Residential

Home Trends: Designing Your Home for Health and Comfort

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.