[Transcript] – 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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From podcast: https://bengreenfieldlife.com/podcast/healthy-home-podcast/

[00:00:00] Introduction

[00:00:48] Guest Introduction

[00:03:42] What is a building biology?

[00:09:20] Why do some people feel bad in their homes?

[00:16:26] The best healing and cooling device

[00:22:37] Why are Europeans ahead of Americans in building biology?

[00:27:15] What is a geo-stress?

[00:36:15] Is it expensive to build a home using building biology?

[00:39:20] Building biology ideal is for a healthy wall system

[00:43:58] How easy is it in the US to use things like clay, brick, and earth?

[00:45:56] Can wood still be used?

[00:47:05] What are the biggest sources of dirty electricity?

[00:58:49] How to clean the house?

[01:03:56] Closing the Podcast

[01:06:04] End of Podcast

[01:06:26] Legal Disclaimer

Ben:  My name is Ben Greenfield. And, on this episode of the Ben Greenfield Life podcast.

Paula:  In the early days before the days of Wi-Fi, what we cared a lot about was, how is the house wired? And, one simple thing we always do is make a simple way to shut off the electricity at night in the bedroom. If all that checks out and you're not feeling well, you may be living over a geopathic stress zone.

Ben:  Fitness, nutrition, biohacking, longevity, life optimization, spirituality, and a whole lot more. Welcome to the Ben Greenfield Life Show. Are you ready to hack your life? Let's do this.

Alright, folks. Well, I am asked quite frequently about this whole idea of what's called building biology. As a matter of fact, I am in the process of building a new home in Idaho. And so, all of this has been hot and fresh on my mind, however, that phrase goes, frame construction and thermal, and moisture and mold, and mycotoxin control, and the electrical environment, and the health or the unhealth of the flooring and the finishes, and the furnishings, and everything that goes into creating a healthy indoor and outdoor space. All of that is called building biology. 

Now, there are a few experts, I would say very few experts, especially in the U.S. well-versed in the concepts of building biology. But, if you're watching the video version, and by the way, you can find all the shownotes at BenGreenfieldLife.com/HealthyHomePodcast. I am holding up a book that is, in my opinion, the Bible for building biology. So much so that I even got a copy for my architect and my builders to read through as a part of the home build I'm doing because there's just so much in here. I mean, from appliance selection to carpets, to the plastics, to the roofing materials, and the person who wrote it is Paula Baker-Laporte.

Now, Paula is an architect and a building biologist and she specializes in all of this in creating healthy indoor spaces along with outdoor spaces to a certain extent, alternative construction. She even has whole she's written about light straw clay adobes and different crazy insulated concrete forms. That book series is called “The EcoNest Home,” but this latest book, “The Prescriptions for a Healthy House,” the subtitle is a practical guide for architects, builders, and homeowners. And man, it is just fantastic. And, Paula is on the cutting edge of this stuff. And, we're lucky enough to have her on the show today. So again, the shownotes are going to be at BenGreenfieldLife.com/HealthyHomePodcast. That's where you can also leave your questions, comments and feedback. And Paula, welcome to the show. I'm really excited that we're able to do this today. 

Paula:  Thanks, Ben, and thanks for your wonderful introduction.

Ben:  Yeah, yeah, for sure. And, you'll be pleased to know, but in case you see that I'm walking, I'm on a non-motorized treadmill in my office that actually does have a lot of dirty electricity and low EMF built into it, which I know is something that you cover pretty extensively in the book. And, I also owe you an apology for making you wear what are probably not low EMF headphones during our interview today.

Paula:  We're hardwired at least.

Ben:  Okay, good. Good.

So, I would love to start here if your game, can you define “building biology” and kind of the interesting history of it because I was intrigued in that section of the book. It's way different than what I think a lot of people think of when they think of building because even my architect thought that building biology was just making a green home which I don't think is the case. But, how would you define building biology and its very interesting history?

Paula:  Let me start with the history. After World War II, many of the chemical factories were turned into peacetime use which meant rebuilding Europe. And, they introduced a lot of the new chemicals into the building products and Europeans got sick earlier than the North Americans because of the amount of building. And, it has an interesting beginning because it was a multidisciplinary approach to the question, “What makes human beings thrive in the built environment?” 

And, in Europe they had all of the old natural buildings. Of course, they were natural because there were no synthetics throughout most of the history of Europe. And then, they had the new chemical-laden homes. So, they had some something to compare with. And, it's a study, as I said, multidisciplinary. There were health professionals, wood scientists, psychologists, medical professionals, concerned citizens, and of course, architects and builders involved in the formation of it. And, what they came up with was 25 basic principles for human health in the built environment. And, because of their origins, what they discovered is very different than anything we see coming out in this country called green building.

Ben:  Okay.

Paula:  If I can sum up their finding, that's the basis of the 25 principles, is that nature actually is the gold standard for what is a healthy human environment. So, understanding that our homes need to modify nature for our comfort levels, how can we make our homes optimally healthy, optimally least impact on the environment following the lessons learned from nature about what makes us thrive.

Ben:  Is that having trees in your living room and a stream of water flowing through your kitchen floor? Or, is it more, I don't know, choosing lighting that's more similar to sunlight like incandescent or halogen or something like that?

Paula:  Yeah. Well, let's take an example. Let's talk about how nature heats us because that's a big thing that comes up all the time. The building biology recommendations are to use radiant heat, to use heat in such a way so that there's comfort, which means less than 2 degrees centigrade is their definition from foot to head, but no monotony. So, when you're out in nature, if it's hot, you seek shade. If it's cold, you seek sunlight. The sun, this big ball of radiant heat heats objects not air. So, it will heat our body from head to foot with very little variation while the air around us remains relatively cool. So, how do you bring the principal into the home without hanging a big infrared ball in the ceiling or running a river through, which are other principles. And so, it's a good example of how building biology is different than mainstream green building. Mainstream green building usually rewards better-forced air heating. Building biology looks at, well, forced air heating, it blows air around it, heats air, which is an insulator which is inefficient. It doesn't heat the body. It heats the space kind of monotonously so that when it's on everything is evenly in the central heating, evenly hot or evenly cool. So, there's not a lot of variation, and yet, if it's blowing on your head, for example, your head is warm, your feet are cold. So, what our norm is in North America is really could take some lessons from building biology. It's somewhat the opposite.

