The Problem with Our Home Environments

Castle or cottage, city or country, home is your sanctuary. It’s a place to raise a family, entertain friends, live, and more often these days, work. Americans spend an average of 65 percent of their time at home, in what is usually viewed as a safe haven. However, growing evidence suggests that some homes may be detrimental to the health of their occupants, especially those with compromised lung function due to age, asthma, chemical sensitivities or other respiratory conditions.

Home pollutants such as dust mites, animal related allergens (dander and saliva) and mold are known asthma triggers, while high accumulations of carbon monoxide, formaldehyde, and radon in inadequately ventilated homes are serious health hazards. The media regularly report on families experiencing deteriorating health due to the presence of mold in their sealed-tight houses.

Health House Rx provides educational programs, materials and services to help consumers address this growing national problem.

The first step toward creating a healthier home environment is to understand where the problems are. Due to energy-conscious construction practices, homes have become considerably tighter in the past few decades, resulting in poor ventilation and a marked increase in pollutants. Health House Rx provides materials and services to help consumers evaluate the environment in their homes.

For Consumers
Preventing home environment problems can be as easy as changing furnace filters more often and as complex as building a custom-designed Health House Rx ‘ residence. Health House Rx offers three levels of assistance:

  • Simple tip sheets that provide inexpensive, do-it-yourself fixes for common home environment problems

  • Bigger, system-wide solutions that can be introduced as separate projects or as part of a major renovation

  • Instructions and builder information for those who want to design a custom Health House Advantage residence

For Builders
Health House Advantage performance standards are the most stringent in the nation for building and maintaining a healthier, more energy and resource efficient home. These standards have been developed in consultation with experts in the building science, engineering, environmental health, indoor air quality, medical and academic communities. Resources for builders are listed below:

  • Builder training program-provides classroom training on all aspects of building to Health House Advantage standards

  • Climate-specific builder’s guides explain regional building specifications that take into account climate differences

  • Home analysis report-on-site inspection and assessment of individual homes’ performance against Health House Advantage standards