by DAN VOS
Vos Energy Concepts
A healthy house can mean different things to different people. Some people are sensitive to things that others are not. Many among us have allergies and sensitivities to specific things.
When I design one of these homes, I tell the client to identify as many of their allergies or sensitivities as possible, so we can keep them out of their new home.
You can be tested for allergies. The prick test is the most common, and the back tends to feel like a combination pincushion and Petri dish. Other ways of testing is to isolate possible culprits by putting them in a sealed container. You then open the container and breathe in the vapors from the container to see if there is a reaction. This is for airborne sensitivities. This process can work very well.
There have been many products and building techniques that have come out to play in the last 10 years or so which address the healthy house issue. Some of them include zero VOC paint, the ban of all formaldehyde in building materials, the use of filtered ventilation systems in homes to assure fresh clean air entering and stale air leaving while capturing the heat in the winter, radon mitigation systems designed into the home, zero step entries, large interior doorways and hallways, and a greater attention to the details involving water penetration into the structure to keep out mold.
The way the house is designed and built has a lot to do with how it relates to the health of the people living in it. Being healthy emotionally is as important as being healthy physically. During our long winters, it is important to get as much sunlight as possible. It makes us feel better and keeps the blues at bay. This is a reason that a Passive Solar design is also a big part of the healthy home. Open spaces are needed as well as comfortable small spaces, depending on our moods and what we’re doing. A craft or art room is good for the right side of the brain while computing takes care of the left. We just need to remember to use these to keep our minds healthy.
Not all of these things apply to all of us. That is why a healthy home is more of a personal design based on the needs of the people living there.