Every year on 24 October, the international day against climate change is celebrated as a visible and symbolic action to mobilise and raise awareness of its effects and the resulting global warming. Anthropogenic climate change is the result of our activities and lifestyles, which are not always in tune with the natural rhythm of the planet Earth that hosts us.
"Climate change influences the social and environmental determinants of health, namely clean air, clean water, sufficient food and safe housing. Extreme air temperatures contribute directly to deaths from cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, especially among the elderly. High temperatures also lead to increased levels of ozone and other air pollutants that aggravate cardiovascular and respiratory diseases. Pollen and other allergen levels are also higher in extreme heat. They can cause asthma, which affects some 300 million people.
This anthropogenic climate change has direct consequences on how we live and inhabit planet earth. And vice versa. Our way of life, our health, is therefore conditioned by these environmental conditions.
Industry and transportation take the medal for the greatest contribution to climate change. And as ordinary citizens, we can feel far removed from them by our daily actions. But what about the buildings where we live and work where, in fact, we spend 80% to 90% of our time?
The building sector is responsible for 40% of energy consumption in the EU and 36% of CO₂ emissions.. Considerable figures and that should lead us to question the environmental impact of our buildings and our lifestyle.
Minimizing the environmental impact of buildings must be accompanied by actions throughout the life of the building. Actions that lead to consuming fewer natural resources, to reducing the associated energy demand and expenditure, or to limiting the CO₂ emissions associated with its construction and use.
And these actions necessarily imply a change in the traditional way of building. The regulatory trend (European Energy Efficiency Directive, transposed in Spain in the latest update of the CTE) leads us to construct and rehabilitate buildings with high levels of insulation and greater airtightness, to reduce energy demand and achieve high efficiency in equipment and systems .
This is an important step in reducing the associated energy consumption. However, there must also be a reduction in the energy embodied in the building materials, which includes all the energy consumption and CO₂ emissions that a material of synthetic origin generates for its production and installation. And it is here where natural and mineral materials make even more sense: wood construction, natural insulators such as natural wood fibers, hemp, cotton; natural and mineral coatings, such as earth or lime, among many others that work the bioconstruction and biology of the habitat. For its lower processing, its lower environmental impact, its km.0 in many cases, or its high technical performance to understand the building as our third skin.
The relationship between environment, health and sustainability is not limited to the energy calculation of buildings, but encompasses their healthiness and the impact on health; ours and that of the Planet. The paradigm shift lies in building with the planet in mind, as well as those who construct and occupy the buildings. In this way we minimise pollution (internal and external) during the whole life cycle and the technical and environmental pathologies derived from it. Actions that are sustainable and healthy for the planet, in terms of environmental impact, will also be so for those who occupy the building. Health and sustainability, an inseparable binomial.
The indoor air quality is a direct consequence of the materials with which we construct our buildings. As an example, the air quality measurements that inBiot carries out with 100x100 Madera, manufacturer and builder of BioPassive and sustainable buildings.
Their spaces are built with natural and mineral materials with low indoor air emissions. In addition, they use formaldehyde-free furniture and glues for the structures, and a mechanical ventilation system with a filtering system that guarantees adequate air renewal.
100×100 Madera Showroom Monitoring Charts
The data shows that efforts made to take care of the materials used in housing construction result in a lower environmental impact and improved indoor health .
Sustainability and health as actions against climate change.