Safer Construction Tips for the Environmentally Sensitive


EI House in Arizona

A 38-page guide for those in the planning stages of building
safer housing for someone with environmental sensitivities,
requiring a home free of chemicals, mold, and / or
electromagnetic fields (EMFs).


We are proud to present our “safer” construction tips for those with severe environmental sensitivities who do not tolerate conventional building materials. Based on the completed surveys of 18 people who have completed construction for someone with moderate to severe chemical and/or electrical sensitivities, our brochure is packed with 300+ tips to help you build your non-toxic home.

This guide was researched and written in 2007 by Re|shelter co-founder Julie Genser in collaboration with Melinda Honn, Re|shelter Advisory Board Member and President of the Southwest Environmental Health Association, and Greg Conrad, the former Head of Residential Building Safety for the City of Phoenix. As of 2/11, Re|shelter will receive 100% of all proceeds from the sale of the printable version of this PDF brochure.

It is now well-known that conventional construction produces tightly sealed interiors that are usually more toxic than outdoor environments, with formaldehyde and solvents off-gassing from plywood cabinets and carpet glues for years to come. Not to mention “electro-smog” from cordless phones, WiFi systems, cable TV, and other wireless transmission systems. As awareness of indoor air pollution has grown, more focus has been put on “green” building materials like strawbale and bamboo, and renewable energy systems like active solar and wind power. While better for the environment, many people are sensitive to these natural materials that are more susceptible to mold and other fungi and may contain volatile oils, like the terpenes found in pine and other aromatic woods. Safer Construction Tips explores alternatives to “toxic” and “green,” offering advice on how to create non-toxic interiors built from inert materials like ceramic tile, stone and glass.

Written for those with moderate to severe environmental sensitivities, the guide may also be useful for people with other chronic illnesses that have potential environmental contributing factors such as Lou Gehrig’s Disease (ALS), Parkinson’s Disease, and Autism Spectrum (AS), as well as for families concerned about raising their children in a less toxic indoor environment.



*Compatible with Adobe Acrobat 5.0. To translate PDF files into text to assist visually-impaired users, visit Access.Adobe.com.


We are offering the PDF printable version at several prices so that you can show your support as your finances allow. To purchase the printable version of this guide, please send one of the below amounts or your own amount (minimum of US$15.00) to our PayPal account at support [@] reshelter.org (delete brackets and spaces around the ‘@’ symbol). We will e-mail the printable version to the e-mail address you provide within 48 hours.

Please note: Our PDFs are electronic documents compatible with Adobe Acrobat Reader 5.0. We do not sell hard copies of the brochure at this time. All sales final; no refunds.



Safer Construction Tips Brochure Payment Options




Our PDF download is worth every penny! Close to 40 pages, packed with 300+ tips on how to build a house that is mold-, emf-, and chemical-free, and illustrated with photos. 100% risk-free purchase – you can preview the entire brochure right now* in read-only format so you know exactly what you are getting. We thank you for your support!


What people are saying…

Wonderful Ideas and Tips
Thank you for providing such a well rounded guide as this. I’ve been doing *a lot* of research into “going green” and healthy living in preparations for building my own house (hopefully starting next Fall). The info within this guide is exceptional! There are aspect that I’d not really considered before, but surely will incorporate now. reesa

Fantastic Resource!
This is really fantastic Julie–thanks so much for writing this guide–I’m sure it was a heck of an effort! Greg and Melinda (your consultants) are friends of mine, and I have visited their home in the Southwest, in which they used the principles and techniques you described in the brochure. I can therefore say with confidence that these principles really work, and can produce a beautiful as well as healthy home! Of course even the safest materials may offgas slightly for a short period of time, but this approach is MILES ahead of anything that conventional builders are doing. GREAT work–thanks again!! scottk

Great Resource
This is a great resource for anyone interested in building ecology, whether they are building their own home, making repairs, or looking for a place to live or work. There is information here I have never seen before, especially on the subjects of EMFs and wiring and material selection. Fantastic job, Julie. Thank you for doing the research and putting it out in the world. lauri

Pure gold
I recently obtained my copy of Safer Construction Tips and was blown away. As a person with MCS and interested in building my own house in within the next couple years, I found it invaluable. The level of detail in explaining the issues and solutions is impressive. I know that it is a tool I will refer to for years to come. This brochure contains a wealth of crucial and timely information. jules8

Concise, but thorough guidance
This easy-to-read, concise, but completely thorough handbook pretty much covers all you need to know about the basics of planning for safe housing for people with environmental illnesses, or EI. Of course, as those who have EI or live with someone with EI know, since the needs of each person are highly individual and unique, basic guidance is in fact the best there is. This will serve as an invaluable resource not only for those who are searching for safe housing, but also for any and all architects / builders designing in the 21st century, because whether we like it or not, allergies and illnesses are both ubiquitous and on the rise, and the environment is surely not getting any cleaner. Now, more than ever before, there is no place more important to have clean air to breathe than in one’s home. Unfortunately, it may be some time before the requirements for safe housing are taught in schools or on the field, so this guidebook may serve as a handy tool for those who wish to enlighten themselves with how to create a safe, non-toxic home. ecosis

top photo: © Snowflake Beach | EI House Snowflake, Arizona

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Community Feedback

  • Interceptor

    February 24, 2011 at 7:01 am

    A great job! Thanks!!!

  • Lillian Moore

    July 11, 2016 at 10:20 am

    I thought it was interesting that conventional construction produces tightly sealed interiors that are usually more toxic than outdoor environments. I would not have thought that the sealants that we use to build our homes are harming the environment. When I build my dream home, I will be sure to check for as many environmentally friendly methods as possible.

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