Services

Home and Office Environmental Inspections
Building BiologyTM Based New Building Manual
New Building Consultations
Pay for Consultations
Fees for All Services
Oram's Recommended List of Southern California Tradespeople

 

Home and Office Environmental Inspections

Provide a healthy indoor environment for your family and co-workers by identifying and eliminating sources of ill health in the home and office.

While Oram is trained in the evaluation and mitigation of problems with water intrusion, mold, indoor air quality and chemical outgassing and did provide those services in the past, he now focuses exclusively on the evaluation and mitigation of electro-magnetic field (EMF) issues as well as consultations on healthy new construction and remodeling.

Oram has conducted over 3,000 healthy home evaluations both on-site as well as for clients long distance by telephone, Skype, fax and email.

On-site evaluations are now available for those living and working in Los Angeles, Orange County, San Diego and throughout Southern California.

Telephone consultations are also available nationwide. Oram works long distance with clients throughout the USA and Canada and as far away as Australia and London, England. We are Skype-enabled, so if you have a webcam, we can do long distance consultations by video conference.

On-site EMF inspections can evaluate and mitigate the following types of EMFs typically found in homes and offices:

  • Electric Field Exposure from house wiring, particularly in sleeping areas
  • Magnetic Field Exposure from house wiring, electric motors, transformers, wiring errors, current on the grounding system, and outside overhead powerlines (this last source of magnetic fields, power lines, can not, unfortunately, be shielded against)
  • Radio frequency exposure from cell phones, cordless telephones, handheld tablets and e-readers, and wireless Internet (Wi-Fi) routers
  • Harmonic frequencies (called "dirty electricity") radiating off electric circuits caused by dimmer switches, compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs), and newer variable speed fan motors found in furnaces and kitchen appliances

A healthy home evaluation from Create Healthy Homes can help you:

  • Gain more rest while you sleep by reducing electric, magnetic and radio frequency field ("EMF") exposure
  • Identify and reduce household sources of fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, "brain fog," memory loss, allergies and insomnia, among other health challenges
  • Provide workable alternatives that provide hardwired communication networks for telephone and Internet service without exposing you and your family to potentially harmful radio frequencies from wireless devices
  • Design and construct a healthy new home or office with wiring protocols to avoid EMF exposure

Many people report improvement in chronic and acute health problems after the reduction of electric and magnetic field exposure in the home, especially in the sleeping area. Sleep is more refreshing and rejuvenating and clients awaken more rested.

Comments from satisfied clients include:

  • "My wife and I have not slept this soundly since we moved in!! Not only do I sleep undisturbed until 6:30 or 7 AM without interruption, but we no longer need our little white noise machine to block out background noise (we have used white noise to help us sleep for 15 years)." -- j.r., North Tustin, California.
  • "I'm sleeping better. I used to wake up 5-7 times a night. Now I wake up maybe once, and sometimes not at all. That's huge. My kids are sleeping so much better. They're not near as agitated. There's an observable difference in their behavior. They don't argue as much and when they do, it doesn't escalate. That's worth it's weight in gold. My husband's sleeping better, too. Seems to be a big difference." -- n.j., Santa Ana, California

For more Comments from Clients, click here.

To schedule an appointment with Oram, please call 310.720.7686 or email info@createhealthyhomes.com.

Oram's Recommended List of Southern California Tradespeople

Oram recommends the following tradespeople to local Southern California clients:

