Above and Beyond – Prioritizing Health and Wellness

Builders and architects should be looking to create homes that focus on health and wellness along with looking good

By JILLIAN PRITCHARD COOKE

In today’s competitive market, it is not enough to simply deliver an affordable, aesthetically- pleasing, high-efficiency, low-maintenance home. Today’s homebuyers are looking for much more. Health-conscious consumers are expecting their new home to provide more than a structurally-sound building. The homebuyer expects a home that offers clean air and clean water, as well as an environment that nurtures the mind, body, and soul. Design and build teams are going to great lengths to provide shelter that delivers on these principles, and they are achieving it by collaborating with health-conscious professionals. Thoughtful design with intent is as important as making sure that all building material selections are safe.

Jeny Mathis, a yoga instructor, lives with her family at Mado, a new wellness neighborhood located in the farm-to-table community at Serenbe, just 20 minutes south of Atlanta. Jeny insisted that her building and design team be educated on the importance of health and wellness before engaging in the design of their new home. Jeny and Gill Mathis’s teenage daughters found that their new home resulted in higher levels of mental well-being and productivity through the abundance of natural light. The Mathis residence embraces nature from every window and has successfully created a toxin-free living environment, including the use of toxin-free cleaning supplies.

Similarly, TRIO Environments, located in Denver, Colorado, has made the same health and wellness commitment to the interior design process. Angela Harris has built her company philosophy around health and wellness.

Harris shares, “In order to thrive in the interior environment you must take a holistic design approach to the process.” Harris adds glass walls to her designs whenever possible, as an alternative to drywall to increase natural light in small, tight spaces, helping to increase productivity. The EPA reports that the average individual in the U.S. spends 93 percent of their lives indoors. Harris responds, “Communities should be offering more amenities outside so families can have a stronger connection with nature.”

In colder climates residents should be able to enjoy physical fitness in a climate-controlled environment that promotes health and wellness. Too often, the exercise room has no natural light, low ceilings, and poor ventilation. Unfortunately, many workout facilities are designed with products that take time to off gas, and the chemicals used in the manufacturing process and installation can have a harmful effect on the air quality and human health.

Danielian Associates believes that health and wellness should be the cornerstone of today’s community design. John Danielian works with his father, Art Danielian, who is celebrating his 50th year as a global architect and influencer. Both John and Art believe that creating a legacy of health and wellness in communities is paramount.

Walking, jogging, and biking trails are just a few of the amenities that promote health, wellness, and connectivity in a community design. Designing beyond local codes and standards can result in a healthier community. Builders are also combining traditional energy sources with alternate energy sources to help power their homes. John states that, “Creating alternate energy design solutions within the footprint of the home can be achieved without compromising aesthetics and also creates opportunities that may not have been realized without the challenge.”

Today’s health-conscious builder is realizing the importance of assembling a team of experts that understands how to design, build, and maintain healthy homes. It’s not enough to just be a good builder or designer, and creating resilient communities with a profound focus on health and wellness will give builders a competitive edge and, in turn, a healthier bottom line. This is conscious capitalism at its best.

Jillian Pritchard Cooke is the founder of Wellness Within Your Walls, which provides affordable, accountable, achievable solutions to beautiful, non-toxic interior environments. To learn more about WWYW, visit www.wellnesswithinyourwalls.com