Lemonair Decor headboard
San Francisco State University
Lemonair Decor headboard
A DIY solution to resolve a domestic environmental need by freshening the air by your head while you sleep.
Lemonair Decor headboard
For this project I sought to create a furniture piece for the bedroom that was not only made with non-polluting materials, but also worked to correct the problem of indoor air pollution. The materials and finishes used in this project are the safest and least toxic products available. Small, quiet, energy efficient computer fans in the interior of the headboard draw air in through the sides and up through panels of activated carbon and zeolite. Pollutants are trapped within the interior pore structure of the activated carbon and zeolite, and the clean air is pushed out through the top.2. The Brief: Summarize the problem you set out to solve. What was the context for the project, and what was the challenge posed to you?
The United States Environmental Protection Agency estimates that our indoor air is an average of two to five times worse than outdoor air and is one of the top 5 hazards to human health. Indoor air pollution comes from pet fur, pollen, bioeffluents, dust, outdoor air pollution as well as off-gassing and particulate matter from household products. Toxic materials are widely prevalent in all consumer products; in fact, of 82,000 chemicals available for use in the US, only about 200 have been required to be tested for safety. Since we spend an average of 90% of our time indoors, a third of which is spent in bed, bedroom furnishings make a substantial impact on our health. Sustainably produced furnishings created with non-polluting natural materials do currently exist in the marketplace. These types of furnishings do less or no harm in comparison to standard furnishings created with particleboard, paints and finishes which emit Volitale Organic Compounds (VOC’s). But what if our furniture could not only do less harm, but actually do good by actively creating a healthier indoor environment? I challenged myself to find natural materials that could adsorb pollutants to use in the creation of a bedroom furniture piece.3. The Intent: What point of view did you bring to the project, and were there additional criteria that you added to the brief?
There are a variety of sources of indoor air pollution, and eliminating every source is impossible for most. Since different pollutants respond to different methods of filtration, a variety of filtration solutions should be present to provide maximum air cleansing properties. Existing solutions range from use of air purification machines and houseplants to innovative products that adsorb pollutants such as carbon impregnated wallpaper and photocatalytic paint. User needs also vary widely and not every solution is appropriate in every situation. Air purification machines, while highly effective, can also be cost prohibitive, unsightly, take up excess space within a room or create undesirable noise. Houseplants are an excellent natural solution but can be an inappropriate choice for those with children or pets, and may require more surface area than is available. My intention for this piece was not to be the sole solution to indoor air pollution, but rather to provide a solution that could integrate seamlessly and beautifully into your home décor, saving space and requiring little energy.4. The Process: Describe the rigor that informed your project. (Research, ethnography, subject matter experts, materials exploration, technology, iteration, testing, etc., as applicable.) What stakeholder interests did you consider? (Audience, business, organization, labor, manufacturing, distribution, etc., as applicable)
The ideation process began with in-depth research on materials. Materials that did not contribute to air pollution as well as ones that actually facilitated air purification were sought. Once collected, scenarios to place these materials within decor were envisioned. Amongst the concepts were dressers, wall art, dressing screens, nightstands, chairs and more using a variety of materials from salt rock lamps to photocatalytic cement. Consultations with scientists at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratories’ Indoor Air Quality Department assisted in selecting materials that had a higher probability of success.
The nightstand concepts were chosen to begin prototyping. Using materials that would not off-gas, I built rough assemblies that would simulate the scenario enough for air quality testing. Using at home air test kits, the first few test results revealed that a greater quantity of zeolite and activated carbon would be needed to produce the desired results.
Since larger surface areas would be required, I visualized the air purification elements as part of a headboard. This scenario allowed for the close proximity of clean air output to the sleeping area for the user's maximum benefit. Passive filtration methods were considered, but a design utilizing small computer fans to pull air through activated carbon & zeolite filters was chosen to maximize gaseous filtration. Consultation with a building airflow specialist assisted in proper placement of the fans to maximize airflow.
A full-scale prototype was built to work out functionality of the piece. Quiet and minimal energy consuming computer fans were placed near the top of the headboard near the air vent to create suction. The fans pull the air through the sides and up through the filters. The clean air is pushed out through the top vents. The sides and back are removable for maintenance. The zeolite filters can be "recharged" every six months by placing them outside in direct sunlight for several hours. The heat causes the gaseous pollutants inside the zeolite to "desorb" or release into the air, freeing up the internal spaces in the zeolite for new pollutants to be trapped. The activated carbon vent covers and granulated activated carbon can also be easily replaced every 6 months. The headboard is also constructed in two separate parts that join at the center for ease of moving and shipment.
This product could be prototyped in other materials and styles to provide new options for the consumer. Materials ideal for experimentation include aluminum, bamboo, agrifiber boards and more. Finish options can be selected from safe, non-toxic brands such as AFM Safecoat’s line of paints and wood finishes and vent designs can be customized. Ornamentation can be added or engraved and even the external shape could be altered.
This is a concept that, with a research and development team, could be developed into an entire line of home products. While the headboard concept could be adapted for a range of different styles, the internal system could be translated into other furniture pieces for the home or even adapted for an office environment.
Pollutant sources surround us on a daily basis and can lead to health problems such as allergies, asthma, headaches, respiratory congestion and even cause the genotoxic effects that can lead to cancer. A number of currently existing solutions may be required to improve indoor air quality, with user needs and preferences varying widely. The Lemonair Décor headboard provides a customizable clean air solution that integrates seamlessly and beautifully into your décor, saving space and requiring little energy. Increased productivity, elevated mood, reduced respiratory effects and cancer risk and even increased lifespan are all benefits one can experience from breathing cleaner indoor air. Lemonair Decor works to change the paradigm from products that do less harm or become neutral, to products that work to correct problems in our environment, becoming beneficial to ourselves and our planet.