Friday, September 5, 2014

Designing a Healthy Home

East facing window for best morning light
Since moving to Hawaii Island we have moved three times to experience different communities and climates on the island.  Having lived in many types of houses and condo rentals,  we often think about home design changes that would make our life easier and more healthy. Some things we have installed ourselves, but others require major changes to a house design. Here are some home design ideas that we wish were standard:

  1. Situated to maximize the amount of early morning light that floods into the bedrooms;
  2. No granite or other sources of uranium in the house - granite in counter tops, floors and molding have uranium that decays to radon. Other non-radon producing surfaces like marble, stainless steel or tile are healthier;
  3. Designed for robots to constantly clean, with no steps up and down through the house and all the plugs required so the robots have power and unobstructed movement;
  4. Maximized for air flow through the house so mold and mildew cannot flourish and humidity is lowered so tropical bugs will stay away;
  5. Automated humidity control to maintain moisture and keep it at the ideal level for health and to minimize molds;
  6. Easy access to AC air filters and smoke detectors so they can be frequently changed;
  7. Built in security cameras for discreet monitoring of the outside perimeter;
  8. Back up lighting installed for safety in the event of power outages;
  9. Built in water purification with easy access to change the filters;
  10. Backup power systems for electric and an easy switch between primary electric power and backup power.
  11. Non toxic walls, paint, and furniture without heavy metals, chemicals, and bromine;
  12. Single story construction with no steps or landings to reduce the chances for falls;
  13. If multi-storied, then the staircase is designed for installation of an elevator chair or other means to get people up and down if it is needed.
  14. Showers with built in seats for comfort and safety;
  15. Sound proofing to minimize noise in the house – there are many negative health effects of not sleeping well because of noise;
  16. Automatic window shades to open windows and window shades easily and control the amount of light from hard to reach windows;
  17. L ED lights, low energy appliances, and other electrical devices that minimize electricity usage;
  18. Storage area designated for survival supplies and water storage;
  19. Non-toxic plantings around the home - ornamental plants are often selected because they are easy to take care of but are often highly toxic;
  20. Easy access outside the house without stairs, barriers, or long distances to get to the car or street.
It seems like modern houses are focused on a “prestige presentation”; it would be wonderful to have homes designed with healthy features instead.


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