Good news – my wife Katie just had a little baby girl! Added to that over the last month we have moved house – believe me theses are two major life changes that shouldn’t happen anywhere near each other!
However it has got me thinking ever more about designing eco children’s bedrooms.
As there wont be too much energy use, your main concerns will be the creation of a happy and healthy space for your precious child to live, sleep (and occasionally scream!) in. Remember that childrens immune systems are in development and so more susceptible to the effect of toxins. (photo credit: www.inke.nl)
The main things to think about are:
-Reducing toxins found in furniture, paints, and toys
-Reducing dust levels – cutting down on unhealthy dust mite.
-Good natural ventilation- cutting out the build up of damp and potential mould
-Safe Low energy lighting
Natural wood floors will help to cut down on surfaces that trap dust (such as carpets. But if you do want some soft surfaces, try rugs or whip stitched sections of natural carpets made of wool with natural backings.
Paint walls in natural paints that don’t contain Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC’s) which can off gas toxins onto the floor or surfaces below. VOCs are found at their highest levels in conventional eggshell or gloss paints
Furniture such as beds, wardrobes and chairs
Choose solid wood furniture that wont contain formaldehyde resin glues (found in MDF, chipboard and plywood) which can off gas. Vintage furniture can look great when given a lick of paint or even a little wall paper.
Mattresses can trap high levels of dust which leads to dust mites, these can be vacuumed clear. Alternatively you could use a closed cell structure natural latex mattress or use organic fibre mattresses which wont have been exposed to toxins in the production of the materials. (photo credit: www.inke.nl)
Buy solid wooden toys and avoid plastic toys particularly those made of PVC ( like rubber bath ducks) which contain phthalates- which have been shown to cause a wide array of health issues affecting the liver, kidney, lung and blood pressure, but most importantly is their reported effect on the reproductive tract of boys. (photo credit: www.ecocentric.co.uk)
It goes without saying that you should use low energy bulbs but I advise using the bulbs that have the curly filament encased within a conventional bulb shaped cover. Low energy bulbs contain small quantities of mercury which can be released if broken. Alternatively use a tough lamp shade such as polypropylene, which can be recycled at the end of its useful life.
Heating and ventilation– thermostatic valves
Bedrooms need to be both heated and properly ventilated – this will keep the rooms living conditions healthy and comfortable. Children’s bedrooms should be kept at between 64.5 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit, this can be achieved by using a thermostatic radiator valve to regulate room temperature.
Use trickle vents in the windows to maintain regular air changes, this will reduce the build op of damp and mold. (photo credit: www.ecocentric.co.uk)