Our homes should be our safe sanctuaries. They should nurture our well being on all levels. But the modern home often does not.
Increasing numbers of people are developing illnesses like environmental allergies, sick-building syndrome and multiple chemical sensitivity due to chemical and biological toxins found inside modern homes.
Until about 25 years ago, indoor air pollution was rare. But a few fundamental things have developed in building practices that have affected the environmental quality inside our homes.
Synthetic Chemicals. At the turn of the century and for thousands of years before, our home and work environments were free of man-made chemicals. This is no longer true, there are currently more than 4 million registered synthetic chemicals.
Approximately 80,000 are in common use.We don’t know the long term effects of these chemicals on the human body. In particular, we don’t yet know the effects of exposure to combined chemicals in a sealed environment.
Increased Energy Efficiency. In solving one problem, modern home construction has created another. Improved technologies have been introduced that seal homes more tightly.
However, a tightly sealed home that has no air leaks must have a ventilation system to replace humid and stale air that can be laced with bacteria, mold and off-gassing toxins.
In many areas, there are no building regulations requiring ventilation or HVAC systems. For optimal indoor air quality, it is very important to understand and balance the systems in a high performing house.
House Siting In order to survive, ancient humans carefully observed their environment. Human dwellings were constructed to fit into the landscape in beneficial ways. They were sited to capture and use needed shade, sun or protection.
It’s only a society that is over populated and disconnected from the environment that would prioritize siting a house primarily for view or proximity to town.
Thus we see inappropriately sited homes (ie: north facing/unprotected) with mold problems or houses demanding costly systems and energy to maintain the modern expectation for uniform temperatures 24/365.
Green Home Solutions:
- Be vigilant in using chemical free building materials
- Properly install and use a ventilation system in your new tightly sealed home.
- Carefully observe your proposed building site and choose a location that maximizes the environmental quality of the home.
- Work with a company that consistently researches and understands building materials, performance building, energy efficient systems and healthy homes.