Building Biology

History of Bau Biologie
What are EMFs?
25 Building Biology Principles
Ecological Aspects of Living
How can you create a healthy home?
History of Bau Biologie

What is building biology (Bau-Biologie) by Jasen Masek

It is the study of a relationship between the human made built environment and its impact on human health.  Our shelters, buildings and homes are considered a 3rd skin in reference to our experience with the Earth. Second skin is our clothing. First skin is our … skin!  This third skin is where the Western world spends 90%!! Of our time.
What is the translation of Bau-Biologie?
Bau means the building and living environment, Bios means all forms of life, logos implies a sense of order.  Bau Biologie
Who started this movement?
There are a couple people to mention

People built building biology shelters for thousands of years. A successful shelter enables life to flourish.  A bad shelter could mean illness, vulnerability to weather and predators, a loss of food, even a loss of productivity from things like agriculture. People adapted their methods of the built environment for 1000s of years to thrive.  There was a natural evolution. Then came industrialization, wars and modern convenience.  This then resulted in the shelters being built rapidly with minimal thought to the climate they are in, the materials used, and how they are structured.  There was a clear discovery of an issue in the 1950’s, however like most things it took until 1984 when the WHO said there is in fact a problem, they called it Sick Building  Syndrome (add link)
Modern buildings meet needs such as function, comfort, and design, but rarely consider how they fit with the natural environment or if the occupants will be healthy inside.  It seems to assumed that if it was built to code that it must be healthy.  One example is that in every brand new kitchen that I have measured it failed national formaldehyde levels for Air Quality.  The caveat is it passed when measuring 6 feet away with the windows open.
(add photos of homes)
My own GP (family doctor) has concerns about the growth of chronic illnesses. I have discussed with the wife of an oncologist who has concerns.  They are is in agreement with the WHO that is stating there is a rise of chronic disease. My doctor stated that the age where chronic conditions has dropped from 42 to 28 years old in the last 5 years.
In a study from 2005 to 2007 1in 6 young adults had a condition.
The aim for the building biology practitioner is to create a healthy, natural, sustainable and beautifully designed living/working environment.
Building biology has 25 principles and many standards (add link)
The foundation of the building biology standards:
Meant to be a guide and a level of risk when it comes toxins
Then reducing that risk.
Whenever possible use nature as a gold standard( Yes I do realize there are many things in nature that can harm and kill us, but let’s think about materials like clay(add link)
These standards and guidelines is the culmination of 30+ years of research and over 10000 surveys of sleeping areas then collaboration with over 100 medical, physicians, scientists, architects and engineers.
Here is a great place to get educated in Building Biology.

Common groups and individuals involved with this topic:

The main Bau Biologie & Ecologie organization is located in Germany as the IBN: Institut für Baubiologie + Nachhaltigkeit IBN
The main IBN in Germany is led by: Winfried and Rupert Schneider
Also the Swiss architect Bosco Büeler has been a leader in the field: Bosco Büeler
The IBN has more links to worldwide organizations involved, and here is a quick list of groups around the world that provide information and training on Bau Biologie/Building Biology:
In England: Building Biology Association BBA
In India: Centre for Building Biology
In Turkey: Yapı Biyolojisi & Ekolojisi Enstitüsü – YBE
In the USA: International Institute for Building-Biology® & Ecology

5. Resources:

What are EMFs?

Electromagnetic Radiation

The area of Electromagnetic Radiation (EMR) also called Electromagnetic Field (EMF) encompasses many types of man-made energies.  The types of EMR are related to each other by the rate at which each vibrates. The rate of vibration is termed frequency in cycles per second or Hertz. The Electromagnetic (EM) spectrum relates these types of radiation by the frequency of vibration.

What are AC Electromagnetic Fields?

An AC electromagnetic field, also known as EMF or EM field, is a physical field produced by moving electrically charged objects. It affects the behavior of charged objects in the vicinity of the field. The field can be viewed as the combination of an AC electric field and an AC magnetic field. Since it is AC by definition, it continually changes polarity from positive to negative.

AC Electric Fields: AC Electric Fields (E-Fields) are produced by the presence of electricity. Their strength is determined by voltage, the higher the voltage, the stronger the field. AC Electric Fields are generated by live electrical wires and generally travel 6-8 feet from the source, but in some cases further. An electric field will exist even when a device is not in use (turned off). In other words, these sources produce a continual emission. AC Electric Fields have a natural attraction to ground and the human body. They are considered low frequency electromagnetic radiation. (5 Hz – 400,000 Hz). They can be measured with an AC Electric Field meter and the unit of measurement is Volt per meter V/m.

AC Magnetic Fields: Living spaces contain dozens of electronic devices and electrical appliances. When this equipment is active or turned on, a flow of electrical current begins. This flow of electricity through the equipment and wiring is responsible for creating AC Magnetic Fields (B-Fields). The intensity or strength of the magnetic field is directly related to the power consumption of the device. A more powerful device will produce a higher magnetic field. These fields usually remain close to their source (2-3 feet) but can travel several hundred feet; an example is in the case of high voltage power lines. AC Magnetic Fields are considered low frequency electromagnetic radiation. (5 Hz – 400,000 Hz). They can be measured with a tesla meter in nanoTesla (nT) or with a gauss meter in milliGauss mG. Note: An AC Magnetic Field is typically what people refer to as EMF, but this is an inaccurate statement.

