10 Years Later: The Healthy House

Long before we were TreeHuggers, we were fans of good modern design, and as soon as the Healthy House was open to the public ten years ago we were there. The result of a competition, it was designed by Martin Liefhebber, who we knew from school days as a talented architect and piano player. We went for Martin's design rather than the Healthy house mumbojumbo but were soon busy learning about all kinds of things that we never thought about....Passive and active solar. The first poured kitchen counters we had ever seen. Rainwater collection. Grey water collection and distribution. Careful design of architecture and systems to use one tenth the energy of a conventional house, all on a backlane infill lot . Says the Toronto Star:

Such infill construction promotes the efficient use of land and reduces urban sprawl.

Inside, polished concrete floors and walls make efficient use of solar energy and help keep the house cooler in the summer. In all, the house uses about one-tenth of the amount of energy needed to heat a conventional house.

[owner, shown in picture] Paloheimo says that before he moved into the house, he suffered from allergies. Now he says he no longer suffers from any symptoms, which he attributes to the high indoor air quality. Materials used to furnish and decorate the house — including countertops, cabinets and paint — emit few chemicals and vapours.

Not many healthy houses have been built since,Martin is a bit disillusioned by the experience. "It's pathetic. I wish that more had been done since then." We think Martin should cheer up, he was ahead of his time, and everything he did ten years ago is now becoming mainstream. Ten years ago people were interested in green or were interested in design, few were interested in both. The Healthy House was confusing because it was both and people didn't get it. They do now. ::Toronto Star and read more about the Healthy House from ::CMHC