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39CE - Building Biology: Design For Health And Ecology

10 May 2013 8:30 am - 12:00 pm

This couse is sold out

3 Structured Learning Hours

If we are to create more durable buildings of service to both health and ecology, then it is the Architect who must understand where, why and how their buildings fail to serve over time…long after their initial involvement has passed. 

Light-frame construction, which is the basis of almost all residential construction in North America, is a flawed formula, inherently unhealthy and prone to failure over time. Building Biology is a science that originated in Germany in the 1960’s that studies the relationship between the built environment, human health and planetary ecology. Building Biology advocates a more substantial and health-based formula for the creation of durable, ecological buildings, and can differ from best practice of Building Science and “Green Building”. There are 25 principles of Building Biology and we will examine several of these in-depth. We will demonstrate through various case studies where, why and how buildings fail, comparing them to structures using Building Biology principles. Finally we will look at Building Biology as a business model for a multi-disciplinary team approach for creating built environments, and how architects, who are already trained as team leaders, are in a unique position to truly apply the Building Biology principles to their practices. 

Learning Objectives:

  1. Learn about Building Biology and how it is a model for healthy and ecological buildings and can be applied to sustainable architectural practice;
  2. Learn about the essential differences between Building Science and current Green Building Practice and the Building Biology Paradigm for optimal built environments;
  3. Learn the reasons why buildings commonly fail in the climate of Southern Ontario and how the application of Building Biology knowledge could prevent these failures;
  4. Learn how the principles of Building Biology have been applied to actual buildings: Case Studies.


Paula Baker-Laporte graduated from the University of Toronto, School of Architecture in 1978 and from The International Institute of Bau-Biologie and Ecology in 1995. In 2007, she was honoured with investiture into the College of Fellows of the American Institute of Architects. She headed her award-winning architectural practice based in Santa Fe, New Mexico from 1986-2009.  She is currently the president of EcoNest Architecture Inc. based in Ashland Oregon. Since 1992, Paula has dedicated her practice to the precepts of environmentally sound and health enhancing architecture. She was selected as one of our nation’s top 10 green architects by Natural Home Magazine (July/August 2005 edition). 

Paula has lectured, taught and published extensively on the topic of healthy and ecological design. She is currently developing and teaching courses for the International Institute of Bau-biologie and Ecology along with her teaching partner Stephen Collette. She is the primary author of Prescriptions for a Healthy House, 1st,-3rd edition, New Society Publishers 1998- 2008 and co-author with husband Robert Laporte, of EcoNest: Creating Sustainable Sanctuaries of Clay, Straw and Timber, published by Gibbs Smith, 2005. She is a contributing author to several other books and has been a regular columnist for the Santa Fe Home. 

Stephen Collette is the Principal of Your Healthy House, an indoor environmental and green building science consulting firm that specializes in environmental solutions for healthy, natural, energy and water efficient buildings. Stephen’s experience and certifications as a Building Biology Environmental Consultant, LEED Accredited Professional and as a Building Science Specialist of Ontario allow Stephen to work with hundreds of clients, from corporate clients such as American Standard Brands of Canada, to health clinics, insurance companies, design teams, and homeowners. Stephen uses his experience and training to determine how buildings work, how building fail, and to find the most appropriate choices and decisions within every situation. 

Stephen teaches and lectures across North America, and is continually developing and teaching courses with Paula Baker-Laporte for the International Institute of Bau-Biologie and Ecology. Stephen has co-authored a research paper, Healthy Retrofits for the Canadian Partnership for Children’s Health and the Environment, and created a guide, Creating Healthy Multi-Unit Housing for owners and managers, for the Centre for Equality Rights in Accommodation. Stephen has been published in numerous national magazines on the topic of healthy buildings.