Build Healthy Green Buildings with Bautex Wall Systems

Healthy-green building design is essential for providing an indoor envi­ron­ment that is safe and pro­duc­tive to its occupants. In fact, a 2014study by Harvard proved the impor­tance of healthy-green building design. The study concluded that cognitive function test scores* doubled in indoor envi­ron­ments with improved indoor envi­ron­men­tal quality. Healthy-green buildings also are good for the global envi­ron­ment** because they use less energy and are sustainable***.

Healthy-green building design and con­struc­tion has evolved over the past 40 years to include the well being of both the envi­ron­ment and building’s occupants. Initially, the goal of green building design was to minimize the adverse impacts on the natural envi­ron­ment. Over time, this grew to include an addi­tion­al emphasis on the health, safety, and pro­duc­tiv­i­ty of the occupants of the building. A healthy-green building design considers energy, water, and waste effi­cien­cy along with indoor envi­ron­men­tal factors, such as indoor air quality (IAQ), thermal, light, acoustic, privacy, security, and the function of the space. Healthy-green building design rec­og­nizes that design, con­struc­tion, and material choices can all have a profound effect on the natural envi­ron­ment along with the people who occupy the buildings.

The Healthy-Green Building Movement

The modern healthy-green building movement began in the 1970s. It grew out of growing envi­ron­men­tal awareness, rising fuel costs and the Orga­ni­za­tion of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) oil embargo of 1973. During the 1970s, the Institute of Archi­tects (AIA) formed a Committee on Energy. Initially, the orga­ni­za­tion studied passive green building tech­niques to achieve energy savings, like reflec­tive roofing materials and natural ven­ti­la­tion. The committee also looked at tech­no­log­i­cal solutions, such as the use of triple-glazed windows. In 1993, the United States Green Build Council (USGBC) was estab­lished to promote sus­tain­able practices in the building and con­struc­tion industry. The council includes trade asso­ci­a­tions, archi­tects, designers, and indi­vid­u­als all inter­est­ed in the greening of the con­struc­tion business. In 1995, the USGBC began devel­op­ing a rating system for sus­tain­abil­i­ty, the Lead­er­ship in Energy and Envi­ron­men­tal Design (LEED). Intro­duced in 2000, LEED initially focused on limiting the damage caused by a building project. Today LEED also empha­sizes the potential for building projects to con­tribute pos­i­tive­ly to their com­mu­ni­ties and the planet with new impact cat­e­gories including climate change, human health, water resources, bio­di­ver­si­ty, green economy, community and natural resources. Buildings become LEED certified based on points they obtain within six building com­po­nents: 1. indoor envi­ron­men­tal quality 2. water effi­cien­cy 3. energy and atmos­phere 4. materials and resources, 5. sus­tain­able sites and 6. inno­va­tion and design process. Over the past forty years, healthy-green building design has become one of the fastest growing building and design concepts utilized by archi­tects, con­trac­tors, and building owners.

The Design of a Healthy-Green Building

When designing a healthy-green building, it is essential to consider both the global envi­ron­ment and the building’s occupants. A healthy-green building design promotes sus­tain­able practices and an indoor envi­ron­ment that is safe, healthy and pro­duc­tive to its occupants.

Indoor Envi­ron­men­tal Quality of a Healthy-Green Building

The indoor envi­ron­men­tal quality (IEQ) of a structure sig­nif­i­cant­ly impacts the health, comfort, and pro­duc­tiv­i­ty of its occupants. IEQ attrib­ut­es include max­i­miz­ing day­light­ing, applying proper ven­ti­la­tion, con­trol­ling moisture, opti­miz­ing acoustic per­for­mance, and avoiding the use of materials with high-VOC**** emissions. The IEQ of a healthy-green building should also include occupant control over systems such as lighting and temperature.

Healthy-Green Buildings are Water Efficient

A healthy-green building should include water efficient features that recycle water on site. Recycling the water on site reduces energy use and the financial costs required to pump, transport, and treat water in a sewage treatment plant.