Ben:  Yeah. It's my understanding actually that green building has a real focus on the idea of a better planet and energy efficiency, but that there could be tradeoffs in terms of, for example, the toxin load within a home based on tightly insulated spaces, for example, and that it doesn't take into account the health of the human living within the home as much as the energy efficiency aspects. Is that the general idea?

Paula:  It's very much most of what green building is focuses on energy efficiency. There are some realizing that these are going to be tighter buildings. There are some nods to health as well, lower VOC, products, et cetera. There's other aspects of health, the subtle aspects especially that are very little understood or accounted for.

Ben:  Yeah, I'm glad you brought up the low VOC thing because maybe we should backpedal here for just a second. I think a lot of people might not even realize why they could feel crappy living in their home or why their home might be actually making them unhealthy. And, I know that one big part of that is this idea of multiple chemical sensitivities. Can you describe what's going on there? Why it is that someone's home, how that actually happen that it would make them feel bad during the day?

Paula:  Yeah. And, why one partner might feel bad and the other one might think they're crazy.

Ben:  Yeah.

Paula:  So, it's often been the analogy of the barrel being our immune system. And, some people have bigger barrels, some people have smaller barrels, some people have incidents that happen to them during their life that's a hole in the barrel, some big exposure before they're in the house which makes them more sensitive. 

So, for people who are very sensitive, they're going to react at far lower levels of chemicals in the environment than others. And, there are many places where chemicals are introduced into new building and into everyday life, our cleaning products, fabric softeners, hygiene products. So, it's a holistic view and the house being one of them, you want to start with a clean slate of as few chemicals as possible. So, the green building movement, especially LEED has done a good job of recognizing volatile organic compounds and ways to reduce them. But, there are often unintended consequences of our way of looking at any chemical. Often, you've probably seen it with plastics and things. They'll eliminate a plastic because it's found to be harmful and then the manufacturers will advertise BPA-free, for example. But then, that'll replaced by the manufacturer with a very similar chemical composition with no information on it, no health information.

Ben:  Yeah.

Paula:  And then, after a while, we find out, “Oh, maybe that wasn't so good for us after all.” So, it's complex. We don't know a lot about the chemicals in the environment of the 84 or 5,000 man-made chemicals. There's complete health data on 7% or so.

Ben:  Oh, wow.

Paula:  So, even when we have full disclosure, which we don't often have, we still don't know about every chemical in it.

I was just going to talk for a moment about SVOCs, semivolatile organic compounds. So, often something like a formaldehyde glue is replaced with another substance that isn't volatile, zero VOC, but it has semivolatile emissions for the rest of the life of the product. So, a semivolatile, we often can't smell them but we do inhale them and eat them. Fire retardants are a great example. And often, people aren't instantly sick because they don't have the mechanism of smelling it, some people are. So, just because a jar says zero VOC, it does not necessarily mean it's better for your health. So, it's complicated.

Ben:  Now, is there is there a good way to test for multiple chemical sensitivities that you know of?

Paula:  So, more in the medical area. I experienced it, certainly. And, anyone who experiences it knows once they cue into it, know they're reacting in certain spaces, they might not know why they're reacting in certain places. So, the human being is a great instrument. When I was highly sensitive, there was testing. There were traditional kind of allergy testing scratch tests that I had done.

Ben:  Oh, yeah.

Paula:  That kind of thing. Doctors are much more advanced now in this.

Ben:  Yeah. I know that a lot of times if you do something like DNA testing, you can reveal deficiency and things like glutathione pathways, for example, that would dictate you do a poor job detoxifying. And then, of course, you can get things like urinary mold and mycotoxin tests to determine what kind of toxin load that you might have. 

I think it's smart even if you don't have multiple chemical sensitivities though to be aware of some of the choices you can make in your home, as far as furniture carpet, and the overall design to just lower your toxin load in general, the same way that someone who maybe doesn't necessarily have what's called electro hypersensitivity, a lot of sensitivity to Wi-Fi and Bluetooth and appliance and radiation would probably still be better served as far as their overall cognitive performance during the day at least being aware of their load, their exposure to dirty electricity or man-made EMFs. But, when it comes to multiple chemical sensitivities, what are the main things that you would do, the low-hanging fruit in a home build or an existing home to lower the toxin load?

Paula:  Actually, this is one of the easiest things to do right now. Are you talking about an existing home or building a home?

Ben:  Both, really. I'd love to hear just a few of the key factors that folks should take into account in either situation.

Paula:  Okay. So, building a home when I started this work over 30 years ago, it was a specialty item to get things that didn't have chemicals. Now, you really just need to know which of the many products on the market to choose. So, lowering the chemical load of any new construction should be a no-brainer. We wouldn't consider building a home even for a well person who wanted to remain well with toxic chemicals in it that can easily be avoided. 

So, if you get to build from scratch, you get to choose. If in day-to-day life, if there is a chemical load in your environment, there's many things you can do. There are excellent air filtration devices that can just keep filtering the air, exchange the air. And, if there's a specific thing, there are ways to either remove it or isolate it or block it with specialty paints or clear varnishes, that kind of thing. So, there's a lot you can do to reduce the chemical load and there's no reason everyone shouldn't–educating a homeowner to not plug in Febreze, not spray with pesticides, not use toxic chemicals to clean with is huge. It has a huge impact but simple to do.

