A healthy home for a healthy family
Indoor air quality was ranked as a top five environmental risk to public health. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) studies have found indoor air pollutants generally two to five times higher than outdoor pollution levels in the same area. According to the World Health Organisation, respiratory problems affect between 10% and 30% of the population Worldwide.
Green buildings should take the indoor health as a non negotiable aspect. It is in the architect’s hands to acknowledge their responsibility to approach design in an interdisciplinary way. Building with the old, cheap but inefficient and toxic materials, in a world with so many studies that show their impact on our health is no longer justified. We have advanced building technology at our hands and all the tools to build better.
Volatile organic compounds are organic gasses that have a high vapor pressure at ordinary room temperature. Studies show that they play an important role in the quality of your indoor air, as they evaporate both from the construction and finishing materials of your home and the daily products that you use indoors, such as detergents, air refreshing sprays, plastics, resins, and so on. VOCs may trigger irritation of your eyes, throat or nose and some of these chemicals are even suspected to cause cancer. Although there are no laws concerning VOC limitation yet, various organizations worldwide have put together guidelines and recommendations.
Ventilation prevents air pollutants from affecting the health state of your indoor environment. A good ventilation system replaces the entire volume of indoor air every few hours. Each air molecule passes through a series of filters that cleans them of pollutants, so that nothing harmful enters inside and most of what is harmful inside gets eliminated.
Air pollutants can form inside from the materials that your home is made of and your daily house products or features like air conditioning. Air purifying plants can help but they are most certainly not enough. A quality ventilation system, together with the right building materials, can now transform your home into the safest place you could ever live in.
Airborne particles, as they are also called, are a combination of solid particles and liquid droplets, invisible to the human eye. The problem with this tiny elements is that they can be inhaled deep into our respiratory system, where they get settled. Particle pollution outside may include vehicle exhaust, construction equipment, burning fuels, smoke and gases produced from power plants. Chemicals inside your home can also produce them: tobacco smoke, cooking odors, fuel-burning space heaters or even simply burning candles. A ventilation system with HEPA filters removes them by up to 99%.
When the temperature is high and the relative humidity is low, evaporation of water is rapid, leading to a dry air. When the temperature is low and the relative humidity is high, evaporation of water is slow. When relative humidity approaches 100 percent, condensation can occur on surfaces, leading to problems with mold, corrosion, decay, and other moisture-related deterioration. Condensation can pose a safety risk as it can promote the growth of mold and wood rot. Adverse health effects like dry cracked skin, nosebleeds, respiratory problems or aggravation of allergies result from an unbalanced ratio between relative humidity and temperature. A climate control system will keep your relative humidity at a 50-60% ratio constantly.
Although CO2 is a natural constituent of the air
that we breathe, it has been shown that higher concentrations can influence the way we feel and think. Decision making and our concentration ability can be significantly reduces at a poor air exchange rate. The maximum indoor CO2 level considered acceptable is 1000 ppm.
Let the fresh air come into your home by using a ventilation system with incorporated filters for air pollutants. You'll keep your brain active and your respiratory system healthy.
Thermal comfort is the condition of mind that expresses satisfaction with the thermal environment. We feel the air temperature differently, depending on the functions of the room and our body receptors or level of activity. Most people feel comfort at ranges between 20 to 23 °C, hotter or colder scenarios leading to discomfort. One of the most important roles of a passive house HVAC system is to keep your indoor temperature constant, with no cold draughts or increased temperature in certain areas.
Electrosmog results from the high frequency objects in your home (HFs), like your wifi and mobiles, and the electromagnetic fields (EMFs) of electrical installations. Symptoms like burnout, migrenes or chronic fatigue have been associated with this type of pollution. While you might not want to give up to this type of home equipment, you might want to pay attention to their positioning, optimizing all the routes so that the exposure can be minimal.
Radon is a radioactive gas that you can’t see, smell or taste, but that may be a significant healthy problem in your home. It comes from the soil layers, as a decay product of radium. Overall, radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the world for non-smoking people.
We can survive more than ten days with no food, but without water, dehydration would be fatal in less than a week. Getting clean water at home might come as natural to you as breathing, but things are not exactly as they seem to be, especially in developing countries. Water needs to travel a long way through pipes before reaching your tap. In time, pipes become polluted from rust and debris, and may hold bacteria and microorganisms.
Technology today made water filtering solutions more affordable. Installing them is a small thing to do, but it can have a long term benefit in your life.
At BIOBUILDS, we care about how our design and your built house influences your well-being. We invest a lot of time and resources in research and development and in finding the most quality products and partnerships worldwide. All the elements above are part of our vision of changing your life through responsible architecture.