Consumers’ Increased Awareness of Healthy Homes in the Wake of COVID-19

Q&A with Jillian Pritchard Cooke

Sustainability and Green Building
Jillian Cooke
Jillian Pritchard Cooke is founder of Wellness Within Your Walls, an Atlanta-based informational resource group that works internationally, and focuses on creating education and guidance on chemicals commonly found in living and working spaces.

Please tell us a little bit about Wellness Within Your Walls (WWYW).

After many years in interior design, I began this journey with WWYW in 2006, working with a team dedicated to educating others on achieving healthier living environments with a mission of connecting the global family with healthy, eco-sensitive products and strategies that result in beautiful, sustainable, non-toxic environments.

Over the last three years the program has evolved into a full-scale certification solution for people, places, products and programs. WWYW aligns with the National Green Building Standard (NGBS); it adds a layer to the NGBS through building practices and protocols that go beyond building science and speak directly to health and wellness, which has now moved into the spotlight due to COVID-19.

Home owners have been ‘living hard’ in their homes for the past few months due to COVID-19; are you seeing a heightened awareness regarding consumers’ living environments and how those environments make them feel?

Yes, one question consumers have been asking is: “How healthy is my home?” They are learning that a well-designed home with the best mechanical system strategies, including air ventilation, purification and moisture control, can contribute to healthier air outcomes.

We teach them how to take a more holistic approach within their interior environments by embracing the WWYW 10-step Healthy Living System™ (HLS). When you introduce the WWYW HLS, consumers understand that they themselves have a role as the occupant through their behavioral strategies, and they are the last layer to achieving the best health outcomes.

How are you currently working with NAHB to promote healthy housing?

WWYW presently has Pilot Homes in all regions of the country. Many of these homes are being built by NAHB members who really understand the need for healthy housing. The WWYW certification protocols will be applied to these homes throughout the US, covering various climates. Several NAHB members are participating in the WWYW Pilot Program.

What advice would you give to builders evaluating their business models as the industry starts to move out of the coronavirus-induced pause?

Builders and developers must understand that the health and wellness of a home buyer’s family is the top priority of potential home buyers right now. Builders/developers must show home buyers that it is also their priority. Using sales and marketing tools to demonstrate that they are specifying the healthiest construction products and systems that the industry has to offer is essential.

This content originally appeared in the June 2020 edition of Green Intersects eNews. To sign up for the newsletter, contact Linda Wade.