In this short ebook, after expounding on a brief introduction and the Holistic Residence Institute’s philosophy, I will first look at the building sickness epidemic called Sick Building Syndrome (SBS) and its impact on cancer. (Section A). Thereafter, i will introduce the Holistic Eco-dwelling concept including its constituent elements and show how this housing healing modality can promote cancer-free healthy longevity. (Section B). The Final section of this study is devoted to practical tips and actionable methodologies to transfrom one’s own living and working quarters into a Holistic Eco-dwelling (or build one from scratch). It will be developed in a second more detailed ebook.
While many conventional doctors and public health officials would claim that holistic eco-dwelling is an ideological and idealistic notion that does not have much to do with medicine, for the author of this ebook, the “terrain” or the “milieu” is “everything”, as Claude Bernard and Pasteur stated more than a century ago, regarding the body terrain. In effect, we have three “milieux” to pay attention to. The body-temple. The house or living-working sanctuary. And the neighborhood eco-village milieu. If the goal is enjoying a vibrant healthy 120 years lifespan, all of these inter-related “eco-systems” need holistic care
In other words, any and all serious medical diagnosis should simultaneously target both symptoms and the root-causes of the concerned disease, in contradistinction to the conventional reductionist medical model of health-care which focuses on symptomatology and minimizes the search for root causes by characterizing most complex diseases as “cryptogenic” or “idiopathic”, (ie, which means of “no known cause”).
Furthermore, many of the root-causes come fromwhere the patient spends the most time. As a corollary to this premise, both the living-sanctuary (indoors) and the outdoors need to be investigated in terms of root-cause analysis.
In the US, one corroborating Source shows that on average, Americans spend at least 90 percent of their human lifetime indoors. ((Source) Another Source, the National Human Activity Pattern Survey, claims that Americans spend“an average of 87% of their time in enclosed buildings and about 6% of their time in enclosed vehicles.”(Source) That’s 93 percent of Americans living indoors.
Thus, Reason commands that theindoors should in theory have more impact on healthgiven the fact that most humans spend so much time in buildings. Furthermore, in light of Evolutionary Biology, it also stands to Reason that human genes may not have had enough time to mutate in favor of more indoor than outdoor living. In effect, if humans have lived for millions of years outside, then it’s reasonable to assume that human genes have not had enough time to adapt to such a drastic, stressful and rapid “milieu” change, from the 90 percent outdoor vs indoors to the present 90 percent indoor vs outdoor model of human existence. An analogy could be made with dietary fiber. Before the so-called “Modern” times, humans use to have at least 10 times more fiber in their food. Today, most Americans barely get 10 grams of fiber per day. Both the microbiota and genes downregulate many healthy pathways because of this deprivation. Dr Burkitt showed that colon cancers are practically inexistent in rural Africa where fiber is much more abundant.
One of the main arguments of this ebook is based on the idea that without some semblance of an ongoing deep connection between human consciousness and a vibrant surrounding Nature, it is highly unlikely that people can last a century or more, just like the microbiota or a flower plant will not last long if the soil, the bioterrain is not diversified, clean, high-energy and abundant in all of its rainbow-like constituent elements. The writer Anatole France once said: “No human soul can be complete without having fully loved an animal”.In a similar way, no human body can be “whole” and healed and last a long time without fully connecting to Nature in terms of depriving Humans from Sun & Nature exposure and bombarding them with a “toxic soup”housing milieu.
This short ebook will expound on this thesis. First, a general reminder of the devastating effects of most of today’s living and working buildings.
Holistic Eco-Dwelling’s Philosophy & Mission
Holistic Residence Institute’s missionis to promote both the concept and the application of Holistic Eco-Dwellings. Its philosophy is based on the Holistic Model,in that human shelters should not be separated from both the body-Temple basic needs not the local environment’s eco-systems.
In this perspective, Holistic eco-dwellings are thus designed to be connected to both the natural surrounding milieu and human physiology,just like a human cell is designed to self-regulate among all of its organelles within it’s double-layer cell membrane and adapt to its external micro-environment. In the Modern world, Holistic eco-dwellings should thus be integrated within healing and unifying innovative technologies wherein all meaningful elements that contribute to health, creativity and prosperity are synergistically inter-connected and holistically catalyzed.
Holistic eco Dwellings are not monolithic. As long as the basic integration and holistic philosophy mentioned above is respected, they vary greatly in myriad different designs and bio-material, from clay-adobe and earth huts, to straw-bale farms, cob-lime structures, hemp homes, log houses, canvas-based tipis, yourts, tree houses (See Exhibit A below) and much more.
In terms of the Holistic eco-Dwellings interior designs,these living and working shelters can be constructed with hundreds of different modalities and styles, from the Chinese feng shui, India’s Vastu shastra, Sheldrakes’ “morphic resonance”, Wilson’s “biophilic design”, the Green Building Model, Le Corbusier’s and Auroville’s legacy and other contributions that have used best techniques in eco-architecture, sacred geometry and building biology during their time.
Before examining a few of these different eco-construction modalities, it may be useful to first define exactly what a Holistic Eco-Dwelling should be, or strive to become. First, a few words on what a Holistic eco-dwelling is not. It is not a “Sick Building Syndrome” (SBS house), let alone is it a dwelling that generates “building related illness” (BRI). On the contrary, Holistic Eco-Dwelling (HED) is designed to eradicate SBS and BRI as much as Human Intent (public policies) and Funds transform SBS-BRI from a “norm” to obsolescence.
Environmental Diseases, the Sick Building Syndrome (SBS) & Building Related Illness (BRI)
Dwellings can be significant promoters ofhealth and well-being or premature death and mal-being,since most people spend a majority of their time indoors, including for work and transportation. (Source)
In this context, as we saw above, most Americans live on average 93 percent of their time in both indoor buildings and cars. (Source) As a consequence, they will be exposed to industrial pollutants and building toxicants. To make matters worse, when most of these Americans are outside, they will also breath in chemical pollutants. (“The National Human Activity Pattern Survey (NHAPS): a resource for assessing exposure to environmental pollutants”. Journal of Exposure Analysis and Environmental Epidemiology”. 11 (3): 231–252. (Source) Other People in the World are also exposed to unhealthy buildings and city pollution.
The health consequences of both indoor and outdoor pollutants is devastating. In this perspective, and according to the World Health Organization, each year, more than 4 million in the World people die prematurely from illness attributable to household air pollution. In particular, household air pollution causes noncommunicable diseases including, but not limited to stroke, ischemic heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and lung cancer. Close to half of deaths due to pneumonia among children under 5 years of age are caused by particulate matter (soot) inhaled from household air pollution. (Source)
“Of the 4.3 million people who die annually from exposure to household air pollutants,most perish from stroke (34%), ischaemic heart disease (26%) and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (22%). Pneumonia and lung cancer account for 12% and 6% of deaths, respectively.Women and young children, who spend the most time near the domestic hearth, are particularly vulnerable.More than 50% of pneumonia deaths among children under 5 are linked to household air pollution. (Source)
With the addition of ambient outdoor pollution, we are looking at around 7 million people dying from toxemia each year. (Source)
“Air pollution levels remain dangerously high in many parts of the world. New data from WHO shows that 9 out of 10 people breathe air containing high levels of pollutants. Updated estimations reveal an alarming death toll of 7 million people every year caused by ambient (outdoor) and household air pollution”. (Source)
In effect, air pollution levels remain dangerously high in many parts of the world including in “civilized” places like Los Angeles and New York City. As confirmed above, new data from WHO shows that9 out of 10 people in the world breathe air containing high levels of pollutants. (Source) That’s 90 percent of Humanity !
In this perspective, still according to the W.H.O., over three billion people, mostly children and women who live most of the time in their homes, are victims of polluted air. That’s a little less than half of the World Population of 7.6 billion people.
“Air pollution threatens us all, but the poorest and most marginalized people bear the brunt of the burden,” says Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of WHO. “It is unacceptable that over 3 billion people – most of them women and children – are still breathing deadly smoke every day from using polluting stoves and fuels in their homes. If we don’t take urgent action on air pollution, we will never come close to achieving sustainable development.” (Source)
Even the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission(CPSC) has recognized the seriousness of indoor air pollution that is killing tens of thousands of American each year.
