Healthy Building Principles
1. Design buildings to be free from technical electromagnetic interference, keep a natural ionisation balance, be open to natural magnetic fields and beneficial cosmic and terrestrial radiation and avoid harmful terrestrial radiation.
People have evolved within the earth’s natural electroclimate, and their own electrical impulses are in tune with it.
Many modern building materials block or distort cosmic and terrestrial radiation; create excess positive ions and static charges with synthetic surfaces; and appliances and wiring are the major source of technical electro-magnetic interference. EM fields are much stronger than natural ones and are in forms that the body cannot adapt to, causing health problems. Earth fields can be harmful or beneficial, but beneficial ones can be distorted by fault-lines and underground streams, and appear on the earth’s surface in concentrated and harmful amounts. Sleeping over one of these stress zones for many years, or within high electrical or magnetic fields can result in disease.
2. Choose building materials that are non-toxic, non-radioactive, and do not off-gas harmful chemicals.
Inert materials, whether natural or synthetic, do not pollute the indoor climate.
Slate and granite can be radioactive, resinous timbers and natural fibres can trigger allergic reactions. However, synthetic materials off-gas a cocktail of chemicals and are more likely to be a problem.
3. Choose building materials that allow water vapour and air diffusion to regulate the humidity of the indoor environment, and to filter and neutralise air pollutants.
Building materials that can breathe help keep the indoor climate free from bad odours, chemical build-up, damp and mould.
Indoor pollutants can be irritating or cause health problems for the people exposed to them. Mould can affect the building structure as well as health.
4. Ensure the indoor environment does not promote, accumulate or circulate harmful vapours, particles, radioactivity, bacteria, viruses and fungi.
A warm, dry building with good natural ventilation and natural materials and furnishings makes for a healthy indoor environment.
Pollutants can be present due to toxic materials, inadequate ventilation, excess moisture or ventilation systems that breed and spread microbes. Dust mites abound in high dust areas.
5. Heat and ventilate the building using natural and manually adjustable means.
Natural radiant heating and fresh air ventilation is healthier, less cost to the user and less harmful to the environment. With good design it can still be achieved in climates of extreme temperatures or in highly polluted environments.
Heated air can create drowsiness, and mechanical ventilation can transfer airborne diseases.
6. Ensure the indoor air temperature varies during the day and from room to room, but is still within the optimum range for the health of the occupants.
Temperature differences between rooms stimulate the body as it moves around a building. Fluctuations in room temperature that reflect (to a lesser degree) the diurnal and seasonal temperature keep people in tune with nature. The optimum range for comfortable and healthy indoor temperatures is 18° – 24° Celsius, with bedroom areas requiring lower temperatures than living areas. A wider range of 16° – 26° Celsius can be tolerated by some people. Aim for not more than 2° Celsius differential between floor and ceiling temperatures.
Discomfort and health issues arise if colder or hotter temperatures are experienced for long periods. Constant warm temperatures can produce drowsiness.
7. Insulate against or isolate from unwanted noise and vibration.
While pleasant sounds are welcomed and can be soothing or stimulating, unwanted noise is not.
Noise and noise-induced vibrations within buildings or penetrating into them from outside can cause stress to the occupants, both physically and psychologically.
8. Light a building with daylight or natural light spectrum artificial light during the day, and warmer tinted lighting for evenings.
Natural daylight or full spectrum artificial light stimulates daytime physiological functions, and is essential for people spending all day indoors. Lights at the warmer end of the spectrum stimulate nightime physiological functions.
Lack of full spectrum light during the day can cause depression. Too much blue light in the evening suppresses the production of melatonin and causes sleeplessness.
9. Provide an outlook to nature from all rooms, and allow easy access to the natural environment.
An outlook to nature stimulates one’s body physiologically and psychologically, and access to fresh air, sunshine, water and greenery is necessary for rejuvenation.
Toxic or electro-polluted indoor environments, with no connection to nature, are doubly stressful.
10. Design for ergonomics and safety.
Ergonomics and safety consider a person’s comfort when using a piece of furniture or equipment, or moving around. Dimensions need to conform to the average human body.
Poor ergonomic design can cause accidents, or discomfort from long-term use and repetitive actions. Buildings need to ensure against falling, slipping, tripping, fire, burns, electrocution, cuts, being run over and drowning.