Can This Home Be Can This Home Be Greened? A House That Breathes Easier: Improving Indoor Air Quality? A House That Breathes Easier

A Colorado woman seeks to improve air quality in her home.

| May/June 2007

  • Povy Kendal Atchison
  • Debbie Gundling (left) lives with her father, Dave, and sister, Connie Simpson.
    Povy Kendal Atchison
  • Built in 1981, this Denver-area house needs remodeling to address INDOOR AIR QUALITY issues.
    Povy Kendal Atchison
  • Removing part of a wall and installing modern, space-saving, SOLID-WOOD CABINETS will open up kitchen space. Eco-friendly CORK will create a softer, more soundproof surface than the vinyl flooring.
    Povy Kendal Atchison
  • Debbie’s home office is filled with DUST-COLLECTING CLUTTER.
    Povy Kendal Atchison
  • The master-suite bathroom needs TILE FLOORING and an EXHAUST FAN to help eliminate moisture.
    Povy Kendal Atchison

In her home in Centennial, Colorado, Debbie Gundling takes medication daily just to live comfortably. She has allergic asthma, a swelling of the breathing passages from allergies, most likely associated with her dust sensitivity. “I realized one day that my house might be exacerbating my condition—and this motivated me to research green building,” Debbie says.

Debbie, an IBM marketing manager, shares her 3,800-square-foot townhouse (built in 1981) with her sister, Connie Simpson, and her father, Dave Gundling. Connie lives in the newly renovated basement apartment, and Dave, a WWII veteran, lives on the first floor. Debbie balances her health issues with family needs, so she’s made compromises. For example, she should eliminate all the carpet, a reservoir for the dust and allergens that aggravate her asthma, but she says the carpet buffers the noise between the floors.

Debbie wants to update and enlarge the kitchen and revamp the master bedroom suite, which also serves as her full-time home office. She asked Natural Home to help her find ways to make her house healthy while accommodating her family and her budget.

1. Remodel with Allergies and Asthma in Mind

Problem: Debbie is concerned about the harmful effects that remodeling debris could have on her health. She and her family must live at home throughout the renovation.

Solutions: Construction dust aggravates asthma and allergies, so the crew should replace the electrostatic furnace filter with a HEPA (High-Efficiency Particulate Air) variety and fit the supply and return ducts with filters to prevent dust circulation.

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