Category Archives: healthy homes

Seamless and sustainable architecture in Big Sur, California

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Even the most ardent greenie would be hard-pressed to critisize the seamless landscape integration of this home design! Set into the hillside overlooking the Pacific Ocean in Big Sur, California, this…
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Sustainable Housing Complex in Verona, Italy by Studio Alberto Apostoli | Sqezy

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Sustainable Housing Complex in Verona, Italy by Studio Alberto Apostoli #architecture
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90 by 50 plan could reduce New York City’s emissions by 90% by 2050

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The Urban Green Council’s radical proposal would rebuild the city and make it almost carbon-free.
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BUILDUP | The European portal for energy efficiency in buildings

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RT @GlobalBuildings: Discover World #Architecture News’ choice as #Sustainable #Building of the Year
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Building smart cities

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According to the UN, two out of three people will be living in towns and cities by 2030. Cities consume the most energy and produce the most CO2 emissions.

Jim Gramata‘s insight:

2030 people! Let’s get going here….

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3 Reasons to Gradually Go Green: Healthy Homes Chicago

3 Reasons to Gradually Go Green: Healthy Homes Chicago.

Gramata Development Corporation - DesignBuild ChicagoRecently I posted on the Four Categories to a Healthy Home:

1) food & nutrition 
2) furnishings  
3) finishes & fixtures  
4) systems

If one of these components is not a part of your healthy homes decision matrix then you’re probably not living a fully healthy lifestyle. Most of us are aware of the food and nutrition category but what about your home furnishings? Your couch probably contains flame retardant chemicals used on the upholstery which when absorbed can be harmful and some research indicates cancer-causing. How about your home finishes such as the volatile organic compounds (VOC) in the paint you just bought for the kids bedroom? They may contain ingredients known to cause illness too. Did you know a low or no-VOC paint is available in most cases for the same price which is a healthier option?  And what about your home systems such as your furnace? I am not talking about whether they operate but how can they be improved over time with a healthier indoor environment mind?
Some or all of these are often overlooked but critically important to a fully healthy home lifestyle and the focus of this book. Most people are not aware of this nor what options are available to them.

That is one of my goals. To make you aware of some of the options and then how to begin to implement them into your lifestyle so you can gradually go green towards a healthy home lifestyle. 

Why should we care about making our homes and communities healthy and what questions should we be asking to make sure we are comfortable that the answer is a resounding “yes”? 

It begins with awareness and knowing what important questions to ask.

Some Questions to Ask:

  • What can I do to make my home healthy?
  • How can I define my goals of a healthy home?
  • Who can I trust to help me with those decisions?
  • What resources are available to help me establish and reach my goals?
  • What decisions will have the greatest impact on my healthy lifestyle?
  • What investments or decisions will have the greatest economic return over time?
  • How can they add value to my home in addition to the health benefits?

The association between our health and our homes has been known for centuries. People spend over 90% of their time indoors including both at home and work. If your home environment is unhealthy or unsafe, it can lead to illnesses that can appear immediately or in other cases it can lay dormant and lead to illness or even death in the months, years and even decades to come.

The quality of our housing effects our quality of life. Our home can and should support both our health and our well-being for the benefit of ourselves and our communities.


According to the US Green Building Council buildings consume 14% of potable water, 40% of raw materials and 39% of energy in the United States alone consuming over 15 trillion gallons of water and 3 billion tons of raw materials annually. 

There are three general reasons to work towards healthy homes and communities.

1) Health Impact: improving our indoor air quality by reducing the emissions and chemical mixtures released by the products, furnishings and stuff we fill our homes with can have a huge impact on our lives and the development of our children. Focusing from the building envelope inwards and down to the finishes and fixtures is the only way to being the steps needed to live in a healthy home. 

2) Savings: “healthy green home systems and materials reduce energy consumption, which in turn reduce your energy bills. They can also increase asset value and profits and decrease marketing time; making your dollar go further for longer.”

3) Environmental Impact: “Implementing green practices into your home or office can help reduce waste, conserve natural resources, improve both air and water quality, and protect ecosystems and biodiversity.” 

Create a list in your daily routine which focuses on one or all three of these components and start going green over time in your life!



Here is the official Administration and HUD release on their healthy homes initiative. It can go further but it’s a start and great that this administration is making this a priority.

HUD No. 13-011
Shantae Goodloe
(202) 708-0685
February 4, 2013

Improving housing quality can dramatically affect the health of residents

WASHINGTON—Several federal agencies today unveiled Advancing Healthy Housing – A Strategy for Action. White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) Chair Nancy Sutley, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Lisa P. Jackson, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Shaun Donovan, Surgeon General Regina Benjamin, M.D., and Deputy Secretary of Energy Daniel Poneman discussed the new plan during an event at the National Building Museum this morning.

The initiative represents a bold new vision for addressing the nation’s health and economic burdens caused by preventable hazards associated with the home. The Strategy for Action encourages federal agencies to take preemptive actions that will help reduce the number of American homes with health and safety hazards.

