The SB&WRC project is supported by the European program Interreg VA France (Channel) England and receives financial support from the ERDF.

The ASBP Healthy Buildings Conference and Expo once again brought together leaders in the construction and healthcare industries to explore exciting opportunities for a healthier, low carbon built environment.

We know from delegate feedback that our second Healthy Buildings Conference was a great success; and both inspiring and terrifying in equal measure. Inspiring because there were some great presentations from academic and industry experts with a passion for change. Terrifying because buildings in general, and air quality in particular, can have a profound and negative impact on our health and well-being. What is clear is that much more research is needed and policy makers need to act now!

The conference commenced with a fascinating talk by our keynote speaker Professor Stephen Holgate CBE, Clinical Professor of Immunopharmacology at the University of Southampton and co-author of The Royal College of Physician's 'Every breath we take' report. (See a video recording of Stephen’s presentation here).

Professor Holgate and The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) are seeking funding to start work on a crucial research project which will gather evidence on the impact of indoor air pollution on children’s health in the UK. Find out more about the project and make a donation here.

Speakers discussed the issues of material toxicity, off-gassing of construction products, inadequate moisture control and harmful mould growth in the internal environment. It can be said that one of the solutions to improving indoor air quality is through the increased use of non-toxic building materials that are both ‘breathable’ and from natural sources.

The ASBP has recently published an industry briefing paper which gives an introduction to the concept of breathability in buildings, which can be read here. The paper has been peer-reviewed and supported by members of the ASBP's Natural Fibre Insulation Group.

ASBP Executive Chair Gary Newman, who was also chairing the conference, introduced the Sustainable Bio & Waste Resources for Construction (SB&WRC) project, of which ASBP is a member alongside French and English partners including University of Bath, University of Brighton, Nomadeis and Veolia.

There is a wealth of #HealthyBuildings18 resources on our website including all the speaker presentations and write-ups from Kate de Selincourt and The Architects’ Journal’s Hattie Hartman. See below for some excerpts.

Dr. Sarah Mackenzie Ross talked about one set of the chemicals in our environments – the ones that have potential to damage our nerves, and thus our brains. Neurotoxins can affect behaviour, cognition (for example concentration or memory), and emotion. “In buildings we are putting people and potentially toxic chemicals close together,” she said “There are so many new substances all the time – plastics, pesticides, flame retardants and many more – and we don’t know if they are playing a role in increases we have seen in developmental disorders or dementia.

Summary article by Kate de Selincourt, a freelance journalist who regularly writes for Passivhaus Plus and Green Building magazines. Click here to read the full article.

One of the strengths of the ASBP’s Healthy Buildings Conference is its mix of practitioners and academics – both on stage and in the 150-strong audience. Executive chair Gary Newman describes the ASBP as a change organisation – its ambition is to drive change by ‘reimagining the future’. The need to move industry focus from cost reduction and shifting of risk to creation of ‘value’ is ever more urgent in a period defined by the Grenfell tragedy. This makes the need to ‘measure’ critical because it is easier to value something that can be measured.

Summary article by Hattie Hartman, Sustainability Editor at The Architects’ Journal. Click here to read the full article.


Last updated on the 10-07-2018 by Sylvain Bosquet


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