“In the last several years,a growing body of scientific evidence has indicated that the air within homes and other buildings can be more seriously polluted than the outdoor air in even the largest and most industrialized cities.Other research indicates that people spend approximately 90 percent of their time indoors.Thus, for many people, the risks to health may be greater due to exposure to air pollution indoors than outdoors”. (Source)
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has also confirmed that the air inside most homes have been determined to be up tofive times worse than the air pollution outside. (Source)
Corroborating these findings, the non-profit Environmental Working Group (EWG) tested over 2,000 cleaning products, and found that most of them contain deleterious and disease-causing chemicals that are linked to asthma, allergies, or even cancer. (Source)
The EWG also found that because American product manufacturers or distributors aren’t required to disclose all their ingredients, most don’t. (Source)
These indoor toxins and toxicants are particularly relevant because many heavy metals and deleterious chemicals bind to signaling molecules and hinder the proper functioning of mammaliam metabolism, the repair genes, the mitochondria energy system, the immune system, the thyroid, the messaging molecules (cytokines, hormones, neuropeptides, neurotransmitters etc), genes’ co-factors, the microbiota, the metabolic detox pathways and the like.
Following are a few examples to illustrate this point: When BPA and other obesogens latch on insulin receptors,insulin resistance is promoted, that which sets the stage for hyperinsulinemia, diabetes and early death (Source) and all the more so that animal saturated fat and processed foods are abundant and Nature-related exercises deficient. In this regard, the evidence supports this allegation that both the Mad (modern American food) and endocrine disrupting toxins like BPa (among others) are central causes to the blockage of the glucose transport gate through which glucose enters the cellsonce the insulin hormone gets latched on the corresponding receptor. (Source)
Other studies confirm that these heavy metal toxins damage the body,including, but not limited to the neurological system. In one study, the results of which were published in March 2017 in the Journal of Trace Elements in Medicine and Biology, the authors concluded that “The unique quantitative data and the stunning images of aluminium in familial Alzheimer’s disease brain tissueraise the spectre of aluminium’s role in this devastating disease.” (Source)
Among other deleterious effects, including in the cell-to-cell communication system and immune dysregulation, heavy metals can promote parasites’ resilience within the body. For example, heavy metals as those found in modern buildings can form in theparasites’ biofilmand this ectopic use contributes in stopping the immune systems from eliminating pathogens like Lyme. (Source).Biofilms are inter-connected groups of microbes that gather together and attach to a surface. Research has shown that these parasites’ biofilms are made up of a combination of magnesium, calcium, mercury, copper, lead, and other trace metals. (Source)
Yet, today, most normative regulations are dysfunctional, “pro-business”, devoid of the precautionary principle, as a result, most buildings continue to be full of heavy metals and deleterious chemicals.
One piece of evidence in this regard. According to the National Health and Nutrition survey, the amount of children containing lead across the U.S ranged from 1.5% to 36.7%. That’s close to 40 percent of American children in different regions of the US who have excessive lead in their body.A few years ago, the statistics showed that 64 million homes in the US still have lead-based paint. (Source).
Even low-level exposure to lead cause brain dysfunction in children. There are even risks for behavioral changes and chronic kidney diseases in adults. (Source) When combining lead paint vapors and bone broth, the lead toxic load increases. (Source) Besides conventional dentist clinics’ mercury that ends up in human mouths and brains, in conventional hospitals, titanium and metal ions from hip replacement and other deleterious chemicals end up promoting cancer and other disorders (Source) while hospital air’smold, bacteria, viruses and chemical like V.O.Cs continue to comprise patients’ health and recovery. (Source).
Official Characterizations of SBS and BRI
Most People who are exposed to these toxicants will develop respiratory, cancer and auto-immunity diseases andmany other disorders that are claimed to be either cryptogenic or idiopathic,of “unknown” causes.
“The sick building syndrome (SBS) is used to describe a situation in which the occupants of a building experience acute health- or comfort-related effectsthat seem to be linked directly to the time spent in the building. No specific illness or cause can be identified. The complainants may be localized in a particular room or zone or may be widespread throughout the building”. (Source)
In contrast, the term “building related illness” (BRI) isused when symptoms of diagnosable illness are identified and can be attributed directly to airborne building contaminants. (Source)
According to a 1984 World Health Organization Committee report, up to 30 percent of new and remodeled buildings worldwide may be the subject of excessive complaints related to indoor air quality (IAQ). The Report claims that this condition can be temporary or long-term. SBS problems can also result when a building is operated or maintained in a manner that is inconsistent with its original design or prescribed operating procedures. For example, if a non treated super-healthy forest log house was inhabited by Philip Morris cigarette smoking and junk food eating people who would use the House fireplace to roast hot dogs and Twinkies in the kitchen’s micro-oven and burn lead-containing candles through-out the house, the “crappy feeling” would be more attributed to the inhabitants behavior and misuse of the house than to the house itself.
The official three Indicators of SBS are as follows: 1). Building occupants complain of symptoms associated with acute discomfort, e.g., headache; eye, nose, or throat irritation; dry cough; dry or itchy skin; dizziness and nausea; difficulty in concentrating; fatigue; and sensitivity to odors. 2). The cause of the symptoms is not known. 3). Most of the complainants report relief soon after leaving the building.
The official Indicators of BRI are as follows:1). Building occupants complain of symptoms such as cough; chest tightness; fever, chills; and muscle aches.2). The symptoms can be clinically defined and have clearly identifiable causes. 3). Complainants may require prolonged recovery times after leaving the building.
It’s relevant to note that complaints may result from other non SBS or non BRI causes. These may include an illness contracted outside the building, from having an un-holistic lifestyle, eating the MAD (modern american diet), having acute sensitivity (e.g., allergies) coming from other sources, job related stress or general dissatisfaction, and other psychosocial factors. Nevertheless, studies show that symptoms may be caused or exacerbated by indoor air quality problems.
Causes of Sick Building Syndrome
The official propaganda claims that SBS does not have any known cause, let alone known cures. The following have been proposed causes of or contributing factors to sick building syndrome.
Exogenous (outdoor) sources:Contaminants from outside like pollutants from motor vehicle exhaust, plumbing vents and building exhausts(bathrooms and kitchens) can enter the building through poorly located air intake vents, windows and other openings. Combustion byproducts can enter a building from a nearby garage. Radon, formaldehyde, asbestos, dust and lead paintcan enter through poorly located air intake vents and other openings. (Source).
Endogenous (indoor) sources:The most common contaminant of indoor air includes the volatile organic compounds (VOC). The main sources of VOC are adhesives, upholstery, carpeting, copy machines, manufactured wood products, pesticides, cleaning agents, etc. Environmental tobacco smoke, respirable particulate matter, combustion byproducts from stove, fireplace and unvented space heater also increase the chemical contamination. Synthetic fragrances in personal care products or in cleaning and maintenance products also contribute to the contamination. (Source). A 2015 study concerning the association of SBS and indoor air pollutants in office buildings in Iran found as carbon dioxide levels increase in a building, symptoms like nausea, headaches, nasal irritation, dyspnea, and throat dryness have also been shown to increase. . (Source)
Fire retardants from bedding and sofas, PCB from the shower curtains, formaldehyde and arsenic from wood etc There can also be deteriorating fiberglass duct liners. Adult SBS symptoms were associated with a history of allergic rhinitis, eczema and asthma. (Source)
The biological contaminants include pollen, bacteria, viruses, fungus, molds and parasites. These contaminants can breed in stagnant water that has accumulated in humidifiers, drainpipes and ducts or where water has collected on ceiling tiles, insulation, carpets and upholstery. (Source)
Insect and bird droppings can also be a source of biological contamination as can rodents and the like. Biological contamination causes fever, chills, cough, chest tightness, muscle aches and allergic reactions. In offices with a high density of occupancy, airborne diseases can spread rapidly from one worker to another. Air-conditioning systems can recirculate pathogens and spread them throughout the buildinge.g., Legionnaire’s disease due to legionella organisms. (Cf. Breiman RF, Fraser DW. 13th ed. New Jersey: Prentice Hall International Inc; 1992. Legionelloisis, Maxy-Rosenau – Last: Public Health and Preventive Medicine; pp. 181–2).
The oil embargo in 1970 led building designersto make buildings more airtight, with less outdoor air ventilation, in order to improve energy efficiency. (Source) The ventilation was reduced to 5 cfm/person. This reduced ventilation rate was found to be inadequate to maintain the health and comfort of building occupants. In 1973, in response to the oil crisis and conservation concerns, ASHRAE Standards 62-73 and 62-81 were thusreduced required ventilation from 10 cubic feet per minute (4.7 L/s) per person to 5 cubic feet per minute (2.4 L/s) per person, (Source) but this was found to be a contributing factor to sick building syndrome. (Source)As of the 2016 revision, ASHRAE ventilation standards call for 5 to 10 cubic feet per minute of ventilation per occupant (depending on the occupancy type) in addition to ventilation based on the zone floor area delivered to the breathing zone. (ANSI/ASHRAE Standard 62.1-2016).
