We get it. All the talk of chemicals, and unclear labeling and unclear regulations can all sound a little scary.
But we definitely don’t want you to just throw your hands in the air and give up. Making your house healthier doesn’t have to be overwhelming. So occasionally we’ll highlight a very easy action you can take, right now, that can have a huge impact on the level of toxins in your home.
For today’s tip, take a look at this picture. Yes, this is a brand new rug, ordered from overstock.com and delivered to my door the other day. And yes, its currently laying in my garage.
Remember when we used to like the new rug smell (or new car smell, new Barbie townhouse smell, new chair smell) because it meant that something was… new? Yeah, that’s not good. We need to retrain ourselve, because that smell means that there are chemicals in that product. And those chemicals are off gassing.
The chemicals used in the manufacturing process of household items don’t just stay in those products, they are released into the air as VOCs (volatile organic compounds). And VOCs have been associated with over 180 diseases.
The release of chemicals from a product is at its highest rate and concentration just after manufacturing, then gradually decreases over time. So when a product is made (say, for example, an area rug), immediately wrapped tightly in plastic, then unwrapped in your house, the worst of all those VOCs have just flooded into your interior environment, where they’re now trapped inside by your energy efficient house.
So yes, that rug is in my garage, where I unrolled it from the plastic, airing out for a couple of days.
And you should do the same thing. Anytime you buy something new for your home, let it off-gas in your garage for at least a couple of days before you bring it inside and start using it. The air inside your house will thank you!
Want to learn more about the Organic Life House at Serenbe? Join us tomorrow morning at this month’s Southface Sustainable Atlanta Roundtable. A panel, including Wellness Within Your Walls founder Jillian Pritchard Cooke, will discuss the project, including “the birth of this home, how the different partners connected and how this home will stand above the rest.” Other panelists will be Garnie Nygren, Director of Operations at Serenbe, and the owner of the home, Gil Mathis. Bonnie Casamassima, the Program Manger of Commercial Sustainability Services at Southface will moderate.
We’re so thrilled to be part of the Organic Life House, from Rodale’s Organic Life. The house is located in the beautiful and bucolic Serenbe community, in Chattahoochee Hills, Georgia, and is designed as a model for healthier living and home building. Architect J.P. Curran, builder Bobby Webb and interior designer Dana Lynch created a stunning home, and we loved working together with everyone to make it both beautiful and healthy. We’ll be sharing more details later, but wanted to let everyone know that the house is now open for tours. Come see how truly amazing Wellness Within Your Walls can actually be. Tickets are available for Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays now through March 5.
More huge news from the International Builders’ Show! We’re absolutely thrilled and honored that Wellness Within Your Walls was named a winner of this year’s National Association of Home Builders Global Innovation Award. Pictured here, WWYW founder Jillian Pritchard Cook with the other nominees and winners.
Here’s what Patrick Coveny, president of Architecture Construction Management and an NAHB Global Opportunities board member had to say about us during the ceremony: “Wellness Within Your Walls has created an innovative and well-conceived, common-sense approach to environmental education. When the lessons are applied, they can have a significant impact on the quality of indoor air and the environment.”
According to NAHB, “the GIA award annually recognizes cutting-edge, advanced and original products or marketing strategies by global or domestic NAHB member companies that offer products or services to consumers.”
Thank you to NAHB! We’re so honored to have your support.
We are thrilled that our founder Jillian Pritchard Cooke has been featured in a great interview by HIVE, a website focused on housing, innovation, vision and economics. In the video, Jillian talks about the beginnings of WWYW, the WWYW approach to serving as the bridge between builders, manufacturers and consumers, and her vision for the future. Jillian’s passion for healthy housing and her commitment to impacting change through WWYW is truly inspiring. Please take four minutes to watch — we know you’ll agree!
It’s going to be a busy week for the WWYW team! We’re in Orlando at the International Builders’ Show and will be sharing lots of news and happenings from the show so stay tuned. Our first piece of exciting news — The New American Home 2017 and the New American Remodel 2017 are open! We loved sharing the WWYW standard with the rest of the New American Home team, and even more thrilled that we can now share it with everyone who tours the home. Are you one of the lucky attendees? Look for information on Wellness Within Your Walls inside the home and please contact us with any questions. Here are a couple of photos of The New American Home, taken during the fabulous Supplier Reception, that prove a home can be both healthy and stunning!
We’re so thrilled and honored to have been chosen as one of the five finalists for the NAHB Global Innovation Award, which celebrates the home building industries most innovative products and services. Check out this NAHB blog post for the details and a list of all the other great finalists. The winner will be announced at next week’s International Builders’ Show. Keep your fingers crossed for us!
The Wellness Within Your Walls team was so thrilled to have the chance to support our good friends of The Captain Planet Foundation at their annual gala last week in our shared hometown of Atlanta.
Making the evening even more special —the opportunity to help honor one of our most admired forces in the sustainability and eco-living movement, HRH Prince Charles—the Prince of Wales, who was awarded an Exemplar Award by the Captain Planet Foundation for his
His project, the Prince’s Natural House, built in 2012 by the Building Research Establishment (BRE) in Watford England under the auspices of the Prince’s Foundation to demonstrate using natural products to create a low carbon house, makes a significant appearance in the Wellness Within Your walls courses.
We also loved meeting Tony Juniper, a well known speaker, writer, and advisor on environment, conservation, and sustainability issues, who accepted the award on behalf of the prince.
Earlier this week, the Environmental Protection Agency released the list of the first 10 chemicals to be evaluated under the new guidelines of the recently revised Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). Check out the EPA website for the list. The ten chemicals were drawn from EPA’s 2014 TSCA Work Plan, a list of 90 chemicals selected based on their potential for high hazard and exposure.
Certainly, we’re thrilled that these chemicals are finally coming under closer scrutiny. But as Scott Faber, Environment’s Working Group’s senior vice president for government affairs, says in the EWG’s statement on the initial list, “Chemicals that are so dangerous that they have been placed on the EPA’s top 10 list have no place being on the market.”
And, as we pointed out when the new law passed, the pace of evaluating the chemicals (a process that can stretch to five years and is only required to consider 20 chemicals at a time) is achingly slow, especially when compared to the thousands of chemicals in use every day in thousands of products. Our advice? Yet again, we urge consumers and manufacturers to lead the way in not using these chemicals. As the EWG’s Faber puts it, “Manufacturers should act now to replace these chemicals with safer alternatives.”
It’s show house season, and at Wellness Within Your Walls, we’re thrilled to be part of several fabulous upcoming ones. We’ll share lots more info later, but here’s the basics.
Wellness Within Your Walls is proud to celebrate our role as the Healthy Home Environment team member for The New American Home 2017 and New American Remodeled Home 2017, which are a much loved annual offering at the National Association of Home Builders International Builder’s Show in January. This years show is in Orlando, and both houses are located in the Lake Nona Golf and Country Club community. We’re loving that we have such a visible opportunity to show that building a home with reduced toxins is achievable.
We’re also playing a major role in two other upcoming show houses, the Organic Life House at Serenbe, in Chattahoochee Hills, GA and the ABC Green Home 3.0 for Habitat for Humanity, in Fullerton, CA, sponsored by Green Home magazine.
All of these houses will be officially designated as Wellness Within Your Homes certified residences.
Check back in at the blog for more information, and if you’re near one of these houses, please check out in person how beautiful and healthy a WWYW certified house can be!