It’s been an exhausting, challenging, overwhelming, frightening, confusing, debilitating, depressing, kind of year. Last year at this time most of the United States was shut down for the first time due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Most of us were unsure of what was going on. For myself, I was living through the nightmare of COVID-19. I had contracted it in January while at the International Builders Show in Las Vegas. I went to visit the doctor on January 27th and told her that I knew I had COVID-19. She asked me if I had been to China and when I said no, she discounted my concerns. I was the sickest I’ve ever been in my life and I knew I had COVID-19.
After being diagnosed with pneumonia and on two rounds of antibiotics, I got a CT Scan that showed multiple blood clots in my right lung. I was put on Eliquis, sent for heart and blood tests, and was told to “stay home and don’t go around anyone that could be sick.” So, I stayed home, which is where many of us have found ourselves the last 12 months. I was referred to another doctor and she agreed I had been suffering from COVID-19.
So, what does health have to do with it? It turns out, as we have all discovered, a lot. And if you’re building new homes, you’re going to need to make sure that you are aware of all the designs, products, construction techniques, and ways you can build a healthy home.
New home buyers are looking for a home that is built to support their health and wellness by using floor plan designs that allow for “clean rooms” coming in from the garage for groceries, clothing, etc., flexible floor plans, multiple offices, movable walls that allow for privacy, and outdoor spaces that can be used for work, play, school, and entertainment. The homes should incorporate indoor air filtration and purification systems, water purification, humidity control, easy-to-clean surfaces, low-VOC paints and materials, and overall indoor air quality (IAQ). They should use touchless faucets, handles, toilets, and appliances,
A healthy home is an energy-efficient home. And the healthiest home is an All-Electric home, which eliminates the carbon, pollutants, and airborne toxins from gas heating, cooking, hot water, and dryers. It may also be located in a walkable community with indoor and outdoor recreation facilities such as walking trails, fitness centers, and or swimming pools.
One of the most important characteristics of a healthy home is indoor air quality (IAQ) which uses a robust HVAC system that includes air filtration, purification, and proper ventilation. With a MERV 13 filter, these systems can reduce or eliminate common allergens and pollutants such as dust, pollen, smog, and bacteria from the home which improves indoor air quality.
Homeowners also consider humidity control an essential component of a healthy home. Excessive damp indoor air is not only uncomfortable, but it can cause mold and mildew on the inside and outside of walls as well as around pipes and ductwork. Air that is too dry can cause problems such as warped floors to respiratory health problems.
Buyers want easy-to-clean surfaces on countertops like granite, copper, quartz, and Silestone. For floors, that means products such as hardwood, tile, linoleum, cork, or bamboo. And for walls, low-Volatile Organic Compound (VOCs) paints are in high demand. VOCs are chemicals that are released into the air and can cause health problems in people with asthma or other respiratory issues.
If you feel overwhelmed by everything going on in the healthy home movement, we’ve created an organization to help you figure it all out. The mission of our new non-profit, Healthy Home Alliance, is to promote the Healthy Home movement by providing marketing, education, and outreach to stakeholders and partners in the building and lifestyle industries. The goal is to facilitate the adoption of the technologies, products, construction techniques, and clean energy sources that will create the optimum healthy indoor environment for residents, as well as mitigate greenhouse gas emissions for the greater good of the planet. You can find out more about our organization by visiting www.urhealthyhome.org.
We’re launching the organization with Healthy Home 101, a virtual event on June 24th from 1 – 5 pm Pacific Time. If you’re a home builder, contractor, HVAC contractor, plumber, architect, designer, energy consultant, real estate agent, marketing & sales professional, or homebuilder purchasing agent, please join us for an informative session on how to design, build, and sell a healthy home! Register here: http://urhealthyhome.org/registration/
We look forward to sharing with you some great insights into the healthy home movement! See you online soon!