From The Editor-In-Chief LETTER It’s difficult to write about the wonders of the sun, the very center of our solar system and provider of all life, without stating what should be blatantly obvious to anyone with a brain. So, I’ll skip that and instead focus on one benefit of this heavenly being that might not be so obvious to the average homeowner: Sunlight improves indoor air quality. This is something you might have suspected instinctually, but now you have scientific data to back it up. A research team at the University of Oregon set up an experiment with miniature dust-covered rooms to compare how the dust is affected by daylight through regular glass, by ultraviolet light only, and when kept in the dark. The study used dust collected from actual homes, and the dollhouse-sized rooms were placed outdoors while maintaining normal room temperature. After 90 days, the bacteria analysis confirmed what your intuition might have suggested. The rooms exposed to daylight had about half the viable bacteria compared with dark rooms. Rooms that were exposed only to UV light had just slightly less viable bacteria than ones exposed to daylight. This was surprising because UV is known to be an effective disinfectant (used to clean drinking water), although most modern win- dow glass filters out UV light. My takeaway is that those UV-inhibiting windows will still do a good job letting the sunlight improve your home’s air quality, if you leave the drapes open and raise the blinds. The daylit rooms also had less of the types of bacteria associated with human skin cells, which people shed indoors. Notably, the study showed fewer human-associated bacteria from a type known to cause respiratory disease. Life, light, heat, the center of gravity around which earth orbits, and now better indoor air quality—the sun provides it all. I’m a big fan. Since a healthier home is a happier home, keep these findings in mind. Open your curtains this winter to let the sunshine help heat your home naturally, and you’ll get the added benefit of cleaner air too.
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