Several months ago we received the following comment from Unity clients in Connecticut who had been living in their new home for about two years:
“The most remarkable thing is that neither one of us has been sick since we moved into our new home!”
While Unity can’t take complete credit (or responsibility!) for the health of the occupants of our homes, the comment does highlight the relationship between high performance homes and occupant health. As evidence grows of a linkage between home performance and health, the home building industry, health professionals and government officials are paying increasing attention to the intersection of their respective fields.
In December, the DOE issued a report titled Home RX: The Health Benefits of Home Performance. This report provides a comprehensive review of recent studies that connect building performance and health. While more research is needed to augment the initial findings, it is clear that the indoor environment of a high performance home can have positive effects on the health of homeowners and their families.
Given that Americans spend on average 70% of their time at home, it seems intuitively obvious that high performance homes would enhance occupant health. A review of the health-related features of a Unity Home—and the potential ailments they address—supports this notion:
Unity Homes are Dry
Damp homes provide an environment for mites, mildew and mold. These can contribute to allergies, asthma and other respiratory difficulties. Thanks to tight construction, proper exterior detailing and continuous ventilation, Unity Homes are dryer than most other homes.
Unity Homes are Built to be Contaminant Free
Many homes contain materials that off-gas harmful chemicals such as formaldehyde and other volatile organic compounds (VOCs). The materials that make up a Unity Home are carefully chosen to minimize these indoor air pollutants. Our materials meet the requirements of the EPA’s Indoor airPlus program.
Unity Homes are Well Ventilated
In homes that are not properly ventilated, indoor air pollutants such as radon, carbon monoxide or VOCs can accumulate and potentially cause health issues. Every Unity Home is equipped with a balanced ventilation system that continuously supplies filtered fresh air to the home through clean, sealed ducts.
Unity Homes are Temperature-Buffered
Homes that are subject to broad temperature swings are susceptible to issues such as condensation and ice dams that can result in dampness. Thanks to thick walls, air-tight construction and triple glazed windows, Unity Homes tend to have consistent temperatures, and no drafts.
Unity Homes are Easy to Keep Clean
Staying healthy is difficult in a home that is hard to keep clean. The airtight construction of a Unity Home minimizes the possibility that dust, pollen other contaminants will enter the home, and the hard surfaces found in our homes—including wood flooring and tile—make cleaning a breeze.
In addition to these very tangible connections between health and high performance, there are other, subtler ways in which our homes contribute to the health of the occupants.
Because stress can exacerbate health issues, a home that minimizes stress supports health. Unity Homes are built to be solid, quiet, secure and low-maintenance, with operating costs that are low and predictable. Visitors to our show home in Walpole often comment on the sense of calm that permeates the space; they might see a car drive by, but not hear it. Our houses become peaceful refuges from a busy and chaotic world.
Unity Homes are healthy because of what we build into them, and what we build out. But please don’t simply take our word for it—we encourage you to schedule a visit to our show home to experience a healthy home for yourself.