Ben:  It's interesting that you brought that up about the actual cooling or heating or filtration of the air. There's obviously these standalone HEPA air filtration units. Like Air Doctor is one that I know of that's pretty popular. And, I have a few of those and they seem to do a pretty good job, but let's say somebody is listening and for either their home or their office they just want to go with the creme de la creme option for heating, cooling, ventilation, humidity control and filtration. Are there devices out there that you think are really good for just doing it all at once for someone's home?

Paula:  I have heard of one device that was designed to do it all. I'd have to look up the name for you and Ken for your readers later. But, it's really pick a climate and pick a level of sensitivity and environmental impacts. We're in a fairly good climate here except when it's smoky outside. And, many of the tools designed to bring in fresh air into a tight home cannot handle environmental smoke, it just brings the smoke right in. So, right now, I'd say the state-of-the-art of the industry is different pieces all put together rather than a holistic system. There's nothing wrong with standalone filters if they're good quality and if we prefer ones that are not putting anything into the air but are simply doing mechanical filtration. The Air Doctor you mentioned is a great little unit and has saved many person in this area when the smoke outside was hazardous, for example. They're going to do a pretty good job. It's provided you change filters when you need to.

Ben:  Yeah. I wrote down one note from your book, by the way. I sent it over to my architect actually. You say a unit that combines heat pump technology, heat recovery ventilation, dehumidification, and robust HEPA filtration. It sounds somewhat similar to a unit that I have in my current home build, but my current home build's 10 years old, and I use one called an AllerAir like allergy air, AllerAir.

Paula:  Sure.

Ben:  That stuff. But, the one that you list is the Minotair. I don't know if I'm pronouncing that properly, M-I-N-O-T air. Might be Minotair.

Paula:  Yes.

Ben:  But, that one actually looks like it's a pretty good solution.

Paula:  It looks like a wonderful solution. I don't have personal experience with it yet. So, I can't say from personal experience which is what I like to go with when I can, how well it operates, but we spoke to the owner of the company, and he's a great educator and I'm sure if someone was interested, he'd be happy to let them speak to his clients and explain how the whole thing works. I think it's a great move and that that's where the future is. I personally like to have a radiant heat source. And, the bottom line is when we approach a design and the technology and what can we do so that if the power happens to go off, we would have a home that was resilient enough that it wouldn't be yanking the owners off of life support dependent on electricity, for example.

Ben:  I was going to ask you, what's the best way to set up radiant heat? Because I know there's a few different ways to do it like hot water that's run through tubing or electric baseboards, for example.

Paula:  Yeah. So, if it's electric, it's going to have fields that you probably don't want to be around. And also, electric baseboard is hot enough to fry dust. There's some better sophisticated ones. I prefer hot water. And, if we're in Europe, we'd have all kinds of ways to put that radiant heating in walls instead of the floors. But, in North America, it's mostly in the floors. Personally, we use a masonry heater, which is a soapstone mass oven that sits centrally in the house that we fire for an hour a day. And then, we always put radiant heating in but in our house, we only turn it on in a couple of zones.

Ben:  And, in a new home, you could actually build in radiant heating though like that hydronic radiant system that they might use in Europe?

Paula:  Yes. We have that in our floors. We have not found a good wall system for it yet. So, we always put in our floors and we zone it so it can be shut off, we zone it so it's not running and we don't need to run it in our bedrooms. But, if it were in a bedroom, we would prefer to zone it so it's shut off at night so that you don't have moving water under the bed, it's subtle. But, I have found subtleties are really important to go beyond just non-toxic and into a space that deeply nurtures.

Ben:  Yeah, the masonry heating sounds pretty interesting. You have a whole chapter or a section of the chapter in that called masonry heater, the ideal heating for room climate and health. So, that definitely looks like a viable option that would work, correct me if I'm wrong, for an existing home or for a home that you're building, right?

Paula:  Yes. They're very massive. So, in an existing home, you have to have the structure for it.

Ben:  Okay.

Paula:  Usually if you're slab on grade, you can do it. And, if you've got a basement or something under it, you have to support it.

Ben:  How big are we talking? Is it as big as a fireplace or wood stove?

Paula:  It looks a lot like a fireplace or a wood stove. Ours is a finish one and it weighs several thousand pounds.

Ben:  Oh, wow.

Paula:  That mass of it is part of what's helping to heat the home for a whole day with only a small firing.

Ben:  Wow. Those darn Finnish folks, they know how to do things right, I guess. At least they got the sonic game down.

Paula:  All of the northern Europeans know how to do this, how to do climate right.

Ben:  Why is that, do you think, that the Europeans seem to be ahead of the Americans when it comes to ideal climate and more of a building biology approach to a home build?

Paula:  Well, they work with mass materials. We are unique in North America that we work with paper thin. And so, we develop different technologies. The masonry, something like a masonry heater works when you've got mass walls around it surrounding you. When the Europeans examined building biology, they realized that these mass walls were working very differently than the poured concrete walls. They were building mass high rises out of it at that point for mass housing. So, they got to compare them. They also have the advantage of a lineage of craftsmanship. And, everyone makes mistakes but they got to make them over a 700-year period a little bit at a time, and make corrections as they go along. We're like a plane that's flying way off course and has to make big corrections to get where we're going.

Ben:  Yeah. Well, speaking of making mistakes, I was reading part of your book. I think I was actually ironically enough in my bed as I was sitting there reading where I do a lot of my nighttime reading, and our bedroom is located directly over the garage where our cars are going in and out of the garage. And, I was reading in your book about how that can actually be a problem to have a garage attached to a house. As a matter of fact, I've changed that in our new home build, the garage is detached from the bedrooms and totally detached from all the living spaces. But, get into why that's important, this whole idea of toxic byproducts of combustion I think you call them.

