Case Study #1: Your Healthy Home

Project Type: New Construction
Location: SE Portland
Designer: eMZed Architecture
Builder: Birdsmouth Construction

Characteristics: This project should emphasize the health-focused qualities of high performance building. It should not only be constructed using natural (as opposed to artificial or man-made materials), its design and general aesthetic should reflect the ideas of place as a sanctuary for mental and emotional health as well. Though we will not likely be focusing on these aesthetic aspects, it is important that the space ‘feels’ healthful along with quantifiable metrics.

The home should have several of the following measurable characteristics:

• Continuous ventilation system with MERV 8 or higher filtration system
• Have been Air sealed and Blower Door tested to 1.0ACH50 or better
• Increased wall insulation over code level; preferably blown-in, dense-pack fiberglass or cellulose and/or, exterior insulation on the outside of the structural wall (preferably mineral wool instead of petroleum based insulation board
• Few or No Thermal Bridges
• Windows with multi-point sealants and min. average whole unit U-value of 0.20 or less
• Low or No VOC Coatings
• Natural materials used in the carpets and fabrics
• FSC Certified materials used in the building and/or finishing of the home
• Natural fiber carpets and fabrics
• Adherence to the LBC Redlist exclusions for material choices

This case study needs to comply with any number of the above characteristics. The list should be a guide as to the quality of the home—not just for the occupants of this one home—but as a protogype for approaching healthy building protocols in general. All projects must have been modeled in either WUFI or PHPP to verify the level of projected energy use.