In the field of Architecture and Design, the term “Building Biology” is unrecognized by many. Before diving into the world of toxic mold, I had never even heard of Building Biology.
When I tell folks I’m studying to become a Building Biologist, most people usually ask what a Building Biologist does. Many will ask if it’s similar to LEED or Green design, and in a sense it is, but I wanted to give an overview of Building Biology and how it differs/relates to Green design.
What is Building Biology?
In my own words, Building Biology is the study and practice of creating healthy built environments. In Building Biology, “Nature is the gold standard”, and decisions regarding our built environment are made based not only on the health of the occupants but the health of the planet.
Building Biology, stemming from the german Bau Biologie, started in Germany after WWII, when they realized that all of the new post-industrial revolution building materials that were being used to rebuild Germany were actually making people sick.
In Building Biology, the guiding force for all decisions is based on the 25 Principals of Building Biology.
Building Biology is a holistic approach to design and the built environment that considers the whole picture. It considers the built environment as a living, breathing, organism, as opposed to “green design” which considers the building as an “efficient system”.
Building Biology goes a bit further than green design and goes a bit deeper than what’s considered in the traditional green design model. Buildings, although energy efficient, may fail to support optimal health when they contain toxins that encourage the proliferation of biological toxins (mold), emit and fail to block EMRs, and when they are uncomfortable, have poor indoor climate, and fail to nurture all of our senses.
There are 3 paths one can take when becoming a certified Building Biologist. I am on the path to becoming triple certified and I’m on target to complete these certifications by April 2021.
BBEC (Building Biology Environmental Consultant)
- Using the building biology principals we’re taught how to evaluate and assess an existing space to identify the source of environmental hazards (indoor air quality, mold, EMR, toxins, etc.) and make suggestions as to how to remediate or mitigate these potential health threats. A BBEC is also an educator on all things non-toxic living and helps clients to make better health-oriented decisions moving forward.
BBNC (Building Biology New Build Consultant)
- This builds on the BBEC pathway, but we’re focused on creating a healthy space from the ground up. A BBNC works on remodels or new builds and consults on everything from selecting a healthy site, space planning for the environmentally susceptible individual, and sourcing healthy interior finishes, lighting, furniture, etc.
EMRS (Electromagnetic Radiation Specialist)
- An EMRS will identify, assess, and mitigate/eliminate electromagnetic emissions (EMR, EMFs) in homes, schools, offices, and commercial buildings. An EMRS will all advise the user, owner, architect, builder, or inspector on preventative methods and practices that create and maintain a minimized presence of electromagnetic radiation.
The knowledge gained throughout these three pathways gives us a clear picture of what is required for whole-home + human, holistic health. Our environment is rapidly changing and there’s little that we can control. Fortunately, we have the power to control our interior environment and how we choose to live. I like to say, our front door is our biggest home “Filter”—you decide what comes in and out of it.
If any of this speaks to you or you feel you might benefit from working with a Building Biologist but want to learn more, drop a line below, and let’s connect.