  • Licensed Electrician and EMF Evaluation and Mitigation, Building Biologist-in-training: William Holland, Topanga, of Holland Electrical; (818) 292-1271; wm.hollandelectrical@gmail.com
  • Licensed Contractor/Electrical/Handyman/Plumber, Building Biologist-in-training: Edwin Saks, West Los Angeles, of Saks Construction; (310) 864-2353; saks.construction@gmail.com
  • EMF Evaluation and Mitigation, Electrical Engineer, Building Biologist: Larry Gust, Ventura, of Gust Enviro; (805) 644-2008; lgust@GustEnviro.com
  • Licensed Electrician and EMF Evaluation and Mitigation: Stephen Scott, San Francisco/Los Angeles, of EMF Services, Inc.; (562) 237-3905; emfscott1@gmail.com
  • Safe, Non-toxic Building Materials, Flooring, Paints, Adhesives: Mary Cordaro; (818) 766-1787; consulting@marycordaro.com
  • Mold, Chemical Outgassing, Radon, Lead, Asbestos Testing: Richard Scarborough, Malibu, and Murray Harreschou, Santa Monica; Contact Richard and Murray through the office of Mary Cordaro; (818) 766-1787
  • HVAC (Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning) Contractor: Vince Cord, Studio City; Contact Vince through the office of Mary Cordaro; (818) 766-1787

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Building BiologyTM-Based New Building Manual

Oram Miller, BBEC has co-written a new building manual on healthy, non-toxic envelope materials in conjunction with George Swanson, BBEC, builder and Building BiologistTM in Austin, Texas and our editor, Wayne Federer in Wisconsin. The manual is available through our website, www.breathingwalls.com.

For more information on the manual, click here.

You can preview the Table of Contents here.

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Healthy New Building Consultations

If you are building a new home or remodeling your existing one, Oram provides consultation services at the design and construction phase to make your new or remodeled home as healthy and non-toxic as possible.

Americans are used to building homes at a relatively low cost compared to the rest of the industrialized world. Yet they pay more for heating and cooling bills plus higher health care costs. These result from unhealthy indoor air quality, outgassing of toxic building materials and exposure to electric and magnetic fields.

It is wiser to build a healthier home in the first place and save money on fuel bills and health care costs over the life of your home. You enjoy a more comfortable living environment and your home maintains a higher resale value.

We provide protocols for healthy new home and office design and construction based upon the standards set forth by the International Institute for Bau-biologieTM and Ecology.

To get a better understanding of the prinicples promoted by our profession and to help get you started, take a few moments to view a PDF version of the slides presented at Oram's Healthy New Building lecture for an overview on the subject. Just click here. (Wait a few moments for the file to load, as it contains a good number of images.) To view a Text Only version of the same slides, click here.

To read Comments from Clients who are involved in new building and remodeling projects, click here.

We can help you create a chemically-safe, non-toxic, mold-free home that provides:

  • Walls and floors that "breathe," reducing the chance for mold to develop
  • A virtually mold-free basement
  • Walls and foundations that provide thermal mass, which lowers heating and cooling bills
  • Electrical wiring protocols that reduce electric and magnetic field exposure and unhealthy "EMFs"
  • Non-toxic building materials that outgas much less than traditional materials

Walls with thermal mass, called "thick-wall" construction, come in several forms, including":

Each of these methods has been shown to provide low thermal conductivity and high thermal resistance through thermal mass and low air infiltration. This provides the builder with documented savings in construction costs and the homeowner with documented savings in "life-cycle" costs, also known as the "total cost of ownership." This includes heating, cooling and out-of-pocket health care costs.

Any of these thick wall envelope materials are known to pay for themselves in as little as three to five years, according to some manufacturers. Technical white papers have been written by various manufacturers and trade associations that thoroughly document the energy and cost savings of thick wall construction, including:

You can also click here to view a paper on "Indoor Air Quality, Healthy Buildings, and Breathing Walls," written by John F. Straube, Assistant Professor and Research Engineer, Civil Engineering Department and School of Architecture at the University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario, and Vipul Acharya, Vice-president of Durisol Building Systems, Ltd., Hamilton, Ontario.

From the abstract, "This paper reviews the three basic design strategies for IAQ (Indoor Air Quality), and the role of breathing walls. The physics of breathing walls are discussed, and the ways in which such walls can improve IAQ are outlined."

