With all the rage about green building, why complicate things by adding the goal of a healthy house too? The answer is clear. Our health, and the health of our children, depends on it. The good news is that a healthy house does not have to be complicated. In fact, it can be quite simple.
Like many people, I have experienced the negative long-term health impacts of “modern” unhealthy construction practices, after spending years in a corporate “sick air building”. Back during the energy crisis of the 1970’s, the building had been sealed tight to preserve heat. Unfortunately, by the time I joined the firm, this “ziplock bag” environment also contained a toxic soup of black mold, cleaning chemicals and fragrances, printing ink particulates, and off-gassing formaldehyde –-- all kept constantly airborne for easy inhalation by the miracle of forced air heating and cooling.
Unfortunately, this dangerous situation repeats itself in our homes, schools and workplaces every day. The EPA tells us that the indoor air of a typical home is 2 to 5 times more polluted than outside air, and much higher after construction and refinishing activities … from toxins lurking in paint, cabinetry glues and adhesives, floor finishes, carpeting, cleaning products, air fresheners… the list goes on. Worse yet, the off-gassing continues for months and even years after that “new paint or carpet” smell disappears. These pollutants can lead to severe health effects, including respiratory distress, headaches, dizziness and even anaphylactic shock. Thankfully, these problems are easy to avoid, if we are just informed.
After losing my youngest sister Jeannie to cancer in 2008, I committed myself to learning all that I could about healthy living environments. My personal mission is to demonstrate that healthy, green buildings are not only possible, but easily achievable if we just follow a few important guidelines. In the coming posts, I will share what I have learned, along with valuable resources, so that you can start living in a healthier home too.
CONCORD GREEN — lisatharp.com
I'm an interior designer, raising awareness about healthy and sustainable design. We built THE CONCORD GREEN HEALTHY HOME to showcase these principles, while wrapping them in a beautiful, classic aesthetic. Want to make your home Healthier? Greener? More Comfortable and Inviting?
Visit www.lisatharp.com, or email me at Lisa@ktharpdesign.com to learn about our interior design services.
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Thoreau's Cabin - On Walden Pond
"I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately. To front only the essential facts of life and see if I could not learn what it had to teach and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived." - Henry David Thoreau
Design Excellence = Old + New
THE CONCORD GREEN HEALTHY HOME harnesses the best of old and new building principles. Like our ancestors, we respected the position of the warming sun, cooling breeze and shady trees. Better than the past, we super-insulated to retain comfortable indoor temps and minimize energy use. The home is rooted in classical architecture, but was panelized off-site to cut waste and protect materials from weather, thus reducing chance of rot and mold.
A big thanks to the design team members, who were open to the rather frightening idea of having two sets of architects for THE CONCORD GREEN HEALTHY HOME: ZeroEnergy Design, green architects/mechanical designers, and Connor Homes, creators of reproduction "New Old Homes". This project would not be possible without Aedi Construction, our resourceful healthy home builder.
To Sam, my rock. Thank you for your love, your steadfast support, your ability to make me laugh no matter what, and your patience with my "canary" ways. Without you, none of this work would be possible.