The most common and prevalent construction practices use materials and designs that create an impermeable barrier between the interior and exterior of the home. This generally makes the interior a type of bubble environment that may have an ideal climate. Humidity and temperature can be well-controlled through this impermeability. This type of isolated and controlled environment may sound ideal and even healthy to you. While many people believe that this construction design essentially improves indoor quality by keeping outdoor pollution and allergens out of the building, this is not actually the case. A closer look at the benefits of permeability in construction design processes and materials may help you build or renovate a healthy, natural structure.
What May Be Happening in Your Building
Everything from your appliances and cooking habits to your air conditioning system and more can generate pollutants inside a building. Pets may release allergens in the environment. You and your pets may also track pollutants into the building on your feet or body. The reality is that a well-enclosed building is not free of allergens, and it may actually be unhealthier than the outdoor air is. This is because the impermeable nature of many buildings traps pollutants and allergens that are generated in the home or that are tracked into the space. Because these pollutants cannot escape, the indoor environment becomes increasingly unhealthy over time.
Natural Building Designs and Materials
Many construction experts, engineers and others are taking steps to improve this phenomenon. For example, some are using more organic and permeable building materials that essentially allow the building to breathe. Air conditioning systems are also being enhanced based on natural designs. For example, the temperature control mechanisms of some types of birds are facilitating the design of a more natural heat exchange system for buildings. Indoor humidity control is inspired by ticks, and modern controls use natural dehumidifying processes. These efforts essentially create greater balance between the interior and exterior environments.
Retrofitting an Existing Structure
These incredibly innovative uses of materials and biomimicry technology are changing the way new construction projects are completed, but they also can be used to improve existing structures. Because these materials and technologies are essentially built into the home, retrofitting through renovations may be necessary. For example, you will not simply be able to replace the air conditioning unit in your home. Instead, you will need to incorporate heat exchange technology as well as dehumidifying technology into the structure. This is a more significant process than a simple AC replacement service, but the effort can result in a healthier home environment.
Natural home construction processes and materials are becoming increasingly popular, but they are not yet commonplace. If you are building a new home from the ground up or if you have plans to renovate your home, you may need to spend ample time researching contractors to find a company that is familiar with these processes and materials. While you may need to spend ample time with this effort, the end result may be well worthwhile.