When you think about your perfect home, you may consider modern architecture, innovative technology, and inviting outdoor spaces. But if you’re like many others, you may underestimate one element that’s crucial to the home of your dreams: healthy indoor air quality.
Air pollution levels inside the average new home in the United States are two to five times worse than the levels outside. These statistics are especially concerning in wintertime: because we tend to stay indoors more often, pollutants can have an even greater impact on health. Plus, for those who suffer from allergies or asthma, unhealthy indoor air can trigger attacks.
The building process is one of the best times to take air quality into consideration – the materials, practices, and technology your homebuilder uses can make or break a healthy foundation.
One of Clarum’s core values is to create healthy environments: we’re committed to building healthy homes with superior air quality, no toxic contaminants, and continuously circulating fresh air. Below, we share four tips crucial to the homebuilding process that can help you ensure the air in your home is healthy all year long.
Traditional home construction can pose countless health hazards – many building materials and finishes are rife with chemicals and toxins. Certain construction practices create exposure risks to biological and chemical contaminants that threaten our health in the short- and long-term.
Responsible builders make sure that health hazards are minimal or non-existent in the building materials they use. This process involves taking a close look at all glues, caulks, paints, and carpets that are incorporated into each home to make sure there is no formaldehyde or other harmful toxins.
Your homebuilder should offer alternatives to common hazardous building materials (for example, Clarum uses cabinets, shelves, and counters without particle board) and also ensure that there are zero added toxins to any materials. Additionally, review the Green Guard rating to ensure you’re getting the healthiest choice for each construction element, such as low to no-VOC paints.
To achieve fresh, healthy, pure air in your custom home, it takes more than just a good filter. It takes a builder who understands all of the systems that contribute to the environment within your home: how they’re interconnected, and how they can enhance each other’s performance. Clarum uses a high-efficiency heat-recovery ventilator – a device that brings in fresh air through a MERV 13 filters (one of the highest standards), guaranteeing superior air quality. All of the stale air from the home is exhausted through the other side of the HRV. With this system, all the air in the house is exchanged 9 times a day with fresh air.
Mold poses serious health threats in the home. The substance produces allergens, irritants, and toxic substances when growing in a moist space. So what’s the key to combatting mold? Controlling moisture.
Your homebuilder can help keep moisture at bay with some key building and maintenance techniques, such as interior sealing. Clarum comprehensively seals all wall joints and penetrations throughout your home to prevent air and moisture infiltration, especially in basements, attics, and wall cavities.
Other techniques include proper insulation to prevent temperature variations, installing vapor barriers to protect your living space from damp areas, and using high-performance windows to fight condensation. With this plethora of options available, you can work with your homebuilder to fight mold and keep you and your family healthy and happy.
An attached garage can be one of the greatest sources of air pollutants in the home. Even when all doors are closed, carcinogens and carbon monoxide can still seep indoors. If you have low indoor air pressure, your home can suck a continuous cycle of contaminants to inside.
Fortunately, there are a few strategies to help reduce or eliminate the threat of garage chemicals. Clarum seals all the walls in the garages of our homes, leaving no room for pollutants to leak in through cracks, gaps, or drafts. We also install exhaust fans so that each time your garage door opens or closes, fans will automatically run for 20 minutes to push fumes outside.
Additionally, our highly efficient HRV system (as outlined earlier) changes air throughout the home nine times each day, so you know the air you’re breathing is fresh and healthy.
With these strategies in mind, you can work with your builder to improve the air quality of your home – and create a healthier tomorrow.
“The way we’re building these passive homes will be the way that homes are required to be built in the future,” says Clarum Founder and President John Suppes. “Clarum incorporates the best use of the latest technology and materials to create custom homes that are healthier and more comfortable.”