Written By: Brittany Conley

The concept of sustainable architecture, sometimes referred to as building green, is not a new one, though a western North Carolina businessman is on a mission to challenge what we think we know about healthy environments in order to help us all live cleaner, greener lives. What exactly is a home built on green principles? There are some rather obvious answers, such as the roofing choice, type of insulation and energy-efficient windows and doors. To others, it may be obvious to consider the construction process itself to minimize the impact on the environment surrounding the home in terms of runoff into waterways or needlessly cutting back too many trees. A lot of time and planning go into the building of a sustainable, eco-friendly home. But building the home is far from the final step in the process. Someone has to live in the home…what happens then?

This is exactly the question asked by Sean Sullivan, owner of forward-thinking companies Atelier Maison & Co. and Living Stone Design + Build. Sullivan’s wife Laura owns ID.ology Interiors & Design, and all are based in Asheville, NC. This question came up for Sullivan after purchasing an Energy Star home built by his own company. After living in this impeccably designed home with his family for seven years, it was time to sell. The prospective buyers asked Sullivan for a radon test, something he had not done at the time. Much to Sullivan’s surprise, the home his family lived in, the home he had built, tested positive for radon, and he was determined to discover why.