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Square One: Good Home Design Starts Here

Square One: Good Home Design Starts Here

How To Build a Healthy House

comments (0) May 10th, 2012
rwotzak rwotzak, 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


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