Low Allergen Homes
Allergens are substances that cause an allergic reaction in the
immune system. Symptoms Of reactions include:
- Sneezing, Watery eyes
- Headaches, Fatigue, Dizzyness, Depression
- Shortness of breath, Coughing, Sore throat, Palpitations, Asthma
Over the past 50 years there has been a significant increase in
asthma worldwide. Research has linked this increas to allergens
associated with modern building methods and materials.
Low Allergen Building Design
To address this issue, the building industry is adopting low allergen
design and construction. This is a subset of green building.
Low allergen design is an holistic approach to building with the
aim of reducing all known allergens, and to minimize the environments
which encourage their existence.
- Design process
Indoor allergens include:
- Dust mites
- Moulds and fungal spores
- Fine particles, fumes and gases
- Volatile Organic Compounds [VOCs] - chemicals that evaporate
at room temperature, many of which are known to be toxic and hazardous
to human health. This includes stachybotrys.
These indoor allergens are common in the modern home that utilize
synthetic and chemical products that contain VCOs. Modern houses
are also much more airtight, with the lack of ventilation resulting
in a warm, damp and poorly ventilated spaces - perfect conditions
for dust mites, moulds and fungal spores.
Toxic chemicals and VOC's are commonly found in:
- Treated timbers
- Wood composites
- Paints and varnishes
- Pastics and PVC
- Furnishings and fabrics
These all give off emissions sufficient to trigger an allergic
In low allergen design, use of these products is avoided wherever
possible, instead using green building materials that have zero
or low emissions. This may include compressed chipboard [no glue],
non-toxic paints, and natural earth plasters.
Instead of carpet floor coverings, flooring is either wood, ceramic
tiles or linoleum.
Ventilation and Humidity
A well ventilated home helps towards becoming an allergen free
home. Ventilation strategies include:
- Using natural building materials - lime plaster, timber, clay
and natural paints that allow a building to breathe.
- An open building design - help with ventilation
- Appropriate placing of windows - with trickle vents
- Extraction fans in high humidity areas - kitchens and bathrooms.
- Dynamic insulation - creates a permeable insulating layer in
the walls or ceilings, and uses a wind-driven extraction fan to
create pressure between the outside and inside air. Air is drawn
into the building from the outside and recovers the heat that
would normally have been lost to the outside by conduction. Moisture
is also conducted out of the building and in this way both low
humidity and temperature regulation is maintained inside the building.
To lower allergen potential, avoid heating systems that use combustion
gases. These significantly increase the risk of developing an allergic
reaction. Instead use
sustainable energy heating, including:
With weather conditions becoming more extreme around the globe,
we are seeking shelter indoors for increasing hours. This is exasperating
allergic reactions, making it more imperative that we lower our
Low allergen design is a holistic approach to create healthy living
spaces. By minimising allergen triggers through adopting green building
materials and low toxin ventilation design we can make a positive
move back towards a more natural and sustainable
way of building.
Green With Remodelling
Back to Top
Building Green Index | Carbon
Neutral Homes | Low Allergen Homes |
Remodeling | Materials
| Insulation | Linings
| Glazing | Roofs
| Cladding | Doors
| Flooring | Furnishings
| Paints | Flashings
& Sealants | Heating Systems | Ventilation
| Air Quality | Moisture
Control | Utilities | Landscaping
| Standards & Ratings