Healthy Homes & Building a Green House

Architectural House Plans - home plans & house floor plans

Green House Building Plans & Green House Construction

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Architectural House Plans

Healthy Homes

If you read the information provided below, you'll be hard pressed to think of a reason not to construct your new home with healthy building materials and techniques. And if you click here, you'll see the only book available -- which we wrote and published -- that will enable your builder to know which products are not only truly non-toxic, but that are also easy to install, durable, and of the highest quality. We also offer the book in kit form, which includes a contract Addendum that you can attach to your contract with your builder -- to insure that he or she actually uses the non-toxic products specified -- and signage to post around the construction site to inform workers that they're building a healthy, non-toxic house.

WHAT IS A HEALTHY HOME?

A healthy home is one that incorporates healthy design elements, non-toxic building materials, and proper construction techniques. It "breathes", emits no toxic gasses, and is resistant to mold.

All of the homes offered in our collection feature the basic design elements of healthy home construction (no bedrooms above the garage, good air flow, abundant natural light, etc.). And we offer our plan customers a very special price when they purchase a copy of our Healthy Construction Guidelines, which will enable your builder to locate and purchase the best non-toxic materials available today, and to employ healthy building techniques to guard against mold and dangerous man-made and natural gasses.

Our criteria for a healthy home include the following attributes:

  • Reduction of exposure to chemicals (such as formaldehyde in insulation and particleboard; volatile organic compounds in adhesives, sealants and paints; and pesticides, fungicides and heavy metals used to treat wood) through use of non-toxic building materials and products.
  • Mitigation of mold and rot by employing proper building techniques and materials from foundation to roof.
  • Utilization of passive airflow, daylighting, and fresh air exchange through proper placement of windows and doors.
  • Location of areas of high toxicity and combustible materials (such as the garage and utility room) away from bedrooms and primary living spaces.

The benefits are homes that are safer, more comfortable, and require less maintenance. A healthy home is also more energy efficient, and therefore incurs lower monthly operating costs!

WHY SHOULD I BUILD A HEALTHY HOME?

New homes are constructed with products and materials that are either made of, or have been treated with, a whole host of dangerous chemicals. But you can now build the same home with high-quality, durable, non-toxic products and materials, at no additional cost!

The EPA has stated that the air pollution levels inside the average new home in the United States is 2 to 5 times worse than the air pollution levels outside. Indoor air pollution from dangerous (and often toxic) chemicals has been linked to the dramatic rises in childhood asthma and respiratory diseases, and chemical sensitivity in adults. Relatively few of the chemical compounds used to create or treat conventional building materials have been tested for their effects on humans, and almost none for their effects on children. Many of the most dangerous compounds (e.g. pesticides, mildewcides, urea formaldehyde, vinyl chloride, chromated copper arsenate ) are commonly found in conventional building materials. The energy crisis we experienced in the early 70's lead to the construction of airtight homes and office buildings that keep heating and cooling costs down, but also trap these chemicals inside with us! Paints, carpets, insulation, caulking, adhesives, composite wood products, soil treatments, and fumes from natural gas appliances all contain toxic volatile organic compounds (VOCs). In addition, there are a number of natural VOCs and other toxins, like molds and radon, found in most homes due to poor construction and design.

The question should really be "Why not build a healthy home'? If you could protect your family's long-term health and financial assets, without spending any more to build your new home, why wouldn’t you? Non-toxic alternatives to conventional products and materials are now produced by most major manufacturers, available everywhere, and cost no more to purchase. And mold is preventable, eliminating a potential threat to your family's health and your home's value. For these a other personal and financial reasons, we believe it makes no sense to build anything other than a healthy home.

At Architectural House Plans, we believe your home should be a sanctuary. It should be a safe, comfortable, inviting place to retreat from the stress and pollution of the everyday world. While it is challenging to build a home that is completely free of any pollutants, using our Healthy Construction Guidelines will drastically reduce the toxins in your home.

DOES IT COST MORE TO BUILD A HEALTHY HOME?

We are pleased to report that most healthy materials now cost no more (and sometimes less!) than conventional products, thanks to increased demand and production. Labor costs may rise slightly if the builders are not familiar with the materials or with healthy building techniques, but even then the total increase is typically just 1-3% of total cost to build. Energy savings alone will make up for the extra cost in a year or two, and provide significant savings thereafter. In addition, the real estate industry currently estimates that a healthy house is 5-15% more valuable than a conventionally-built home, providing a substantial gain if and when you decide to sell. Lastly, and probably most importantly, the health and well-being of your family members, and the avoidance of costly medical bills in the future, are the best reasons to build a healthy, non-toxic home.