In the discussion of green buildings, energy efficiency is a major topic of concern. Health and wellness of the built environment is an area that is secondary. The term Sick Building Syndrome (SBS) was first used in 1983 by the world health organization (WHO) to address the energy crisis that lead to smaller built homes and offices with recycled air and poor ventilation. Energy efficiency was the main focus, leading to application of double-glazed windows with minimal natural ventilation to retain heat. As well, increases interior decoration and modern equipment lead to indoor air pollution. Occupants became exposed to a concentrated level of air pollution “2-4 times higher than of outdoor air pollutants.”
Many people who suffer from “sick building syndrome” (SBS) or “multiple chemical sensitivity” (MCS) as a result of exposure to materials commonly found in the built environment, tend to be confined to their home or are isolated in certain areas of a building due to their acute sensitivity.
With mass timber construction achieving fire ratings similar to concrete, masonry, and steel, new possibilities are on the horizon with municipalities investing in sustainable developments with timber construction. There are a few giants in the mass timber construction, however, Holz100 is the only mass timber building system that is untreated and free of glues, toxic chemicals or VOCs. Holz100 was made to accommodate individuals with environmental sensitivities.
Holz100 is through and through wood – a safe material with only one ingredient that does not result in toxic waste at the end of its life cycle. Working with Holz100 has benefits for both builders and users. Multiple chemical sensitivity varies with each individual, from mild symptoms, benign reactions, to severe disability. Medical experts are divided on the reality of multiple chemical sensitivity, where known medical conditions must first be ruled out in possible cause-and-effect symptomatic procedures. A full toxicology analysis must be examined to confirm diagnosis and in the case of a single chemical exposure versus a mixture of chemicals, the latter is more difficult to assess.
By minimizing toxic materials in the home and on the construction site, builders create a safer work environment with less fatigue and users are able to live uninhibited. Since people suffering from chemical sensitivity can react to the smallest amounts of chemicals, Holz100 strives to provide a building system that is breathable, safe and one that requires minimal finishing. Holz100 provides building interior spaces that require no finishing and can be left untreated. The immediate connection the user has to the space is free of glues, toxic chemicals and VOCs that tend to offgass over the life of the building post construction.
When we are able to shift the focus to building livable spaces and environments, the discussion will become all encompassing; a perspective shift towards a more sustainable economy that promotes safe and healthy building systems. We applaud public spaces that are aware of the MCS condition and make an effort to minimize the exposure of chemicals in their facilities such as the Royal Ontario Museum.
Holz100 Canada Inc.