It is great to build energy efficient buildings, but paradoxically, many end up not being healthy for people.
Reducing the consumption of resources, water, energy, as well as waste production in a building is a great contribution to the environment.
However, in many of these dwellings the indoor air quality can become so compromised that they pose a new set of health hazards!
The new sick buildings
We are creating a new generation of sick buildings if we are incorporating energy-saving measures without considering the health effects on its occupants!
As buildings become more tightly sealed to save energy they tend to lack adequate ventilation. If not consciously and regularly ventilated, we can end up breathing chemicals, dust and pesticides from building materials, furnishings, personal care and cleaning products.
An even greater danger with tight buildings is through the moisture produced by its occupants. The steam from kitchens, laundries and bathrooms can no longer escape and often condenses on surfaces as small invisible or visible droplets. Further, every person exhales 500ml of water every night, which tends to settle in the room if not aired out. This extra moisture often leads to the formation of toxic mould in still corners of the room.
Such toxins and indoor air pollution is linked to fatigue and exhaustion, respiratory problems, and even serious health concerns. Together with nutrition and exercise, the creation of healthy indoor spaces is an essential element of wholistic health care.
Healthy and Sustainable
Sustainable design cannot just be about energy efficiency but needs to also ensure people’s health and living comfort.
Building healthy homes that are good for people and the environment has to be the most cost-effective solution in the long run. It can be applied in new design, when retrofitting or renovation and in handling the ‘ills’ of old buildings.
A healthy sustainable building incorporates design that allows for natural light, warmth and ventilation. It is free from electro-smog, and utilises healthy materials and products. It maximises the thermal properties and natural insulation and is able to regulate humidity moisture.
The goal of a sustainable living consultation is to help you create a healthy and efficient building.
Sustainable design maximises the benefits of the sun, while eliminating excess heat. It provides natural ventilation based on climate to ensure optimum air quality without compromising on temperature. It also includes wiring and a layout that avoids electro-smog which may be present through ample exterior or interior sources.
Healthy Building Materials
A healthy building regulates humidity through the use of natural building materials, and it can store and release heat to make it comfortable in any season. It is a joy to be in.
Healthy building materials are free from common hazards found in many building materials, paints, and furnishing, such as formaldehyde and volatile organic chemicals.
Restoring old buildings – reversing rising damp naturally
A large percentage of older homes in the inner suburbs of Melbourne, Sydney and Adelaide are subject to rising damp. Many of these are sick buildings, as their increased moisture facilitated mould growth around and below the floor level, affecting people’s energy levels and health.
There exists a natural method that reverses rising damp, and that ensures dry, mould free and thermally effective walls. and thus a healthy indoor air environment.
Photo by Adam Birkett on unsplash.com