Paula:  Well, if you were chemically sensitive and you had a heightened sense of smell, you could walk in a house blindfolded and tell the owner immediately if there was an attached garage by the smell of the house. So, if you're not that sensitive to smells, you might not be able to do that. But, those car fumes are in there. And also, even people say, “Well, I have a Prius, can I have an attached garage now?” And, even if you are not getting the car fumes, you're still driving in a hulking load of heated rubber and paint and engine oils. So, there's not a perfect solution. If you have an attached garage, there's many things you can do to make the situation better. Ideally, we prefer to see a breezeway or a detached garage completely.

Ben:  What could you do if you're listening in right now and you don't have a detached garage? We talked about HEPA air filtration systems, but I would imagine there's probably some other things you could do to protect yourself from fumes and combustion, things like that, if your garage is right there next to the home.

Paula:  Yes. The basic strategy is to make all of the walls, openings, electrical things between your house and your garage airtight ceilings in your case if it's right below you and then to slightly negatively pressurize the garage. And, they have specialty fans that are called–I forget what it's called. It's in the book, but it recycles, will turn on periodically, and recycle the air in the garage. Problems come when you say turn on your kitchen fan when you depressurize your house. My co-author John Banta, he used to call the fire department, let them know, put theatrical ice in the garage, close the garage door, and then turn on the bathroom and kitchen fans and you can have a visual of where the air is coming through.

Ben:  That's a good idea. And, what did he use for that to create the fumes in the garage?

Paula:  He used theatrical ice.

Ben:  Oh, so that's similar to like dry ice that produces vapor, right?

Paula:  Yeah, yeah, dry ice. So, if you're pulling on it, if you're turning on a fan, you're sucking the air in and you see where it comes through, you'll see it coming through around a badly sealed door. You'll see it coming in the seal plates. You'll see it coming through any joint penetrations in the wall like electrical boxes, et cetera. So, that'll give you a sense if you depressurized the house and did something visible. Not all tracing pens are non-toxic, by the way. So, you need to look into what you're going to use, but that would give you a visual if you needed one.

Ben:  Oh, that's a great idea. My kids would love that giant dry ice party at the Greenfield house.

Now, how about this idea that I think a lot of people might not be aware of but I find it intriguing, the idea of geo-stress. What's geo-stress?

Paula:  So, you may have noticed that there are parts on the surface of the Earth that are healthy and desirable to be in and then other places that don't look so good. There's certain things in nature if you're used to seeing the signs of nature, trees with mistletoe or anthills or spiders or cats are drawn to a certain spot. You might want to measure it. Or, cancers on trees that kind of thing. It may not be where you want to put your future bedroom. So, these things, this is more alternative science. It's more woo-woo. It's more out there. People used to pay a lot of attention to it. And now, we've done things that are so much less subtle that people don't spend as much time.

Ben:  So, is this related to the concept of biogeometry like building your home with biogeometry?

Paula:  Very much so. Yes, Dr. Karim, the founder of BioGeometry. He began measuring sites in Egypt where he's from and he measured all the temples and found that the ancients knew what they were doing in the placement of those temples. And, he actually did a plea to the Egyptian government, if you're making a dam or something, avoid the areas where the temples are because they're beneficial, it doesn't help to move the temple. The temple is simply a marker of the energy. 

And, I've been on site. I had a wonderful experience on-site once with him where we were looking together at where a new health clinic was going and the owner was very conscious of health, so he invited both, he and myself to work on this building. And, the first thing he did was took out his measuring device and he was measuring the site and then he called me over he said, “Stand on this spot.” And, I stood on the spot and I got a wave, a literal wave of nausea, then he pulled me off the spot. He said, I don't want you there too long, I just wanted you to experience this. And, he said and look, and he pointed, and I saw clearly, once he pointed it out, a pathway of trees growing away from an invisible line. And then, at the very end of that was an office building with a window, a corner window right on the line. So, he said those people are at risk of health things. And, you can't exactly knock on their door and say, “Hey, you're going to get cancer if you stay in this office.” First of all, they'd probably think you were crazy. And secondly, they don't feel anything so they wouldn't move.

Ben:  Wow. There's this idea, I think, that's related to this. I had what's called a well-witcher come to our home build in Idaho. I did the same thing in this home in Washington and they went through this pendulum that was measuring, from what I understand, different areas underneath the Earth where water might be crossing certain paths. Well, it's not a pendulum, it's more like a rod but it'll rotate in a certain direction and this person, nobody in the area around us in Viola has gotten I think much more than 5 gallons per minute. They told us where to drill and we got 18 gallons per minute, which is astounding in terms of the actual flow for the well that we drilled. Now, this idea of being able to measure electromagnetic radiation, from what I understand, is what would happen if you had a biogeometry practitioner come to your land or come to your home. I guess they use different pendulums that detect electromagnetic radiation and they can tell you, “Hey, put your bedroom above this spot or don't put your bedroom above this spot or put your barn here, don't put your barn here, or these are the certain areas where you may not want to have your garden,” et cetera.

Paula:  Yes. I have had the privilege of working with Dr. Karim who founded that many times and he can work remotely too. Some of these people can work on a remote map. So, it's pretty far out there. You, at the same time, want to measure and see what kind of man-made radiation is hitting the site because that will affect the entire house. And, there are people who can make corrections. I never thought I could dowse but he calls it radiesthesia because it's not a mental prod, you're not asking questions, you're not saying, “Is this a good spot? Is this a good spot?” you are simply measuring. And, he's built some pretty, I would call it, dowsing tools for dummies or architect. So, even I can use it. I don't do it professionally because there's people who that's all they do and they're very, very good at it. In Santa Fe where it's hit or miss if you even hit water, everyone used the same guy and he would tell you where to drill, how many feet down to go, how many gallons, and the quality of the water.

Ben:  Wow.

Paula:  So, they're out there but they're not necessarily scientifically respected. If you're going the science route, you hire a geotechnical engineer or a hydrologist to figure out where to drill.

