designing buildings that are not an environmental burden on the next generation

Design and Detailing for Toxic Chemical Reduction in Buildings

Client: SEDA (funded by The Scottish Executive)

This guide is one in a series commissioned by The Scottish Ecological Design Association (SEDA) on design and detailing for more sustainable construction. It was co-authored by Gaia. The design of buildings that do not impose a toxic load on constructors, users or the environment is a crucial aspect of policy implementation if Scotland is to meet its commitments to enhance well-being, health and biodiversity.

The issue is significant but there is very little information available. For this reason the approach of the guide has been to highlight products that we know to be detrimental to health and the environment and to seek to eliminate them. Further it has been to identify products over which there are concerns and to recommend alternatives. This approach is fully in the spirit of the precautionary principal, which is embedded in Scottish, UK and international policy on sustainable development.

The publication priorities the building user and the indoor climate whilst addressing the total life cycle of a material including toxicity issues during manufacture and those that become a problem on disposal at the end of its useful life. It presents the background knowledge required to make more informed decisions on the use of building materials and construction techniques and provides references to support further study.

The report can be downloaded from the SEDA website.