Energy Effi­cien­cy of a Healthy-Green Building

A healthy-green building design is energy efficient and strives to create a net zero energy building. A net zero energy building makes as much energy as it uses over the course of a year. Energy efficient buildings are important because they save money and energy.

Materials and Resources of a Healthy-Green Building

A healthy-green building strives to minimize its impact on resource depletion, global warming, toxicity and human health and safety through careful use and reuse of materials and resources.

Sus­tain­able Site Selection for a Healthy-Green Building

The location, ori­en­ta­tion, and landscape of a building affect the ecosys­tems, trans­porta­tion methods, and energy use of the sur­round­ing area. The site should reduce, control, and treat stormwa­ter runoff, support native flora and fauna of the region, prevent envi­ron­men­tal degra­da­tion caused by facil­i­ties and infra­struc­ture and support buildings that are com­fort­able, safe, and productive. 

Inno­va­tion and Design Process of a Healthy-Green Building

Address­ing operation and main­te­nance issues early in the design process of a healthy-green building can greatly improve the work envi­ron­ment, increase pro­duc­tiv­i­ty, reduce energy and resource costs, and prevent system failures. Building operators, main­te­nance personnel, and designers should all par­tic­i­pate in this early phase of the design to optimize oper­a­tions and main­te­nance of the building. 

Bautex Blocks are the Ideal Choice for a Healthy-Green Building

The Bautex™ Wall System is an excellent option for a healthy-green building design. Bautex Blocks create an energy efficient building envelope that is pest, rot, disaster and fire resistant. Bautex Wall system also provides an excellent IEQ and is low maintenance.

— The Bautex Wall System insulated concrete wall system reduces the transfer of sound from the outside to the inside of a structure. In fact, the Bautex Wall System received a high Sound Trans­mis­sion Class (STC) rating of 51 and a high Outdoor-Indoor Trans­mis­sion Class (OITC) per­for­mance rating of 47

— Bautex AMB 20 air and moisture barrier applied to the block wall prevents air and moisture infil­tra­tion to the interior of a building

— Bautex Blocks have lower volatile organic compound (VOC) emittance than wood. Bautex blocks are 0% VOC.

— Bautex Blocks are pest and rodent resistant

— Bautex Blocks are low main­te­nance because concrete is less sus­cep­ti­ble to rot and rust than wood or steel

Healthy-green building design creates an indoor envi­ron­ment that is healthy, safe and pro­duc­tive to its occupants. It is also good for the natural envi­ron­ment. A healthy-green building design must take into account the location of the building site, water, and energy effi­cien­cy, the design process, materials and resource used, and the indoor envi­ron­men­tal quality. Attention to these com­po­nents will ensure con­struc­tion of a healthy-green building. For more infor­ma­tion on healthy-green building design visit Bautex Wall Systems.

*Cognitive ability tests assess a person’s ability to think, reason, perceive, and remember, along with verbal and math­e­mat­i­cal ability, and problem-solving.

** Eighty percent of the world’s energy comes from fossil fuels. The burning of fossil fuels is a problem because it has caused an excessive buildup of green­house gases, which has created global warming. Adverse impacts of global warming are extensive. A few of the impacts include rising sea levels due to increas­ing rates of glacial melting, more acidic oceans due to increas­ing carbon dioxide levels, and more frequent and severe weather events.

***The sus­tain­able design aims to reduce depletion of critical resources like water, land, raw materials and energy. Sus­tain­able design of facil­i­ties and infra­struc­ture also prevents the destruc­tion of the ecosystem.

****Volatile organic compounds (VOC) are chemicals used to man­u­fac­ture and maintain building materials, interior fur­nish­ing, cleaning products and personal care products. Emissions of VOCs from these products can cause nose, eye and throat irri­ta­tions, headaches, nausea and damage to the kidney, liver and central nervous system. Some organics can even cause cancer in animals and humans.