Healthy Buildings II - Building Environment & Health 100 Hours Certificate Course
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Healthy Buildings II - Building Environment & Health 100 Hours Certificate Course
Healthy Buildings II (Building Enviroment & Health) Develops skills to evaluate, describe and explain how physical characteristics of a building and its surrounds have an impact upon human health. This course builds on Healthy Buildings I, but can also stand alone as it covers such topics as impact and the macro-environment. The course covers how weather systems and garden design influences the internal environment of a house, health aspects of different furnishings, paints, pesticides and chemicals (and alternatives), alternative methods of pest control, managing building surrounds and interior environments.
Learning Goals: Healthy Buildings II (Building Environment & Health) BSS300
- Explain the impact of the macro-environment (location) on health
- Develop an understanding of chemicals used in and around buildings and their impact upon human health
- Explain the impact of building surrounds, including a garden on the interior environmental conditions
- Choose interior furnishings that are not likely to damage human health
- Explain the health implications of using different types of finishes, including sealers, paints, preservatives and stains
- Explain the health implications of using alternative methods of pest control in buildings and adjacent gardens
- Plan health-conscious management systems for interior environments
- To develop an appreciation of the opportunities for, and implications of, advising people on the health status of buildings and recommending changes to the management of their use
Lesson Structure: Healthy Buildings II (Building Environment & Health) BSS300
There are 8 lessons:
1 Environmental Impacts On Buildings
- Scope, nature and principles of building biology
- Environmental impacts on buildings
- Climate, building location, radon, air quality, allergies, temperature, humidity, light, EMR
- Creation of electric fields
- Air pollutants
- Cleaning chemicals
- Chemical breakdowns
- Leakages and spills
- Pesticides -household, industrial, agricultural
- Solid Waste pollutants
- Persistent organic polutants (POP's)
- Heavy Metals
- Where different chemicals originate in a building
3 Building Surrounds
- Creating a buffer zone
- Windbreaks, hedges, screens
- Creating Shade
- Designing a healthy home garden
- Going natural in the garden
- Avoiding problem materials
- Disposing of waste
- Making compost
- Working with rather than against nature
- Energy conservation
- Solar House Design
- Green principles for house design
- Gas appliances, heaters and fireplaces
- Materials characteristics
- Floor Coverings
- Flame retardation treatments
- Dry cleaning and mothballing
- Temperature and acoustic properties of fabrics
- Chemical reactions
- Lung disease, cancer, skin disease
- Timber finishes against decay
- Varnishes and oils
6 Pesticides & Alternatives
- Types of insecticides -inorganic and biological (organophosphates, carbamates etc)
- Miticides, Bacteriacides, Algaecides, Termite treatments
- Understanding pesticide characteristics -toxicity, persistence, volatility, etc
- Common chemicals used in buildings, and natural alternatives
- Common garden chemicals and natural pest/weed management
- Understanding Insect Pest Management options
7 Managing Interior Environments
- Assessing air quality
- Temperature control
- Domestic pets
- Indoor Plants
- Othyer hazards
- Services that can be offered to a client
- Checklist of building hazards
- Procedures and business practice for a consultant
- Setting up costs
- Operating a business
- Developing a business plan
- Determining fees to charge
- Explain how proximity to different bodies of water can affect human health, including:
- Freshwater lakes
- Ground water.
- Explain how different aspects of prevailing weather patterns may influence house design in different regions, including:
- day length.
- Explain in a summary, how proximity to electromagnetic radiation may impact on health.
- Explain in a summary, how proximity to different types of pollution can impact on health inside a dwelling.
- Compare the impact of different garden treatments upon temperature inside buildings, including:
- tall trees
- mulched surfaces
- climbers on walls.
- Explain how different garden design decisions can affect ventilation in a house, including:
- earth shaping
- water features.
- Compare the affect different garden components on light inside a building, including:
- Plant types
- How plants are grouped
- Explain how the visual characteristics of two different gardens influence the inside environment of a building.
- Analyse two different gardens for the impact they have on buildings they surround.
- Compare health aspects of different materials used for furnishings including:
- Compare health aspects of different floor coverings including:
- Explain health aspects of different electrical appliances including:
- Evaluate the furnishings in a building inspected by the learner, to determine recommended changes to improve building habitability.
- Compare the health affects of different types of finishes including: sealers, paints, stains, preservatives and varnishes.
- Compile a resource directory of ten sources of healthy alternatives to traditional finishes.
- Describe the characteristics of three different specific products which are healthy alternatives to traditional paints and finishes.
- Explain the toxic affects of ten different pesticides commonly used in buildings, both during and after construction.
- List alternative "healthier" methods of controlling pests in buildings, including:
- Develop a detailed pest control strategy for a building, in the learners locality, which includes:
- structural treatments during and post construction
- preventative measures for anticipated problems
- eradication measures for existing problems.
