Home and Office Environmental Inspections
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:
A healthy home evaluation from Create Healthy Homes can help you:
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:
For more Comments from Clients, click here.
To schedule an appointment with Oram, please call 310.720.7686 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Oram's Recommended List of Southern California Tradespeople
Oram recommends the following tradespeople to local Southern California clients:
Building BiologyTM-Based New Building Manual
For more information on the manual, click here.
You can preview the Table of Contents here.
Healthy New Building Consultations
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 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.
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; email@example.com). 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 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.
Fees for All Services
This page last updated June 30, 2013.
© 2013 Create Healthy Homes. All rights reserved.