Our homes are supposed to protect us, which makes mounting evidence of the impact of construction materials on indoor air quality disconcerting. For the past decade, through its Health House® initiative, the American Lung Association (ALA) has been at the forefront of a movement teaching builders and homeowners how to create beautiful homes that are also healthy to live in.
Recently, Sherwin-Williams partnered with ALA Minnesota (ALAMN) to apply Health House principles to a remodel of ALAMN's own St. Paul headquarters. Sherwin-Williams donated 175 gallons of Harmony, a no-VOC (volatile organic compound) latex paint, to the 70,000-square-foot project.
"It's about practicing what we preach and walking the walk," says Robert Moffitt, director of communications for ALAMN. "We really needed to do this remodel the right way, and the products we used in our space were central to that mission of creating a healthy place to work."
In addition to no-VOC paint, there are smart engineering features in the building such as an air ventilator located in the mechanical room that pumps fresh air into the building five times an hour, compared to the once-a-day standard in most other buildings. The air pressure in the building is regulated as well. When one of ALAMN's 25 full-time employees or 1,000 weekly volunteers or visitors opens the front doors, the air blows out, not in.
In addition to having practical benefits, the remodel has helped the ALAMN reinforce its Health House message: Clean indoor air isn't just for people with allergies and asthma; it's for everyone.
Health house components
The American Lung Association lists these components, among others, as essential to a Health House home:
- Carefully selected and reviewed interior finishes
- Foundation waterproofing and moisture control
- High-efficiency air filtration
- Whole-house ventilation
- Humidity control