Healthy Public Buildings

Public Allotment Building in Wigan

Research is increasingly highlighting the adverse effects of poor indoor air quality (IAQ) on health and well being. Studies particularly focus on schools, but if it’s good for school children, it’s got to be good for all of us. It is clear that we should be designing for health at the outset, and this should be embedded into every design.

Here at Straw Works Design we have always designed healthy buildings as one of the main ways this can be done is by using only natural materials.

Barb was a speaker at the recent ASBP conference on Healthy Buildings and these are the ways we add considerations for health into all our designs:

  • humidity regulation – by using natural plasters
  • no toxic off-gassing - use of natural materials - excellent IAQ
  • fresh air – breathable wall systems & passive/active ventilation
  • ambient temperature – thermal storage in strawbale walls with lime/clay plasters
  • peace and quiet – excellent sound insulation from plastered strawbale walls
  • quality of light – graduated by deep rounded reveals, plenty of daylight
  • beautiful surroundings – simple organic finishes
  • ownership – participation in the build

You can find Barbara's presentation  here - Building Healthy Buildings with Natural Materials

ASPB - the Alliance of Sustainable Building Products have also produced some informative briefing papers:

Improving indoor air quality - the benefits of natural fibre insulation

Formaldehyde - its effects on human health

The Joists are in place at Cuerden Valley Park Visitor Centre

These joists are in place at Cuerden Valley Park Visitor Centre

Straw Works has designed the UK’s first ever registered Living Building Challenge project as the Cuerden Valley Park Visitor Centre which is all about using the right materials to achieve health and well-being, and to be truly sustainable instead of just greenwashing.

Here’s an article about it in the National Geographic

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