Healthy Building Principles
11. Design buildings to be free from technical electro-magnetic 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 electro-climate, 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. These 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.
12. Choose building materials that are non-toxic, non-radioactive, and do not off-gas harmful chemicals.
These criteria can apply to both natural and synthetic materials so selection needs to be careful. Some people have allergic reactions to natural materials but not synthetic ones, which again affects your ultimate choice. Generally however, synthetic materials are more likely to off-gas irritating or harmful chemicals.
13. 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.
At certain times or in situations where having open windows is undesirable, the breathing qualities of the building surfaces is essential to help keep the indoor climate fresh, free from bad odours and chemical build-up. The breathing materials also keep the structure dry and free of mould.
14. Ensure the indoor environment does not promote, accumulate or circulate harmful vapours, particles, radioactivity, bacteria, viruses and fungi.
These 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. A warm, dry building with good natural ventilation and natural materials and furnishings makes for a healthy indoor environment.
15. Heat and ventilate the building using natural and manually adjustable means.
Heated air can create drowsiness and mechanical ventilation can transfer airborne diseases. Natural radiant heating and fresh air ventilation is not only healthier, but is also less cost to the user and less harmful to the environment. This is harder to achieve in climates of extreme temperatures, or in highly polluted environments, but much can be achieved with well-considered design.
16. 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.
Moderate temperature differences between rooms stimulate the body as it moves around a building, as do fluctuations in room temperature that reflect (to a lesser degree) the day/night cycle. The optimum range for comfortable and healthy indoor temperatures is 18 - 24 degrees Celsius, with bedroom areas requiring lower temperatures than living areas. A wider range of 16 - 26 degrees Celsius can be tolerated by some people, beyond that discomfort and health issues arise if the temperatures are prolonged. Aim for not more than 2 degrees Celsius differential between floor and ceiling temperatures.
17. Insulate against or isolate from unwanted noise and vibration.
Unwanted noise and noise-induced vibrations within buildings or penetrating into them from outside can cause stress to the occupants.
18. Light a building with daylight or natural light spectrum artificial light during the day, and warmer tinted lighting for evenings.
Natural light is important for physiological functions to occur, and outside light or a suitable full spectrum replica source is essential for people spending all day indoors. However, at home in the evening a warmer spectrum light akin to late afternoon and sunset light is more relaxing.
19. Provide an outlook to nature from all rooms, and allow easy access to the natural environment.
An outlook to nature helps de-stress one's body at a physiological level as well as a psychological one. If people are spending long periods of time in stressed, toxic or electro-polluted indoor environments, then access to fresh air, sunshine, water and greenery is necessary for rejuvenation.
20. Design for ergonomics and safety.
Ergonomics considers a user's comfort when using a piece of furniture or moving around, using dimensions and ratios that conform to the average human body. This reduces the risk of accidents as well as discomfort from long-term use and repetitive actions. Precautions against falling, slipping, tripping, fire, burns, electrocution, cuts, being run over and drowning also need to be built into the design.