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Design a Healthy Home

Lay the foundation for a healthy home that nourishes your body and soul


Students from Texas A&M University designed this solar home

Students from Texas A&M University designed this solar home

Photo courtesy Kaye Evans-Lutterodt/Solar Decathlon
You know when you have entered a healthy home. Regardless of the period and style, there is a sense of harmony and purity that nourishes both body and soul. Over time, you may also notice that you breathe more easily, feel more content, and begin each day with heightened energy and enthusiasm.

One of the great ironies of the twentieth century is that the very technologies intended to enhance our well-being have often undermined our health:

  • Modern heating and cooling systems entice us with promises of temperature-perfect rooms, yet colds and allergies plague us
  • Chemical additives permit more durable paints, fabrics, wood, and construction materials, yet they fill the air with toxic fumes
  • Mass-produced synthetics and composite construction materials appear to save money, yet their ingredients trouble us with ailments ranging from mild headaches to severe depression.
Ultimately, there's something unsatisfying about wrinkle-proof fabrics and laboratory-created walls and floors. Lacking the warmth and patina of materials drawn from nature, they sap our spirits in ways that are subtle yet profound.

What Is A Healthy Home?

The healthy home nurtures those who dwell inside and also protects the world beyond its walls. Designed with sensitivity for the environment, it is energy-efficient, economical, sustainable, and non-polluting.

A healthy home may resemble the eco-friendly houses that evolved as part of the popular green architecture movement of the 1980s and 1990s. Drawing from ancient building techniques, these homes are constructed of earth, clay, straw, or steel-reinforced concrete forms. Solar-powered and naturally cooled, they provide modern comforts without draining resources.

However, you don't need to set up housekeeping in a monolithic dome or an earth-sheltered dwelling to live in harmony with nature. Even the most traditional home, which may have been built long before the rise in environmental consciousness, can be adapted to incorporate the key principles of healthy design.

Ideas from this article are adapted from The Healthy Home, a home design book by Jackie Craven, Rockport Publishers

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