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.