Ben:  Yeah, it's interesting because I actually had Brian Hoyer who's been on the show before. I'll link to the couple of podcasts I've done with him which were intriguing about having somebody come to your house and measure all the sources of electricity, the AC currents, the cell phone tower exposure, et cetera. And, he came through with about five different meters and just towed ahead, measured the entire home, as well as even measuring my body in certain areas of the house in terms of its exposure. And, he already came out to our new home build in Idaho and did the same thing.

Now, for the geopathic stress obviously, for a new home, you could design the home around it not being located over areas of heavy geopathic stress as determined by say a biogeometry practitioner or someone like Brian. But, let's see, someone's listening and their home's already built and they just want to be able to mitigate the potential deleterious impact of geopathic stress. From what I understand, you can actually get certain biogeometry tools that you can put around the house that would minimize your exposure, yeah?

Paula:  That whole energetic level is very interesting because, for example, if you're getting radio frequency, there can be tools that might help you biologically. But, when you measure, again, you'll still have the same frequency and it's the same with geopathology. So, someone like Ibraham Karim or other people working on the more, I'd call it subtle energetics, can also perform corrections, we call it. And, some people do it by what you would might call earth acupuncture or in Ibrahim's case, he produces several shapes that can be used. And, if you read his history, he's had great luck, for example, in Switzerland mitigating the effects of cell towers that were put up. And, the Swiss government was really, really documented and was very grateful for his work. So, it does exist out there though it's those kind of practitioners are rare so you're lucky to have one. And, it's not only not building over negative things, it's not only avoiding toxins, you can find where there are positive areas where you would really want your bedroom to be, for example.

Ben:  Yeah. I first learned about this concept when I interviewed Paul Chek and went to his home near San Diego. I walked into his office and it just felt this peaceful Zen-like place. You could just almost sense the drop in sympathetic nervous system activation and heart rate and this feeling of peace washed over the body. And, he had all these shapes around his office I started asking him about them and it turns out he not only did his whole home with biogeometry, but then his wife, Angie became a biogeometry practitioner. So, that's another person you could look up is Angie Chek, C-H-E-K. And, she planted all these different rods that are also in these biogeometry shapes around their yard and the outside area of the house to minimize the geopathic stress. Again, showing that you could outfit an existing home in such a way that would decrease any deleterious electromagnetic radiation you might be getting from the earth in areas underneath the home, which is super cool.

So, one thing that I'm thinking about that I'm sure some other people might be also is as we're talking about these ways that you could outfit a home as far as the walls, the flooring, et cetera, using building biology concepts, how much more expensive do you think it is to build a home using building biology? Is this going to vastly increase the cost of a home build?

Paula:  Well, this is probably the most common question we're asked is, “How much more does it cost to build a healthy home?” And, there's so many variables. The least expensive home that you can build is the way we build in this country standard 2 by construction with all kinds of composite wood product, sheathing and layers of plastic, et cetera. So, anything up from there is going to be more expensive. Some things cost nothing. How much more does it cost to detach a garage? And, they're in the planning phases. How much more does it cost to build in cross-ventilation? There's a lot of low-lying fruit. If you want to change your wall system, which is the biggest probably bang for the buck, the wall system itself is probably 10% of the cost of the home. So, even if you double it, how much more is that going to cost?

So, the answer is somewhere between 0 and 25% depending on your starting point. If you're starting with a high-end home already where there's already some craftsmanship and level of attention to detail, you have choices. You can buy the $2,000 faucet or you can buy the $300 knockoff. And, if you want to get the pay for, where do you want to spend your budget?

Ben:  Yeah, I can tell you right now. For me, it's the high-end Japanese toilet. I'm halfway joking. I actually did in the master bathroom of our new home build. I did get one of those Japanese toilets with the bidet and the warm seat and probably plays me some nice music while I'm using the restroom as well. So, that's one investment. But, I believe that when we tallied up everything after meeting with the builders and the architects as far as modifications we wanted to make based on what I learned from your book and chats with you and other people like Brian Hoyer, I would say it probably added about 15% or so to the total cost of the home build. So, not insignificant but considering the long-term health, especially because I plan on that being a home I live in for a really long time, just like this home, it's worth it to me to have done CAT7 metal shielded ethernet cables throughout the house so that I didn't have to use Wi-Fi, and that was an added expense. But man, I think it's worth it for long-term health.

And, you started to talk about the wall system. I thought that was actually really interesting part of your book. You described it as, I think, a third skin or something like that. And, I would love to hear what the building biology ideal is for a healthy wall system.

Paula:  Great. I'll go back to the terminology first because that comes right out of building biology. We have our skin. It's as you know being in the field you're in that it's a miraculous layer. It's the biggest organ of our body. It takes on and gives off moisture on its own terms and it can shapeshift. So, if you're too hot, it will give off moisture for evaporative cooling. If you're too cold, it'll develop bumps and the hairs will stand on end, so you get a layer of insulation. It's an incredible organ that is the interface between our bodies and the built environment. The second layer, the second skin is our clothing. And, you have kids, you wouldn't dress them in plastic 24/7 because their skin would rot and you'd be doing them a terrible disservice. So, you may have discovered that natural fibers or fabrics or at least clothing that breathes that helps the skin do its work is a better second skin. So, a lot of how we build in this country is equivalent of having your kids go play in a plastic bag. So, the building biology ideal is to have a wall system that doesn't require a vapor barrier because it's transparent to moisture and it can only be transparent to moisture if it is resilient enough and has enough, what we call high buffering capacity to take on and give off whatever the climate can throw at it without any deterioration.

