Not surprisingly, one of the primary concerns of the modern homeowner is the health and safety of their family. And it makes sense: even before shelter-in-place restrictions, the average American already spent up to 90% of their time indoors. Our current era has introduced new motivations for a healthful approach, and has brought some key wellness-related trends to the forefront in new custom homes.
Fortunately, at Clarum, this was a priority for us long before COVID-19. One of our values is to create healthy environments: we’re committed to going beyond aesthetics when it comes to your custom home. We believe your home should be comfortable, beautiful, easy to maintain – and above all, healthy for you and your family.
It’s an unfortunate fact that most construction today outputs chemicals and toxins that pollute indoor air quality and negatively impact short- and long-term health.
This may come as a surprise. You’re probably aware of the toxic contaminants like lead and asbestos that have made historical headlines and reshaped building codes. But did you know that new home construction presents its own list of contaminants and pollutants to worry about?
Where a home’s materials are sourced from is important, as well as the manufacturing methods of the products. When our team at Clarum selects home building materials, we consider questions such as: are the materials harvested in a way that endangers species or threatens communities? Are they non-toxic for the occupants? Do they require large amounts of non-renewable energy to manufacture?
When it comes to healthy materials, one of the most important areas of your home to pay attention to is your flooring. Because it covers so much ground, your flooring has a significant impact on the health of your environment.
Believe it or not, many home improvement products contain chemicals which have been linked to asthma, birth defects, learning disabilities, reproductive problems, liver toxicity and cancer. These toxic chemicals have been banned from children’s toys – but can still be found in flooring products.
Controlling particulates (pollen, dust, dander) should also be a priority for those with allergies. Much of the existing advice for allergy sufferers focuses on bedding and air pollution, yet the floors we choose can also have a major impact.
Did you know that air pollution levels inside the average new home are 2 to 5 times worse than the air pollution levels outside? That’s a troubling statistic, considering we are currently spending the majority of our time indoors.
There are many possible elements that can affect the indoor air quality in your modern home. As we’ve mentioned, depending on the building materials and finishes that your builder has chosen, you may experience pollutants from chemical off-gassing.
But the tiny cloud of particulates that are a natural result of your lifestyle is much more challenging to avoid. Within each cubic foot of the average modern home, there are up to one million particles too small to see – and the American Lung Association has identified poor indoor air quality as a major health concern, linked to long-term respiratory problems.
That’s why you need ventilation and filtration systems that are up to the task. When a builder fails to plan for these systems properly, the results can include poor air quality, discomfort and ultimately, poor health as well.
Another important consideration for your family’s health and comfort is the prevention of mold in your new home. Mold produces allergens, irritants, even toxic substances, and can cause serious health problems. While mold spores can be found almost anywhere; these actually aren’t harmful in themselves. The problems arise only where they can find a moist place to grow. So, the key to preventing mold? Controlling moisture.
Our homes do this on several fronts. To start, we wrap the house in four to six inches of expanded polystyrene foam, with a 14-inch layer under the concrete slab, insulating you from the temperature variations that encourage condensation in the first place. We install vapor barriers to protect your living space from damp areas, such as crawl spaces. We use high-performance windows that resist condensation. We design the ducts to vent moisture. Finally, with the right HVAC, you can control indoor humidity, so the air is neither too dry nor too moist.
Make health a priority from the moment you first interview a home builder by asking, “How do you ensure my home is healthy?” At Clarum, we would answer by saying that we eliminate toxic chemicals used in the building process by:
Our attention to these details means a home that has less dust, fewer pollutants, and is more comfortable and healthier for you and your family – in today’s health environment and beyond.
Want to learn more about how Clarum can create a healthy environment in the home of your dreams? Give us a call at 650.322.7069.