Malfunctioning heating, ventilation and air-conditioning systems (HVAC systems) also increase the indoor air pollution.In order to have an acceptable indoor air quality (IAQ) with a minimum energy consumption, The American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) recently revised ventilation standards to a minimum outdoor air flow rate of15 cfm/person to avoid the problems related to inadequate ventilation. The standards are 20 cfm/person in office spaces and 60 cfm/person in smoking lounges. (Source) Poor design and construction of buildings with more number of offices cramped in a building to increase the salable area also contribute to inadequate ventilation. Adult SBS symptoms were associated with a history of allergic rhinitis, eczema and asthma. (Source)
Technological devices like microwaves, televisions and computers emit electromagnetic radiation, which ionizes the air and can alter cellular ion channels, among other deleterious effects. Photocopy machines can produce ozone. In addition to “dirty electricity”, extensive wiring without proper grounding also creates high magnetic fields, which have been linked to cancer. The human body has delicate electrical fields which can be devastated by electromagnetics thus causes major illnesses including cancer, ME, MS. Designing to reduce negative harmful energies affecting the land and buildings from electrical equipment such as power lines, sub-stations or from objects within the home such as transformers, televisions, computers, clock radios, electrical wiring, cell phones etc. would be indicated. The forthcoming G-5 wireless system is another problem.
Poor and inappropriate lighting with absence of sunlight, bad acoustics, poor ergonomics and humidity may also contribute to SBS.
The symptoms of SBS are commonly seen in people with clerical jobs than in people with managerial jobs because professionals or managers have better working conditions. The symptoms are more common in females than in males probably because more females are in secretarial jobs, they are more aware of their health or a lesser dose of pollutants is required to manifest the effects. The symptoms are more common in air-conditioned buildings than in naturally ventilated buildings and are more common in a public sector building than in a private sector building. (Source)
Albeit that the sick building syndrome (SBS) encompasses a multitude of non-specific symptoms, building-related illness (BRI), which is a necessary corollary of SBS, comprises specific, diagnosable symptoms caused by certain agents(chemicals, bacteria, molds etc.). These can typically be identified and measured . (Source)
Diagnosing SBS involves a process of elimination,first by ruling out other conditions that could mimic sick building symptoms, such as a cold, asthma, or allergies.
There are usually 4 causal agents in BRI;1.) Immunologic, 2.) Infectious, 3.) toxic, and 4.) irritant.For instance, Legionnaire’s disease, usually caused by Legionella pneumophila, involves a specific organism which could be ascertained through clinical findings as the source of contamination within a building. (Source)
Building-Related Illness is vital to the overall understanding of Sick Building Syndromebecause BRI illustrates a causal path to infection. Office BRI may more likely than not be explained by three events: “Wide range in the threshold of response in any population (susceptibility), a spectrum of response to any given agent, or variability in exposure within large office buildings.” (Source)
Isolating any one of the three aspects of office BRI can be a great challenge, which is why those who find themselves with BRI should take three steps which are analagous to the medical work-up: history, examinations, and interventions. History describes the action of continually monitoring and recording the health of workers experiencing BRI, as well as obtaining records of previous building alterations or related activity. Examinations go hand in hand with monitoring employee health. This step is done by physically examining the entire workspace and evaluating possible threats to health status among employees. Interventions follow accordingly based off the results of the Examination and History report (Source)
The Cancer Epidemic & SBS
Cancer is the second leading cause of death globally, and is responsible for anestimated 9.6 million deaths in 2018.Globally, about 1 in 6 deaths is due to cancer. Approximately 70% of deaths from cancer occur in low- and middle-income countries. (Source).
Most of these theses cancer deaths are associated with environmental and indoor building pollutants and toxicants. Corroborating these findings, the non-profit Environmental Working Group (EWG) tested over 2,000 cleaning products, and found that most of them contain chemicals that are linked to asthma, allergies and cancer. (Source)
Found in both indoors and outdoors’ environments, the substances listed below are among the most common carcinogensto affect human health, according to the National Toxicology Program’s 14th Report on Carcinogens. Aflatoxins, Aristolochic Acids, Arsenic, Asbestos, Benzene, Benzidine, Beryllium, 1,3-Butadiene, Cadmium, Coal Tar and Coal-Tar Pitch, Coke-Oven Emissions, Crystalline Silica (respirable size), Erionite, Ethylene Oxide, Formaldehyde, Hexavalent Chromium Compounds, Indoor Emissions from the Household Combustion of Coal, Mineral Oils: Untreated and Mildly Treated, Nickel Compounds, Radon, Secondhand Tobacco Smoke (Environmental Tobacco Smoke), Soot, Strong Inorganic Acid Mists Containing Sulfuric Acid, Thorium, Trichloroethylene, Vinyl Chloride, Wood Dust.
Many chemicals are missing from this Government list, from glyphosate, mercury and lead to acrylamides, fire retardants in beds, sofas and cloth, phthalate esters (ie, these are plasticised polyvinyl chloride materials used in floor and wall covering materials, shower curtains, adhesives, synthetic) and electromagnetic frequencies from cell phones, but this is routine, given the Indusry’s ties to political law-makers.
Another category of pervasive molecules are the per-fluorinated chemicals (PFCs or PFAS). These toxicants don’t break down in the environment. Instead, they end up in ground water, in waterways and even in our own bodies. Essentially, these chemicals are so durable that they never “never fully degrade. (Source)
In 2015, hundreds of scientists signed The Madrid Statement, calling for a phase-out of all non-essential uses of PFAS. (Source) PFAS chemicals are used in many industries. In carpets, they’re used on the part of the product that everyone touches: the surface of the fiber. The carpet industry has used PFAS for years to coat yarn for increased stain, soil, and water resistance.
So, while the PVC industry is also toxic, (Source) most scientists would probably say that avoiding highly fluorinated “Forever Chemicals” should be your first priority when selecting carpet.
In reality, a close look at the toxemia litterature shows that there are over one thousands other chemicals and persistent pollutants that contribute and-or directly promote cancer, many of which linger within buildings. But it would go beyond the scope of this short ebook to examine them in depth, many of which we will examine, but in the Institute’s pending Master Class book on Holistic eco-dwellings.
These indoor toxins and toxicants are particularly relevant because many heavy metals and deleterious chemicals bind to signaling molecules and hinder the proper functioning of mammaliam metabolism, the repair genes, the mitochondria energy system, the immune system, the thyroid, the messaging molecules (cytokines, hormones, neuropeptides, neurotransmitters etc), genes’ co-factors, the microbiota, the metabolic detox pathways and the like. Studies have also shown that deleterious lighting can cause cancer, (Source) in particular light at night that deprives people from melatonin. (Source)
There are hundreds of examples of this nature, a few of which will be discussed in the Institute’s main ebook on this topic. We will also examine toxic garden, toxic cloth, toxic body & home care products that are deleterious to health maintenance while not being effectively regulated by the U.S. Industry, let alone by the Government’s regulatory agencies.
This public health care emergency is also more often than not dismissed and missed in conventional medical schools and public health institutions. For the future of Generations and Life itself, this situation is not encouraging. Not only is the System depriving most People from an abundance of clean, healing and vibrant Nature, but it is replacing this with artificial and toxic substances that are destroying the very fabric of Life.
According to the World Wild Life Foundation, over 50 percent of all of vertebrate Life has disappeared in the last 45 years. Sperm counts even more, down to over 50 percent in the last 50 years. Arable land, forests and marine Life are also getting ravage. Evolutionary Biology experts are talking about the arrival of another Planetary Extinction.Number Six. Which is presently endangering one million different species. (Source) But this extinction may be the first to be entirely created by the men and women who are at the helm of the political, legal and economic institutions of the World’s sovereign states.
Holistic Eco-Dwelling: A Respond to the Health-care Crisis & the Cancer Epidemic
So now that I have described what Holistic Eco-Dwelling is not, contrarily to the Sick Building Sydrome type of shelter which are Mainstream’s square toxic boxes of the Modern Era that more often than not (not always, just often) dissipate energy and promote the “sick-care” medical and social system, characterized by feeling sick, stressed and alienated within the building and experiencing a healthier state outside of the building, Holistic eco-dwellings (HEDs) generate a feeling of unifying health and joie de vivre within and a feeling of sadness when leaving one’s “home restoration sanctuary”. This is because Holistic Eco-dwellings are structurally connected to Nature, spiritual wellness (joie de vivre) and awareness (mindfulness) as well as a serious boosting of physical and psychological well-beingfor the benefit of humans, and, subsidiarily for all sentient Life’s “creatures” as well, at least those who live, work (eg, like work-horses) and transit in the zone of concern and appear to be friendly. Hence the usefulness of investing in holistic eco-dwelling endeavors.
While the Green house movement had its successes, like the Green agriculture revolution, it also had its drawbacks in that it was not completely holistic,like many other ecological movements, including the green agriculture “revolution”. (Cf. “Healthy buildings and healthy people: The next generation of green building | U.S. Green Building Council”. www.usgbc.org). (Source).
