When we hear the term “environmental pollution,” it’s normal to associate it with the outdoors. But pollution also exists inside buildings – including our homes – where we are subjected to many types of allergens and other contaminants.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), we spend about 90% of our time indoors where our exposure to pollutants is actually 2‑to‑5 times higher than the concentrations of pollution we encounter outside. But there are several ways to reduce and eliminate indoor pollution, especially during the architectural design process.
A healthy building design incorporates the right building materials that will create and maintain positive indoor air quality (IAQ) and indoor sound quality (ISQ). Let’s review a few ways the materials you choose can positively impact indoor environments and promote positive physical and mental health.
Controlling Indoor Air Quality
Indoor air is known to contain several pollutants that can trigger health issues like respiratory illness, tiredness and even digestive problems. Ideally, controlling IAQ issues begins during the design stage. Ensuring your building is air-tight reduces the amount of indoor exposure to mold, allergens and pollutants.
Designing and building a new home, requires careful planning and attention in design and materials selection during the design phase. This whole-house systems approach can enhance a home’s energy efficiency and indoor air quality. The goal is to create a home with lower utility and maintenance costs, improved durability and comfort, and a healthy and safe indoor environment. The Bautex Wall System is a continuously insulated mass wall that also minimizes air and moisture infiltration. The Bautex insulated concrete blocks provide an R‑14 continuous insulation that meets, if not surpasses, the current codes and standards.
The basic material technology used in the development of the Bautex Block was to create a lightweight composite concrete mixture that would be durable and highly insulating. The
Bautex EPS-Cement composite material is lightweight, insulating, fire-resistant, sound reducing, and immune to mold, mildew and decay.
The addition of air and moisture barriers provide an additional layer of protection that supports IAQ. These barriers reduce health risks due to condensation by creating an airtight and energy-efficient building envelope that eliminates thermal bridges and prevents air and moisture from entering the interior of structures.
The Bautex AMB20 Air and Moisture Barrier is a great example of a barrier that is quick and easy to apply using airless spray equipment, paint rollers or trowels. Lab-tested to meet the Air Barrier Association of America’s standards for wall air barrier assemblies, Bautex AMB20 works on exterior wall substrates like Bautex Block, concrete and concrete block (CMU), and sheathing
Bautex AMB20 also meets and exceeds the code requirements of residential construction projects across all U.S. climate zones, giving you a solid solution for reducing and eliminating indoor air pollution for healthier living spaces.
Maintaining Indoor Temperatures
Indoor temperatures impact many aspects of overall health and comfort. Being too cold can cause mood changes like restlessness and distraction while being too hot often leads to feelings of tiredness and can aggravate cardio and respiratory conditions. An acceptable thermal comfort is attained when there is a good balance between the air temperature, humidity and the movement of the air.
Using the right insulation materials is a very important consideration when it comes to maintaining the ideal indoor temperature balance. Homes built with insulated concrete blocks (ICBs), like the Bautex Wall System, offer outstanding thermal control.
The wall system is 10-inches thick, solid and continuously insulated, slowing heat transfer through the wall envelope. This allows the concrete wall to delay heat or cold transfer and keeps heating and cooling systems more energy efficient.
Studies have also shown the chemicals we store indoors can impact our health. Chemicals from cleaning products, everyday household items and indoor building materials are all sources of potentially toxic pollutants when the humidity and temperature levels are not ideal. As the indoor temperature and humidity increases, these chemicals can be released into the air we breathe.
Reducing Indoor Noise Pollution
Chronic noise pollution has been shown to have many impacts on your health. Noise pollution adds to stress levels and creates an environment where it’s difficult to communicate and concentrate. An integral part of creating a peaceful indoor environment with good acoustics begins in the design phase by choosing building materials with soundproofing qualities.
Homes that are built with sound reducing exterior walls like ICBs are typically much quieter than wood frame homes. The Bautex Wall System is an ideal example of an ICB that is well-known for its noise reducing qualities. The wall system’s custom engineered composite material, air tightness and concrete mass work together to create sound deadening walls.
The Bautex Wall System serves as a reliable sound absorbing mass you can depend on without having to add additional layers of materials to your design. Effective at controlling noise transmission in both exterior and interior wall applications, the Bautex Wall System meets the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) criteria for schools and has received high Sound Transmission Class and Outdoor-Indoor Transmission Class ratings from ETS-Lindgren Acoustic Research Laboratory.
Click here to learn more about how the Bautex Wall System and the AMB20 Air and Moisture Barrier work together to create a home that will be protected from various types of indoor pollution that can impact your health and well-being.