In many markets, health is driving home-buying decisions as much as any other factor. Buyers—especially those with asthma or other respiratory illnesses--want homes with products that have been carefully chosen not to make them sick.
A luxury home under construction in Scarsdale, N.Y., is designed to show that healthy living can come in a stylish package. The 8,400-square-foot Georgian Colonial in the Murray Hill estates will offer more than just an exclusive location, opulent finishes, and meticulous detailing. Built by Scarsdale-based Healthy Home Builders (HBH), all products used in the seven-bedroom home will be non-toxic or the least toxic available building products.
Building a healthy home starts with non-toxic insulation, says Peter Donovan, HHB general manager. The Murray Hill home’s insulation will be recycled denim and recycled newspaper (dense pack cellulose).
“Safeguarding the air we breathe is essential,” says Donovan. “Step No. 1 of our healthy formula is using non-toxic building materials,” he says. Other non-offgassing products include zero-VOC paints and primers and custom maple cabinetry without particleboard, toxic glues, or adhesives.
“Although over the past several years there has been a huge emphasis on energy efficiency in residential construction and renovation, quite often these improvements geared toward increasing building performance such as airtight envelopes actually have an inverse effect on indoor air quality,” says Jan Flanzer, HHB managing director. Indoor air at Murray Hill will be purified via an ERV air filtration system with carbon and HEPA filters that provides one air exchange per hour.
Other measures include a soil vapor extraction system that will prevent radon gas from entering the residence, as well as an automatic garage exhaust system to prevent toxic fumes from coming into the home.
A double water purification system will include both a whole-house carbon water filtration system to purify all incoming water from municipal water sources and additional point-of-use micro porous membrane full-flow filters.
Keeping energy efficiency top-of-mind, the house will feature a phantom power loss mitigation system so that electrical appliances will not be drawing electricity while plugged in but not in use. Natural light will be utilized to its fullest to reduce the use of electrical light.