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SELF BUILDING a healthy home

Architects Jestico + Whiles ( designed a cantilevered roof to protect the interiors from excess sunlight. High-level vents at the heart of the dwelling encourage nighttime cooling

Have you ever thought about how healthy your home is? Most people are aware that faulty boilers can cause carbon monoxide poisoning and asbestos is lethal, but there are many less obvious risks in our properties – and it’s not a recent phenomenon. For instance, many historians believe that Napoleon Bonaparte was accidentally killed by his wallpaper because it was made using a shade of green popular in the 19th century derived from arsenic. Basically, there’s always been pollution in our homes, but until recently little has been known about the risks it presents.

At the beginning of the 20th century about 50 or so different materials were used in house construction. Today, thanks to sophisticated modern manufacturing methods, it’s estimated to be between 60,000 to 70,000 – so it’s perhaps unsurprising that long term exposure to some of them might cause harm. Sick building syndrome is not a particularly new concept, however it’s hard to diagnose as individuals react in different ways to pollutants; in fact, many are not affected at all. It’s impossible to live in the modern world without being exposed to some of the hazards highlighted in this feature, but there are plenty of considerations you can look into ahead of self building your ideal home in order to reduce the risks.

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Build It
September 2018

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