Building Biology - Is your Home Or Office Healthy or Toxic?

Building Biology - Is your Home Or Office Healthy or Toxic?

The goal of building biology (Bau-biologie or baubiologie) is to help individuals regain order and harmony in their surroundings. Bau-biology seeks to restore the natural balance between nature, our buildings, and our selves.

Building biology works towards the ecological restoration and construction of buildings. The creation of holistic relationships between all forms of life is its ultimate goal.

Bau-biologists strive to offer both preventive and healing influences to concerned individuals and groups. They can effectively examine the impact of the building environment on human health and apply those findings to construction or remediation of the home and workplace.

Did you know that ninety-five percent of homes and sixty percent of offices have one or more environmental problem? Much can be done to create a healthy, supportive environment.

The Bau-biologie movement began in Germany during the mid 1970’s to research and publicize information responsible for creating healthy buildings. Certification as a Bau-biologist requires 300 hours of study including 150 hours of hands on training with both European and American specialists.

green living

Creating "Safe Havens"

Ideally, your home is a safe haven from the ravages of a polluted stress filled world. Healing takes place during your quiet time away from outside activities. It’s often difficult to accept that causes of stress may come from your bedside clock or lamp, fabric softener, cleaning products, mold new floor coverings or furniture, or even the air you breathe.

7 Tips to Turn Your Bedroom into a Healthy Sleeping Space

#1. Remove all electrical devices

The ideal state for the bedroom should be a pristine atmosphere that does not include electrical interference during sleep or leisure activity. The removal of as many or preferably all electronics from the bedroom is desired, but when this is not feasible or possible then the remaining items should be a minimum of 10 feet from the bed and be unplugged when not in use.

#2. Avoid metal spring mattresses

Metal spring mattresses and box springs are natural conductors for both electric and magnetic fields. Natural, metal free mattresses may be difficult to find. Recommended replacements include natural fiber futon mattresses (3-8” depth) or the use of a grounding system to reduce the passage of EMFs in the bed. Ask about specific suggested grounding system recommendations and body voltage testing.

#3. Avoid metal bed frames

Metal frames also conduct both electric and magnetic fields. These should be replaced with wooden bed frames as well as removing all metal boxes, electronics, and other wiring from below your bed.

#4. Avoid electric blankets

Electric blankets are dangerous as you are continuously exposed to electric and magnetic fields. The human body’s normal voltage is less than 1 millivolt whereas electric blankets may expose users to as much as 76,000 millivolts. Natural blankets, comforters, and flannel sheets are far safer and better substitutes.

#5. Avoid synthetic carpets

Synthetic carpets continue to outgas VOCs well even after 2 years. These chemicals when released into the air can affect your respiratory and circulatory systems. Natural rugs with jute backings or other natural floor coverings are preferable.

#6. Cut electricity to bedroom

Devices such as demand switches or cut off switches eliminate the flow of electricity to the bedroom during hours when there is no demand. Breakers can also be shut off from the circuit panel in lieu of such devices, but it is necessary to remember to turn them back on. Electricity continues to flow through house/building wiring even if there is no demand for it.

#7. Avoid waterbeds

Waterbeds are dangerous as electricity is continuously being used to heat the water. This results in sleeping conditions similar to sleeping under high-tension wires that does not allow the body to complete the rest process in a relaxed atmosphere. Stagnant water is depleting to the by body and carries high levels of electromagnetic charges from the heating element.

Affordable and Available Remedies

The creation of a more health supportive environment is the goal of the Building Biology movement. Frequently, their solutions are as simplistic as removing unhealthy products or changing common practices. Additionally, effective shielding or filtering may be needed. Building or mechanical system changes may be found useful in more extreme situations.