The Holistic Eco-Dwellings’ Concept incorporates other Nature-Architecture Designs
Holistic Eco-Dwelling is a concept that is both integrated within and goes beyond Wilson’s “Biophilia Design”. (Wilson, E.O. Biophilia; Harvard University Press: Cambridge, MS, USA, 1984). According to Wilson, Biophilic designis a design philosophy that promotes the use of natural systems and processes in the design of the built environment. This Model focuses especially on cities, bringing some of Nature back to urban settings. Biophilic design is based on the Biophilia hypothesis, which proposes that humans have an innate connection with the natural world. In other words, the central idea behind Biophilic Design is to incorporate natural features and systems into the built environment in order to provide human beings with their much-needed exposure to nature. (Source). In this framework, Biophilic design is abuilding approach to increase residents connectivity to the natural environmentthrough the use of direct nature, indirect nature, and space and place conditions. Used at both the building and city-scale, this methodology has health, environmental, and economic benefits for building occupants and urban environments.
Babylon, L’Enfant, Versailles, Auroville, Le Corbusier, Vastu shastra, Feng Shui & BioPhilia Design
While “Biophilia Design” has been coined recently, it is kind of a new label for an old reality since similar architectural precedents that reconnected Nature with Buildings have occurred during the last 10,000 years of architectural design,including, but not limited to those Neolithic villages Professor Toynbee talked about to the Hanging Gardens of Babylon which adorned the capital of the Neo-Babylonian Empire, built by its greatest king Nebuchadnezzar II (r. 605-562 BCE), one of the great Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, (Source) to the more recent architectural works of Pierre Charles L’Enfant, who built Washington D.C. with an abundance of Nature, space and a soupçon (pinch) of Versailles (Source) , to Auroville in the former “comptoir” French India territory of Pondichéry (Source) that was returned to India in 1954, and, among others, the Swiss-French architect Le Corbusier.
Le Corbusier defined the principles of his “new” Nature-inspired architecture in Les cinq points de l’architecture moderne, published in 1927. Therein, Le Corbusier summarized the lessons he had learned in the previous years, which he put literally into concrete form in his villas constructed of the late 1920s, most dramatically in the Villa Savoye (1928–1931) The five points are: The Pilotis, or pylon. The building is raised up on reinforced concrete pylons, which allows for free circulation on the ground level, and eliminates dark and damp parts of the house. The Roof Terrace. The sloping roof is replaced by a flat roof; the roof can be used as a garden, for promenades, sports or a swimming pool. The Free Plan. Load-bearing walls are replaced by a steel or reinforced concrete columns, so the interior can be freely designed, and interior walls can put anywhere, or left out entirely. The structure of the building is not visible from the outside.The Ribbon Window. Since the walls do not support the house, the windows can run the entire length of the house, so all rooms can get equal light. The Free Façade. Since the building is supported by columns in the interior, the façade can be much lighter and more open, or made entirely of glass. There is no need for lintels or other structure around the windows. (Source)
The “Architectural Promenade”was another idea dear to Le Corbusier which has been integrated within the Biophilia Design. In 1928, in Une Maison, un Palais, he described it: “Arab architecture gives us a precious lesson: it is best appreciated in walking, on foot. It is in walking, in going from one place to another, that you see develop the features of the architecture. In this house (Villa Savoye) you find a veritable architectural promenade, offering constantly varying aspects, unexpected, sometimes astonishing.” The promenade at Villa Savoye, Le Corbusier wrote, both in the interior of the house and on the roof terrace, often erased the traditional difference between the inside and outside. (Le Corbusier, Une maison – un palais, G. Crès & Cie (1928), pp. 70–78).
Vastu shastra is a traditional Hindu system of architecturewhich literally translates to “science of architecture. (Source A). (Source B) These are texts found on the Indian subcontinent that describe principles of design, layout, measurements, ground preparation, space arrangement, and spatial geometry.(Source A) (Source B) Vastu Shastras incorporate traditional Hindu and in some cases Buddhist beliefs. The designs are intended to integrate architecture with nature,the relative functions of various parts of the structure, and ancient beliefsutilizing geometric patterns (yantra), symmetry, and directional alignments. Stella Kramrisch (1976), The Hindu Temple Volume 1 & 2, & Vibhuti Sachdev, Giles Tillotson (2004). Building Jaipur: The Making of an Indian City. pp. 155–160.)
Vastu Shastra are the textual part of Vastu Vidya, the latter being the broader knowledge about architecture and design theories from ancient India.(Vibhuti Sachdev, Giles Tillotson (2004). Building Jaipur: The Making of an Indian City. p. 147).Vastu Vidya knowledge is a collection of ideas and concepts, with or without the support of layout diagrams, that are not rigid. Rather, these ideas and concepts are models for the organization of space and form within a building or collection of buildings, based on their functions in relation to each other, their usage and to the overall fabric of the Vastu.(ibid.)]Ancient Vastu Shastra principles include those for the design of Mandir(Hindu temples), (Cf. George Michell (1988), The Hindu Temple: An Introduction to Its Meaning and Forms, University of Chicago Press), and the principles for the design and layout of houses, towns, cities, gardens, roads, water works, shops and other public areas. (Source)
Feng Shui, also known as Chinese geomancy, claims to use energy forces to harmonize individuals with their surrounding environment (Source)The term feng shuiliterally translates as “wind-water” in English. This is a cultural shorthand taken from the passage of the now-lost Book of Burial recorded in Guo Pu’s commentary (Source). Feng shui is one of the Five Arts of Chinese Metaphysics, classified as physiognomy (observation of appearances through formulas and calculations). The feng shui practice discusses architecture in terms of “invisible forces” that bind the universe, earth, and humanity together, known as qi. Historically, feng shui was widely used to orient buildings,often spiritually significant structures such as tombs, but also dwellings and other structures—in an auspicious manner. Depending on the particular style of feng shui being used, an auspicious site could be determined by reference to local features such as bodies of water, or stars or the compass.
Biophilic Designs Foundations
Biophilic architecture,another competitive eco-architecture theory, is especially based on the assertion that humans have an innate connection with nature that should be expressed in their daily lives, especially in cities. Biophilia is a term that appears to have been first brought to life in 1964 by the psychoanalyst Fromm in his exploration of the “Essence of Man”, on human nature(Fromm E (1964) The Heart of Man. New York, USA: Harper and Row). In that work, Fromm saw that humans showed that one of the sources of human anxiety and suffering was its separation from Nature. In the quest to overcome this anxiety, there is necrophilia (the love of death like adventures) or biophilia (the love of Life like adventures).
The concept of the biophilic human being was then examined and popularized in 1984 by the sociobiologist, Wilson in his book Biophilia. Wilson defined biophilia as “the innate tendency to focus on life and life like processes” (Wilson EO (1984) Biophilia. Massachusetts: Harvard University Press) He utilized the term “biophilia” to describe his deep feelings of connection to nature during a period of exploration and immersion in the natural world. Wilson’s unique insight was that this biophilic propensity developed as part of evolutionary survivaland, thus, encompasses certain characteristics that remain with humans even in modern cities.
Scholars from diverse fields collected together a decade later to collaborate their thinking and debate the concepts presented by Wilson. From this assemblage of intellectuals, emerged the book The Biophilia Hypothesis. Together, Wilson and a fellow ecologist, Kellert, hypothesized that nourishment of this innate love and connection to nature is essential for modern urban human wellbeing,going far beyond a basic provision of sustenance. They suggested that humans are biologically designed to respond positively to contact with nature, and, as Fromm first postulated, this affiliation can assist in humans’ intellectual, emotional, and spiritual fulfilment. (Kellert SR, Wilson EO (1993) The Biophilia Hypothesis. Washington, D.C.: Island Press).
In 2006, a conference in Rhode Island in the US drew together interested participants from academia, industry, government, finance, and civil areas to further discuss The Biophilia Hypothesis. The focus was on practical implementation of the benefits of biophilia into urban design and architecture.From this conference emerged another book Biophilic Design: The Theory, Science, and Practice of Bringing Buildings to Life, which established cross-disciplinary foundations for a biophilic design approach to the built environment. (Kellert SR, Heerwagen J, Mador M (2008) Biophilic design: the theory, science, and practice ofbringing buildings to life. Hoboken, N.J.: Wiley).
