The Value of a Healthy Home & Why it’s Worth the Investment

By: Kate HambletOctober 11, 2023

Did you know that your physical and social environment contributes to approximately 55% of your health outcomes? This includes the building you live in, the city in which you reside, and the people around you. Your home has a significant influence on your health, your life, and the planet, making it a crucial investment.

But, as you may have guessed, healthy and sustainable homes tend to have more of an upfront cost than a typical, unhealthy home. 

I'm hear to tell you, DON'T LET THAT STOP YOU!

Creating a home that protects and enhances your family's health and well-being is worth every penny.  Plus it saves you actual money in the long run (along with tons of other benefits).  

So let's look at the real value of a healthy and sustainable home and the long-term benefits of investing in a well-designed, sustainable, healthy home compared to a more typical home designed with more common materials and features.

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Defining a Healthy Home

A healthy home is more than just a place to live. I look at it as a sanctuary that protects your health, enhances your wellness, and cares for the planet. Let’s break down what a healthy home means:

  • Protects Your Health: A healthy home uses materials and construction methods that safeguard the well-being of its occupants. It not only shields you from harm but also actively promotes your health.
  • Enhances Wellness: Through thoughtful design, a healthy home contributes to your physical health but also your mental health. It fosters a sense of happiness in its inhabitants.
  • Cares for the Planet: Built with materials and methods that minimize harm to the environment, a healthy home goes beyond protection and actively supports regeneration.

 

balanced architecture


Potential Issues in A Typical Home

Before I get into the numerous advantages of a well-designed healthy home, I want to highlight some common issues found in typical homes for comparison:

Piggy Bank

The Cost of Building a Healthy Home

Building a sustainable and healthy home may initially cost more than a code-minimum house.  However, the long-term value and benefits far outweigh the initial investment. Here’s what you need to know:

Items That Will Increase Costs

  • Construction Techniques: A healthy and sustainable home requires more insulation than a code-minimum house.  This will add some upfront cost to the project.
  • Materials: Some healthy materials cost more than their unhealthy counterparts.  Petroleum based products like PVC, foam, and other plastics as well as formaldehyde-infused particle board are generally the cheapest options which is why they are used so ubiquitously.  But they are very harmful for human health and the planet.  Healthy and natural alternatives can sometimes be more expensive (but not always!).
  • Ventilation System: Healthy homes require whole-house mechanical ventilation systems, which traditional homes often lack. While this adds an upfront cost, it ensures a continuous supply of fresh air, contributing to your health and well-being.

Items to Consider That Increase Well-being Without Increasing Costs

  • Design: Working with architects and designers to optimize layout and room placement can enhance your well-being. Imagine having a kitchen designed to encourage healthy cooking and a space for exercise that motivates you to stay active.
  • Material Selection: Many materials used in construction, such as studs, sealants, and insulation, can be chosen to prioritize health without significantly increasing costs. Sustainable materials may even be more durable, reducing long-term replacement expenses.

Factors That Can Decrease Costs

  • Smaller House: Building a smaller, well-designed home can save on construction and long-term maintenance costs. Less space to heat, cool, and maintain means more money in your pocket.
  • Thermal Efficiency: Prioritizing energy-efficient systems and designs can lead to substantial savings on energy bills over the years. A well-insulated home retains heat in the winter and keeps cool in the summer reducing the need for constant heating and cooling.
  • Lower Maintenance Costs: Durable, non-toxic materials reduce long-term maintenance costs, as they are less prone to damage. For instance, choosing solid wood flooring over laminate can prevent peeling and water damage, saving you money in the long run.

Positive Aspects of a Healthy Home

  • Enhanced Comfort: Imagine living in a space where you are always comfortable, regardless of the weather outside. Proper insulation and high-quality windows can maintain a consistent temperature. This will help eliminate hot or cold spots that can lead to discomfort, translating into a more content and positive mood among household occupants. Stress levels will be reduced and overall well-being will be increased.
  • Improved Air Quality: In a healthy home, advanced air filtration systems and non-toxic building materials ensure you breathe fresh, clean air every day. Healthy indoor air quality leads to increased cognitive function and reduced instances of allergies and respiratory issues which equates to long-term health benefits. You’ll find it easier to focus, sleep better, and experience fewer health-related disruptions (which saves you money on future medical bills).
  • Connection to Nature: Healthy homes incorporate elements that connect you to the natural world. Whether it’s large windows that frame beautiful views or indoor plants that add life to your living space, these elements have a profound impact on mental health. Nature-inspired design fosters a sense of tranquility and reduces stress, creating a more harmonious living environment.
  • Functional Design: Healthy homes prioritize intelligent design. Every space is meticulously planned to ensure functionality and efficiency. From well-designed kitchens that make cooking a pleasure to workout spaces that motivate you to stay active, to well-placed windows to capture natural light, a healthy home enhances your daily life.
  • Long-Term Savings: While there may be some initial costs associated with building a healthy home, the long-term savings are substantial. Smaller, well-designed homes require less energy to heat and cool, resulting in lower utility bills. In addition, durable, non-toxic materials reduce maintenance costs over time as they are less prone to damage and wear.
  • Environmental Benefits: By investing in a sustainable and healthy home, you’re contributing to a healthier planet. The use of eco-friendly materials and energy-efficient systems reduces your carbon footprint and helps protect the environment for future generations. It’s a step towards responsible living and sustainability.

Final Thoughts:

Investing in a healthy home is a wise decision that benefits your health, bank account and environment. While it may require a bit more in terms of upfront costs, the long-term value in terms of improved health and well-being, energy bill savings and reduced maintenance costs is well worth it. 

So, when it comes to your home, consider the true value of building a healthy one - it's an investment that pays dividends for a lifetime. Embrace a home that promotes health, happiness, and sustainability. 

***Looking for more guidance?***

Introducing the Healthy Home Design Toolkit.

 The healthy home design toolkit is an online program filled with video lessons, spreadsheets, checklists, and guides designed to take you from feeling overwhelmed, unprepared, and lost...

to empowered, educated, excited, and prepared so you can create the perfect healthy home that meets your family’s goals and values.

With the Toolkit, You'll Have The Tools You Need To...

  • Make educated decisions about the home planning process
  • Create a functional and comfortable home layout 
  • Select healthy and sustainable material options
  • Decide what building methods to choose
  • Confidently share your decisions with your contractor and/or design team!

Learn more here.

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