Chemical sensitivities are a sensitive and controversial topic; just read the comments on this post about a chemical free tiny home. Speaking at a Canada Green Building Council Green Homes Summit today, Andre D’Elia of Toronto architectural firm Superkül described the process of designing a stunning house for a client with environmental sensitivities, and looking at the result, it is hard not to imagine that anyone would feel better and healthier in a house like this.
All the materials were tested to see if the client had a reaction, and natural, virgin materials fared best. Recycled materials often caused a reaction, as did many plastics. So where plastics had to be used for technical reasons, they were put on the outside of the assemblies.
Inside there is no drywall, which seems to provoke quite a reaction; all the walls are wood or American clay plaster, " 100% all-natural, is VOC-free, and is made of a proprietary blend of sand aggregates and clays sourced entirely from the United States."
Except for a few easily accessible shelves, care was taken to eliminate horizontal surfaces where dust could collect. Structural walls are made of one of our favourite materials, Durisol, " inert cementitious blocks that inhibit the growth of fungi and molds."
A soy-based sealer was used for the concrete floors and counters, and untreated silk and hemp fabric was used for the curtains.
Perhaps every house should be designed with environmental sensitivity in mind:
Achieving a healthy house for both client and environment meant extensive research into a wide range of products and locally produced materials suited to the climate. A green roof, heat-mirror triple glazing, solar shading, passive ventilation and daylighting, and a geothermal system are just some of the features of this LEED Gold-targeted project.
Really, this is truly Superkül work. More photos here.