With most of the world living in cities and growing villages, people tend to spend the majority of their time indoors. When not at home, we are working, learning, or even engaging in fun activities in enclosed, built settings. All in all, 90% of our time is occupied inside. It is therefore essential to ensure a comfortable, productive, and healthy indoor environmental quality by following well-regulated parameters and design practices that consider temperature, lighting, noise pollution, proper ventilation, and the quality of the air we breathe. The latter is especially important, since contrary to what we might think, air pollution is much higher indoors than outdoor.
With the COVID-19 pandemic sweeping through the world's urban centers, governments worldwide are urging citizens to hunker down at home in a bid to quell the virus' spread. For apartment dwellers under quarantine, balconies have become the new platforms for entertainment and social interaction, making now an opportune moment in rethinking how we design and build these outdoor urban spaces.
As people are spending more and more time inside their homes, offices, and other closed areas, it is important to ensure that these spaces are safe and healthy environments, especially indoor areas designed for children and seniors. In recent years, several of the materials that shape the spaces we inhabit and directly influence the quality of the air we breathe have increasingly used a potentially dangerous chemical compound. This compound is called formaldehyde.