So, when you take a famous building scientist, Joe Lstiburek did a calculation that a typical frame home, a 2,000-foot frame home can hold 50 gallons of environmental moisture before it has problems and an old brick home can hold 500 gallons; whereas a steel frame building can only hold 5 gallons. So then, when you take a skin that has clay involved in it–well, clay is light years ahead of other products in terms of its ability to take on moisture and give it off. You can see for yourself if you have a cat and pour kitty litter into your hand, which is essentially clay, and then pour water into your hand that you won't feel that moisture because the clay uptakes it. And then, when the air is dry and the moisture source is gone, the clay will give it back off. So, materials that are robust that can handle atmospheric moisture in the first little tiny layers of that wall won't have condensation problems. Vapor barriers were invented.

Ben:  And, when you say condensation problems, by the way, do you mean the potential for mold buildup within the wall system itself?

Paula:  Exactly.

Ben:  Okay.

Paula:  Yes, that's why we care about it because that's the byproduct of moisture in a wall when we're building out of vulnerable materials such as CDX instead of plywood, for example, is going to delaminate, it's going to get moldy faster. So, it depends on your type of construction, but the ideal for building biology system is a massive wall that is transparent to the movement of vapor through it.

Ben:  Now, if vapor is able to move through the wall, does that mean that it's harder to keep a home hot or cold? Like, does hot air and cold air also escape if vapor can escape?

Paula:  Nope. There's a difference. You have an airtight vapor transparent wall, which is what we strive for. We don't want to be breathing through punctures in our throat or something, we want to be breathing through our respiratory system, not our skin. In the same way, we want air exchange where we want it, but our whole body, all of our skin is a vapor control layer that's transparent to a certain extent and interactive with the environment. Does that make sense?

Ben:  It does. How easy is it in the U.S. to use things like clay and brick and earth and some of these other wall materials that as far as I know are a little bit more uncommon compared to modern building materials?

Paula:  It depends where you are. I cut my teeth in Santa Fe. I lived there for many years where there's a tradition of adobe building. And, people understand the quality of adobe to the extent that in a real estate ad, if you have an adobe, you expect a much higher price for that adobe. Whereas, if you're going to upper New York state, for example, they think of an adobe as a mud hut and a primitive thing. So, there's not the same kind of cultural knowledge of the natural materials and yet we all flock to Europe and love it and love the feel of everything while a lot of what we're loving is that we're surrounded by natural materials. 

So, how easy is it? We worked for a long time to get light straw clay, which is what we have built many of into the code. It's now in the international residential code. So, more of these things are straw bales in the international residential code cob construction. So, they're getting there. Rammed earth is pretty accepted in many places. And then, often, we use systems that are quite acceptable because they're just masonry systems. They're common in Europe, not as common here. Faswall autoclave concrete are a couple of the ones that we use, especially for highly sensitive clients who a lot of people are allergic to nature at this point as well, can't be around terpenes or even the natural molds. And so, how do we bring those qualities into a house without introducing wet processes and materials that might be difficult for them? So, those are all available to us in this country.

Ben:  And, do you think there's still a time and a place where just for light frame construction that wood could be used and still allow for not as much mold build up within the walls?

Paula:  Yes. Building science grew up in this country for making better, and one of the major things is ways to make better performing wood frame because that's what 95, 99% of what's built in the residential market is made out of. So, there are certainly better ways.

Ben:  Is there a certain type of wood that you think is best to use in a home?

Paula:  Well, I would look to what's local always if you're concerned about the environment. If someone is highly sensitive, they do better with certain woods. People have allergies to pine terpenes who many people are sensitized to. Chemicals are also sensitized to terpenes. So, for example, if they're building with wood frame, fur is a better choice for them than pine.

Ben:  Okay, got it. And, I know you have a whole section on wood and wood selection in your book. And, by the way, for those of you listening in, this book is like an encyclopedia, highly recommend that you pick it up.

I mentioned Brian Hoyer from Shielded Healing as a guy who I've done some consulting with on EMF in both my current home and my new home build, Paula. I'm curious to hear from you. If someone's walking around their house and wanting to mitigate what they can in an existing home, what do you think the average modern house are the biggest sources of dirty electricity, the type of dirty electricity that could cause brain fog or poor sleep or poor cognitive function or anything like that?

Paula:  EMR guys like Mr. Hoyer would classify dirty electricity as one of the frequencies and I've seen it described as hanging laundry on a clothesline. So, it's interference on your electrical lines and that's caused by things like variable speed motors, et cetera, and he could give much more of a rundown. But, you're also concerned with other frequencies. And, I think that you're referring to in general what can be done about the whole spectrum of man-made harmful electromagnetic frequencies. Is that correct?

Ben:  Yeah. Basically, what do you go after in the highest priority? Is it the dishwasher? Is it the Wi-Fi router? Is it the solar panel inverter? What do you think are the biggest things people should care about if they could just make a dent in it right away?

Paula:  Well, the biggest question is, what's going on? It's an individual thing. In the early days why we started doing this work before the days of Wi-Fi, before the internet, et cetera, and what we cared a lot about was, how is the house wired? And, one simple thing we always do, healthy, not healthy, sensitive not healthy is a simple way to shut off the electricity at night in the bedroom. And, there are easy retrofits for this so that you're not in the field of the electric fields, dirty electricity. 

You don't want a refrigerator back-to-back with your bed because it has a magnetic field, it's going to go through the wall. So, you look at your household wiring. You may be living near an exterior source of high magnetic fields like high-tension wires. And, that becomes the biggest issue. You may be simply in an area with a lot of Wi-Fi all surrounding you. And then, that shielding from that becomes the biggest issue. Or, as you stated earlier, you may be a living over–if all that checks out and you're not feeling well, you may be living over a geopathic stress zone. That's usually the last suspect because we've done so many other things. So, it's individual. And, you would hire an expert, electromagnetic radiation specialist like Mr. Hoyer to come and do an inspection to tell you where to start.

Ben:  Okay. So, we talked about geopathic stressors and some of the things that you could do about that including some of these concepts in biogeometry. I know that this idea that I think you were alluding to as far as the home wiring, I think it's called microsurge electrical pollution. Is that right, MEP?

