Building a Healthy House
For a chemically sensitive homeowner, a cleaner indoor environment meant focusing on six key concepts.
Synopsis: Four months after moving into a house that was meticulously built to eliminate mold, biological irritants, and chemical toxins from the indoor environment, and that was landscaped to minimize pollen and other allergens, Lisa Kauffman Tharp set aside her asthma inhalers and allergy medications. This experience led her to a new career in interior design, with the mission of educating clients on how to build more healthful homes. In this article, former editor Debra Judge Silber shares Kauffman Tharp’s six key concepts for creating a cleaner indoor environment: (1) work with nature; (2) minimize ductwork; (3) build fast, dry, and tight by eliminating ground contact, using fast and efficient panelization, building to shed water, insulating well, promoting drying with an airspace, protecting from above, choosing a durable roof, and using durable siding; (4) beware of natural irritants; (5) preserve the larger environment; and (6) specify nontoxic materials and finishes.
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