New home buyers are exploring ways to build houses that do more than merely provide shelter. Our homes influence nearly every aspect of our lives: how often we visit friends, how well we sleep, and how safe we feel. It's where we spend most of our time. If we want to improve the lives of our families and loved ones, we need to start building healthy homes. But what constitutes a “Healthy Home”?
Healthy Homes Come in All Price Ranges
A “healthy” home plays a role in our overall wellness. It is a house that is pest-free, safe, clean, dry, well ventilated, thermally controlled, and contaminant-free. It also means using everything from safer stair rails to low VOC paint, and from installing air filters to large windows. The best part is, because many of these products have become mainstream, there are healthy homes in all price ranges. There's no need to spend extra on the house you want. So, what are some products that make a home healthier?
Windows offer sunlight, ventilation, and outdoor views. However, poorly insulated windows can allow cold and heat to leak through, increasing utility bills. Double glazing will block unwanted airflow as well as noise from the street and promote a quieter, better controlled, and more tranquil home environment. Correct window placement on a house can supply cross breezes, natural ventilation, and light – reducing the need for air conditioning and lamps. Be sure to use well insulated and double-glazed windows on your home.
Indoor Air Quality
Well-designed ventilation systems promote good indoor air quality. Because most people spend up to 70 percent of their lives inside their houses, air quality is central to a “healthy home”. There are many concerns regarding the presence of VOCs (volatile organic compounds) in paint, flooring, furniture, and other building products. Because homes are being built more energy efficient, removing indoor pollutants is more complicated than just opening a few windows for fresh air.
Many builders have begun to specifically address air and health concerns by adding high-efficiency air filters, whole-house mechanical ventilation, and using low VOC paint, stain, and finishes.
Products That “Scrub” the Air
Manufacturers are developing products that work to improve air quality:
Not only are healthy homes good for our physical health, but they are also crucial for our mental health as well. Colors can be chosen to provide an environment of calmness and to relieve stress and anxiety. Quiet spaces should be made available for relaxation, meditation, reading, focused work, and privacy. Other areas can provide stimulation for play and social interaction. Kitchens should be designed to promote healthy eating and family gatherings, and bedrooms should offer spaces that encourage good sleep.
Wellness Versus Green
Although there seems to be a natural affinity between “green” and “healthy” houses, for some reason, most new home buyers find the latter more appealing. Everyone can appreciate a healthier home environment.
Today’s new homes often include floor plans and features that offer a sense of health and well-being. For several years, making a connection to the outdoors has been one of the strongest trends in home construction. Even in the Midwest, where the climate is not always conducive to being outdoors, clients want a deck or area that takes them outside. Having lots of natural light is also on everyone's list.
As lot sizes decrease, builders have gotten more creative with floor plans and landscaping to give their clients space for their activities. Indoor gyms, media rooms, and swimming pools are features being incorporated into the living areas. As home buyers are becoming more aware of health issues, air quality, VOCs, and environmental issues, they are becoming more particular in choosing their homes and how they are built.
Building Healthy Homes by Berhoff Homes Copyright 2018
Nearly 35 years ago, the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) created the term “smart home” to describe a group advocating for the integration of technology into the process of home building. However, back then, the idea of controlling the lights, security system, or thermostat inside a residence via smartphone was something out of a science fiction novel. But as technology has grown, so has its uses.
What Is a Smart Home?
A smart home is a house that can provide its owners with security, energy efficiency, convenience, and comfort quickly and easily. All of the systems are integrated with technology, so they can be operated whether or not someone is inside. Appliances, heating and air conditioning, lights, security systems, and even computers and entertainment systems can communicate with one another and be controlled by internet or phone, either immediately or scheduled on a specific day.
Important Features and Benefits
This technology offers homeowners the benefit of convenience and the ability to save money, energy, and time. While older homes must be retrofitted with these systems, new homes can have everything built into them during the construction process. As a family's needs alter, these systems can grow and change with them.
A fundamental feature of smart homes is the focus on conserving the limited resources of our planet. Many Appleton home builders and homeowners are becoming sensitive to making their homes more-efficient and green by integrating systems which monitor energy usage. They can control HVAC, water irrigation, lighting, and more. This technology gives residents the knowledge and awareness to adjust them when necessary. For example, if homeowners decide to take an extra day of vacation and will now be away for a more extended period, they can use a laptop or smartphone from anywhere in the world to change the date when their home's air conditioning is adjusted.
The coming years offer even greater expansion for smart home building and technology. Consumers can expect more as devices like Alexa, Amazon Echo, and Google Home become increasingly sophisticated and commonplace.
The Future of Smart Homes
Technology will soon connect all personal devices with an ability to make life easier and monitor information. For example, in the near future, a car will keep track of how many miles it has been driven and how the tire treads are wearing. It will report to the driver when it's time to rotate the tires or have the oil changed. Monitors inside the house will alert the homeowner when lights have been left on, or the front door was opened. Interior temperatures will be adjusted if a room is unoccupied; family members will be notified if an elderly relative hasn't moved in a few hours; the refrigerator will order the food you've run out of, etc.
As technology grows and develops, it will be integrated into smart homes, giving more people the ability to use their resources efficiently and effectively. This will ultimately change how people live and work inside their homes.
Copyright 2018 - Berhoff Homes as featured on the #1 Appleton Home Builders Television and Digital Show.