Paula:  No, that is the dirty electricity, microsurge electro pollution is a good parallel to that. But, just in your household wiring itself, there can be wiring errors and there often are. So, measuring to see if you're getting a high magnetic field that you shouldn't be getting on a line. All lines have electric fields emanating from them unless you put them in conduit, metal conduit. So, you find that in your commercial buildings. It's all in conduit so you don't find that to be as much of a problem. 

But, for most healthy people, shutting off at night when your body's repairing and your body repairs at a very low frequency so you don't want to interfere with that, and household wiring is what comes the closest to our biological system. So, you shut it off at night, you're going to be exposed during the day in any case unless you're someone who's so sensitive that they need to live in a very specialized environment.

Ben:  That makes sense. I mean, the way I think about it is turn off appliances and electronics when they're not in use, disable Wi-Fi even with a wall timer. And, if you can, even Bluetooth if and when you're not using it. Have some kind of a cut-off on the breaker panel where you can use MEP filtration at the panel or the subpanel. I would say as far as appliances and things like that, if you can run them at night, if you're tucked away in the bedroom at night, I think that's another biggie. I think lighting, not using dimmer switches, that's another one. And, even incandescent bulbs from what I understand, even though those are getting more difficult to get in the U.S. produce less of that micro surge pollution.

Yeah, why is it that they're trying to get rid of incandescent?

Paula:  That's a good question. They give off heat and so it was thought to be energy inefficient to give off heat from a light source. That's the cover story, I guess, you'd say. Why they banned it in Canada? First, where you need every ounce of heat, you can pour into your house. I'm not sure. But unfortunately, people are scrambling to find other solutions where that has been banned. In California, there's not a lot of workarounds now. It's not a case of screwing one thing in and then screwing something else in after the inspection because you have to have something that will take an LED with the pins rather than the screw and adapter that sort of thing. So, it's tricky. And, we work with electromagnetic specialists, we don't claim to know the whole–no one knows the whole picture. It takes a village. So, these are excellent questions and I hope you don't go over my head too soon here, Ben.

Ben:  I promise not to. Yeah, and Brian Hoyer, I think he's a great resource. He even has some lighting guides at Shielded Healing. Our house is mostly incandescent and halogen. And, it is interesting like incandescent are more of an energy hog but the bulbs last way longer. So, you get less pollution but you also just get less turnover of the bulb. So, I think it's kind of silly when you step back and look at it. It's kind of like people say meat is bad for the planet but don't factor in say transportation, agricultural pollution cause of plants and vegetables and farming. And so, you have to take into account a lot of factors before you just throw incandescent under the bus. And, I absolutely love incandescent and halogen and even OLED lighting compared to LED.

On this topic of electricity and whether it's electricity or, I don't know, sound pollution or mold or something like that, what are the major appliances that you think people should think about more? Whether it's the washer, the dryer, the refrigerator, the chest freezer. Are there certain selections when it comes to appliances that you think are important?

Paula:  Well, yes. And, for other reasons besides EMR, if I can diverge a little, you want a dishwasher that has flood control. You want a refrigerator that can be clean, the condensation coils and the condensation pan are often a source of mold. You want a refrigerator that isn't on all the time. Some refrigerators get their energy efficiency ratings from staying on all the time. There's a noise pollution factor. So, I use European refrigerators that are really built sturdier. Ours rarely turns on and let's see, washer dryer, one of the real common sources of mold is front loading washers.

Ben:  Oh, my gosh, I'm so glad you're bringing this up. Please continue.

Paula:  Okay. And then, all of the appliances, I've met so many people now who've their lives have been totally turned upside down because they became mold-sensitive from something so avoidable. So, when we do a new home and/or when you buy a new appliance, things to pay attention are to is when the appliance breaks, how will you prevent a flood? Where will the water go? How will you know it's happening? Those things are many. There's a lot of low-lying fruit. 

You can get a device to hook up to your main water supply that will shut the whole thing off either if there's a sudden water loss in an area where there shouldn't be or where there's a pinhole leak. Because often, people are not trained to maintain their homes and they don't look under the sink and a little pinhole leak or a little tiny leak in a faucet or an under-sync piping can lead to very toxic mold in a very short amount of time. So, if you're building from new, you can have metal trays fabricated under there and always have the flood control device specified. But, those flood control devices, anyone can add one to a home. 

We put floor drains where the code doesn't call for floor drains. Some areas, mechanical rooms don't require a floor drain. But, water heaters break all the time. So, if you don't have a floor drain, can you hook it up in a pan? Can you set an alarm to shut off the supply? So, there's many, many things you can do around appliances.

Ben:  Yeah. I'm glad you brought up, by the way, the top loading versus the frontloading washing machine. The frontloading washing machines, I think, are a horrific source of potential mold. And, we have one of these. You can get one of those ozone units that you hook up to the washing machine to actually clean with ozone, which is fantastic for controlling mold. And, those are pretty easy to outfit to the washer. But man, if you can select a top-loaded laundry washing machine instead of frontloading, I think that alone is a huge step, especially for mold sensitivity.

Paula:  Also, simple things if you've got a front loader, open the door between loads and actually wipe down the inside of the gasket so it does not have standing water between loads. And so, if you're willing to do the maintenance, you don't necessarily have to have the usual problem.

Ben:  Yeah. I'm kind of a dumb home guy when it comes to appliances because you talked about electromagnetic radiation, AC magnetic fields, AC electric fields, radio frequency radiation, microsurge electrical pollution, and you get a ton of that from a lot of appliances, especially modern appliances that you'll find in a smart home with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth or with a bunch of bells and whistles that produce additional microsurge electricity. So, I go as simple as possible. I don't like them with built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth and disable that if I can. And, I think the more bells and whistles that you put into your home from a smart home standpoint like dimmers or lights that operate on Wi-Fi that will automatically change color at different times of the day or the refrigerator that tells Amazon when you're out of milk. I mean, there's a biological cost to those conveniences, I think.

