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About The Petal

The intent of the Health & Happiness Petal is to create healthy spaces that allow all species to thrive by connecting people to nature and ensuring that our indoor spaces have healthy air and natural daylight. Many buildings provide substandard conditions for health, with over fifty percent of global office workers having no access to daylight. Research studies show that a connection to nature has a direct effect on people’s productivity, their creativity and their ability to manage and alleviate stress. Ensuring healthy environments means more than having clean air when a building first opens for use, it requires continuous monitoring and diligence to ensure that alterations to systems over time do not diminish people’s health.

Daylight, Views and Access to Nature

All occupied spaces in the house have daylight and views. In order to enhance the homes connection to nature we are creating habitat and forage for many bird species - from Barn Owls to Hummingbirds - spanning the length of the southside of the house. A deck will wrap south, east and north of the house, with doors from all 5 rooms that connect to it to provide quick access to the outdoors. The deck will be used for outdoor dining, for stepping out to make a phone call or having a quick break during a yoga session, or to simply enjoy the sunset.

Indoor Air Quality

The home came equipped with a wood burning stove and a fireplace. We replaced the fireplace with a high efficiency wood burning stove. We chose a model that minimizes particulate emissions inside the house the most. We are installing an air quality sensor that tracks temperature, humidity, carbon dioxide (CO2), chemicals (VOCs), and particulate matter. This sensor will help us to know when to air out and when to use our air filter. It will also inform us if we have volatile organic compounds "VOCs" in our indoor air. We will also use sensor data to demonstrate that we comply with the Living Building Challenge requirements for indoor air quality.

We chose to follow Passive House Standard primarily to improve the energy performance of the house. Essentially, a Passive House is designed to be extremely energy-efficient so that it doesn't require a lot of power to heat or cool. An essential component of Passive House is heat recovery ventilation, which ensures that the house is ventilated year-round without heat loss, especially during very hot or cold days when you would not want to open windows. That's why Passive Houses have a very high indoor air quality.

Almost all windows will be operable so that manual ventilation can happen anytime too. Opening windows at the end of the day - "night flushing" - will be an important part in our passive cooling strategy on hot days.

We will also replace our gas-burning appliances with electric ones to comply with the Energy Petal, which will give us the added benefit of improved air quality by eliminating the toxic emissions that come from burning natural gas inside the home.

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