Biophilic design has received interest from the building industry around the world in recent years. Two building rating systems that originated in the United States but are being promoted globally incorporate Biophilic design directly; these are the Living Building Challenge. (Source) which incorporates it through the Biophilia Imperative, and the new WELL Building Standard, which incorporates it through the Biophilia Precondition and Biophilia Optimization. (Source) Consulting firms have also championed the concept, notably Terrapin Bright Green, whose directors have published various white papers on Biophilic design .(Source) as well as Interface flooring, whose directors have created a Human Spaces website to encourage discussion around Biophilic design. (Source)
Biophilia Design as an organizing concepthas also been promoted by the Environmental Psychology literature, in particular by what advocates call “Attention Restoration Theory” See Kaplan, R.; Kaplan, S. The Experience of Nature: A Psychological Perspective; Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, UK, 1989. for the details. (Source) The other group that advocates Biophilia Design within its thnking is the “Stress Recovery Theory” group, in particular, Joye, Y.; van den Berg, A.E. Restorative environments. In Environmental Psychology: An Introduction; Steg, L., van den Berg, A.E., de Groot, J.I.M., Eds.; Wiley: Hoboken, NJ, USA, 2012. (Source)
Limitations of the Biophilia Model
From the point of view of Holistic eco-Dwelling model, Biophilic Design is too focused on urban environments and not holistic enoughin terms of many other constituent spheres that are part of biodiversity, holistic medicine, ecosystems and Life on Earth. Nonetheless, this model appears to be useful for urban settingsand in order to make cities more resilient. But for rural eco-communities, it’s methodology is too limited.
While the Biophilic Design helps urban dwellers cope with city living, its general terrain, its city environment istoo overwhelming and incompatible with both the optimization of Life and the organization of long Lifespans.One case in point. All of the longevity zones that I have studies, and which incorporates to five Blue zones live in a rural setting, including in the mountains where the b-12 spring water, mushrooms and wild plants thrive. This milieu is unique and cant be replicated in cities.
Small cities that incorporate parks, trees, gardens, farms, clean water, with no wireless free zones (especially the G-4 ad G-5) can be compatible with the Holistic Eco-Dwelling Model.But those urban areas that bombard its residents with electro and chemical pollution, chronic stress and the like would be deemed to be worthy of either the compost bin or radical transformation.
Holistic Eco-Dwellings are more consistent with Basic Needs
Holistic Eco-Dwellings Design goes to the Next Level of Eco-Architecture and Health-Care. Rather than focusing on bringing Nature back to the City as does Biophilia Design and other architectural schools, Holistic Eco-dwelling goes to the next level, focusing on building eco-houses and eco-villages in mountains and other rural environments including small green cities that have banned G-4 and G-5 pollution and meaningfully restricted chronic stress and disease-causing industry, including SBSs, coal burning, glyphosate, industrial cigarettes, processed junk foods, deleterious street lights and chemical agriculture.
Ecological and sustainable eco-communities that are far from industrialized citiesare in a better situation to avoid big city pollution, crime, long transportation, artificial lights and stress while getting an abundance of Nature, all of which favors healthy, long lifespans and this “superconductivity” frequency that can be in part be characterized by the “joie de vivre” concept.
With the delocalisation of production and artificial intelligence that are taking the place of millions of workers who have been laid off,more and morecity people are both stressed out and forced to stay indoorswhile urban costs tend to rise higher than what most people can afford. Moreover, urban pollution, processed junk food and other stressors spur the increase of multiple chronic diseases including cancer and crime.
Eco-housing via the holistic eco-dwelling paradigmin small cities that are balanced with a good dose of Nature or eco-housing in rural eco-communities are situations that avoid most of the cities’ stressors while the living and working expenses are much less.
As a result, sustainability, health, basic rights, dignity and joie de vivre (enjoyment of Life) are fundamental rights that are better protected and promoted, all of which helps to reduce the Country’s huge “sick-care” bills, the yearly estimation of which is over 4 trillion dollars a year in the United States.
Holistic Eco-Dwelling building and living is based on the holistic approach. Forming an enthused, creative, diverse, vibrant and interdisciplinary team early in the process can generate integrated or complementary strategies for improved performance. (Source)
An integrated design teamcan consist of stakeholders and specialists such as facility managers, architects, gardeners, building engineers, energy specialists, holistic health and wellness experts, and public health partners.
In this context, conducting charrettes can spur creative action. Charrette is a French “Ecole des Beaux Arts inspired intense period of creativity, design and planning activitywith an integrated and enthusiastic design team whose members focus on fostering collaboration and encourage each other to develop goals, plans, and solutions. (See Planning and Conducting Integrated Design (ID) Charrettes | WBDG Whole Building Design Guide”. www.wbdg.org.) (Source)
Occasional “peak performace” enthusiastic and gratitude celebration sessions help to promote oxytocin and dopamine reward molecules that will help to both reinforce team enthusiasm (or team spirit) and produce peak performance to get the job done with added creativity, efficiency and finesse.
Once these preliminaries are under way, the interested parties are ready to put in place the organization and the building of a Holistic Eco-Dwelling, the first measure of which is finding the right holistic space.
1. Site Selection and eco-niches within a bio-diversified Milieu
In essence, a Holistic Space is a molecular “continuum”that can provide a biodiversified and vibrant eco-niche within which to build a healing and regenerative eco-house or dwelling that is aligned to and integrated with the environment’s eco-systems and bio-tops.
In this perspective, Site selection is an important factor in designing holistic eco-dwellings and ensuring positive health and environmental impacts. It should be conducive to Health-enhancement, Basic Needs Satisfaction and Inter-connectivity. So not too far from an airport,but distant enough from toxic frequencies and polluting industries, including nuclear reactors, coal mines and cell phone towers (In 2011, The Who classified cell phones as possible 2 B carcinogens and today the evidence is stronger, in particular with regard to genetic mutation, ion channel alternations, DNA single and double strand breaks, oxidative damage, disruption of cell metabolism, increased blood brain barrier permeability, melatonin reduction, disruption to brain glucose metabolism, generation of stress proteins and a few other disorders).
Even if Ocean water is deeply healing, because coastal beach areas tend to be excessively hooked up with wireless G-5, cell phone towers and trafic pollution, the Site of choice for the building of a Holistic Eco-Dwelling would be a secluded or quasi-secluded mountain area,or a mountain eco-village, provided there is no active volcano thereon. Thereafter, we have quiet but clean valleys and small Nature balanced townsthat have an abundance of parks, rivers, eco-farms and restrictive laws that have at least banned G-4 and G-5 and the Big Five pesticidesthat have been banned in Europe.
These Big Five pesticides are the following: 1). Neonicotinoids,or “neonics, (responsible for the mass destruction of entire bee colonies), banned by the European Union in 2013 (Source), including the most common: imidacloprid, clothianidin and thiamethoxam. 2). Paraquat,a pesticide linked to Parkinson’s disease and other disorders (banned in Europe in 2007 (Source) and in China in 2012 (Source), but not the U.S., where the FDA had willingly used this pesticide to spray marijuana Mexican fields to deter the use of this illegal herb. 3). 1,3-D (short for 1,3-Dichloropropene) is one of the most heavily used pesticides in California. Also known as Telone, a carcinogen, EU began phasing it out in 2007 while it appears to be on the rise in the US. (Source). 4). Glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup, banned in many countries, except the USA. 5). And Atrazine, a popular herbicide commonly found in American drinking water. The European Union banned it in 2004. This weed killer messes up hormones (Source A), (Source B) and is linked to birth defects (Source C) So Reason commands that it would not be reasonable to choose a Site area for the construction of a Holistic eco-Dwelling in an area where the garden water and winds would sprinkle lethal molecules like on the HED sanctuary. Especially when there are many essential oils and companion planting techniques in organic agriculture that have been shown to be superior to pesticide in their balancing and ecological synergistic effects.
Furthermore, mountain areas have many healing and regenerative properties. Not only thanks to the mushrooms, herbs, tree barks, air and spring water quality, often rich in vitamin B-12, but also because of there isless atmospheric pressure in high altitudes, thanks to which the growth of new red blood cells is promotedand the activation of circulatory oxygenation tend to be even more efficient than in the valley if the altitude chosen is right. This is one reason many athletes train in high altitude areas like Colorado city. Statistics also show that in the Utah mountains, humans outlive those who don’t live in mountain towns. Mid and even low altitude is also a good Site location provided the other criteria mentioned above are met. Avoiding radon, hunting and gold mine areas and taking into consideration the Earth’s energy grids, in particular the Hartmann, Curry and Ley Lines can also be a factor.
As the Longevity and blue zones show, environmentally friendly green spaces improve both creativity and productivity while enhancing well-being(“Encountering place: A psychoanalytic approach for understanding how therapeutic landscapes benefit health and wellbeing”. (Cf. Health & Place. 18(6): 1381–1387″. (Source)
People have been found to prefer sunnier weather. Sunny weather is rated higher in terms of perceived restorativeness potential. (“Let the sun shine! Measuring explicit and implicit preference for environments differing in naturalness, weather type and brightness. J. Environ. Psychol.2013, 36, 162–178 (Source)
In addition to the perceived restorative potential, there is the Sun’s induced physiological restoration that results from immune modulation to bones building, hormonal balance and mitochondrial biogenesis. Hence, the Site area should have enough space to for large windows and the house should face South or wherever the Sun shines the most. The ideal being the building of the Holistic Eco-dwelling on a pivotal system that slowly aligns the house according to the Sun’s path, just like what a Sunflower does. But this Technology can be expensive, and is not necessary since people are encouraged to go outside multiple times a day for exericse, meditation, tea breaks and gardening.
