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Due to its holistic approach, building biology deals with many areas of building, living, and also life itself. In this introductory course module, Prof. Dr. Anton Schneider, the author and founder of the Institute of Building Biology + Ecology, explains in practical terms—and sometimes also with a philosophical touch—what the term building biology means, why our society needs building biology, and what the learning objective of the Building Biology Course is.

Building biology must not stop at the gate. Apartments and houses usually do not exist by themselves but are part of villages, towns, and cities. This alone is not only a major intervention into nature but also has a major impact on human well-being. If the basic rules of ecosocial regional planning are applied, it is possible to create life-sustaining communities that live in harmony with healthy natural surroundings. However, if they are ignored, mental and physical health disorders may increase and the effects of environmental destruction may spin completely out of control in the long run. What should a culture-based and sustainable urban planning paradigm look like from a building biology perspective?

This course module is the first one to focus on a core subject of building biology, that is, how to create a comfortable and healthy indoor climate. Only the proper working together of the various indoor climate factors such as air, temperature, humidity, and electroclimate will have the desired effect. This course module is an introduction and also provides an overview of this complex issue. Many of the issues raised here will be discussed in more detail in subsequent course modules such as “Environmental Building Materials Assessment / Building Science,” “Heating and Ventilation,” “Energy-efficient Building Design,” “Electromagnetic Radiation,” “Air and Pollutants,” “Light and Lighting,” or “Natural Colors and Finishes.”

Which criteria shall natural building methods meet? Which natural building methods are recommended because they meet building biology criteria? This course provides a first insight into the properties of building materials and building methods. The chapter “Wood Wall or Masonry Wall” is of particular importance because building designers and building biology consultants often are confronted with this question.