Australian Institute of Building Biology


History of Building Biology

The holistic inter relationships between humans and their living environment. The practice of Baubiologie und Okologie or Building Biology has its roots in post-war Germany where Professor Dr Anton Schneider began researching the effects of rapid building practices and their effects on the health of the population. He began teaching about healthy building practices in an ecologically sustainable environment in 1969.  In 1983 he founded the IBN (Institute of Building Biology & Ecology, Neubeuern) which was established to carry out research and professional training. Since its inception in 1977, the institute has trained over 6,000 architects, building designers and other interested people using the 25 principles of building biology.

This spread the ideas and teachings of building biology all over Europe where national Institutes of Building Biology and Ecology were subsequently established. Graduates of Prof Schneider’s course also carried building biology to the English-speaking world: Helmut Ziehe founded the International Institute for Baubiologie & Ecology in Florida, USA (IBE) in 1986. An awareness of the discipline spread rapidly from books and papers that resulted from these primary studies. 

building biology book case

The 25 Principles of Building Biology

Healthy Indoor Air

  • Supply sufficient fresh air and reduce air pollutants and irritants
  • Avoid exposure to toxic molds, yeasts, and bacteria as well as dust and allergens
  • Use materials with a pleasant or neutral smell
  • Minimize exposure to electromagnetic fields and wireless radiation
  • Use natural, nontoxic materials with the least amount of radioactivity

Thermal & Acoustic Comfort

  • Strive for a well-balanced ratio between thermal insulation and heat retention as well as indoor surface and air temperatures
  • Use humidity-buffering materials
  • Keep the moisture content of new construction as low as possible
  • Prefer radiant heat for heating
  • Optimize room acoustics and control noise, including infrasound

Human Based Design

  • Take harmonic proportion and form into consideration
  • Nurture the sensory perceptions of sight, hearing, smell, and touch
  • Maximize daylighting and choose flicker-free lighting sources and color schemes that closely match natural light
  • Base interior and furniture design on physiological and ergonomic findings
  • Promote regional building traditions and craftsmanship

Sustainable Environmental Performance

  • Minimize energy consumption and use renewable energy
  • Avoid causing environmental harm when building new or renovating
  • Conserve natural resources and protect plants and animals
  • Choose materials and life cycles with the best environmental performance, favoring regional building materials
  • Provide the best possible quality of drinking water

Socially Connected & Ecologically Sound Communities

  • Design the infrastructure for well-balanced mixed use: short distances to work, shopping, schools, public transit, essential services, and recreation
  • Create a living environment that meets human needs and protects the environment
  • Provide sufficient green space in rural and urban residential areas
  • Strengthen regional and local supply networks as well as self-sufficiency
  • Select building sites that are located away from sources of contamination, radiation, pollutants, and noise