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7 Home Investments That Make Your Life Easier and Healthier

There’s no time like the present to prepare your log or timber home for the future.

Written by Charles Bevier
 Photo: Pella


We all know that building a new dream log and timber home is a big investment, but it’s also a priceless opportunity to choose modern building materials that outperform the dated technology in the used-home market. So, while you’re at the drawing board, why not make life in your home easier and healthier?

Whether it’s incorporating green-building materials, aging-in-place products or healthy-home innovations, the greatest driver to introduce upgrades into your home plans is the proof of their return on investment — and we don’t just mean in terms of operational cost savings.

For instance, research shows that green building can have positive psychological and physiological impacts on inhabitants and even visitors.

As the costs for sustainable building materials and products continue to drop, more buyers can afford to enter the market, continuing to transform our indoor environments for the better. These seven product investments can help you get the most out of your log or timber frame home today, tomorrow and always.



Perennial Porcelain Roofing

The porcelain roofing tiles from Daltile come in 9mm- and 12mm-thick sizes that resemble slate, clay or wood shingles, but at a fraction of the price. They can be installed anywhere in the country and will last more than 75 years. The materials features include:

  • Class 4 Hail Impact Rating

  • 110 MPH Wind Rating

  • Class A Fire Rating

  • Low Overall Weight

  • Lifetime Limited Warranty

Price: From $3 per square (Classic Timber Collection shown); roofing.daltile.com



Pella Easy Slide Operator

Winner of the National Association of Home Builders’ Best in Show in 2021, Pella’s Easy Slide Operator is a completely new way to open and close casement and awning windows.

“The two stories here are the design and ease of use, especially because the unit only needs five pounds of force,” says contest judge Nigel Maynard, editor-in-chief of Custom Builder and Products magazines.  “We have not seen a new hardware development since the fold away crank, but this one changes the conversation. The functionality is awesome, and the design is very slick.”

The revolutionary hardware uses a ball-bearing design and a strong Kevlar-reinforced belt for durable, reliable operation and is intended to be a solution for all people, regardless of age or physical ability. The new windows were tested on 20,000 cycles with zero failures, the equivalent of opening a window once a day for 54 years. 

Price: Varies--all Pella Windows are custom made; pella.com



Smart Water Assistant & Shutoff

Phyn Plus uses patented, high-definition pressure wave analysis to identifies leaks and freezing pipes, then alerts your cell phone where they are occurring. The app also reports water pressure and usage, both current and historical. In the event of a leak, Phyn stops the flow in less than 60 seconds.

Price: $699; phyn.com


Wi-Fi Equipped Electrical Panel

Leviton has created an award-winning breaker box or electrical panel for the 21st Century. LED-lit circuit breakers show you what circuits are working, what’s tripped and whether the trip was a ground fault or an arc fault. The panel can send trip alerts to your cell phone and let you track power usage and cost for your whole house or individual circuits. You can also turn off circuits from your phone remotely.

Price: $2,500; Leviton.com


Cupa Pizarras Thermoslate Solar Water Heater

Hiding in plain sight, this 18-square-foot rooftop energy collector, covered with natural Spanish slate, transforms solar light into thermal energy. Offering complete roof and facade integration, this solar water heating system is compatible with all control and distribution systems, and it works in all climates. The hot water generated from it can be used for radiant-heat floor systems, hot tap water, heating pool water or all three. It not only reduces the homeowner’s energy costs, it also generates temperatures up to 95 degrees, thanks to the properties of natural slate. 

Price: $2,300 for one panel, $5 per square for the slate; cupapizarras.com



Aquasana Whole House Filtration System

With increasing concerns of PFOAs and PFOSs in our groundwater and water supplies, Aquasana created an innovative whole-house water filter that is tested and certified to remove 98 percent of those dangerous toxins, as well 99 percent of lead, Giardia cysts, chlorine and chloramines. Homeowners report better tasting water and food, improved indoor air quality and healthier skin and hair with this system. Add more performance with a salt-free water conditioner and UV Filter that sterilizes 99.99 percent of viruses, bacteria and chlorine-resistant cysts.

Price: $1,799; aquasana.com


Ellumi Lighting Germ-Killing Recessed Shower Light

The antimicrobial LED light in this water- and energy-efficient rated recessed lighting fixture, emits a visible, non-UV light that is deadly to bacteria, mold, fungi and spores up to 10 feet away. Use its normal light (left) when bathing, then switch to germ-fighting mode (below), which bathes your bathroom in a violet hue that is completely safe for people, pets and plants.

Price: $70; ellumilighting.com


See also: What is Wellness Architecture?

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