How Solar Power Can Benefit Your Indoor Air Quality

Concentrations of pollutants indoors can be two to five times as high as the levels of pollutants outside, according to an EPA government report. Since we spend most of our time indoors, poor indoor air quality is a serious concern. Therefore, finding small ways to reduce the levels of pollutants in the home should be a priority for families.

One of the recommended ways to ensure that indoor air quality is of the required standard is to make use of solar energy.

When considering the installation of solar panels, many people often think of environmental benefits and reduced energy costs. By doing so, they fail to realize how solar power can help them lower the levels of indoor pollutants. If you belong to this group, then it is time to make a change and allow solar energy to ensure that the air you and your family inhale is clean.

But how does solar energy ensure that indoor air is of the highest quality? It does so in three main ways.  

Reduced Reliance On Fossil Fuels

Traditional fuels such as gas and wood are used for various purposes at home, and which include cooking and heating. But, despite their many benefits, the combustion of these fuels is one of the leading causes of poor indoor air quality.

For households using wood stoves and open fireplaces, there’s a risk of inhaling small particles and pollutants. The foreign materials can irritate the eyes and lungs and lead to breathing difficulties such as asthma when they enter the body. Households relying on gas to power their central heating and cooking facilities, meanwhile, run the risk of carbon monoxide emissions.

When a home is powered by solar energy, there is less need to rely on such harmful fuels. This is because solar can serve the same purpose as the fuels but without emitting pollutants, which then helps to improve indoor air quality.

Furthermore, if more households and businesses were to rely on solar energy, the levels of pollutants in urban environments would be reduced. This would have a knock-on effect on indoor air quality, as fewer pollutants from outside would make their way into the home. Thus, the more people rely on solar energy, the better the indoor air quality is for homes and the whole neighborhood.

Temperature Control

The need to regulate temperatures contribute significantly to poor indoor quality. 

It leads people into using fuels, which in addition to regulating temperatures, end up releasing pollutants that remain trapped inside the house. The installation of solar panels offers a solution to the problem.

When sunlight hits the roof, the roof is warmed, and heat pushes down into the building. With solar panels installed, however, they prevent the sunlight from directly hitting the roof, reducing the amount of heat that enters the property.

Cause of poor indoor air quality

This was established in a study conducted by the University of California in San Diego.  It found that the temperature of a roof can be reduced by 5°F with solar panels. They also found that solar panels prevent heat from escaping when temperatures are cooler outside. This helps to maintain the required indoor temperatures.

Thus, when solar panels are mounted on the roof, they reduce the need for both air conditioning and heating. This, in turn, enables homeowners to reduce their reliance on other energy sources that pose a problem for the indoor environment. Therefore, by helping with temperature regulation, generators of solar power have a positive impact on indoor air quality.

Solar For Air Circulation

The key to improving the quality of air at home is maintaining the circulation of clean air. This can be achieved efficiently through air conditioning systems, provided the filters are clean and not clogged with pollutants.  

However, for some families, running and maintaining such a system can be too costly. This is because they rely on the power from the grid, which is expensive. The high cost can, therefore, force them to live with poor indoor quality. But, with solar energy, they can keep air conditioning systems in operation. This is because they will be using solar power, which is cheaper compared to the one from the grid.

Solar air collector systems can also help in this regard. A study on the air quality of a kindergarten building found that the use of a solar air collector system improved the air quality for the children. It also reduced the need to run an air conditioning system, which can sometimes be costly.

Conclusion

Traditional fuels are the main contributors of pollutants in the home. But, the problem of poor indoor air quality can be addressed by solar energy. Solar panels installed on the roof and the power they produce reduces the need for harmful fuels at home. This, in turn, helps to keep the indoor air clean. The use of solar energy also makes it possible for families to run air conditioning systems without incurring high costs.   

Author

  • John Gathuita

    John is an electrical and solar technician, writer, and blogger who specializes in renewable energy, sustainability, and technology. He seeks to inspire more people to adopt solar energy and to work towards a sustainable future.