For most of us our homes represent comfort, safety and quality time with loved ones. We all spend a significant amount of our daily lives in our homes and seeking to provide the very best internal environment – a healthy home – is a top priority for many new builds.
What Is A Healthy Home?
As more and more awareness builds about the dangers of pollution, chemicals and environmental issues the importance of building a healthy home has come to the forefront of many people’s minds.
Homes today are about more than just shelter – a healthy home offers its occupants longer term increased health and wellness benefits as well as addressing wider environmental concerns and the greater good for the community, the country and worldwide.
Top 5 Benefits Of Building A Healthy Home
Why go to the trouble of trying to build a healthier home? Take a look at our top 5 benefits to building a healthy home below.
- Improved Indoor Air Quality. This means less likelihood for respiratory related illness, cleaner less toxic air to breathe over the longer term.
- Easier To Manage Internal Temperatures. More comfortable living conditions due to reduced exposure to extreme temperature variations.
- Increased Energy Savings. Lower ongoing energy usage will mean lower operating costs now and in the future.
- Increased Resale Value. As more and more people come to understand the importance of healthy homes such houses will likely achieve better resale values.
- More Environmentally Friendly. Careful choice of building materials and design features will mean less of an impact on the environment moving forward and a more comfortable easily maintained living environment for the home owners.
6 Key Elements For A Healthy Home
Building a new home is the perfect time to consider incorporating key factors that lead to an easier to maintain, healthier home environment. What are the sorts of things you should be looking out for when building a healthy home? Here are 6 key elements to consider.
- Lots Of Light. As many of us currently living in older homes built over 60 or 70 years ago will agree – the importance of plenty of light is vital not only for the comfort of the occupants but for better health all round. Direct sunlight not only provides a free heat source it has the ability to kill bacteria and dust mites, prevent mould and alleviate moisture issues.
- Fresh Clean Air. Good ventilation has always been an important factor in a healthy home environment. Clean fresh air is always going to be top of the list when building a healthy home and whether this includes well positioned windows or extensive mechanical ventilation systems or both will depend on the location and type of house you build.
- Temperature Control. Economic and environmentally friendly heating and cooling are on everyone’s priority list when building a new home. This topic includes things like insulation, passive homes and building materials as well as mechanical heating and cooling devices. Healthy homes often take this decision a bit further, taking into consideration overheating, product and fuel sources and initial and ongoing costs to the environment.
- Noise Control. As higher density living becomes more prevalent here in New Zealand taking into account reducing exposure to external noise when building new homes has made its way onto this list. This can mean looking at ways to reduce noise from close neighbours, nearby roadways, public facilities and general background noise from the surrounding urban area.
- Moisture Management. Generated from cooking, drying clothes and dishes, washing, bathing, and even breathing, managing moisture levels is important for every new build. Excess moisture in your home can lead to the build-up of bacteria, dust mites, mould and even slow degradation of internal building materials.
- Non-Toxic Building Materials. Ensuring your building materials are free of toxins and chemicals that may leach out into the home is also a huge concern for any new building project. And while you may not be able to completely rid yourself of these nasties there are definitely more environmentally friendly building products out there – paint and carpeting are a couple of the big ones to look out for along with insulation products.
8 Tips For Building A Healthy Home
How do you build a healthy home? Take a look below for our top 8 simple ideas for building healthier homes in New Zealand.
- Pick And Choose Your Windows. Careful selection and placement of good quality windows (think double or even triple glazing) is essential to making the most of available light, maximising views and heat retention.
- Insulation, Insulation, Insulation. Seek out alternative insulation products that endure less chemical processing and have a lower impact on the environment both during manufacture and in their eventual disposal. High standards of insulation enable minimal intervention to maintain ideal internal temperatures.
- Think About Mechanical Ventilation Systems. If you are considering a passive home, or just prefer not to open your windows frequently consider high quality mechanical ventilation systems that continually refresh and/or filter the air inside your home.
- Design Aspects Are Important. When designing your new home always take into account the way your house will be facing on the section, where the most sun comes from and ways to reduce cold winds entering the home. Do not just design your dream home without considering where it will be placed or which direction it will face. Resilient designs built to suit the section are the most important thing you can do for building a healthy home.
- Don’t Skimp On Kitchen Ventilation. Always look to install a decent exhaust hood extractor (rangehood) against a wall, venting to the outside. The bigger the hob/cooktop/stovetop, the bigger the rangehood required. And of course any windows positioned near the kitchen should be able to be opened when needed.
- Sometimes Bigger Isn’t Better. Although the trend at the moment is to fit the biggest appliances you can buy – some of the fridges these days look big enough to sleep in! Smaller appliances can be more energy efficient and they also cost less for the initial outlay. Things like ovens, fridges, dishwashers and washing machines are ones to think about. Do you really need two ovens and that massive barn-door fridge when there is only two or three of you?
- Consider Wood. Solid wood (not manufactured wood products like MDF) is a natural building material, it is non-allergenic and considered a breathable product that allows for natural movement and settling and it has the ability to absorb and moderate moisture and pollutants in the air.
- Choose Your Heating Carefully. Dryer air heats up quicker and stays warm for longer, good quality heating sources will make all the difference to your home. If using heat pumps as your primary source of heat be sure to choose the right size, to operate at peak efficiency the heat pump needs to be matched to the room size.
A home is more than just a place to sleep – good materials and a bit of research can ensure a home that facilitates long term health and well-being. If you’re looking for a builder in Christchurch, then talk to Build7. We can help you build a healthy home with the most efficient health conscious methods.