3. Some people believe that the original “healthy homes” were built hundreds of years ago in the desert Southwest. Native people used natural materials like adobe for its very effective natural insulating qualities. Do today’s healthy building materials relate in any way to those very early dwellings?

Many of the best building materials out there today are ‘old-school’, like lyme stucco, straw-bale construction, and clay-covered interior walls. Materials from older times were breathable by nature and not design. These materials have withstood the test of time as far as their durability goes. Many modern versions of those building techniques use simple materials in a more complex way, such as ICF (insulated concrete form) walls, which can be very breathable while also being energy efficient. The double-edged sword of relying on so many building technologies is that we haven’t thought through the implications of those materials and techniques – some of which can come back to bite us when they don’t work as planned, especially when our health is concerned.

We named our company ‘Shelter’ because it’s a daily reminder to us that our houses should be thought of as a place that protects you.