Creating Holistic Eco-Dwelling with walkable and bicycle environmentsthat allows the feeling of “appreciation” for what is (See Corbusier’s idea on this, above) would also be a bonus. Within self sustaining eco-communities, eco-dwellers can walk to communities school, community gardens, energy zones (solar, wind generators and the like) workplaces, green spaces, fitness centers, all of which has been shown to positively impact physical and psychological well-being. (Source) As a bonus, the walking dweller loosens up joints and breathes rhythmically, that which spurs a better lymphatic flow (ie, deep breathings helps to pump the lymph and drain waste and toxins).
In Holistic Eco-Dwelling sites, there are many aspects that can be designed to support positive health and well-being. For example, creating social areas(e.g., break rooms, open collaboration areas, tea spaces, courtyard gardens, roof botanicals)can encourage social interaction and well-being.Quiet, wellness meditation rooms can provide quiet zones or rooms that helpimprove well-being and mindfulness.Specifically, a designated lactation room can support nursing mothers by providing privacy and helping them return to work more easily. A lactation room is required for offices with more than 50 employees and recommended for all other offices. (Source) Ergonomics can also minimize stress and strain on the body by providing ergonomically designed work stations.
Another design aspect to consider is Sri Aurobindo’s and Taillard de Chardin’s “noosphere” connection. Ecological architectural designs have also been linked to health outcomes such as stress reduction, enhanced mood, improved cognitive performance, enhanced social engagement, enhanced sleep, and enhanced movement. (Source). The Japanese “eco therapy” via forest bathing is another illustration of this concept. So choosing a Site close to a forest or in a forest is consistent with the Holistic -Eco-Dwelling Model (See Exhibit A for an illustration)
2. Holistic Eco-dwelling House structures should be based on healthy bio-materials, ecological design, renewable energies & Natural Lighting
Designing eco-buildings with breathable and healthy biomaterial like hemp, clay, cob, stone, logs or hay and other materials that are indigenous to a building location makes them cool in the summer and warm in the winter. There are many holistic building techniques that can transform eco-dwellings into regenerative homes, from placing dried lavender inside limestone, clay or bales of hay to building with live trees inside the eco-house, using hemp for insulation, the mini-turbine wind generator in association with solar as is done in different parts of France and much more, this will be the object of the Second volume of this study.
Green roofing is another holistic regenerative technique that enhances both the dwellers health while providing free healthy medicinal water, food, shelter from storms and better modulating the house’s internal temperature. There are at least six reasons to go green with regard to roofs. 1). Green roofs can provide medicinal herbs and food, including for birds. 2). They can collect rain water which can be infused with medicinal herbs (ie, healthy as long as the area is pollution-free,). 3). They are soothing to the eyes and soul. 4). They can reduce the use of costly energy for cooling and heating. (Susca T, Gaffin SR, Dell’Osso GR (2011) Positive effects of vegetation: Urban heat island and green roofs. Environ Pollut 159: 2119-2126). 5). They help to modulate temperature. French studies have shown that a green roof reduced summer indoor air temperatures by 2 oC, with the annual energy demand reduced by 6% (Jaffal I, Ouldboukhitine S-E, Belarbi R (2012) A comprehensive study of the impact of greenroofs on building energy performance. Renew Energ 43: 157-164). Hong Kong research showed a maximum temperature decrease of 8.4 oC if both green walls and green roofs are used to create a green urban canyon. City-wide this could reduce energy needed to cool buildings by between 32 and 100%. (Hongming H, Jim CY (2010) Simulation of thermodynamic transmission in green roofecosystem. Ecol Model 221: 2949-2958). 6). Sproul et al. examined the economics of green, white, and black roofs. They concluded that either white or green were far more beneficial and, therefore, economical than black. (Sproul J, Wan MP, Mandel BH, et al. (2014) Economic comparison of white, green and blackflat roofs in the United States. Energy Build 71: 20-27).
Daylighting refers to providing access to natural daylight, which can be aesthetically pleasing and can reduce energy use. Light has a direct effect on human health because of how it affects circadian rhythms. Studies have shown that deleterious lighting can cause cancer, (Source) in particular artificial light at night that deprives people from melatonin. (Source)
If daylighting is not available, supplemental electric lighting can help ensure occupants receive enough light for the entrainment of circadian rhythms. (Source) Lighting should be dimmed in the evening after sunset and blue waves ought to be filtered with red or orange light, in this way, the sleeping hormone melatonin is better activated.
An abundance of large windows and sky-lights that lets in Natural light in is also regenerative. Natural light has been promoted by various disciplines as being beneficial for wellness of building occupants. (Source). Circadian rhythms balancing and vitamin D production with windows is particularly helpful for children, as suggests this hyperlinked study on a comparative study between school children with and without windows. (Küller, R.; Lindsten, C. Health and behavior of children in classrooms with and without windows. J. Environ. Psychol.1992, 12, 305–317). (Source) Humans evolved under natural, diurnal light conditions and therefore natural light is more healing than artificial lights or the insufficiency of quality light. From research on restorative environments, Zadeh and colleagues looked at the restorative potential of natural light and windows. (Source).
3. Indoor Air Quality, Plants and General House Detox
According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), “Indoor environmental quality (IEQ) refers to the quality of a building’s environmentin relation to the health and wellbeing of those who occupy space within it.” (Source)
IEQ is determined by many factors including indoor air quality (IAQ), temperature, lighting, and selection of building materials. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends three strategies to improve indoor air quality: source control, improved ventilation, and air cleaners. (Source)
One study showed that up to90% of exposure to fine toxic particulate matter came from indoor sources.(Source)Besides particles and VOCs, indoor air and dust can also contain brominated flame retardants, pesticides, toxic metals, and other pollutants. (Source)
Selecting low-emitting products and materials that reduce volatile organic compound (VOC) emissionsis one way prevent indoor air pollution. Product characteristics to consider include durability, indoor air quality effects, material transparency, and health impact on building occupants. (Source)
Other aspects of IEQ that can improve health and well-being includethermal comfort, acoustic comfort and integrated pest management (IPM).
Detoxifying, Destressing and Oxygenating Plants
Spider plants (Chlorophytum comosum)
Also known as air plants, spider plants grow quickly and look great in hanging baskets, especially in the work space. They can also produce pretty white blossoms. Plant care: Watering two to three times a week. Non-toxic: For children or animals who like to play with swinging things, this plant is safe.
Eliminates: formaldehyde, xylene
Dracaenas come in all shapes, sizes, and colors. The rainbow plant, which comes in bright purple is spiritually cool as purple is suppose to be the color of spirituality. Plant care: Keep the soil damp but not soggy, as too much water is deleterious for this plant. It can be toxic to animals: Cat or dog may vomit, salivate more, or have dilated pupils if they eat dracaenas.
Eliminates: formaldehyde, xylene, toluene, benzene, trichloroethylene
Golden pothos (Epipremnum aureum)
Also known as devil’s ivy, this plant may be as close as plants can get to indestructible. It flourishes in a variety of conditions and can grow up to 8 feet long. It’s also considered one of the most effective indoor air purifiers for removing common toxins. Plant care: Water when the soil is dry. You can trim the tendrils when the plant gets too big. Toxic to animals:Keep this plant out of reach for both cats and dogs.
Eliminates: formaldehyde, xylene, toluene, benzene, carbon monoxide, and more
Areca palms (Chrysalidocarpus lutescens)
This small plant from Madagascar is easier to grow outdoors. But if you have a space with bright filtered light, its gracefully arching leaves will make a pretty addition to the room. Plant care: This thirsty plant needs plenty of water during growth, but less in the winter. Non-toxic:These tall plants and their leaves are non-toxic to both cats and dogs.
Eliminates: benzene, carbon monoxide, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, xylene, and more
Chrysanthemums (Chrysanthemum morifolium)
Florist’s chrysanthemums or “mums” are ranked the highest for air purification. They’re shown to eliminate common toxins as well as ammonia. Treat yourself to a fresh pot, as this flower only blooms for about six weeks. Or you can fertilize the pot again in the spring when new growth appears. But without the flowers, it won’t be purifying the air. If you don’t want to wait, you might want to just get a new pot. Plant care: Check the soil’s moisture every other day, and keep it damp. These air-purifying plants are ideal for people who want to spend more time with their plant. All of them require fertilizer once a month, as well as extra care like misting or repotting. Toxic to animals: Even though it has a friendly name, mums are toxic to both cats and dogs.