The paper ends by saying, "Supported by calculations and field data, it is concluded that IAQ can be greatly improved by using a holistic approach to building design. Breathing walls made of vapour permeable and highly hygroscopic materials, such as Durisol and strawbales, can enhance IAQ when used in conjunction with other strategies."

For those homeowners and developers interested in knowing more about the use of the Durisol wall form, a table has been compiled that lists comments from four builders around the country who use Durisol in the construction of foundations and above-grade walls. This table also includes comments from Vipul Acharya, Vice-president of the company. Click here to see the table.

You can also use magnesium oxide 4X8 foot sheets for sheathing, wallboard, subfloors and roof decking, imported from China (soon to be manufactured in the US and Mexico). These sheets, or boards, take the place of plywood or OSB (oriented strand board) and have been used extensively throughout Southeast Asia in commercial and residential construction. They are now available in this country.

Magnesium oxide boards are fully "breathable" and possess thermal mass. They do not outgas any toxic fumes and are well-tolerated by the chemically sensitive. These boards are water-, mold-, fire- and insect-resistant. Testing data is available on the website for each company. Dragonboard and MagBoard below have applied for ICC rating for their product.

An excellent review article on magnesium boards appeared in Walls and Ceilings magazine in their November 2007 issue, simply entitled, "MgO Board," by Robert Thomas. To read the article, click here.

These boards are sold as:

These boards can be purchased through George Swanson, an Austin, Texas-based Building Biologist and builder (512-653-8624; www.geoswan.net; gps@flash.net). George is an official representative of Dragonboard. Dragonboard sells their boards directly to the public, but George sells them at the same price.

The advantage is that George has experience in installation and the use of these products. George is available to consult with you on the proper use of these materials.

For siding, we recommend natural (not acrylic-based) stucco or HardiePlank. The stuccos we use are fully breathable and are comprised of magnesium phosphate, a durable material abundantly available around the world. The air barriers we recommend are breathable to allow moisture vapor to escape. We cover this natural stucco with mineral silicate paints, such as Keim, as the final layer. Silicate paints penetrate and chemically bond to their substrate rather than just coating it, and they last for more than a century without peeling or cracking. They are immune to damage by the sun's UV light and retain their colors. Buildings in Europe coated with this material still look pristine after one coat was applied over 125 years ago. These paints are also fully breathable, in that they fully resist rainwater molecules from entering but fully allow smaller water vapor molecules to exit the wall, keeping it dry and free of mold. We then recommend natural plasters on the interior of the wall.

Taken together, these materials complete the hygroscopic wall system that we recommend by allowing moisture to slowly diffuse through the wall while keeping rainwater out. Water intrusion experts who do analysis of walls in existing homes for mold infestation, make the statement that conventional walls using a vapor barrier and plastic house wrap have the disadvantage that when (not if) moisture gets into the walls, it cannot get out. These thick wall materials, on the other hand, prevent mold by allowing any moisture that gets into the wall to diffuse out without harm to the material or occupants from mold or moisture. This diffusion and drying takes place within the one to two days needed before mold begins to grow.

George Swanson also offers a full range of magnesium oxide stuccos, joint compounds, grout and mastics. He calls them "Magna-Blends, All Natural Mineral Based Powder Mixes."

These stuccos are also sold by:

Mineral silicate paints are available through:

Finally, you can contact George about his protocol to provide an affordable alternative to cement-bonded wood fiber wall forms for your envelope. George sprays a wood frame with a mixture of magnesium oxide, clay and borax, then uses magnesium oxide boards for both sheathing and wallboard. He fills the cavity with cotton insulation, which dries quickly whenever it becomes wet. An alternative is to fill the cavity with a sprayed-in mixture of magnesium oxide, clay, borax and cellulose. Either way, the result is an affordable, breathable, non-toxic wall that has some degree of thermal mass and resists mold growth.

Consultation Services Available

Oram has actively consulted on more than fifty new residential construction and remodeling projects around the country. Consulations provide healthy design recommendations and construction protocols for new and remodeled homes and residential development projects.