- Explain issues of building usage which can impact on health with respect to different factors including:
- number of people
- windows and doors
- Analyse the way two specific buildings including a home and a workplace are used; to determine health risk factors in that use.
- Recommend guidelines to the way in which different buildings, including an office, and a workplace, are used, to minimise negative impacts upon health.
Excerpt From The Course
The use of various finishing products around the home or office can have drastic implications for our health.
Many people would acknowledge that paints and other similar petrochemical based finishes have the potential to be harmful. They may not however, realise the extent of damage that these types of products are capable of, or that all paints, even water based paints can be detrimental to the health of those exposed to them.
The level of health risk posed can vary quite considerably from feelings of lethargy to a higher susceptibility to head colds, and extreme cases the development of asthmatic symptoms. Painters, above everyone else, are most at risk. They often develop a tolerance to the harsher smelling chemicals and in so doing are ignoring a basic warning mechanism of the human body: that of smell. The health risks for those exposed for long periods to organic solvents such as paint vapours are of considerable concern.
Asthma, bronchitis, emphysema, and silicosis are all diseases of the lungs which can be brought about from exposure to certain toxic chemicals. The problem of the lungs developing sensitivity to a particular irritant can mean that even small exposures to the offending allergen can trigger allergic reactions of debilitating proportions.
There is enough scientific evidence available to suggest that exposure to paint can mean exposure to certain chemical carcinogens which in turn increases the risk of cancer in human beings.
Certain chemicals contain irritants which are responsible for causing contact dermatitis. The skin reacts upon contact and can result in itchiness, cracked and dry rashes, and/or blisters.
The extent to which chemicals can affect human health should not be underestimated even if no obvious signs of ill-health are visible. The danger may go as far as to affect unborn babies.
Furniture, floors, walls, roofs etc (exterior and interior) are treated with various types of products in order to seal a surface, preserve it, or to create an aesthetic effect. Many synthetic paints, sealants, varnishes, stains etc. have health problems associated with their use.
Paint is a solid material (i.e. a coloured powder or pigment) mixed into a liquid (e.g. oil or water). Other additives have often been mixed in for various reasons (e.g. to hasten drying, as a thinner, or to control insects). Natural additives are more often the safest alternatives (e.g. resins, oils, starches and waxes from plants).
Synthetic additives are often hazardous (e.g. insecticides or synthetic aromatic chemicals). Products which contain volatile chemicals (e.g. toluene, xylene and ketones) are hazardous. Older types of paints containing lead are a problem.
Varnishes and paints (epoxy types), contain hazardous phenols and synthetic resins. In a house fire many of these chemicals will give off poisonous gases.
The type of pigment used can also affect the hazard rating of a finish. Some pigments are relatively safe (especially those derived from plants such as natural fabric dyes). Natural pigments may often fade over time, but brighter mineral pigments may be more dangerous.
Anti-mould and Insecticide Additives
Many paints have anti-moulds and/or pesticides added to them. Before purchasing it is best to check whether the paint has these pre-added.
Acrylic paints are water based, this means there is no need to use chemicals for clean up after painting. Cheap/trade versions contain vinyls to make it paint on easier. Vinyl outgases noxious chemicals and paint containing vinyls are less durable than those that are 100% acrylic.
Traditionally indoor paints for walls were all oil based. Oil paint will continue to produce strong odours for long after it is used as they are much higher in VOC’s than other types. Thinners or other solvents are required for clean up.
Note that many newer paints on the market are Low (or no) VOC (volatiles organic chemicals). These are designed for consumers with chemical sensitivities and/or allergies.
There are now no-VOC paints available. These may be plant or clay based. As a consequence they often have limited ranges of colour.
The process of removing an undesirable finish from a room to replace it with a safer alternative can in itself be hazardous. Dust created (or particles loosened) when removing hazardous material can easily be breathed in. The products used to remove old paint (or varnish etc) can also be dangerous. For example, turpentine (a natural product distilled from oils in certain pine trees) is a relatively safe solvent, but synthetic white spirit which is sold today as turpentine, is derived from petroleum and is a quite different product.
Whenever cleaning down old surfaces, ensure that the work area is well ventilated and wear safety gear including gloves and a mask. Do not work during excessive heat when sweat glands are wide open as this can result in extra absorption of toxins into the body. Do not undertake work when other people are nearby and clean up the area thoroughly immediately after completing the job (for large jobs, clean progressively throughout the job).
Many older houses still contain lead based paint. Lead based paint is only dangerous if it is chipped, flaking or during removal when it is damaged. Additionally it is dangerous if it is chewed upon (by children) or where two painted areas are in friction (ie: door jam). Anyone with an older house who is considering renovations should investigate safe removal.
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