Paula:  Agree.

Ben:  Yeah.

Paula:  Getting them to not have it is getting harder. Finding ones without it is getting harder and harder. It's a wave.

Ben:  Yeah, yeah.

Hey, how do you clean your home? What are the general principles for just cleaning? Obviously, this would apply to an existing or a new home build.

Paula:  Yeah. Cleanliness is really important. It's really important now that we're introducing SVOCs into products unknowingly that we lower the dust load, et cetera. So, we have a section on cleaning in the book, but the basics are use something non-toxic. I could put a shout-out for Branch Basics. I think it's incredible product. And, in our book, we have an essay by the founder and why she made it. She had a bubble kid who couldn't tolerate anything else so that's how she formulated the product. There are many good products. My cohort John Banta, my co-author, since he's works on many, many protocols for cleaning up mold is a real cleaning expert. So, I've learned a lot from him. A true HEPA vacuum, a really good one is very important. Maintaining it is very important.

Ben:  Did you say a HEPA vacuum?

Paula:  Yes. So, a high efficiency particulate arrestor in the vacuum, so the type of filtration in it. A common brand is Miele and another one that's an inexpensive one is Shark. Now, John's the kind of guy who goes around with a laser particle counter. So, he'll take several vacuums of the same brand, the same model, and see if they're effective over several brands. And, he's found some surprises, some really good names that were not effective in all units. So, Miele and Shark are two that he can stand behind. So, we mentioned those in the book. So, he has a section on his website called Ban the Broom. When you sweep, you're just moving dust around in the place. If you have a bad vacuum cleaner, the particle count in the air is going to be far worse after you clean the house than before. So, good vacuum cleaner, microfiber, claws, I use the cloth type, but for mold remediation, they use the disposable kind of course, but it's a great cleaning tool. It'll pick up a lot. Not using antimicrobials become a big post-COVID soap box now because they're not proven to be that effective, but they put them in more and more products. So, just because something advertises how many germs it kills, we have to ask ourselves, what's it using to kill them? So, you can do wonders with soap, a good soap, water, microfiber clothes, and a HEPA vacuum and regularity.

One of the biggest factors I'd like to mention is making your home a no-shoe home.

Ben:  Oh, yeah.

Paula:  Getting in the hat, taking off your shoes at the front door, designing an entryway where it's convenient to take off your shoes and you will be saving yourself from attracting pesticides, dust, mold, dirt, et cetera. So, that's a great start.

Ben:  I think about that a lot when I get home after airline travel. I'm like, I've been walking up and down the moldy airplane carpet. I've been standing in pee in the men's room. I've been walking through the airport and I get home and I'll go upstairs in the bedroom still wearing my shoes and think, “Whoa, I just track half the world into my bedroom.” So, that's a great tip.

And, by the way, a few subtle nuances there that microfiber tip cloth is amazing because those pickup particulates that are very small, a lot of people don't realize there's a difference between cleaning with your, I don't know, the cloth napkins that you use at the dinner table to save on expense versus cleaning with these microfiber cloths. So, I use those. I use them on my computer, in my office, on my desk. The broom thing, I was only familiar with until I read your book with that being a very good idea to not use the broom if you're sweeping up one of those mercury light bulbs that is broken because it redistributes all the particles into the air. But, after I read your book, I thought, well, gosh, it's true. Anytime you're using a broom or sweeping briskly through the kitchen, you're just redistributing stuff up into the air. So, that idea of a HEPA vacuum cleaner, I love that. I know you have some brands in the book and I'll put those brands that you mentioned on the website in the shownotes as well. And then, of course, using the non-toxic cleaning products, it's so easy to make your own with essential oil, lemon and vinegar and water and soap. But yeah, I think a lot of people, they'll invest in a home and invest in dirty electricity filters or grounding mats or incandescent light bulbs or whatever and then just create kind of a chemical firestorm with their cleaning processes. Yeah.

Paula:  Yes, absolutely.

Ben:  Yeah. Well, this book, “Prescriptions for a Healthy House,” I just want to tell you listening in that, like I said, it's super comprehensive but it's got indoor health hazards, strategies for creating a healthy home, concrete wall systems, metals, adhesive, sealants, hawks, construction cleaning, site work, the contractual agreement between the owner and the builder if you're building a home as far as a lot of these building biology concepts, lumber, finish carpentry, plastics, moisture and soil gas management, thermal protection, exterior finishes, doors, interior finishes, appliances, and then special construction like swimming pools and spas and saunas, plumbing, environmental testing, heating, cooling, ventilation, filtration, electrical furnishings, and then maintenance, the cleaning that we were just talking about. 

So, I think it is an essential handbook. I was very surprised when I got it, how thorough it was and how much it even spoke to my architect and my builder as far as materials to select that they just weren't familiar with. But, you and your co-author, John, did a really great job making everybody's life easier with this thing. So, I'll hold it up to the camera in case people want to see what it looks like. You can get it on Amazon, “Prescriptions for a Healthy House.” And, I'll link to in the shownotes as well if you go to BenGreenfieldLife.com/HealthyHomePodcast.

And Paula, I know we only scratched the surface but I wanted to wet people's appetite about building biology and what they'd find in this book and what they can learn from you and your website also. So, thank you so much for sharing this stuff with us.

Paula:  Thank you. Thank you for having me. Be sure to post the building biology site for your readership too so they can go take a look.

Ben:  Yes, I absolutely will. So, everybody, take off your shoes, go find a HEPA vacuum cleaner, and have an amazing week. I'm Ben Greenfield with Paula Baker-Leporte signing out from BenGreenfieldLife.com. Have an amazing week.

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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.

Resources from this episode:

Paula Baker-Laporte:

– Podcasts:

– Other Resources:

Episode Sponsors:

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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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