Private Space: Secure


A sense of safety and well-being

A healthy interior environment minimizes respiratory risk factors and asthma triggers.
When asthma symptoms and triggers decline, a family’s quality of life improves. Use of natural finishes and furnishings reduces exposure to toxins through the skin and the air.
The National Center for Healthy Housing lists a number of healthy design strategies. (Green Housing Series: A New Prescription for Asthma Sufferers: Healthier Homes)

  • Air-tight construction with insulated windows and foundations minimizes the intrusion of dust, pollen, and other contaminants. Air-tight construction also reduces moisture penetration and inhibits mold growth.
  • Positive ventilation removes stale air and filters incoming fresh air.
  • Filters must be changed periodically to ensure that the ventilation system is working properly.
  • Hydronic heating systems, which use hot water instead of forced air, reduce airborne particulates.
  • Window blinds instead of curtains to reduce dust.
  • Linoleum in lieu of carpet to reduce the collection of dust.
  • The use of low volatile organic compounds (VOCs) paints, caulking and sealants.
  • Low/no off-gas trim and cabinets to reduce urea formaldehyde bonding agents.
  • HEPA filter vacuums to remove allergens.
  • Walk-off doormats to reduce dirt in the home.
A diagram of an apartment showing sustainable strategies: 1- Ventilation systems, 2-Rubber bath flooring, 3-Linoleum kitchen flooring, 4- Low Volatile Organic Compound wall and ceiling paints, 5- formaldehyde-free cabintes, 6- carpet with 45% recycled content, 7- energy-efficient hydronic wall radiator.
6,200,000: The estimated number of children under 18 years of age currently affected by asthma - the most chronic disorder in childhool. Capital E, Greening America's Schools: Costs and Benefits
Strategy in Action
At the Plaza Apartments, an affordable housing development in San Francisco, finishes are simple and durable, including formaldehyde-free wheat-board casework, linoleum kitchen floors, high recycled content carpet and paints without volatile organic compounds.