Author(s): Paula Baker, Erica Elliott, John Banta
Publisher: Inword Press
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Published January 1998
Reviewer comment Prescriptions for a Healthy House is distinguished in two respects. The material is laid out following the 16 point Master Format of construction specifications so that targeting specific topics of interest is easy. The second is that the authors’ approach the subject based on the precepts of baubiology.
‘[T]here is much interesting material here, including the many references to case studies from personal involvement illustrating a point they are making. Some refer to construction issues, others to examples of problems people encounter with pollutants in their environment’
The most valuable contribution [the authors] make is suggesting text that can be added to specifications to deal with the key issues related to each aspect of work. Product sources are also identified.–SOLPLAN REVIEW, March 1998.
The author, Paula Baker E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org , 01/20/98:
Its not that complicated! The book is designed to make healthy home building easy. We walk homeowner, architect and builder step-by-step through the construction process. We explain why certain standard building practices are detrimental to your health, what to do instead and where to obtain products and expertise. We welcome your comments, experiences with using the book and knowledge so that we can best serve those who come to us for help.
Review comments Many good books have been written on healthy building, but until now there has not been a nitty-gritty reference manual that covers everything from theory to specification language in a way that can be applied to any construction type. Prescriptions for a Healthy House is introductory enough to be used by someone new to the field, yet detailed and practical enough to be a valuable referenced for the more experienced.
The best thing about this book is that it is laid out to be USED. The graphic design allows for easy perusal to find the charts, case studies, specification language, resources, details, or supporting text. In fact, I made use of Prescriptions the first day I got it: a client called with a question, and I went straight to the relevant page and read her a concise list of practical suggestions. I was relieved not to have to comb my mental or physical database!
The backgrounds of the authors–experienced architect, M.D., and healthy building consultant–combine to give the book a breadth and depth rarely found in one place. More than an admonition to go nontoxic or a list of materials, the book includes practical strategies and procedures, clearly gained from experience, to ensure that the finished home is a haven, not a nightmare. The case studies bring home the authors’ points. When you read that a cleanup product caused a nearly finished house to be uninhabitable, you know WHY you need to specify everything that is used on the site. In fact, it makes me want to specify that every contractor read this book! –Carol Venolia, publisher of Building with Nature newsletter and author of Healing Environments
I liked this book very much–it fills a real need. –Vincent A. Marinkovich, M.D., Immunologist, allergist, and pediatrician, Menlo Park, CA
I will definitely recommend this book to my patients. –William Shrader, M.D., Allergist, specialist in environmental medicine, Santa Fe, NM
Contents This book takes the mystery out of healthy house building by walking the owner/architect/builder team through the construction process. It explains where and why standard building practices are not healthful, what to do differently, and how to obtain alternative materials and expertise. Provides information on how to design interior and exterior space, and select construction materials that enhance and promote physical well-being.
Table of Contents
Warning and Disclaimer
About the Authors
Pt. I. Overview
Description of the Problem and Solutions
Pt. II. Specification
Division 1. General Requirements
Division 2. Site Work
Division 3. Concrete
Division 4. Masonry or Other Alternatives to Frame Construction
Division 5. Metals
Division 6. Wood and Plastics
Division 7. Thermal and Moisture Control
Division 8. Openings
Division 9. Finishes
Division 10. Specialties
Division 11. Equipment
Division 12. Furnishings
Division 13. Special Construction
Division 14. Conveying Systems
Division 15. Mechanical
Division 16. Electrical
Appendix A Multiple Chemical Sensitivity or Environmental Illness Author Testimonials on MCS
Appendix B: Page References to Brand Name Products and Services
Appendix C: Manufacturers, Service Providers, and Catalog Sources
Paula Baker is an architect intimately familiar with the materials and methods of standard construction. As a baubiologist, she also knows where these practices are in conflict with human health and available alternatives. Erica Elliott is a physician trained in both family practice and environmental medicine. She has extensive clinical experience in the medical consequences of standard construction. John Banta has over a decade of experience in troubleshooting indoor environmental problems. His expertise covers many aspects of indoor air quality, including the detection and reduction of electromagnetic fields and the recognition and abatement of mold problems.