Hypoallergenic

Conventional construction creates a hazardous indoor environment that is filled with toxic off-gassing materials. We design a building envelope that dramatically improves indoor air quality.

We begin with the cleanest wall system currently available. Autoclaved Aerated Concrete (AAC) is made from organic materials that do not off-gas. It is covered inside with a mineral based plaster and , and outside with real stucco; both "breathe" and are chemically inert. They do not off-gas. No plastic off-gassing vapor barrier or synthetic insulation is used in constructing AAC walls.

AAC does not mold or mildew. We design for natural cross ventilation in our houses, which further discourages this problem. Many clients have also requested outdoor showers and kitchens, which minimize summer moisture in our houses.

As an example of the many "green" specifications included in our house plans, we suggest the treatment of all interior wall bottom plates and baseboards with boric acid, a powder that is non-toxic to mammals. Boric acid insures that houses will remain cockroach-free indefinitely; cockroach excrement is one of our most pervasive allergens and has contributed to the national asthma epidemic.  Boric acid also inhibits flea and ant infestations. Another example of our hypoallergenic construction specifications is the use of borate-treated cellulose insulation (rather than that treated with ammonium sulfate) in ceilings and interior walls.

A radiant hydronic floor system has no blowing air to irritate eyes, throats and lungs. Concrete floors, in addition to their many other outstanding characteristics, do not off-gas; they are smooth and don't catch dust. We like them unfinished, with no sealants; by simply walking on them, they can be raised to a high shine.

Note: Many people use tung oil as a natural sealant, but this material is carcinogenic in its liquid form; we've been unable to find information on its long-term volatility.

We recommend the use of No-VOC (volatile organic compounds) interior paints such as those made by Pittsburgh Paints. These paints costs no more than conventional off-gassing paint.

We design with high efficiency fireplace inserts rather than open fireplaces that are a major source of indoor pollution and allergens.

People with acute chemical sensitivity may need further modifications to our standard plans and recommendations.