4136Desso, the global carpet, carpet tiles and sports pitches company has launched a new website, the Great Indoors, to raise awareness about the issues affecting health and wellbeing in the built environment.

As we spend on average 90% of our time indoors, Desso believes it becomes ever more critical to design and make products that contribute to productive and healthy lives indoors, whether at home, working or travelling.

Desso’s vision is to ‘make the floor work for our health and wellbeing’ and develops products that come with added functions such as the DESSO AirMaster® - a carpet designed to reduce the amount of fine dust in the air, thereby helping to improve the indoor air quality. Other carpets improve acoustics or lighting efficiency. Desso’s health and wellbeing vision links to its commitment to the circular economy powered by Cradle to Cradle® principles, in which goods are made of healthy materials to be recycled in a non-toxic closed loop.

The Great Indoors website will encourage debate on creating the best indoor environment across the world, driven by innovation, imagination and smart eco-effective design, with the aim of improving health and wellbeing in all types of buildings including homes, offices, schools, hospitals and public buildings.

“Soon, over half of the world’s population will live in cities. Indeed, the management consultants, McKinsey estimate that by 2030, five billion people (60% of the world’s population) will live in cities, compared with 3.6 billion today,” says Desso CEO Alexander Collot d’Escury.

New data from WHO reports that in 2012 around 7 million people died – one in eight of total global deaths – as a result of air pollution exposure. WHO says that this finding more than doubles previous estimates and “confirms that air pollution is now the world’s largest single environmental health risk. Reducing air pollution could save millions of lives.” WHO reports that ambient air pollution in both cities and rural areas “was estimated to cause 3.7 million premature deaths worldwide per year in 2012; this mortality is due to exposure to small particulate matter of 10 microns or less in diameter (PM10), which cause cardiovascular and respiratory disease, and cancers.”

“All the evidence supports our overarching vision to create an environment within the home, while at work or when travelling that is conducive to developing and promoting lower dust particles. We know hard floors are traditionally prevalent throughout many homes in the Middle East and this in itself can have a serious impact on those with breathing conditions, particularly asthma suffers,” said Andrew Sibley, Regional Managing Director, Desso .

“Our new website will promote discussion on a variety of issues and encourage knowledge based learning from a cross section of experts within the industry. Our aim is to create a vehicle that supports and promotes a healthy environment indoors,” added Sibley .

In the WHO European Region alone, exposure to particulate matter (PM) decreases the life expectancy of every person by an average of almost 1 year, mostly due to increased risk of cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, and lung cancer.

In buildings such as offices, schools, hospitals, public buildings and more — – the air that we breathe may be harming us. In offices, it can cause increases in sickness absenteeism and dent productivity as well. For example, a study by William Fisk from the Californian Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory concluded that better indoor air quality boosted worker productivity by 0.5 percent to 5 percent, leading to estimated savings of between $20 billion to $200 billion per year. In schools, teachers off sick can mean missed lessons and so on. The problem is far reaching.

The Great Indoors campaign was set up to raise awareness of this type of problem and ways in which businesses can help to combat the problem through commercially successful innovations.

“In that context, we want to see responsible businesses developing sustainable and smartly designed products that contribute to health and wellbeing in the built environment. Knowing that people spend on average 90% of their time indoors, we launched the Great Indoors campaign to raise awareness of this issue and encourage others to work towards similar goals,” said Sibley.

The Great Indoors website will focus on practical ways to deal with current crises in the world and will provide thought leadership material across a range of relevant areas including: the circular economy, green cities, outdoor and indoor air quality, and sound and acoustics indoors; in short, a healthy indoor environment.

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