WOODBURY, Minn. - September 8, 2002 -- Concerned about a steady deterioration of indoor air quality and its impact on health, the American Lung Association Health HouseÆ program has unveiled a new demonstration home that offers a healthy living environment.
The home in the St. Paul, Minn., suburb of Woodbury is the first to meet the newly revised guidelines of the American Lung Association Health House program. The guidelines are designed to allow clean air into the house while removing allergens and other contaminants that are brought in or are generated in the home. Healthy features include a whole-house ventilation and filtration system, a combination of forced air and radiant floor heating and a central vacuum system. All combustion appliances are vented to the outside to prevent buildup of carbon monoxide. The kitchen range hood also is vented to the outside to assure contaminants generated by food preparation are expelled from the house.
Though an executive home, the health-protecting products and building practices that went into the Health House demonstration project can be incorporated into homes in all price ranges. Angie Lien, national director of the Health House program, estimates that following the Lung Associationís guidelines add only 3 percent to 7 percent to the purchase price of a new home.
Chuck Knight, a partner in a leading Twin Cities architectural firm that will design the American Lung Association of Minnesotaís new headquarters, decided to build the Health House model as his family home. Knight hopes that constructing the home to Health House guidelines can improve the health of his daughter, who has mild asthma.
Unique features include an energy recovery ventilation system, which assures a constant supply of fresh air in the home while reclaiming approximately 80 percent of the heat from homeís stale air before sending it outside. The heating and air conditioning system is integrated with an electronic air cleaning and filtration system. Ultraviolet lights in the ductwork also kill mold and other microbes.
ìThe first step toward a healthy home is frequent deep cleaning. A whole-house central vacuum system assures the home can be cleaned thoroughly and allergens can be removed from the living area. A recent clinical study proves that using a central vacuum system leads to a significant reduction in allergy symptoms,î adds John Vandermyde of JJ Vanderson and Co., who installed the Beam Central Vacuum System in the demonstration project. The added power of the central vacuum system also gave Knight the flexibility to choose carpet over hard-surface flooring in several rooms.
In addition to the homeís mechanical systems that address indoor air quality, the Health House model also incorporates a number of construction techniques to prevent moisture from leaking or seeping into the house. For example, a layer of granular pebbles was installed under the poured concrete slab to prevent groundwater from percolating into the house. The home also features extensive flashing in the valleys and edges of the roof. Large overhangs shed rainwater and snowmelt away from the house and prevent moisture from seeping through window and door openings.
For more information about the home, visit the American Lung Association Health House web site, www.healthhouse.org. For more information about the clinical study of central vacuum system effects on allergies, visit www.beamvac.com.