Tag Archives: healthy

Working hard towards a future of healthy, safe, sustainable and efficiently improved homes in Chicago


Our landing page: Working hard towards a future of healthy, safe, sustainable and efficiently improved homes in Chicago and the North Shore. http://ow.ly/iI1yi #healthy #green #homes

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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.

Why?

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!

 

Illinois’ Third Passive House built in River Forest


The home’s cobalt blue siding sets it apart from older brick houses in its River Forest neighborhood. But the color of the house on Jackson Avenue is the least of its distinguishing factors.

 

As northern Illinois’ first certified passive house, Corinna and Rodrigo Lema’s new house is a celebrity in architectural circles. Originated in Germany, a passive house has maximum indoor air quality and is super energy-efficient.

 

The Lemas’ house is the third certified passive house in Illinois, according to the Passive House Institute U.S., which certifies them. The other two are in Urbana and Champaign.

 

“If it were a car, it would be getting 300 miles per gallon,” said Mark Miller, executive director of the Passive House Alliance United States, which advocates for these homes. “Europe has embraced this for years. In the U.S., we’re just catching up. There are only 34 certified in the U.S.”

 

How healthy is your home? How to start going green gradually and over time


Jim Gramata - Healthy Homes ChicagoHow healthy is your home? or perhaps better… how healthy is your entire home lifestyle? I have researched thousands of articles, blog posts, white papers, books and websites studying the concept of sustainable, ‘green’, safe and healthy homes. I’ve seen the impact unhealthy choices have had on people, families, neighborhoods, communities and our environment through research and stories told. I’ve been appalled at the ‘green washing’ efforts the public is facing from the media which is only adding more confusion to the question of what is true, who can be trusted for a consolidated collection of information of the best path to healthy living.  I am committed to providing an honest introduction to the concepts of living in healthy homes.

Most of us can agree on what makes a home unhealthy. Poor indoor air quality, mold, lead or radon in a home etc. But each definition of what is a healthy home should be self-constructed because each persons efforts and vision may differ, but I believe in order to make educated decisions we must first know what questions to ask in order to define our vision and awareness of what is a healthy homes.

This blog is my effort to share my knowledge, thoughts and resources with homeowners who are unsure about where to begin on making your home (present of future) healthy. It can be so overwhelming.

Many choices were made for you from the previous owners of your home who were stewards of the home. Or they were made by the developers who built your home and who (along with the architect and designer) made so many of the choices of the components that make up the house. They made decisions related to healthy living whether they framed the decision matrix in this light or not. In some cases they did and in others I am sure they did not. 

This blog will also focus on current (or future) homeowners who continues to make maintenance decisions or improvements decisions which may unknowingly be having a harmful effect on your health without you knowing it. This is where the awareness factors is brought to light for readers or followers. 

To me as an architect who makes material choices for renovated or newly built homes I know the consequences are very real on many levels.  As I continued to watch designers and builders make the choices many of them are making, I became committed to publishing a message that these poor choices have consequences. This hopefully will be a wakeup for someone who will take the message to heart and take small steps (or large) to make their homes and neighborhood healthier and safe places to live.

Jim Gramata
The Gramata Realty Group
2214 N Lincoln Avenue Chicago, IL 60614
www.GramataRealtyGroup.com

How to Replace Weather Stripping


Unfortunately, nothing in your home stays perfect forever. And sometimes it’s not until the colder months that you realize you’ve let something go by the wayside.

Protect your home from air leaks and your wallet from high energy costs by replacing worn weather stripping around windows and doors. It’s an easy DIY project, and will only take a short time from your afternoon while giving you a long-lasting and cost-saving effect.

HouseLogic.com offers up a great guide to this simple home update including installation tips, product suggestions, and more. For the complete article, click here.

Eco-novice: Going Green Gradually


Eco-novice: Going Green Gradually: Ten Green Goals for 2013 http://ow.ly/gGfsB ^HH

Prescriptions for a Healthy House


See on Scoop.itHealthyHomesChicago

Although there is nothing complicated about constructing healthier homes, building for health is still not standard practice, and in fact there are many aspects of conventional home construction that are detrimental to human …

Jim Gramata‘s insight:

A great resource for builders looking to incorporate healthy living concepts into their buildings.

