Office Background".
2 Natural Resources Defense Council, "Keeping Warm and Staying Healthy".
3 Allen, Deborah Rider. May 23, 1999; "Something (not) in the air"; Richmond Times- Dispatch.