In a recent blog post on Microbiomes in the Built Environment (MiBE), the team at BioCote considered how a building’s microbiome can negatively impact its fabric in terms of material damage. Not satisfied with stopping there, we then went on to explore the economic costs associated with poor environmental conditions and the resulting adverse health effects on occupants.

The Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratories in the US have declared that improving building and indoor environments can reduce healthcare costs and sick leave and improve worker performance. The resultant productivity gain was estimated at $30 to $150billion annually. In addition to this, the US Government Department of Energy estimated the potential decrease in adverse health effects from improvements in indoor environments at 10–30% for infectious lung disease, allergies and asthma and 20-50% for Sick Building Syndrome symptoms. For the US, the itemised economic savings could be summarised as follows:

• $6Billion – $19Billion from reduced lung disease
• $1B – $4B from reduced allergies
• $10B – $20B from reduced Sick Building Syndrome symptoms

A key factor contributing to the state of health of building occupants is damp; the role of fungi in, for example, Sick Building Syndrome is well-established. An important and on-going line of scientific research is pursuing the effect mould-resistant buildings have on the health of occupants, which could lead to many of the economic benefits mentioned in this blog. Accurate data describing the effect that anti-mould technology has in the real-life environment are not easy to generate and the demonstration that an anti-mould building material is highly efficacious requires scientific quantification of such effects in situ with reference to health consequences. Considering the huge sums of money that already burden the economy, research is set to increase into the effect of MiBE and solutions will inevitably follow.

Providing the ultimate protection against bacteria, mould and fungi, BioCote antimicrobial technology can be applied to the built environment- and call us biased, but we think it’s fair to assume that our additives are already generating quantifiable health and economic benefits! We discuss this and much more in our CPD UK accredited seminar entitled ‘Building an Antimicrobial Environment’ which is available for free to Architects and those who work in the construction industry. For more information on this presentation or to chat about our technology and its endless applications, don’t be afraid to give us a call: +44 (0)2477 712 489.