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Digital Subscriptions > Build It > April 2017 > Building a healthy home

Building a healthy home

Chris Bates looks at the ins and outs of how to create a comfortable dwelling that has a positive impact on your wellbeing
A number of studies have shown the positive influence on wellbeing of living and working environments decked out with natural timber – as is the case in this calming Stommel Haus project

Fancy the idea of living a comfortable home that’s bright, warm, draught-free, intrinsically soundproof, free from toxins and totally tailored to your family’s requirements? If that seems like a bit of a leading question, you might be surprised to find that very few of us actually do. For many years, there’s been a big drive towards energy efficiency – but far less focus on ensuring our houses actually have a beneficial effect on our wellbeing.

What is a healthy home?

The idea goes a step beyond conventional sustainable living. Yes, get it right and you’ll have an airtight, highly insulated house that costs very little to run. But the real goal is to create a building that supports its occupants’ health and lifestyle; which isn’t a bad idea, considering most of us spend upwards of 80% of our time indoors (either at home or in the office).

In some ways, the rush to reduce bills and lower our carbon footprints over the past 20 years has been detrimental to achieving a healthy living environment. “When you build a more airtight house, you have to be careful that you don’t end up with an internal atmosphere that’s little more than a plastic bag,” says Barbara Fischer-Clarke from Stommel Haus. In a sealed dwelling like this, any ventilation issues could increase inhabitants’ exposure to off-gassing toxins from materials such as oil-based paints, or even threaten the condition of the building by precipitating condensation and mould growth.

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About Build It

The April edition of Build It magazine brings you a wealth of information to help make a success of your self build, renovation, extension or conversion project – including: • A stunning oak frame lodge in a woodland setting (page 22) • How to build a healthy home (page 58) • Upgrading your home's insulation (page 68) • Dealing with planning rejections (page 111) • How to get realistic quotes (page 115) … and more!
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