How to Design a Healthier Home

felber lifestylist healthier home
Having solid surface flooring helps keep less dust and allergens in your home. The right appliances also makes for a healthier home.

Are you leaving money on the table every time you sell a home?

Suzanne Felber The Lifestylist manufactured housing design
Suzanne Felber, The Lifestylist

The past few years have been challenging, to say the least. Now we are at a point that it isn’t just about cost, it’s about being able to get materials in a timely fashion to be able to build the homes that you have sold. Rebranding our homes and getting even more consumers excited about them is something that, as an industry, we have been working on, and it is starting to work. People are understanding that we are a viable solution to the affordable housing crisis. 

With the pandemic came a renewed interest in healthy living, along with what we all can do individually and as a community to help save our planet and ourselves. As a Lifestylist, this has always been my focus, and it is now even more so today.

A healthy home and embracing a health-and-wellness lifestyle mean different things to different people. It can be as simple as recycling, or it can be about updating your plumbing fixtures and appliances to save water and to be energy efficient. The less we waste, the healthier the planet will be for everyone.

A well-designed kitchen is the heart of the home in many ways. Having energy-efficient appliances is an important part of the design. Photos by Beko Appliances.

Here are five easy ways to promote a healthy lifestyle in your homes.

  1. Recycling — It is often overlooked, but factory built housing is one of the efficient forms of construction. For anyone who has ever toured or worked in one of our plants, you know that there is little or no waste created in the construction of our homes. Everything that you can repurpose or recycle is, and many companies are putting a lot of thought into what happens to a home when it is updated down the road. The Shaw Carpet Cradle to Cradle Recycled content carpeting can be infinitely recycled keeping millions of yards of carpet out of landfills. Offering recycling centers in communities is an easy way to truly make a difference.
  1. Energy Efficiency — If you have ever been in one of our homes in winter, even with no heat on I am always amazed how well insulated many of our homes are. As an industry, we have also started using more energy-efficient heating and air units, and the Nest style thermostats can play a big difference in keeping down a homeowners utility bills. It is not just about the initial cost of the home, it is also about how much it will cost to maintain it and how expensive the utility bills will be. If we can help our customers understand how the extras that we add in our homes will help cut their monthly expenses, they will be more secure in investing more to buy their dream home.
  1. The Right Appliances — When asked which rooms are the most important to homeowners, time and time again consumers choose the kitchen and the bath. Appliances are a big expense, but they are also so important to the health and well-being of the homeowners. We often put in stainless “pretty” appliances, but how efficient and functional are many of these long term? Are you buying look or function?

    An appliance company that is one of the leaders in Europe has landed in the United States, and they are going to change the way that people use and think about their appliances. Beko has already been named the Energy Star® Partner of the Year for Sustained Excellence, and its focus is health and wellness. The company’s Everfresh® technology will keep produce fresh for up to 30 days. Imagine how much healthier a family would be, and how much money could be saved through fresh fruit and vegetables that last more than a week. And the technology comes at many levels of Beko’ offerings, not just on the high end. I anticipate the brand will be seen and talked about in our homes very soon, and customers will be asking for them.

    Induction ranges remain a bit more pricey than what you’re likely to see in our homes, but the price is coming down. Induction is one of the most energy-efficient ways of cooking, and on many of the ranges, you can boil water in 90 seconds. It might take a couple of years, but I see this as the new frontier for ranges and cooktops.
  1. Water Works — Every year fresh water is getting more scarce, and finding ways to use water more efficiently in our homes and plants needs to happen. Believe it or not, and newer, well designed dishwasher save gallons of water every time someone uses them, is a more sanitary way to clean your dishes and is a huge time saver. Making sure that you use faucets that won’t be dripping and wasting water a few years out is also a great water and maintenance saver, and there are beautiful bath faucet sets that are major water savers without having to sacrifice stream strength. Make sure that your outdoor faucets can be protected or shut off during chilly weather to prevent freezing.
  1. Bringing In the Outdoors — Air quality has become a huge topic of concern. We need to talk about how we protect the indoor air quality of our homes, and how we use insulated windows, bath fans and ceiling fans to keep the air moving, to filter out unwanted particles. Making sure that you change your filters and use better quality filters when you do is an easy way to improve the air quality in a home.

    Spending more time outdoors also is very beneficial for our health and well being. An inviting outdoor space, maybe even with an outdoor kitchen, is a great way to blend indoor and outdoor living. A large front porch not only adds to the curb appeal of a home, but it is a great way to be a more active part of your neighborhood while enjoying friends and family. Even if an expansive porch isn’t something that can be done on all homes, making plans available to consumers for site-added porches and decks is a great way for consumers to realize the unlimited potential of our homes.

If you have noticed, a lot of these ideas are things that we are already doing to some degree. Some have been done for so long that we forget to talk about them, or we are talking about them in a value-added sense instead of them being about improving the customer’s quality of life long term. Try adding in a product or idea that is focused on health and well-being, then use this as a talking point to educate homebuyers and residents on all of the things that you already are doing in your homes. I think you will discover that there may be hidden profit in your home that cannot be overlooked.

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