How To Build a Healthy House - Fine Homebuilding
  • Tips & Techniques for Painting
    Tips & Techniques for Painting
  • Buyer's Guide to Insulation
    Buyer's Guide to Insulation
  • 7 Smart Kitchen Solutions
    7 Smart Kitchen Solutions
  • How to Install Housewrap Solo
    How to Install Housewrap Solo
  • Magazine Departments
    Magazine Departments
  • Read FHB on Your iPad
    Read FHB on Your iPad
  • Clever daily tip in your inbox
    Clever daily tip in your inbox
  • All about Roofing
    All about Roofing
  • Electrical Articles & Videos
    Electrical Articles & Videos
  • Play the Inspector Game!
    Play the Inspector Game!
  • Deck Design & Construction
    Deck Design & Construction
  • Master Carpenter Videos
    Master Carpenter Videos
  • Basement Remodeling Tips
    Basement Remodeling Tips
  • 9 Concrete Countertops Ideas
    9 Concrete Countertops Ideas
  • The Passive House Build
    The Passive House Build
  • 12 Remodeling Secrets
    12 Remodeling Secrets
  • The Hobbit House and More
    The Hobbit House and More
  • Remodeling in Action
    Remodeling in Action
  • Shorten a Prehung Door
    Shorten a Prehung Door
  • Energy-Smart Details
    Energy-Smart Details
  • Video: Build a curved step
    Video: Build a curved step
  • 7 Trim Carpentry Secrets
    7 Trim Carpentry Secrets
  • 7 Small Bathroom Layouts
    7 Small Bathroom Layouts

Square One: Good Home Design Starts Here

Square One: Good Home Design Starts Here

How To Build a Healthy House

comments (1) May 10th, 2012
rwotzak Rob Wotzak, Web Producer

Video Length: 3:35
Produced by: Colin Russell and Debra Silber

Lisa Kauffman Tharp has been plagued by an unusually high sensitivity to substances in the environment. So she was determined that her new home in Concord, Mass., would be built to eliminate the biological irritants and synthetic toxins that wreaked havoc on her life. Here's how that house was built.

Here are some of the key goals focused on in the design and construction of Lisa's house:

  1. Elimiminate ground contact to minimize moisture infiltration and mold growth
  2. Use fast, efficient panelized construction with formaldehyde-free sheathing
  3. Insulate well (with 2-in. XPS foam on the exterior and open-cell spray foam inside the wall cavities)
  4. Install fiber-cement siding over furring strips for a durable rainscreen siding assembly
  5. Use the best materials for a durable and weatherproof roof
  6. Use passive solar and hydroinic heating; forced-air heating systems can circulate dust and other contaminants 
  7. Use mechanical ventilation to provide fresh, clean air to the home
  8. Install a whole-house water filter

To learn more about how this healthy house was built, watch the video above, or read the Fine Homebuilding article Building a Healthy House (online subscription required to read the article).

Building a Healthy House

Become a Fine Homebuilding Member

to view this article and over a thousand more

Learn More

posted in: green building, architecture, water and moisture control, health, durability

Comments (1)

DavidOTN DavidOTN writes: Looks good. Approximate cost per square foot? If you look at our chemical illness blog,, you'll see why we're interested.


Posted: 10:12 pm on May 15th

Log in or create a free account to post a comment.