“Dirty Electricity” now known as MicroSurge Electro Pollution (MEP). Measured in milliVolts, or milligauss or volts per meter.  MEP can be found on both AC Magnetic Fields and AC Electric Fields.  They are prevalent throughout most urban environments. These are frequency transients that couple onto the electrical wire and then emanate from the wiring into the home. They come from all our new technology, appliances and charging devices and can arguably have a strong biological effect on our bodies. The symptoms are similar to the other Electro Magnetic Fields that are described above.

DC Magnetic Fields (Earth magnetic or caused by large amounts of metal) is the field that moves the compass.  Measured in milliGauss or nanotesla.

DC Electric Fields (static electricity typically found on materials) is created when the humidity is low, the air is dry.  It stays charged unless it can be grounded.  We want to avoid this or stay grounded as these devices changes our own charge.

Radio Frequency “RF” Waves: The use of Radio Frequency “RF” Wave technology plays an integral part in our daily lives. As AC Electric fields and AC Magnetic fields approach higher frequencies, the fields are airborne and, in this condition, become Radio Waves. Microwaves are simply higher frequency radio waves. RF waves are used to convey information from one place to another through the air. They are used in mobile communication, radio and television broadcasts, radar, satellite navigation, homeland security and are a significant part of what we recognize today as an international communication infrastructure. These high energy, airborne waves, are capable of traveling miles. RF waves are considered high frequency electromagnetic radiation (10 MHz -10000+ MHz). Power density readings in microwatts per square meter µW/m² are often used to express the magnitude of the signals. A spectrum analyzer is used to identify the specific frequency of a signal.

What do these electro-magnetic fields sound like?

25 Building Biology Principles

25 Principles of Building Biology

Site and Community Design

  1. Verify that the site is free of naturally-occurring and human-made health hazards.
  2. Place dwellings so occupants are undisturbed by sources of human-made air, soil, water, noise and electro-pollution.
  3. Place dwellings in well-planned communities that provide ample access to fresh air, sunshine and nature.
  4. Plan homes and developments considering the needs of community, families and individuals of all ages.

Electromagnetic Field/Radiation Health

  1. Provide an abundance of well-balanced natural light and illumination while using color in accordance with nature.
  2. Minimize building material interference with vital cosmic and terrestrial radiation.
  3. Adopt appropriate strategies to minimize exposure to harmful Electromagnetic radiation generated as a result of building electrification.
  4. Adopt appropriate avoidance and shielding strategies to minimize exposure to radio frequency radiation generated by wireless devices within the building and from wireless sources outside the building.
  5. Avoid use of building materials that have elevated radioactivity levels.

Indoor Air and Water Quality

  1. Assure low total moisture content and rapid desiccation of wet construction processes in new buildings.
  2. Provide for ample ventilation.
  3. All building materials shall be non-toxic with neutral or pleasant natural scents using natural and unadulterated building systems and materials.
  4. Use appropriate water and moisture exclusion techniques to prevent interior growth of fungi, bacteria and dust mites. Techniques to favor mass flow-through envelope enclosures with high hygric buffering capacity.
  5. Assure best possible water quality by applying purification technologies if required.

Occupant Health and Well-being

  1. Allow natural self-regulation of indoor air humidity, sound attenuation and healthy ion balance using hygroscopic (humidity buffering) and sorbent materials and finishes.
  2. Design for a climatically appropriate balance between thermal insulation and thermal storage capacity.
  3. Plan for climatically appropriate surface and air temperature.
  4. Use appropriate thermal radiation strategies for heating buildings including passive solar wherever viable.
  5. Provide adequate acoustical protection from harmful noise and vibration.
  6. Utilize physiological and ergonomic knowledge in interior and furniture design.
  7. Consider proportion, harmonic measure, order and shape in design.

Environmental Protection, Social Responsibility and Energy Efficiency

  1. Materials and methods of construction shall promote human health and well-being from the extraction of raw materials, through to end-of-building’s life.
  2. Avoid the use of building materials that deplete irreplaceable natural resources or are being harvested in an unsustainable manner.
  3. Minimize energy consumption throughout the life of the building utilizing climate-based and energy efficient design, energy and water saving technologies and renewable energy.
  4. Consider the embodied energy and environmental life cycle costs when choosing all materials used in construction.

Ecological Aspects of Living

Ecological aspects of living

What is Ecology anyway?  It can be described as the study of the relationship of the organism with their environment and with each other. It is an ecosystem composed of organisms, their communities, then the non-living aspects of their environment. The principles are used to design a system that is life enhancing. This is a system that can be applied to anything in our world, from an office space to an ant hill. There are four main living aspects to ecology, organism, population, community, ecosystem.  In Building Biology one of our main goals is to make sure the occupant is healthy so we look at how its environment and eco system is operating around it. Ecology is a very important part of Building Biology.

The traditional aspects of ecological living is to learn intuitive knowledge, have intelligent relations and then share the information about the natural world and the human experience.  The experience is the path of the Building Biology Specialist.  Our ultimate model is for perpetual ecological balance.  There is always a direct correlation between biological compatibility and any building materials and its ecological performance. Healthy for us and healthy for the environment.  One irony that does not escape me is that in Building Biology we use nature as the “Gold Standard”, however the first step is to make sure that there are no naturally occurring health hazards where we want to build!  This is because there are parts of nature that can be harmful to humans.

Ecological living practices:

How can you create a healthy home?
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