It’s a science largely unknown to the mainstream, and its roots lie in the atrocities of world war. In 1941, after the House of Commons was destroyed in a bombing raid, Winston Churchill was quoted as saying: “We shape our buildings, thereafter they shape us”. He was referring to the need to restore the historic edifice and return it to its former glory. But the quote, in itself, holds the key to a philosophy that developed in Germany during the aftermath of the war. It took years, but very slowly investigators realised that families housed in cheap new homes, quickly built to accommodate the growing population, all suffered in one form or other, from “unusual patterns of illnesses”. These illnesses were all attributable to problems with the electrical systems of the new houses, claimed researchers. Rapid construction had “given materials insufficient time to outgas various volatile organic compounds (VOCs)”, and these VOCs instead harmed the occupants.
A small group of architects and experts began to catalogue and characterise these VOCs, and what emerged was the Standard of Building Biology, a list of recommended threshold guidelines for sleeping areas - the places where the human body is most sensitive to external influences, and where it spends a large amount of time. Building biology was introduced into the United States in 1987, and it now has an official international institute, with two streams of certification available. Unsurprisingly, it has not been universally embraced.
Some of its practices actually conflict with the International Building Code, and there are those in the field who maintain that the insurance, building material and chemical industries are behind pressures that keep unhealthy building practices legal...
So where does that leave us, when we are building or redesigning a house? Happily, in the Algarve, we have a resident interior architect, licensed as a planner in building biology. Christina Kuhn, 47, started life as a specialist in lighting design. She is also an artist. But the attraction of building biology grew over time, and she qualified at the Okozentrum Hamm institute for sustainable building.
Following the Press Release:
Following the successful cookery course held at the Portugal Tourist Board's Catering and Hotel Management College in Faro at the end of November afpop announces 2 further dates for additional courses that have been arranged with the College. The first will be held in Faro on Tuesday 30 April and the second at the College in Portimão on Tuesday 7 May.
Both courses will start at 08.30 with a visit to the market to purchase ingredients, then on to the College for a presentation about the course and advice on cooking techniques before starting the food preparation and cooking.
Suggestions for the starters are: Scampi with tartar sauce and a shot of lemon grass; Monkfish kebab with white butter sauce; Razor clams with aneth foam.
For the main course the suggestions are: Octopus casserole with seafood; Pork tenderloin confit with citrus.
The dessert is: Carob tart with honey.
As in the past, there will 3 IRS Seminars held in January and February 2013 held by afpop and euroFINESCO.
For the 17th consecutive year afpop has arranged for euroFINESCO to present a series of IRS Tax Seminars to provide the information that residents in Portugal and people moving to Portugal need to know about their obligations for presenting their Tax Declarations to the Finanças. The seminar subject will include the latest information about personal allowances, how and when to submit the annual Declaration and penalties for false declarations and late submissions.
The presenters from euroFINESCO will give impartial advice about all matters to do with individual taxation and will answer questions of general interest in open forum. They will also be available to give more specific advice on individual cases after the group session has ended. Where advice requires euroFINESCO staff to undertake enquiries on behalf of an individual, this would be done on a professional basis outside of the seminar. But where they are able to offer advice about an individual or unusual circumstance, they are generally happy to do so at the seminar.
During the Winter brake in the Algarve the german Bundesliga Teams Hannover 96 and Bayer Leverkusen 04 played against each other during a Mini-tournament on Monday, 7 Jannuary 2013, at the Cascade Resort in Lagos. The match ends 2:0 for Hannover 96. Following some impressions from the match:
(c) All images Alexander Hammer
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