People in the United States spend about 70% of their time in a home. Currently, millions of U.S. homes have moderate to severe physical housing problems, including dilapidated structure; roofing problems; heating, plumbing, and electrical deficiencies; water leaks and intrusion; pests; damaged paint; and high radon gas levels. These conditions are associated with a wide range of health issues, including unintentional injuries, respiratory illnesses like asthma and radon-induced lung cancer, lead poisoning, result in lost school days for children, as well as lost productivity in the labor force. The health and economic burdens from preventable hazards associated with the home are considerable, and cost billions of dollars.

TheStrategy for Action unifies, for the first time, federal action to advance healthy housing, demonstrating the connection between housing conditions and residents’ health. It also promotes strategies and methods intended to reduce in-home health hazards in a cost-effective manner.

“It is clear that unhealthy and unsafe housing has an impact on the health of millions of people in the United States,which is why we must do everything we can to ensure that individuals and families have a healthy place to call home,” said HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan. “Today’s announcement will help the federal government unify action to controlling and preventing major housing-related exposures and hazards.”

“Thanks to unprecedented collaboration across the federal family and among our many partners, we now have a specific plan for action to address radon and other preventable hazards found in homes across the country. This is important progress, especially when you consider that people spend an estimated 70 percent of their time inside a home,” said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson. “At EPA we’re committed to ensuring Americans in all communities have healthy places to live, work and play, and the strategy we announced today is a critical step toward reaching that goal.”

“Healthy homes and communities are essential to our quality of life, our productivity, and our economic vitality,” said Nancy Sutley, Chair of the Council on Environmental Quality. “Through this plan, Federal agencies have committed to working together to make sure all Americans can count on safe, healthy places to live, grow, and thrive.”

Dr. Mary Jean Brown, Chief of CDC’s Healthy Homes and Lead Poisoning Prevention Branch added, “Healthy homes lead to healthier lives. People can take simple steps to protect themselves from health hazards in the home.”

“Energy efficiency and healthy homes are inextricably linked,” explained U.S. Deputy Secretary of Energy Daniel Poneman. “We cannot, in good conscience, pursue one in the absence of the other. DOE is committed to ensuring that our efforts towards creating an efficient national housing stock also strive to maximize the health and safety of the families we serve.”

The overall vision for the Strategy is to reduce the number of American homes with residential health and safety hazards, achieved through five goals:

  1. Establish healthy homes recommendations
  2. Encourage adoption of healthy homes recommendations
  3. Create and support training and workforce development to address health hazards in housing
  4. Educate the public about healthy homes
  5. Support research that informs and advances healthy housing in a cost-effective manner

For more on the Strategy for Action, visit the interagency Healthy Homes website,

Thank you.

Jim Gramata
Managing Team Broker
The Gramata Realty Group

Report Finds Renewable Energy is Cheaper Than Gas and Coal in Australia

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A report by Bloomberg New Energy Finance shows that electricity from renewables is cheaper than that from coal or gas plants in Australia.
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How to find out if the air in your home is making you sick – The San Luis Obispo Tribune

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How to find out if the air in your home is making you sick The San Luis Obispo Tribune These experts have teamed up with the San Luis Obispo County Planning Department to put on a series of monthly healthy home clinics to get homeowners the latest…
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6 Simple Ways to Make Your Life Even Greener

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If we all commit to a few simple, eco-friendly life changes, we can make a profound difference in the planet’s health. Here’s to a green 2013!
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Obama gives green energy funds a jump-start – Reuters

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Obama gives green energy funds a jump-start Reuters Another outgrowth of green energy will be smart- and micro-grids.
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Sustainable Strides in Today’s Architecture

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Having explored issues of sustainability in the postmodern era, we turn to the measurable strides evident in today’s best modern architecture.
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A Healthy Texas Home Takes a Healthy House Oath – Houzz

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The catch was a multipage “healthy house contract,” according to Elkins, that laid out material restrictions for Pilgrim Building Company to adhere to, right down to what kind of wiring could be used.
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New housing starts expected to rise – Chicago Daily Herald

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New housing starts expected to rise to meet demand. Residential construction in the Chicago area is seeing “fairly healthy growth, especially when you consider that housing starts in 2012 were up 31.9 percent over 2011,” said Chris Huecksteadt.
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DesignBuild rolls out interactive sustainable products showcase in 2013 – Architecture and Design

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DesignBuild rolls out interactive sustainable products showcase in 2013 Architecture and Design The concept behind the area in the exhibition is to showcase high performing, quality products and materials in one area so that architects, building…
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9 Steps to Planning a Healthy Spring Break for You & Your Kids!

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By Alexandra Zissu, Editorial Director Over the next few weeks, the majority of school-aged children will go on spring break.
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States with a green thumb – Sustainable Industries

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Sustainable Industries States with a green thumb Sustainable Industries The state’s leadership in green building – from the state house to city halls – has helped propel Illinois into the 5th spot on USGBC’s Top 10 LEED states – coming only behind…
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Fed Replacing LEED as Preferred Certification for Green Buildings?

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A review of certification systems has commentators worried that the government may weaken its green building requirements for federal buildings.
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Twitter / TEDxStuttgart: Thorsten Helbig reflecting on sustainable architecture

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Thorsten Helbig reflecting on sustainable architecture #TEDxStuttgart
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Sustainable Architecture Blog: Should we retrofit or rebuild Britain’s housing stock?

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Sustainable Architecture Blog: Should we retrofit or rebuild Britain’s housing stock? (Should we retrofit or rebuild Britain’s housing stock?
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