Examples include Le Parisien Flats and Market Place, a five story mixed use condominium project in Minneapolis, Minnesota and Mandala Club, a 90-home residential development in Vero Beach, Florida who's planners are dedicated to building non-toxic, healthy homes for their clients. Oram provided a set of Building BiologyTM-based healthy electrical wiring specs to the developers of Mandala Club that he co-wrote with Spark Burmaster, BBEC, of Chaseburg, Wisconsin.

For more information and to see photos of these and other new building projects, including three single-family homes located in the greater Minneapolis, Minnesota area, click here. To read Comments from Clients who are involved in new building and remodeling projects, click here.

Consultation services are now available throughout Southern California and nationwide by Oram Miller, BBEC of Create Healthy Homes.

Oram works in conjunction with your architect, builder and sub-contractors to provide recommendations for the following:

  • a healthy building envelope
  • choices of insulation
  • healthy heating and cooling systems
  • passive solar design
  • daylighting
  • healthy flooring
  • non-toxic finishes

A set of electrical wiring specifications to reduce exposure to unhealthy electro-magnetic fields (EMFs) is also provided as an integral part of the new building consultation package.

To view an expanded version of a Prospectus for New Homeowners for clients building a new home that highlights the benefits of using the Building BiologyTM approach, click here. For a summary of the same prospectus, click here. A table of contents is available here.

If you are an architect, builder or developer, an expanded version of a more detailed Builder's Prospectus for members of the building profession is available here. To view a summary of the developer's prospectus, click here. A table of contents can be viewed here.

For a copy of the rate sheet for new building consultation services, click here.

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Pay for Consultations

To pay for my consultation services via PayPal or to use your credit card if you do not have a PayPal account, click on the "Buy Now" button below.

When a page opens from PayPal, enter the agreed upon amount in the "Item price" box on the left under "Your order summary" and click "Update." On the right hand side, if you have a PayPal account, your email address will show up under "Pay with my PayPal account". Type in your password, click "Log in", and follow the prompts to make the payment to me. You will receive an email from PayPal confirming your payment.

If you don't have a PayPal account, you can pay securely using a credit card by clicking on the "Buy Now" button below, and when the PayPal page opens, click on the link on the lower right, "Don't have a PayPal account?". Follow the prompts to send the payment to me using your credit card. It will come to me through my PayPal account. Again, you don't have to open a PayPal account in order to do this. You will receive an email confirming your payment.

Contact me if you have any questions.

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Fees for All Services

(Sliding scale discounts are available for those on fixed or limited incomes for all services. Contact Oram to inquire about this discount.)

Create Healthy Homes offers the following services:

  • Full Healthy Home, Apartment, Condo or Office Evaluation

    Fee $375 (Contact Oram for sliding scale discount for those with budgetary constraints)

    A full evaluation of electric, magnetic and radio frequency field exposure. We evaluate EMFs from such sources as house wiring, causing electric and potentially, magnetic fields; electric current on water pipes and other grounding sources, causing magnetic fields; and wireless devices--cordless telephones, Wi-Fi-enabled Internet routers, cell phones, Smart electric meters, and neighboring cell towers, all of which cause radio frequency fields.

    This evaluation is very helpful for those with fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome and chemical sensitivities. See Comments from Clients for unsolicited reports from those who have experienced improvement in their health with reduction in EMF exposure and other sources of ill health in their home.

    Practical and cost-effective remedial measures are recommended. The evaluation generally takes a full day to complete.

    Most solutions are implemented at the time of the evaluation (some may require the services of a qualified electrician). The evaluation generally takes several hours to complete.

  • New Home or Condo EMF Inspection and Evaluation

    Fee $250 (Contact Oram for sliding scale discount for those with budgetary constraints)

    This includes an evaluation of electric, magnetic and radio frequency field exposure for those who want to move to an existing home, apartment or condo unit. My main concern is to rule out "deal breakers." This includes sources of EMFs that you have no control over and cannot effectively reduce, eliminate or shield against once you move in.

