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After years of “quiet home” research, Mike Bender went with CALI GeoWood flooring in Capistrano Oak. Photo Credit: Mike Bender

With undetectable VOCs, CALI’s hybrid hardwood-rigid core planks were the right fit for Mike Bender — screenwriter and creator of Awkward Family Photos – in his quest to create a home that would best support significant health struggles due to Lyme disease. The resulting Santa Barbara “quiet home” features everything from advanced ventilation and whole-house water filtration to specialized wiring that blocks problematic electromagnetic fields.

Bender shares his story in the March 2022 issue of Men’s Health. 

CALI GeoWood flooring has been used in the creation of a home in Santa Barbara, California designed from the ground up to support a healthy living space. The home’s owner, Mike Bender, is a screenwriter [Not Another Teen Movie] and co-creator of the website and New York Times bestselling book, Awkward Family Photos. Bender has spent decades navigating an onslaught of health challenges, stemming from Lyme disease, which he contracted from a tick bite as a child. Failing to find relief from traditional medical treatment, he began exploring how his living space might be affecting his symptoms, which were frequently life-threatening. With help from a team of clean building experts, Bender addressed every aspect of his home, selecting systems and materials that would best support his health. 

He details the experience in an essay published in the March 2022 issue of Men’s Health, diving into the practice of “building biology,” which aims to balance the relationship between the built environment, health, and nature. When done right, the process goes beyond mere eco-friendly materials and examines every interaction between occupants and their home, from electricity and Wifi to air and water quality. Choice of materials like paint, cabinetry, furniture, and flooring plays a major role.

Bender recruited green design expert, Andy Pace, to help choose home building products with no off gassing or detectable formaldehyde. 

In selecting these products, Bender drew from the expertise of Andy Pace, founder of the Green Design Center in Waukesha, Wisconsin. Pace is also host of the Non Toxic Environments Podcast and a longtime CALI trade customer who has performed his own testing on the company’s flooring.  

“As a professional Healthy Home Concierge, I have 30+ years of helping thousands of individuals who, like Mike, suffer from chemical sensitivities, allergies, asthma, CIRS, MCAS and other immune system disorders.  With my clientele, it is imperative that the materials used in their homes are not only clean, healthy, and free of the typical chemical off gassing from flooring, but aesthetically pleasing and price competitive.  The CALI GeoWood Oak was just a perfect fit for Mike’s project.”
– Andy Pace, Green Design Center founder

CALI GeoWood is a hybrid floor which layers actual hardwood (bamboo, oak or maple) over a waterproof core made of compressed limestone composite. The SPC core allows for faster, easier installation and more stable, water-resistant planks. The CALI team is proud to have earned recognition of the collection as one that is also highly safe for homes with kids, pets, and those with health issues. 

“It’s increasingly common for companies to slap an ‘eco-friendly’ sticker on a product and say it’s the responsible choice. But there is a massive amount of effort that goes on behind the scenes at CALI to truly back that claim up with facts. Knowing that our flooring has met the demands of legitimate green building experts and helped customers live healthier lives is both thrilling and humbling.”
– Doug Jackson, CALI president

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