Eliminates: formaldehyde, xylene, benzene, ammonia
Bamboo palms (Chamaedorea seifrizii)
This sturdy plant is known for its easy elegance and height. It likes bright, but not direct sunlight, and does have preferences about its care. Bamboo palms also transpire a healthy dose of moisture into the air, making it a welcome addition in dry winter months. Plant care: Keep the soil moist. Place bamboo palms where air circulates freely, and mist occasionally to prevent spider mites. Non-toxic: Bamboo palms are safe to keep in a house with pets.
Eliminates: formaldehyde, benzene, carbon monoxide, xylene, chloroform, and more
English ivy (Hedera helix)
This evergreen climbing plant is well adapted to indoor conditions. Different varieties will prefer different light situations, from bright, indirect light to low-light spaces. It’ll look especially picturesque growing from a hanging basket or around your windowsill. Plant care: Water generously during growth, but don’t overwater during the winter. Toxic to animals and humans: Although the English ivy thrives almost anywhere, it’s known to cause problems in dogs, farm animals, and humans when eaten. The chemicals in the sap can also cause severe contact dermatitis in humans, especially those with sensitive skin.
Eliminates: benzene, carbon monoxide, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, and more
Rubber plants (Ficus elastic)
Rubber plants are evergreen trees from India. Their roots grow upwards and often become entwined around the plant’s trunk, forming interesting shapes. These plants love bright, filtered light and a little attention now and then. Plant care: Water moderately to keep the soil moist, especially in the winter. Prune the leaves and wipe them down to keep them looking pretty. Toxic to animals: Rubber plants are toxic to cats and dogs.
Eliminates: carbon monoxide, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene and more
Chinese evergreen (Aglaonema)
These evergreen perennials are native to tropical forests in Asia. In addition to looking patterned and colorful, these pretty plants can remove many common toxins. But caring for these plants may require extra attention. Plant care: Water moderately and allow compost to almost dry out before watering. Chinese evergreens like high humidity, a little regular misting, and getting repotted every few years. Toxic to animals: Chinese evergreen plants are toxic to dogs.
Eliminates: benzene, carbon monoxide, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, and more
Peace lilies (Spathiphyllum)
In the 1980s, NASA and the Associated Landscape Contractors of America discovered that peace lilies were one of the top three plants for removing common household toxins, even ammonia. (Source) Plant care: Keep soil slightly moist. Peace lilies thrive in most lighting conditions, but too little light can prevent flowers from blooming. Toxic to animals and humans: Despite its calming name, this beautiful plant is toxic to cats, dogs, and children. It’s best to keep this as an ornamental plant as it can cause burning, swelling, and skin irritation in adults.
Eliminates: formaldeyde, benzene, trichloroethylene, xylene, ammonia, and more
Caveat with regard to pets, some of these plants can be toxic for them. (See ASPCA Toxic and Non-Toxic Plants) An increase in plants can also affect humidity and promote mold growth. This can be prevented by letting the water drain into a pan or a tray, removing excess water regularly, and using sub-irrigation planters. Covering the top of the soil with Spanish moss or aquarium gravel also removes mold.
Additional lists were later published in a book and paper by B. C. Wolverton, and focus on the removal of specific chemicals. Cf. Wolverton, B. C. (1996) How to Grow Fresh Air. New York: Penguin Books. Wolverton, B. C. and J. D. Wolverton. (1993). Plants and soil microorganisms: removal of formaldehyde, xylene, and ammonia from the indoor environment. Journal of the Mississippi Academy of Sciences 38(2), 11-15. (Source)
HEPA Filters and More
Besides house plants, there are ways the Holistic eco-dweller can purify the air in the home, including by keeping floors clean by vacuuming and mopping, avoiding synthetic cleaners or air fresheners, reducing humidity, increasing ventilation, especially by opening the windows and doors. Depending on the degree of toxemia, using both air filters in combination with plants may be the way to go. (Source)
4. Food & Rain Gardens and Quality Water Sources
Providing access to quality water and healthy, nutritional foodis essential for the promotion of health and inter-connectivity. (Source) The design of a eco-dwellings should take into consideration proximity to water and nutritional foods viaindividual gardens, community mini-farms and access to farmers’ markets. (Source)
By adding physical natural elements, such as plants, trees, rain gardens, and green roofs, to the built environment, buildings and cities can manage stormwater runoff better as there are less imperviable surfaces and better infiltration. One of the wide variety of soil-absorption/filter systems, a rain garden, also called a stormwater garden, is a designed depression storage or a planted hole that allows rainwater runoff from impervious surfances in urban areas, like roofs, driveways, walkways, parking lots, and compacted lawn areas, the opportunity to be absorbed. (Source)
To maintain these natural systems in a cost-effective way, excess greywater can be reused to water the plants and greenery; vegetative walls and roofs also decrease polluted water as the plants act as biofilters.
Likewise with Water, the Holistic Eco-Dwelling should be equipped with Water Fountains and many bathing tubs with Spring clean water or filtered water is living in town. Water sounds have also been found to be restorative, both through views of water and sounds of water. (Source A) (Source B) (Source C) (Source D) In Volume Two, this section will be more detailed.
Adding greenery also reduces carbon emissions, the heat island effect, and increases biodiversity.Carbonis reduced through carbon sequestration in the plant’s roots during photosynthesis. Green and high albedo rooftops and facades, and shading of streets and structures using vegetation can reduce the amount of heat absorption normally found in asphalt or dark surfaces, this can reduce heating and cooling needs by 25% and reduce temperature fluctuations by 50%. (Source)
Further, adding green facades can increase the biodiversity of an area if native species are planted – the Khoo Teck Puat Hospital in Singapore has seen a resurgence of 103 species of butterflies onsite, thanks to their use of vegetation throughout the exterior of the building. (Ibid). Thanks to the hospital’s environmentally friendly features, its building uses 30% less energy than other newer hospitals a savings of more than $1 million a year on utilities costs. (Source)
Well-lit and accessible stairwells can provide building occupants the opportunity to increase regular physical activity and stamina. Fitness centers or an exercise room can encourage exercise during the work day, which can improve mood and performance,leading to improved focus and better work-based relationships. (Source)
Exercise can also be promoted by encouraging alternative means of transportation (e.g., cycling, walking, running) to and from the building. Providing facilities such as bicycle storage and locker/changing rooms can increase the appeal of cycling, walking, or running. Active workstations, such as of sit/stand desks, treadmill desks, or cycle desks, can encourage increased movement and exercise as well.
5. The Self-sufficienty Core, Eco-Community and Wellness Tools
Holistic Eco-Dwellings by nature are not isolated entities that can be entirely self-regulating and self-sufficient. On the other hand, they should be self-sufficient in the four following basic needs, that is shelter, food via gardening (as much as possible), water, (as much as possible, via rain collection, wells, springs and underground water storage) and heat (passive or active). For the other basic needs, school, market exchanges, internet, transportation, cooperation with others is recommended and the way to promote this is by being integrated within a dynamic and responsible eco-community.
While some components of healthy buildings are inherently designed into the built environment, other components rely on the behavioral change of occupants, users, or organizations residing within the building. “Behavioral measures” can be taken to “encourage better public health outcomes: e.g., reducing sedentary behaviors by increasing access to stairways, using more active transportation options, and working at sit-to-stand desks.(Source)
Other examples that can promote health and well-being include establishing workplace wellness programs, health promotion campaigns, and encouraging activity and collaboration.
A panoply of many wellness tools can be integrated within the home, from rebounders, saunas, to floating chambers, Pemf devices, green detox plants, a mini hyperbaric chamber, meditation sanctuaries, dehydrator, grounding technology, blenders, juicers, photobiomodulation techniques, aromatherapy diffusers and many other health-promoting technology. In this way, the holistic eco-dwelling becomes a genuine healing and regenerative house, wherein deleterious molds, bacteria, viruses, cancer and senescent cells get deterred while the longevity pathways get upregulated.
Health & Financial Results from Living Holistic Eco-Dwellings
When well designed, Holistic Eco-Dwellings generate an abundance of benefitsfrom health, to comfort, energy conservation, minimizatin of stress, creativity and the satisfaction of basic needs and joie de vivre. Below, follows a few examples.
Nature soundshave been shown to improve mental health37% fasterthan traditional urban noise after stressor exposure. This study also found that when surgery patients were exposed to aromatherapy, 45% used less morphine and 56% used fewer painkillers overall. (SourceA & Source).
