Humans naturally function best in an environment that is alkaline. Yet today, because of concerns about safety, fire and warmth, we live in buildings that are all but air-tight. This results in a highly acidic interior environment—not to mention one that traps dust as well as odors and chemicals from the building materials we use, such as insulation and fire retardants, and those we use to heat our homes, such as gas or oil. To improve air flow and reduce this chemical load, it is best to design buildings so that all the air is refreshed at least once an hour.
It is possible to have continuous air flow and save energy. Radiant floor heating, hot water circulating through pipes under the floor, provides heat more efficiently than by heating the air. Some Korean scientists have developed a thin film of nano-sized carbon fibers that when placed under a wooden floor or carpet can produce normal house temperatures using only a 12-volt solar power application. Sill another application calls for carbon fibers that obtain energy from thin-film dye-sensitized solar cells attached to the windows.
Including the basement in the continuous flow of air can help eliminate the growth of fungi and spores in that area, which is usually closed, insulated and very damp—ideal conditions for fungi. Since these creatures love acidic conditions, making wall and floor coverings from such materials as crushed seashells or seaweed, which are alkaline, will discourage fungal growth. In addition, allowing full-spectrum light, including ultra violet, into the basement will also discourage the critters.
Finally, orchestrating flows of air throughout a building will thoroughly cleanse and oxygenate the air, thus increasing its alkalinity and hence its healthfulness. Plants, we have now learned, are great air filters; the plants in a rain forest system precipitate dust and dust and other particles into the ground with the rain. One New Mexico company, Living Filter, has developed a system that includes up to 150 types of plants near the ceilings of buildings (though perhaps not in your house) that are permanently lighted with LED lamps and sprayed regularly with a mist of water, cleaning the air and settling the dust.