Common Indoor Pollution Symptoms

AllergiesInability to Relax
HeadachesMuscle Cramping
Frequent colds/FluHeart Palpitations
FatigueIrritability
DepressionPoor Concentration
HyperactivityInsomnia

Common Hidden Dangers in Homes and Offices

Indoor Air Quality (IAQ)

The indoor or built environment is more than indoor air quality (IAQ). It is an ecosystem that encompasses everything that impacts the indoor air and its occupants, to include influences from the outdoor environment, the structure that surrounds the air space indoors, the building contents and the occupants. It might be said that the built environment comprises “the conditions that surrounds one”.

Signs of possible home or office IAQ problems:

  • Unusual and noticeable odors, stale or stuffy air
  • Noticeable lack of air movement
  • Dirty or faulty central heating or air conditioning equipment
  • Damaged flue pipes or chimneys
  • Excessive humidity
  • Presence of molds and mildew
  • Health reactions after remodeling; winterizing; using new furniture; use of household, office or hobby products; or moving into a new home or office
  • Feeling noticeably healthier outside the home or office

indoor pollution

Electric and Magnetic Pollution

What are EMFs?

EMF stands for electromagnetic fields. These fields are energetic radiation and therefore also known as electromagnetic radiation (EMR). An electric field may exist even when current is not flowing.  Magnetic fields only exist when current is flowing.  

Almost all concern and publicity over EMFs focus on cancer.  It is important to note that the relationship between EMF, human stress and normal every day functioning is becoming clearer and vital. 

Magnetic fields may be found to be elevated in some homes or offices due to proximity of transmission or distribution lines or simply because of wiring errors or fault within a building.  The magnetic component of EMR should not be discounted; however more often the problem lies with electric fields.

Building biology investigations find almost 90% of problems that occur in the sleeping area are due to high electric fields. Simple solutions exist which can alleviate many problem sources.

Symptoms of excessive electric and magnetic radiation exposure may include:

  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Dizziness
  • Headaches and nausea
  • Aches in muscles and joints
  • Cardiac palpitations
  • Impending flu-like symptoms that never quite materialize
  • Memory loss
  • Coordination problems
  • Allergy problems, respiratory distress, and eczema
  • Irritability
  • Daytime exhaustion
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Immune system impairment
  • Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
  • Seizures
  • Multiple chemical sensitivities

Summary of EMF effects in extremely low frequency range:

  • All living organisms are sensitive to both magnetic and electric components
  • Biological systems send and receive information about their external environment and internal systems through complex electromagnetic signals
  • Controlled EMFs, such as precision waveform rise times are used in electrotherapy. Undesirable and uncontrolled EMFs are present in conventional electrical systems and can be controlled with rise/time suppression devices
  • The extent of harmful effects are not clearly defined as it varies from individuals due to sensitivity and health levels
  • EMFs effect the body’s communication system through the pineal gland (melatonin secretion) thereby making clean sleeping areas a primary concern
  • Intensity exposure limit standards are inappropriate as they do not address fast rise times, frequencies, and transients

Benefits of Environmental Assestment

Modern Research Shows:

  • A typical home has 250 products with identified toxic ingredients.
  • Homemakers have a 50% greater risk of cancer
  • Over 50% of all colds and flu symptoms are caused by indoor pollution, not viruses.
  • Medical experts state that we are becoming allergic to the 21st century at an alarming rate.
  • One in three people are allergic today, versus one in thirty in 1944. Allergies were unheard of in 1900.
  • Research links EMF’s to increased risk of cancer and to other health issues.
  • Over 60% of offices and 90% of homes are polluted.
  • Extended exposure to accumulated pollutants appears to compromise the immune system.

Benefits of having your home or office environmentally assessed include:

Security - you know what conditions in your environment could be hazardous to your health and the health of your family or employees with specific suggestions on how to remediate the problems.

Elimination of potential health problems - if you have a chronic illness, you can identify potential hazards and eliminate them.

Environmental Knowledge - can help you understand environmental problems and solutions of not just your home or office but those of your community, country, and world.

Know your liabilities before you sell your home or office - if you are preparing to sell you home or office, it's best to know ahead of time what potential hazards may exist and be advised what type of mitigation is required before putting your home or office on the market.

Save money - early identification of problems reduces long term expenses.

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