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Buildingbiology

Building Biology originated in Germany as Baubiologie and has quickly and with amazing success spread through Europe to the United States, England, New Zealand and Australia as the modern day Feng Shui.

Just as we have learnt to appreciate the value of a healthy diet, we are now waking up to the relevance of a healthy building for a harmonious lifestyle, creative productivity and personal growth.

A building is like a skin.

We live in it.

Living Spaces

(Published in Nature and Health, 2001)

There is an area in our lives and our consciousness that has been rather neglected.

For our personal well-being, we are concerned with our diet, our health, our fitness, our spiritual development, the impact of our actions on the environment, nuclear power and chemical pollution, the comfort and style of our dress, etc.  -  The one thing which usually is being overlooked is:

Our House

Our home represents the intermediary between us and the outer world, almost like a third skin.  Why does it escape our consciousness?  If you choose to live in a plastic bag or in a breathing, interacting, harmonious home - surely, the difference will be noticeable.

Our building culture to date has been dictated by technical and economical needs, rather than the needs of the Human Being and the surrounding natural world.  We have grown so used to this attitude, that something as ancient as the Chinese Feng Shui seems like a revolutionary, exciting technique to heal the mostly sick buildings we live in.

However, the increased interest in Feng Shui reflects the fact that many people  are starting to look at their home environment as an aspect of themselves.  As they take responsibility for their immediate environment, they usually discover a great need for healing.   This is the beginning for a totally new relationship of the individual to his/her surroundings. 

In the following, I would like to outline some examples of how the environment can impact on our lives quite severely and consequently, how we can address this problem.

Electro-stress  

Natural electric and magnetic fields and waves have been part of the human evolution ever since.  They consist of a wide spectrum, from static fields to low and high frequency fields, and from visible light to radioactive rays.  Most of the electric and magnetic fields cannot be felt, such as the magnetic field of the earth, the ionisation of the air, the radioactivity of the earth and the cosmos, X rays and UV rays from the sun.  Only a tiny part of the huge electromagnetic spectrum can be perceived by our senses:  Warmth and light.

Electric and magnetic fields, if we feel them or not, regulate our life functions.  Without natural electromagnetic stimulation, no heart would beat, no brain could think, no eye could see, no muscle could move, no metabolism ( no enzymes) would exist.  Every cell performs more than 100,000 biophysical operations per second!

In our modern automated and highly electrified society however, a large amount of artificial electric energies are present.  They interfere with the delicate natural balance and our bodily systems find it increasingly stressful to maintain their health and integrity. 

Every body, every organ, muscle, nerve and cell is an antenna for electromagnetic fields (EMFs) and frequencies.  Keeping this in mind, every Human reacts in an individual way, depending on the resonance, frequency and strength of the impact and the susceptibility to other pollutants.  Generally, a nerve ending can be stimulated with only 20 Millivolt in an instant of time.   What happens to an organism, which is exposed to thousands of Millivolts for hours, days, weeks, a lifetime?  Enzymatic processes are governed by far smaller voltages and scientists are just beginning to develop instruments delicate enough to gain an understanding of these essential life functions.

Building Biologists have been able to help many clients with a history of chronic disease, who tried every possible therapy, diet, meditation, - all to no avail. Yet, the answer can be so simple.

The symptoms of electro-stress differ individually, but generally speaking are listlessness, lack of energy, headache, migraine, sleeplessness, aching muscles, even bed wetting and behavioural problems in children, heart attacks, cancer, allergies, asthma, poor immunity, etc.  

The bedroom needs most attention, as during night time the body should relax and recover. Instead, it might be exposed to considerable stress by external unnatural forces. 

Tips:  No electric blankets, no waterbeds, only battery driven alarm clocks, shielded wiring, earthed bedside lamps and generally avoid to sleep close to a wall with conducting wires.  Try to turn off the fuses, when going to bed  for a couple of weeks and observe the difference.  It has to be said, that a variety of frequencies, emerging from neighbouring households, trains, etc. can still be present and impact on the well-being.  In that case it will be necessary to call for a professional investigation.  It has been found, that some people are affected by certain 'frequency windows', only.  Symptoms can be triggered in the laboratory by creating the specific frequency.

Another area of concern are electrostatic charges.  I was just told of a healing of a child's severe asthma, after her nylon pet raccoon (5000 V!) was removed from her bed and put into a cotton sleeping bag.

A different type of pollution is emitted as electromagnetic wave energy by digital mobile phones (and similarly by radio, TV, radar, satellite communication, microwave ovens).  Nokia are spending heavily on research to design phones which shield the head form the bombardment of radiating energy.  The particular danger with mobiles lies in the way the waves are pulse modulated.  Imposed on a high frequency background radiation is a low frequency pulse, a good idea to send the energy with the lowest need for power into every part of our modern society.  Pulsing is powerful, - think of a jackhammer.  Only through the constant on/off switching is it able to break through thick concrete.  Bright light is fine, but if it switches on and off flickering like a stroboscope, it causes all sorts of nervous disturbances.  - An impact of the mobile pulse on the human EEG (brainwaves) has been proven.  The observed peaks remain in the EEG spectrum, even after hours or days, before the brain's function returns back to normal.  According to Russian norms, most mobiles would only be allowed at a distance of around 60m form our heads, and everyone within 60 m of a mobile user and hundreds of meters of a phonetower is actually affected, as shown by EEG examinations. 

Science has not been able, yet to sufficiently explain the interaction of living organisms and EMFs, nor has the relationship with other pollutants or stress factors been explored sufficiently.   At this stage, it can only be stated that there is a relationship, and we need to be aware of it. 

Earthlines, Land Energies

The Earth is a living organism with etheric energy lines, similar to the acupuncture meridians in Humans.  We know a variety of grid systems, like the Hartmann grid and the Curry grid.  Crossings of gridlines are particularly noxious. 