    "Deal breakers" would include magnetic fields entering into living space from outside overhead powerlines. Not all powerlines produce magnetic fields strong enough to be a problem. Each house or condo unit has to be evaluated separately. There is no specific "safe distance" and unfortunately there is no effective shielding against magnetic fields from outside overhead powerlines.

    Another "deal breaker" is a cell tower close to the house or apartment building. Again, these have to be evaluated on a case by case basis, but there is effective shielding if the field strength is not too high. Another issue is "knob and tube" wiring, found in houses built before the 1940s. Also, certain circuits that are ungrounded and unshielded are a problem, as is current on grounding paths such as water pipes and metal conduits in walls, floors and ceilings in apartment and condo units that cannot be mitigated. I explain all this in detail on the evaluation.

    All new homes and condos are also evaluted for the types of EMFs that every dwelling will have that you can mitigate once you take possession, described above in the description of a "Full Healthy Home, Apartment, Condo or Office Evaluation." This includes wiring errors, certain electric fields in bedrooms, and radio frequencies from neighbors and the devices you bring into your home.

    This evaluation takes up to two hours.

  • Long Distance Consultions for those living outside Southern California.

    Fee $375 (Contact Oram for sliding scale discount for those with budgetary constraints)

    Consultations are also available long distance by telephone, Skype, fax and email for those individuals, families and businesses outside the local travel area of Southern California. I have even assisted clients outside the USA, including Canada, England and Australia.

    The homeowner provides a sketch of the home floor plan so that specific EMF exposure recommendations can be made. The telephone consultation usually lasts about two to three hours with follow-up by phone and email. Contact Oram for details at 310.720.7686 or info@createhealthyhomes.com.

  • Initial Consultation for Healthy New Building Construction and Remodeling

    Fee $375 (Contact Oram for sliding scale discount)

    An individualized consultation covering healthy new home and office design and construction and remodeling, including:

    • energy-saving, non-toxic, mold-resistant wall and foundation materials,
    • healthy heating and cooling systems,
    • non-toxic finishes, and
    • a healthy electrical wiring protocol.

    These consultations can be provided locally in-person within Southern California. Consultation is also available for any client around the country (or world) long distance by telephone, Skype, fax, email and surface mail (see above).

    After the initial consultation, additional services are billed at an hourly rate of $95 per hour. See below for full package.

    For those of you in Southern California, Oram can introduce you to a local team of builders and consultants who have experience in building sustainable, healthy homes and offices. Oram would provide EMF consultation services in collaboaration with these experts.

    These include a team headed by Mary Cordaro of Mary Cordaro, Inc., a fellow building biologist. Mary and her team of IAQ (indoor air quality), ventilation and building science experts provide healthy protocols for new and remodeled homes and workplaces, with careful consideration of the needs of the chemically-sensitive. Mary is located in the San Fernando Valley, north of Los Angeles. I would participate by providing a healthy wiring protocol to prevent and significantly reduce exposure to harmful electromagnetic and radio frequency fields. Mary is also available for consultation to clients around the country by telephone.

    The other team is headed by Ellen Strickland, proprietor of Livingreen, a local Southern California green building materials retailer with stores in Culver City, Santa Barbara and Montecito. I would likewise provide a healthy wiring protocol to avoid EMF exposure.

    Call Oram to arrange a consultation with Mary Cordaro or Livingreen.

  • Full Healthy Design and Construction Protocol

    Fee $995 (Contact Oram for sliding scale discount)

    The full package includes an initial meeting and a total of twelve hours of consultation with you and your architect, builder and tradespeople to discuss and implement protocols for the design and construction of a healthy new home or office. The fee is $95 per hour thereafter. Click here for a breakdown of what the package provides.
     
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This page last updated August 27, 2014.

© 2014 Create Healthy Homes. All rights reserved.