Most of us live in homes that suffer from some sort of indoor pollution contamination. While the situation usually isn’t dire, in this day and age, given what we know about household chemicals and how they affect our health and that of our kids, it also seems unnecessary.
Once you see the Healthy Home designed by Victoria Di Iorio, you’ll know it’s unnecessary. Di Iorio is the founder of the Healthy Home Initiative. In partnership with the American Lung Association and Dior Builders, Di Iorio has designed a model home that prioritizes wellness, energy-efficiency, and even a bit of luxury. Called Healthy Home 2017, it will be the very first home in the nation built under newly revised American Lung Association Health House™ guidelines.
The house, which will open to the public in October in Barrington, IL, uses state-of-the-art materials and methods to reduce if not eliminate indoor air pollutants, mold and moisture build-up, use of toxic chemicals, and hazardous combustion sources. Among the features that make a difference are:
- Use of FOREVERBOARD, a healthy alternative to drywall that lessens the vulnerability of the material to water, fire, insects, mold and mildew.
- Rockwool insulation
- A smart electrical system designed to avoid electromagnetic radiation
- An energy efficient HVAC system equipped with IQAir Perfect 16 Whole House HEPA filtration
- Gaggenau energy-saving appliances
- TOTO WaterSense water-saving toilets (Here’s a quick blurb on the TOTO WaterSense toilet I put in my powder room.)
- Lead-free plumbing
- GREENGUARD Gold certified cabinets and countertops
- Hard flooring (as opposed to laminate)
- Natural and organic bedding
- Non-toxic furniture
Neither the flooring nor the furniture nor the cabinets will emit formaldehyde, a carcinogen that is frequently found in the laminate wood that many cabinets and flooring are made of.
“Exposure to indoor air pollutants – smoke, radon, dust, mold and other pollutants – can pose serious health risks and can contribute to respiratory disease, asthma and even lung cancer,” says Harold Wimmer, President & CEO of the American Lung Association.
The Association’s updated Health House™ guidelines showcase indoor air pollutants besides radon, the leading cause of death in private homes, along with mold and moisture control concerns. They also address toxic combustion sources such as boilers, furnaces, stoves, fireplaces, and smoking, all of which will be considered in the construction of Healthy Home 2017.
Healthy Home Initiative Founder Victoria Di Iorio notes, “We are going beyond the notion of what is sustainable and perceived to be healthy and creating a real-life model of what a truly healthy home should be, from foundation to food.”
In addition to Di Iorio and the folks at the American Lung Association, a select group of industry professionals are working on the house because they “collectively believe that more needs to be done to create healthier living environments, especially for children, who are particularly susceptible to health risks.”
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 26 million Americans have been diagnosed with asthma in their lifetimes, 7 million of which are children. For many sufferers, asthma attacks can be triggered by indoor pollutants. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency reports that concentrations of indoor pollutants can be two to five times higher than those found outdoors. (Tweet this) Research indicates that people spend approximately 90 percent of their time indoors, a fact that has made homeowners, especially those who battle asthma or whose kids do, increasingly concerned about indoor air quality. About one in 11 school-aged children suffer from asthma, with the rate rising more rapidly in preschool-aged children than in any other age group.
NOTE: If you’re building or renovating a home, make sure to check out the “Top 10 Questions to Ask Your Builder,” per the recommendations of the American Lung Association. The questions include “What filtration systems do you use in the houses you build?” and “What type of furnishings and finishes do you use in your houses?”
The program is also building a list of “preferred products” you can use as a reference guide and share with your builder or contractor.