Antimicrobial Homes: A New Step Toward Universal Design?

ATLANTA — The number of microbes on a typical kitchen countertop can double every 20 minutes. They spew from faucets and thrive in moist air. But new measures taken during home construction can stop the invasion.

A cleaner kitchen can be built into any home by improving ventilation, filtering water and adding Silestone countertops with built-in Microban®. That's what homebuilders like Atlanta's Haven Properties are doing.

"The goal is to create a home where the people are happy but the germs aren't," said Mike Baptist, who has been building high performance homes that are healthier, more comfortable and friendlier to the environment for the last five years, in a news release.

Kitchens, where raw foods are handled and people tend to gather, are the primary places where bacteria spread. In 2000, Consumer Reports noted that food preparation surfaces and hands "are the only true critical areas for germ control for the house."

Baptist, president of Haven Properties, found a way to keep food preparation surfaces cleaner through Silestone USA and its Cleaner Kitchen program. Silestone's quartz kitchen surfaces are manufactured with Microban, a bacteria inhibitor found in many home care bath safety products. Bacteria won't grow as quickly on the countertops — if they grow at all — so food preparation surfaces stay cleaner. Meanwhile, Silestone's beauty matches that of other solid surface styles, even the popular look of granite.

Efforts by Haven Properties and other builders respond to a growing concern among consumers about germs. In a 2003 survey by DIY Consumer Research, 75 percent of respondents were concerned about day-to-day exposure to bacteria and mold. The Cleaner Kitchen program addresses that concern. And the program encourages builder partners to think well past flat surfaces to clean up kitchen air and water as well.

Haven added Pur water systems to deliver filtered drinking and cooking water at the kitchen sink. The builder was already installing cook top vents that take moist air and odors directly outside. This step is not only a step toward The Cleaner Kitchen, but also a component of building more environmentally friendly and energy efficient homes.

For more information on The Cleaner Kitchen Program, visit www.havenproperties.com.

Source: Haven Properties

This article originally appeared in the October 2006 issue of HME Business.

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