Healthy Building and Healthy Living

February 5th, 2020

Dear Readers,

We want The Seed to be healthy. Our home will be built from as many sustainable materials as possible which provide no health concerns to the builders working with them, nor to the inhabiting individuals. The materials themselves will also have little to no impact on the environment. The way The Seed is maintained, from the energy it consumes to the waste it produces, to even the family it shelters, creates a harmonious ‘give and take’ relationship with the earth and its people. 

Healthy Building

In the aspect of healthy building, we emphasize on the importance of natural, sustainable materials. We have specifically chosen to use wood- a renewable, biodegradable, and recyclable resource- for many of our building material applications. One of the ways we wish to incorporate wood is by using cross laminated timber (CLT) for our walls (see link here for example, and stay tuned for an eventual blog giving more details). Cross laminated timber is essentially many layers of wood panels glued together to make a super thick, solid wall. 

Another main way we are looking to incorporate wood is in our insulation. Many homes’ walls contain either spray foam, rockwool or fiberglass insulation. Fiberglass insulation was fascinating to me as a kid. It looks just like cotton candy… fluffy and most typically pink. However, due to fiberglass’ composition of little shards of glass, to touch it would result in much itchiness… and to eat it… well… don’t. Wood fiber insulation is a natural material and unlike typical insulation (like spray foam, fiberglass or rockwool) it does not require the wearing of face masks, gloves, or eye protection during its installation.

Wood siding is another way we wish to incorporate wood into our building processes. According to our findings, wood is more expensive than typical plastic siding. However, it is beautiful, recyclable, compostable, ages gracefully (if done right), more fire resistant, and still provides an efficient weather barrier and rain screen.

Healthy Living

The Seed’s ability to provide a healthy atmosphere rests just as much with the process of building and the building materials as it does with the way our family maintains and uses the home. The air in the home will be controlled with a ventilation system. This allows for filtered air to pass through the home rather than leakey air coming into the home in random and uncontrolled areas. And, of course, the home’s windows can still be opened!

Plenty of natural light will also be incorporated into our home, while also maintaining Passive House Standards (more blogging and researching will be done on this criteria~ a lot of heat is lost through windows/glass in homes). We hope to use bi-fold glass walls in the main living area of the home, thereby connecting the indoor and outdoor living spaces, and as a result, the inhabitants to their natural surroundings. With strategic window placement, daytime usage of artificial lighting will be eliminated, or at least extremely minimized- also connecting us (the inhabitants) to the natural movement of the day and the sun.

An essential goal William and I wish to test out: The Seed will be big enough to raise a small family, and have small enough of a footprint so to minimize impact to the site. The home’s ability to collapse exterior walls will extend living spaces by incorporating the space provided by the outdoor environment into the home. The main living area (kitchen, dining, living room) is the heart of the home, and has the potential to be one large communal area. Efficient, creative usage of storage and spaces will also allow for dynamic ways of living.

In this grand adventure, we shall be testing the capacities of The Seed, and ourselves, to create a sustainable future for our own small family and the environment it rests in. 

This blog concludes our five building principles. The following blogs are where the true adventure begins… we shall be sharing with you, dear readers, our research, inspirations, frustrations, and inquiries as we make our dream for a sustainable future a reality. Stay tuned! 

Sincerely,

Shelby Aldrich

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© 2020 Sustaining Tree

© 2020 Sustaining Tree