Building Biology is a health-based approach to evaluating buildings
and designing healthy structures, that recognises humans to be part of,
and not apart from, a greater natural system.
Holistically, it is a study of interaction between people and the built environment.
In particular, it looks at how buildings in which we live, study and work
can affect our health, and how we can make changes that minimise
our exposures to health hazards in our environments.
After World War II, many new building materials and mechanical equipment (especially air conditioning) changed the way we built. In so doing, a rash of building related illnesses and sick building syndrome affected many unsuspecting occupants who experienced headaches, eye, nose, and throat irritation, fatigue, dizziness and nausea. These symptoms appeared to be linked to time spent in a building, though no specific cause could be identified.
Eventually, the causes have been linked to poor indoor air quality as a result of flaws in heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems; contaminants produced by outgassing of building materials; chemicals used to clean the building; moulds and lack of adequate fresh-air intake/air filtration. For the first time people began to realise, on a large scale, that buildings have a direct impact on those who occupy them.
Presently, we know that the average person spends 90 percent of their time indoors, which is in stark contrast to most of human history, when mankind spent significant time outdoors. We also know that the list of diseases that may be caused or exacerbated by environmental exposures (including built environment) is extensive and growing. These include asthma and allergies, autism, ADHD, heart disease, obesity, Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimers, childhood leukaemia, brain cancer, breast cancer, testicular and prostate cancers and many environmental intolerances.
It is clear that we need to examine and change the way we build, what we bring into our homes and how we interact with our surroundings if we want to live healthy and meaningful lives.
Building Biology’s vision of a healthy indoor environment encompasses several criteria that are not often considered in the more mainstream technology-based approach to building.
These include the study of earth energies and geopathic disturbances; responsiveness of the building to local climatic conditions, the elimination of man-made electromagnetic fields; the benefits of colour and light in building design; and the role that breathable natural/non-toxic materials play in balancing humidity and electro-climate.
The building is seen as a third skin (clothes being the second) - a permeable organism interacting with natural world facilitating a balanced exchange of air and humidity, which in turn supports our good health. Here you can download all 25 principles of Building Biology, which incorporate the concepts of creating safe, healthy and environmentally friendly buildings.
Developed in Germany as Bau-Biologie (Bau meaning building and the living environment, Bios meaning all forms of life, and logos implying a sense of order), this health-based approach to buildings was continually improved and eventually brought to the rest of the world.
In Australia, The Australasian Society of Building Biologists founded in 2007 serves as a platform to educate the public, businesses, health practitioners and government bodies about Building Biology and the precautionary principles, which govern it. You can also study Building Biology at the nationally accredited training organisation –
The Australian College of Environmental Studies based out of Melbourne with flexible delivery options and on-campus training offered in Melbourne, Sydney and Auckland.
Building Biology consulting brings a unique environmental and occupant-health perspective to an often nuts-and-bolts industry.
We are part of the new growing sector of environmentally concerned builders, designers and homeowners who care about the health of the environment because we know that it is intrinsically connected to our own wellbeing.
While the medical industry continues to look for cures for chronic disease, Building Biology seeks to prevent disease by helping consumers make informed choices when it comes to their indoor environments.
According to Building Biology, NATURE is the ultimate GUIDE!