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Building Health Into Homes

Improved indoor air quality is one of the most important factors in building a healthier home. As today’s homes are being built to comply with stricter, more energy efficient standards, it becomes even more important to prioritize clients’ overall health. When building Chicagoland’s first certified Passive House, I had to ask myself, what good is a super-energy-efficient house if the materials used to build the house could potentially compromise the homeowner’s health?

Many building materials contain toxic chemicals that can off-gas volatile organic compounds (VOC’s). Unfortunately, most people do not know that there are potentially hazardous materials in most drywall, hardwood flooring, carpets, plywood, glues, caulks, cabinets, insulation, countertops, and furniture. Fortunately, we can make better selections by choosing products that are third-party certified for indoor air quality such as GREENGUARD Gold (formally known as GREENGUARD Children & Schools), CRI Green Label Plus, or products meeting State of California’s Department of Public Health standards for VOC emissions (California section 01350).  While some certified products cost more, others do not.

A Passive House is a well-insulated, extremely air tight structure built to meet the most stringent energy standard in the world, so it was hugely important to me and my client to use as many third-party certified products as possible. Just as important as building an energy–efficient, healthier home is the ability to do this cost effectively. All it takes is a builder who is truly committed to your health and well-being.

Written by Brandon Weiss / Co-authored by Victoria Di Iorio

Stay Tuned for Part 2 for “Building Health Into Homes”