How a New Construction Home Can Improve Your Family's Health
You’re planning to build a custom home in the future. You know how many bedrooms and bathrooms you want, the location, and the style. But have you considered building a certified healthy home? What exactly does “healthy” mean when talking about new construction and eco-friendly homes?
“A whole-building approach to energy efficiency—including improving insulation, heating and cooling systems, lighting and energy-using equipment—can reduce energy costs and support warmer, drier, more comfortable indoor environments. Both outcomes have been linked with direct impacts such as lowered risk of illness and with indirect physical health benefits.”
It’s safe to assume that your family’s home is a healthy and safe place. However, that assumption depends on how it was built. New, green construction homes that carry the Energy Star label utilize a scientific approach to building better homes that has a significant impact on health and well-being. The International Energy Agency report states that energy efficient homes can reduce:
- symptoms of respiratory disease
- stress and infectious disease
- risk of cancer, arthritis, and depression
- symptoms of cardiovascular disease
“When quantified health and well-being impacts are included in assessments of energy efficient homes, the benefit-cost ratio can be as high as 4:1, with health benefits representing up to 75% of overall benefits.”
A Healthier and Better Approach to Home Building
Building an eco-friendly home means you will get the healthiest home option available. BrightLeaf utilizes mold- and moisture-resistant materials, non-VOC products, and a comprehensive indoor air quality system.
A complete water management system included in all Energy Star Certified homes ensures that water will be effectively drained away from your new home. This includes a moisture-resistant barrier in the ground around the home. This barrier area is graded away, allowing the entire home to be wrapped top to bottom in a continuous layer of overlapping, moisture-resistant material. This house wrap controls the flow of air and moisture through the exterior of the building and reduces the potential for dangerous problems such as air infiltration, water damage, rot, and mold growth.
Low-VOC Products for Home Building
For a long time, people assumed that as long as we stayed away from lead-based varieties, there were no health hazards associated with the colorful paint splashed on our walls. Then people learned that VOCs (volatile organic compounds), once believed to be an inescapable component of paints, were carcinogenic. Now, many paint manufacturers are making low-VOC paints with fewer associated health risks—a choice BrightLeaf wholly supports and holds as a standard in our builds.
The smell of a new car, new carpet, or a freshly painted room is actually the smell of chemicals, as various materials slowly release some of the byproducts of the production process (known as off-gassing). Adhesives and sealants make a home stronger, more durable, and more energy efficient, but they shouldn’t make you sick. BrightLeaf Homes use adhesives, sealants, and paints that contain low or no amounts of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) . Don’t worry, there is still paint on the walls and adhesive to help keep the floors from squeaking, but we use materials to made to not cause harm.
Other Features of a Healthy Home
- Sealed Combustion Appliances—Traditional water heaters and furnaces can cause a backdraft of harmful combustion gases into the home. Green homes include high-performance, sealed combustion appliances that guarantee dangerous gases cannot leak back into the home.
- Radon Mitigation System—Radon is contained in every 1 out of 3 homes in Illinois and is the second leading cause of lung cancer behind smoking. Green homes implement a radon mitigation system that ensures occupants stay safe, and is standard on all BrightLeaf homes.
- No “Off-Gassing”—Many traditional building materials contain thousands of chemicals that are slowly released into the air in a process called off-gassing, and can continue to off-gas toxic chemicals into the air in and around your home for up to six years or more. Green construction technology and processes no longer support materials that off-gas, and BrightLeaf prefers to use materials that don’t result in off-gassing.
Comprehensive Indoor Air Quality System
Building a tight exterior envelope and properly controlled mechanical ventilation is the ultimate solution for a safe and healthy home. Our Air Cycler system adds a measured amount of fresh, outside air into the home and exhausts potentially contaminated air on a regular basis. Controlling the ventilation of the home allows indoor air quality to remain high and energy costs low.
- Proper ventilation—to get the bad air out
- Fresh air intake—to bring good air in
Green homes are more airtight than a typical house, which makes them more energy efficient. While this can lead to poor indoor air quality, well designed green homes are built with technology to bring in measured fresh air so that stale air can be cycled out, ensuring that only high-quality air is circulating through the home.
100% Committed to Building Indoor AirPlus Qualified Homes
Many green homes are qualified by the EPA AirPlus program to be a healthy environment for you and your family to live and breathe in. Qualifications like this verify that a home contains:
- zero- to low-VOC building materials,
- contains proper ventilation, and is
- resistant to moisture that can cause dangerous levels of mold growth.
At BrightLeaf we are 100% committed to building only IndoorAirPlus Qualified Homes. It’s all we do and we do it right. Don’t just settle for any home. Build your forever home that will serve to protect the health and well-being of your family.