Scientists as well as dowsers are able to measure objectively underground watercourses and geological disturbances.   All of the above can impact severely on our well-being, as they interfere with the body's own systems and rhythms.  Dowsers have been able to predict cancer  in clients by finding the grid crossings in their bed.  Certainly, cancer can rarely be attributed to any one factor alone, but there is enough evidence to show that earth lines or other negative energies are a major contributing stress factor which is often overlooked.

Some Earth energies can also be very beneficial, and it would be a great shame to miss out on them.  Why place a TV on the energy well, if you could sleep on it?

A simple way to detect land energies is by dowsing.  Anyone can be shown how to do it quite easily (read Awakening the Third Eye, by Dr. Samuel Sagan). 

Great care needs to be taken with bedrooms and workplaces, where people spend most of their time in one position, and just as with EMFs and other pollutants, children are particularly at risk.

Building Materials

Have a good look around your home and count the man-made materials.  In quite a number of houses, it is in fact difficult to find any natural materials, at all.

In Building Biology, we consider

{   the amount of energy necessary for manufacturing and transport

{   the recyclability

{   the toxicity, including emissions during production, use and after dumping

{   the permeability for natural cosmic radiation

{   the permeability for air and the ability to filter air

{   the susceptibility to electrostatic charges

{   temperature insulation and heat storage ability

{   resistance to mould, yeasts, bacteria, vermin

The ideal building materials here in Australia seem to be timber, straw, and mudbrick. For interior cladding natural gypsum boards and timber are the favourites, covered with natural paints, oils or wall paper.  

Landscaping, Interior and Exterior Design

Why do we feel so good in nature and so horrible in the uniformity of our city's box-like buildings?  We all know how to replenish ourselves by enjoying the majestic harmonies of nature.  There are no right angles, everything is changing and will never be the same again, every moment is unique and special.  It makes us feel part of the creation. 

Why are our dwellings not reflecting this?  Why are we prioritising economical and technical considerations before beauty and harmony? 

We don't need to feel alienated in our closest environment, if we get our priorities right:  The individual needs have to come first.  After all, we are the inhabitants ...  let's make our house a reflection of ourselves and our life.  Even most project homes can be altered easily with a little good will and little extra money, provided there is a demand. 

Just the wise choice of colours can make all the difference, and wouldn't it be good if we all took the opportunity and learnt a little more about the psychology and the vibrations of colours?  And then, let's choose natural paints based on plant pigments, without petro chemical solvents and permeable by air, so the condensation and the ensuing mould will stop, eliminating the need for fungicides, which pollute the indoors and add to our stressload, which would force us to a doctor, who would not be sure what the problem is and prescribe painkillers and sleeping pills, -- totally estranged from nature's reason:  Harmony.  This is what we are missing.  And we don't need to wait for it to happen to us, - we've got to create it ourselves by making a space for it in our homes and offices. 

The prevention of pest infestations also is an important aspect of the building design.   The use of pesticides is already illegal in Western Australia for very good reasons:  They don't really work and they remain extremely toxic for many years, remaining in food chains for decades.  The fumes filter through the floors into our buildings and we breathe them in, children play under the house, the vegetable garden is close, - 

For environmentally conscious construction methods and pest inspectors see the resource list at the end of this article.

Energy Use, Solar Design

As mentioned above, a lot of energy can be saved by choosing the right building materials.  An intelligent position towards the sun, taking advantage of north and the different angles of summer and winter can also save considerable energy every year.  Insulation with woolbats or insul-fluff made form recycled paper, and a heating system using renewable resources like wood, and connected to the solar collector on the roof for hot water give us all the warmth we need with a minimum impact on the world resources, the Greenhouse gases and the Ozone Layer.   

If it is possible to build 'Zero Energy Houses' in northern Europe, it should easily be possible here in Australia, even without all the high-tech of heat pumps, solar cells, turbines, etc.

Entities

Some people feel a strange presence in their home.  There might for example be a room which everyone avoids, which smells funny and always seems cold and untidy.  Clients may even feel as if dead relatives are still around, making their influence felt.  It takes a lot of courage in our 'rational' age to admit to such sensations and to search for someone to conduct a clearing.  (Unfortunately, there are a few self styled clearers around who can cause more damage than there was before.)

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In the context of all these examples, it is interesting to note that part of Australia's bid for the Olympics was a 'Green Village', which was to provide superior living conditions for the athletes - and for the prospective buyers.  The vision exists, it just needs time to be implemented and to grow into a new reality.

With the above examples I have tried to show how you can enhance your life by enhancing the life of your environment.  There is no clear distinction, things don't just happen outside of us, as  our old economic and technical thinking patterns are suggesting.   To take a pill because your home gives your headaches is an old pattern, which grew out of the distinction between the world outside and the Me, - inside and separate. 

We now know that there is an intense relationship, and indeed:  A unique responsibility for how we live in the world around us.  It is not just the world, that suffers.  We suffer with it. 

We need to learn a different attitude towards our homes and workplaces.  An attitude that places the needs of the Human Being in the middle of all considerations.  We have a right and an obligation to live in a healthy, breathing, beautiful Living Space.

Objective measurements clearly show that a lot of work needs to be done, and for many of my clients it has been a great relief to at last be empowered to act.  We can be grateful for the hope inherent in the available knowledge and with a step by step approach make our lives so much more liveable.

Some readers will not have encountered any problems with allergy, asthma, irritability, exhaustion, etc.  They are the lucky few without clear symptoms, thanks to their genes.  However, I would like to suggest that absolutely everyone could benefit from addressing the above issues, as the home impacts on individual potentials in general.  There can only be winners.

 Joachim Herrmann