The Prescription For A Healthy House: How To Heat, Cool, Filter, Clean & Build A Biologically Friendly Home, With Paula Baker-Laporte.

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In the world of modern construction, health often takes a backseat.

Step into the realm of creating sanctuaries where every corner of your home supports your well-being. Today, I'm diving deep into building biology, a paradigm that transcends conventional construction norms to weave together health, ecology, and architectural design.

In this episode, I unravel the tapestry of building biology principles from the ground up with Paula Baker-Laporte. From the foundation to the rooftop to home care and repair, a house built upon building biology principles takes modern toxins, non-native electricity, air, light, and other variables into account for a unique approach to healthy-house building, renovation, and maintenance, including considerations, such as:

  • Frame construction alternatives
  • Thermal, moisture, mold, and mycotoxin control
  • Flooring and finishes
  • Furnishings

Paula is an architect and building biologist living in Ashland, Oregon, specializing in health-enhancing and ecologically sound architectural design and consulting. She has extensive experience applying the principles of building biology to many forms of alternative construction, including light straw-clay adobe, straw-bale, pumice-crete, aerated autoclaved concrete, and wood-insulated concrete forms.

In her role as an architect and consultant, she has successfully assisted many people suffering from multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS) in building healthy homes since 1995. She is the primary author of Prescriptions for a Healthy House, co-author with husband Robert Laporte of two books: Econest and The EcoNest Home, and contributing author to several other publications. In addition to writing Prescriptions for a Healthy House: A Practical Guide for Architects, Builders, and Homeowners, Paula penned The EcoNest Home: Designing and Building a Light Straw Clay House and EcoNest: Creating Sustainable Sanctuaries of Clay, Straw, and Timber. She has also been on the faculty of the University of Debrecen's Institute of Biology and Ecology (IBE) for over a decade, teaching IBE 213 and IBE 215, and has authored coursework for the Institute.

This podcast — perfect for architects, designers, contractors, medical professionals, and homeowners alike — will serve as a unique guide to creating healthy indoor and outdoor spaces, including many new resources, as well as specialized knowledge from an internationally recognized expert in building biology.

During our discussion, you'll discover:

-Who is Paula Baker-Laporte?…00:48

-What is building biology?…03:41

  • After WWII, a lot of new chemicals were introduced into building products in Europe
  • A multidisciplinary study on 25 basic principles for human health and the built environment
    • Nature is the gold standard for what is a healthy human environment
    • Building biology recommends the use of radiant heat
    • Mainstream green building usually rewards better-forced air heating
  • Green building focuses on energy efficiency

-Why do some people feel bad in their homes?…09:21

  • Very sensitive people will react to far lower levels of chemicals in the environment
  • The green building movement is good at recognizing volatile organic compounds and ways to reduce them
  • Semi-volatile organic compounds
    • Fire retardants
  • Multiple chemical sensitivities testing
  • DNA testing, urinary mold, and mycotoxin test
  • Lowering the chemical load of any new construction is easy
  • If there is already a chemical load, you can do a lot of things
    • Excellent air filtration devices
    • Specialty paints or clear varnishes for isolating or blocking

-The best heating and cooling device…16:26

  • Air Doctor
  • Many of the tools designed to bring fresh air into tight homes cannot handle environmental smoke
  • Standalone filters are good
  • AllerAir 
  • MinotAirA unit that combines heat pump technology, heat recovery, ventilation, dehumidification, and robust HEPA filtration
  • The best way to set up radiant heat
  • Hot water systems in walls like in Europe
  • The masonry heating could be very massive

-Why are Europeans ahead of Americans in building biology?…22:32

  • Europeans work with mass materials, Americans with paper-thin
  • America developed different technologies
  • Europe has the advantage of a lineage of craftsmanship
  • The problem of a garage being attached to a house
  • How to protect yourself from fumes and combustion?
    • Airtight everything between the house and garage
    • Specialty fans to periodically recycle the air in the garage
  • The use of theatrical ice to get a visual of where the air is coming through

-What is geo-stress?…27:10

-Is it expensive to build a home using building biology?…36:15

  • Some things are cheap, like detaching the garage
  • Some are more expensive, like the wall system (could go 10% of the cost of the house)
  • Overall, it can be expensive, from 0–25%, depending on your starting point
  • Ben has calculated an added 15% to the cost of construction

-Why is a healthy wall system the building biology ideal?…39:21

  • Your skin acts as a barrier between your organs and the environment
  • Your second skin is your clothing
    • You wouldn’t choose plastic to wear
  • How Americans build in this country is equivalent to having your kids go play in a plastic bag
  • The building biology ideal is having a wall system that doesn't require a vapor barrier because it's transparent to moisture
  • Clay is light years ahead of other products in terms of its ability to take on moisture and give it off
    • Materials that can handle moisture don't have condensation problems and mold buildup
  • An airtight vapor transparent wall is what you should strive for

-How easy is it in the U.S. to use things like clay, brick, and earth?…43:58

  • There is a tradition of adobe building in Santa Fe
  • Many natural materials got into the International Residential Code
  • Masonry systems, more common in Europe, are acceptable

-Can wood still be used?…45:55

  • 95% of residential buildings use wood frame
  • Wood frame construction is becoming better
  • The best type of wood is local wood
  • Wood allergies
    • People sensitized to pine terpenes
    • People sensitized to chemicals are also sensitized to terpenes
  • Prescriptions for a Healthy House by Paula Baker Laporte

-What are the biggest sources of dirty electricity?…47:06

  • Before Wi-Fi, it was important how the house was wired
    • Shutting off the electricity at night in the bedroom
    • You don't want a refrigerator back to back with your bed
  • Watch for the source of high magnetic fields like high-tension wires
  • You may be living in a geopathic stress zone
  • Microsurge electrical pollution or dirty electricity
  • Measure to see if you're getting a high magnetic field on a line
  • House wiring should be in metal conduits
  • Shielded Healing
  • Why am I getting rid of incandescent lights? 
  • Appliances recommendation
  • Most common source of mold is front-loading washers
  • If the appliance breaks, how will you prevent the flood?
  • A tiny leak in a faucet or under sink piping can lead to very toxic mold
    • Metal trays for flood control
    • Floor drains
  • Front-loading washing machines
    • Cleaning with ozone — fantastic for controlling mold
    • Open the doors between loads
    • Wipe the insides of the gaskets
  • Ozone Generator
  • Ben prefers appliances without Wi-Fi, but these are getting harder and harder to get

-How to clean the house?…58:48

-And much more…

Upcoming Events:

  • Elements of Vitality: December 8, 2023

Return to the Elements of Vitality: This will be the second time my good friend Dr. John Lieurance and I collaborate to bring you the most effective and cutting-edge health and wellness advice, protocols, and some of our favorite tools. If you’re into health and wellness and want to stay on top of all the cutting-edge, latest, and greatest innovations and protocols, you don’t want to miss this event. Learn more here and use code GREENFIELD for 5% off at checkout.

Click here for the full written transcript of this podcast episode.

Resources from this episode:

Paula Baker-Laporte:

– Podcasts:

– Other Resources:

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Do you have questions, thoughts, or feedback for Paula Baker-Laporte or me? Leave your comments below and one of us will reply!

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One thought on “The Prescription For A Healthy House: How To Heat, Cool, Filter, Clean & Build A Biologically Friendly Home, With Paula Baker-Laporte.

  1. How does “The Prescription For A Healthy House” contribute to the broader conversation about sustainable and healthy living practices in the context of home design and construction?

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