By Carly Svenvold, PE, LEED AP BD+C

It comes as no surprise that it’s healthy to spend time outside. Ongoing research points increasingly toward the physical and mental benefits of spending time outdoors, especially in nature. But sometimes, that’s challenging, or even impossible. Even without a worldwide pandemic, the average person spends 87% of their time in buildings and an additional 6% of their time in vehicles—that’s a whopping 93% of every day spent indoors.

Given recent stay-at-home orders and social distancing measures associated with COVID-19, we have been spending even more time than usual indoors. All this time inside can have a negative impact on our lives both mentally and physically. If you’re feeling run down or downright sick, it may be time to take a closer look at your indoor living environment.

Generally speaking, markers of an unhealthy indoor environment manifest themselves as physical symptoms. Common ailments may include headaches, upper respiratory irritation, itchy skin, dizziness or nausea, and fatigue. These usually stem from a lack of fresh air inside the building and a multitude of indoor contaminants. However, if these symptoms are extreme, you may have a “sick building.”