Another study found that theinclusion of plants in interior environments reduces stress and increases pain tolerance. In addition, it was shown that the use of water elements and incorporating views of nature were also mentally restorative for occupants. (Source)
On another aspect of holistic health, it was found that by increasing the distant view (vista) with beautiful natural scenery in hospital rooms, depression and pain in patients was reduced, which in turn shortened hospital stays from 3.67 days to 2.6 days. (Source)
“Ulrich’s research from 1984  that revealedincreasing healing rates in hospitals with views of nature, has been corroborated by ongoing research.Increased daylight in patients’ room can reduce depression and pain [101,102]. This can lead to shorter hospital stays, from 2.6 to 3.67 days, particularly with patients suffering from bipolar disorder or depression [101,103].” Source)
Views of nature, pictures of nature, hospital healing gardens and emerging into Nature (forest bathing) have the ability to reduce the need for anesthesia, increase the satisfaction of the hospital stay with both patients’ and their families, reduce stress, all of which can significantly improve clinical outcomes while reducing costs. (Source)
Browning et al. have incorporated these studies with statistics of hospital and medication costs in the US to conclude that by reducing the average length of a hospital stay by 0.41 days with daylighting and views of nature would result in $93 million in reduced hospital costs.(Source)
“…small investments involving very low or no up-front cost, such as providing employees access to plants, natural views, daylight, and other biophilic design elements. These measures provide very healthy returns. Integrating views to nature into an office space can save over $2,000 per employee per year in office costs, whereas over $93 million could be saved annually in healthcare costs as a result of providing patients with views to nature.These examples, based on scientific research, will serve to demonstrate the financial potential for a large-scale deployment of biophilic design. Whether it is hospitals that allow patients to heal more quickly, offices that boost productivity, schools that improve test scores, or retail outlets with higher sales, this paper makes the business case for incorporating biophilia into the places where we live and work”. (Source)
Furthermore, thanks to Biophilic-like Holistic Eco-Dwellings and the subsequent higher levels of social connectivity (social capital), lower crime rate levels of violence and aggression have been recorded. (Source)
One published study found that by adding Nature design and landscapes to architecture, cities like New York City could save nearly $470 million due to increased worker productivity and $1.7 billion from reduced crime expenses. (Source). The authors of this study also found that storefronts on heavily vegetated streets increased foot traffic and attracted consumers that were likely to spend 25% more; the same study showed that increasing daylighting through skylights in a store increase sales by 40% +/- 7%. Properties with biophilic design also benefit from higher selling prices, with many selling at 16% more than conventional buildings. (Ibid).
Discussion, Prevention & Conclusion
Sick building causes are frequently pinned down to flaws in the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems in combination with outgassing of different types of building materials, volatile organic compounds (VOC), molds, EMFs, improper exhaust ventilation of ozone (byproduct of some office machinery), light industrial chemicals used within, or lack of adequate fresh-air intake/air filtration and the other elements invoked in this ebook.
The following are a few of the Institute’s Core Recommendations as first steps in transforming a non holistic building into a Holistic eco-dwelling.
Increase the ventilation rates and air distribution. The heating, ventilation and air-conditioning systems should be designed to meet ventilation standards in the local building codes. The HVAC system should be operated and maintained properly to ensure that the desired ventilation rates are attained. If there are strong pollutants, the air may need to be directly vented to the outside. This method is especially recommended to remove pollutants that accumulate in specific areas such as rest rooms, copy rooms and printing facilities. The ASHRAE recommends a minimum of 8.4 air exchanges per 24 h.
Removal or modification of the pollutant source can be carried out by a routine maintenance of HVAC systems, replacing water-stained ceiling tiles and carpets, using stone, ceramic or hardwood flooring, proper water proofing, avoiding synthetic or treated upholstery fabrics, minimizing the use of electronic items and unplugging idle devices, venting contaminants to the outside, storing paints, solvents, pesticides and adhesives in close containers in well-ventilated areas and using these pollutant sources in periods of low or no occupancy. Allowing time for building material in new areas to off-gas pollutants before occupancy and smoking restrictions are some measures that can be used.
Air cleaning can be a useful addition to control air pollution. Air cleaning can be performed by ensuring uncongested interiors with open office designs, use of frosted glass and skylights that give access to natural light, terrace gardens, community spaces and indoor plants that absorb carbon monoxide and formaldehyde from the air. Air filters are also effective in removing some if not all of the pollutants.
Furthermore, roof shingle non-pressure cleaning for removal of algae and mold can be useful as well as using therapeutic ozone (not the industrial one) to eliminate polluting sources such as VOC, molds, mildews, bacteria, viruses, and even odors. Replacement of water-stained ceiling tiles, carpeting as well as all fire-retarding textiles and sofas. Avoiding using non organic paints, adhesives, solvents, and pesticides, and when using these products, it’s important to use them in well-ventilated areas and during periods of non-occupancy. Increasing the number of air exchanges (see above for the minimum) Proper and frequent maintenance of HVAC systems. UV-C light in the HVAC plenum. Installation of HVAC Air Cleaning systems or devices to remove VOC’s, bioeffluents (people odors) from HVAC systems conditioned air. Regular vacuuming with a HEPA filter vacuum cleaner to collect and retain 99.97% of particles down to and including 0.3 micrometers. Place the fire-retarding toxin free bedding in sunshine, which is related to a study done in a high-humidity area where damp bedding was common and associated with SBS. (Source)Increased ventilation rates that are above the minimum guidelines. (Source). Lighting in the workplace should be full spectrum natural and after sunset, dimmed with blue waves inhibition thanks to red and orange lighting. Candles are cool too, but not the commercial ones which are laden with lead and other toxic material. Organic wax candles will promote restoratove sleep as will dim orange or yellowish lights.
Medicine’s first task is to identify the deep underlying causes to diseases and colllective suffering. Many of these causes are found in one’s working and living area, including in automobiles, R.Vs, public transportation and hospitals.
Thanks to Holistic eco-Dwellings, there would be increased adaptability of the residents. Because the steps leading to resilience encourage people to be outside walking and participating in activities, the citizens become healthier and more physically fit. It this realm, it has been found that those who take walks in nature experience decreased depression, anger, and increased vigor, versus those who walk in interior environments. (Source)
Evidence is both eloquent and established with regard to the association of health, prosperity and sustainability via eco-communities and eco-houses. (Source)
One need not much finance. The tiny home movement is a case in point. Small ecological houses can be build under 10K. Instead of giving food stamps to buy toxic food, Government public health agents could help low income and homeless people with acquiring a tiny home and enough land for a small garden. With a garden the dweller could be healthier and meet his or her own needs. Homeless people usually die 20 to 40 years younger than non homeless people and cost Society lots in terms of crimes, disability, disease management and the like.
Healthy building can be seen as the next generation of Green building that not only includes environmentally responsible and resource-efficient building concepts, but also integrates health nad wellness. (Source)
These benefits can include lowering health care costs, and improving individual and organizational performance. Healthy building encompasses a wide range of concepts and applications that promote human health which include but are not limited to: site selection and construction, occupant engagement, personal control, indoor environmental quality, daylighting, Nature design, access to potable water, healthy dining options, exercise in the workplace, and smoking restrictions. (Source)
“Sick-building syndrome (SBS) is an increasingly common problem. Although objective physiological abnormalities are not generally found and permanent sequelae are rare, the symptoms of SBS can be uncomfortable, even disabling, andwhole workplaces can be rendered non-functional. In assessment of patients with SBS complaints, specific building-related illnesses suggested by history or physical examination should be ruled out. On-site assessment of buildings is extremely useful. Treatment involves both the patient and the building. Whenever possible, changes such as ventilation improvements and reduction of sources of environmental contamination should be initiated even if specific aetiological agents have not been identified”. Source)
With Holistic Eco-dwelling, these above mentioned goals and much more would be met. Public Policy should therefore be consistent with the Constitution’s “General Welfare” provision and enact incentives that will meet the United Nation’s norms on the People’s fundamental housing and wellness rights.
Pr Joubert (Holistic Residence Institute)
|Temperature (dry bulb)||19-23°C|
|Relative humidity (RH)||40-70%|
|More than 55% RH is needed in carpeted buildings with under floor heating to avoid electrostatic shocks|
|Delivery of fresh air||8 l/s/person (minimum)|
|16 l/s/person where some smoking|
|25 l/s/person where heavy smoking|
|Total air supply||4–6 air changes/h|
|Air speed||0.1–0.3 m/s. Less than 0.1 m/s causes stuffiness. More than 0.3 m/s causes draughts. For air speeds higher than 0.1 m/s, CIBSE recommends an increase in air temperature to take account of air movement|
|Sound||46 dBA is the upper limit for general office work|
|Lighting||500 lux for general office work, 750 lux for deep-plan offices and work at drawing boards, proofreading, etc.. .|
Eco Friendly Treehouse Community
An Illustration Holistic eco-dwellings where Nature prevails over shelter structures