The Earthdome is designed to create a healthy living environment which as a by-product should help with alleviating the effects of allergies.
The use of appropriate heating and cooling systems is one of the prime aspects of the development where we link the efficient production of low-grade heat from the ground source heat pumps with the indroduction into the building of radiant heat to which the human body is primarily attuned. For example, it is how we receive heat from the sun.
A cooling system from the ground loop which blows cool air into the building is analagous to how the human body uses perspiration and airflow to evacuate excess heat.
These two systems are in direct contrast with the majority of heating systems in use in modern buildings which use the air as a carrier for heating and cooling, and moves that warm or cool air around an enclosed space.
Air quality within the building is important and additional ventilation has been incorporated. This system is linked to the automatic evacuation of humid air which helps to prevent the possibility of mould growth and it is interesting to note that dry air is a more efficient medium for the purposes of heating.
The evacuating system also helps to remove the various off-gassing that occurs from sources such as cooking, perfumes, cleaning products etc. Furthermore, carbon monoxide is a factor in buildings and this system removes this allowing for a more oxygen-rich enviroment.
Light is an important component for us. The rods and cones in our eyes grow better with good light quality and quantity. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) can be attributed to light deficiencies. Light generally arrives at or near the vertical plane, so windows that are as close to the horizontal plane as possible allow much more light to enter the building. This is why Velux windows are used in the loft area. These windows are also full-height to maximise the amount of light entering the room.
Good light volume within the kitchen area is achieved through full-height windows. Triple glazing was not selected because it was feared that the extra layer of glass would reduce the light entering the building. These windows can also be opened to allow the ingress of ultra violet light, which is essential in small doses.
It is thought that Ricketts disease can also be brought about through light deprivation. Light is absorbed through our skin and health benefits can be seen from exposure to good quality light. In other research, it has been found that disruptive behaviour in children can be stabilised and treated with good quality light.
Full-spectrum lighting, including the ultra-violet range, can be a treatment for those suffering with severe SAD symptoms.
As a token gesture within the Earthdome, blue floor lights were used as a possible source of support for the endocrine system. Further research needs to take place in this area.
Materials / Earth
The aim was to create a building using materials that are conducive to good health. Certain research suggests that good quality earth has a paramagnetic quality that leads to good quality plants and food. These earths are highly mineralised and are often associated with volcanic material content. Within the Earthdome, we have replicated the nature of this earth within the construction of the building.
The other component is diamagnetic material. This has also been introduced into the building through the use of quartz-based baths and floor tiles. These two gentle forces interact with sections of the electromagnetic spectrum which support good plant growth and thus is likely to be an environment that is conducive to good human health also.
Lime is used in the building primarily in the renders both internally and externally in addition to the pumped floor screeds. Lime kills mould growth and was traditionally used as lime washes within kitchen areas.
The sanitaryware has been selected on the basis that it incorporates silver within the glaze. This has been shown to have a natural antibacterial effect and may be the basis of the use of silver in cutlery, tableware and water jugs that can be dated to thousands of years ago.
For energy efficiency and prevention of scalding, we have kept the temperature of the water down. We have also oxygenated the water through the use of special nozzles in the taps. This also gives the impression that more water is being delivered than is actually the case.
The shower heads can also be adjusted to minimise the amount of spray, and there is a valve that can reduce water consumption by up to fifty percent.
We have also installed an electrically powered water distiller which can produce distilled water for drinking and is also a safety measure against any contamination that may occur to the water supply. This system does not require filters and should therefore last almost indefinitely.
The choice of energy efficient lights was made on the basis of automatic switching and energy efficient light bulbs. However, there may be a case for the use of incandescent bulbs on the basis of the possible beneficial effects of the range of light frequencies emitted from them. This is subject to further investigation on the project.
Carpets made from natural materials have been used within the building. People living in the apartments are encouraged to take the carpets outside of the building for cleansing by ultra-violet from the sun and beating to remove any buildup of particulates.
This building is comprised of either floor tiles or solid timber floors, so that a light mop with clean water is all that is required to cleanse the interior of dust and debris. Vaccuum cleaners are not recommended within the building, however those with high levels of filtration or centrifugal evacuation systems or built-in vaccuum cleaning systems could be more suitable for this kind of environment.
We have avoided the use of metal within the beds as far as possible, as these are known to interfere with sections of the natural electromagnetic spectrum.
The use of metal within the building generally has been kept to a minimum wherever possible, also to reduce distortions of the Earth's natural magnetic field.
The buildings are all electrically powered, there are no domestic gas supplies used. However, prudent avoidance of electromagnetic fields is encouraged within the building and Pirelli Amaflex cable has been used because it has an internal aluminium sheathing that contains the electromagnetic field within the cable. This particular cable also adds an aspect of safety because it reduces off-gassing in a house fire situation.
In the bedroom areas, the electric cabling to the 13 Amp sockets can be switched off completely. This is achieved through the use of a radiating electrical system, rather than the more traditional ring main arrangement.
Wherever possible, we have used ecologically sound paints, stains and varnishes. Not only do these products produce less harmful emissions during production, but they are also far more friendly to human health.