See on today-cooking.blogspot.com

Healthy Homes: Top 10 Toxic Products You Don’t Need


Healthy Homes: Top 10 Toxic Products You Don’t Need http://ow.ly/gFufq

Developers braced for ‘green’ building codes in Washington DC


See on Scoop.itHealthyHomesChicago

Developers braced for ‘green’ building codes in Washington DCSustainable Business OregonWashington D.C.

Jim Gramata‘s insight:

Love the concept they’re trying for here – to implement policy wide in DC better building code standards. In order to make the most impact on our local, regional and international methods we must move these ideas to the legislative levels.

See on sustainablebusinessoregon.com

#USGBC Is at it again with this awesome interactive and innovative website they just launched to promote the global initiatives being discovered and improved around the world. GBIG


Green Building Information Gateway http://ow.ly/fYHml #healthyhomes

More British homes to stay warm with heat pumps or solar | Greenbang


See on Scoop.itChicago healthy homes

If winter is making temperatures drop to frigid levels where you live, you’re likely grateful for a functioning home furnace … but dreading the coming heating bills. Wouldn’t it be wonderful not to have to worry about those, …

See on www.greenbang.com

Organic = Healthy: Who Are You Kidding? – Huffington Post UK (blog)


See on Scoop.itHealthyHomesChicago

Organic = Healthy: Who Are You Kidding?Huffington Post UK (blog)Ok, before we get started, I’m all for the environment, I’m totally against the abhorrent treatment of animals, and as my profession would suggest, I’m very much up for people eating…

See on www.huffingtonpost.co.uk

Sustainable homes for Earth – Earthship Biotecture


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By Caitlin Howlett G Magazine Looking like something Tolkein’s hobbits would reside in, the quirky Earthship homes are in fact some of the greenest ki…

See on earthship.com

American Homes Filled With Fire Retardants | Care2 Healthy Living


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Spare change isn’t the only thing hiding in your couch cushions. Fire retardants are surprisingly common in everyday furniture items.

See on www.care2.com

The incredible origami house that can change shape depending on the weather


See on Scoop.itHealthyHomesChicago

This new incredible folding house is able to, in the words of its creators, ‘metamorphosize’ into eight different configurations to adapt to seasonal, meteorological and even astronomical conditions (The house that is EIGHT homes in one: The incredible…

See on www.dailymail.co.uk

Shooting hoops for healthy hearts at HMS – Helena Independent Record


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Shooting hoops for healthy hearts at HMSHelena Independent RecordAbout 50 Helena Middle School students took to the basketball court Friday morning to keep their hearts healthy, learn basketball skills and celebrate their contribution to the…

See on helenair.com

Homes go from blight to energy efficiency – Toledo Blade


See on Scoop.itChicago healthy homes

Toledo BladeHomes go from blight to energy efficiencyToledo BladeThat’s the goal of NeighborWorks Toledo Region, which launched construction Friday of two new houses on the 300 block of Toledo’s Chapin Street.

See on www.toledoblade.com

Former President Carter and wife to build homes in Denver neighborhood – Denver Post


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Former President Carter and wife to build homes in Denver neighborhoodDenver PostFormer President Jimmy Carter and his wife, Rosalynn, will visit Denver next year to help build 11 new townhomes and repair up to 15 existing homes in the Globeville…

See on www.denverpost.com

Healthy People Have Hundreds Of Flawed Genes – Medical News Today


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Zee NewsHealthy People Have Hundreds Of Flawed GenesMedical News TodayA normal healthy person has an average of 400 flaws in their DNA, according to a new study in The American Journal of Human Genetics.

See on www.medicalnewstoday.com

Home energy retrofits reducing healthcare costs!


Home energy retrofits reducing healthcare costs | SmartPlanet http://ow.ly/fV1vv #healthyhomes