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Natural Awakenings Milwaukee Magazine

Source 1 Project Solutions: Helping People Find Healthy Home Choices

Sep 30, 2013 05:40PM ● By Sheila Julson

Source 1 Project Solutions, Inc., in Butler, owned by Jonathan Synovic, president, and Toby Van Sistine, offers healthy home remodeling and construction design and consulting. The firm was born of the aspiration to work closely with clients and incorporate their specific ideas and goals into all phases of their projects. Synovic, who holds a bachelor’s degree in architecture from the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee, previously worked as a designer and specification writer at PDC Midwest, Inc., where he met Van Sistine, a colleague who shared the goal to completely customize client projects. The two left to form Source 1 Project Solutions in September 2009.

Because Synovic had the opportunity to work more closely with clients in the new company, he was confronted with a plethora of questions, not only about contractors and financing, but also in regard to chemical sensitivities. “Many of these people cannot sit in a restaurant and enjoy dinner because the carpet or furniture is off-gassing,” explains Synovic. Such concerns prompted him to research the substances that comprise building materials and products.

“We realized that a lot of products being used today emit noxious gases or leach chemicals into the air over time,” Synovic recalls, “so we analyzed every part of the construction process: nails, bolts, insulation, electrical components, and then created a whole section of our business that caters to people with allergies and hypersensitivities.”

While neither Synovic nor his staff have chemical sensitivities, he points out that drilling down to the real needs of his customers has given them a deeper understanding of how construction and home improvement products are made. The terms green and ecofriendly can be tossed around casually, Synovic points out, but green doesn’t necessarily equate to healthy.

For example, particleboard is considered green due to its low impact on the environment; however, the chemicals used to make it may contain toxins that are not healthy for people. “It’s been a unique experience for us to help people select safer building materials that are actually very common today,” he says. “We talk to people about their lifestyles, and they have no idea that things such as flooring can off-gas or that certain types of particleboard can have so much formaldehyde in them,” he adds. Formaldehyde, used as a bonding agent and to keep mold, mildew and bacteria from growing in plywood, is one of the most common types of synthetic toxins found in construction materials.

Jonathan Synovic
Jonathan Synovic
Synovic explains how certain countertops can also release toxins into the home: “Quartz emits some off-gassing during manufacturing, but it does not discharge anything afterwards. Granite, however, is a rock that comes from under the ground. Depending upon where the granite is from, it can contain radon. Granite also requires resealing with chemical sealants.”

Whether a client is interested in a new construction project or wants to remodel an older home, Synovic enjoys discovering the variety of materials that will meet his customers’ needs. “Within the last three years alone, consumer demand is slowly changing the industry. Varieties of lowtoxin materials are available not only at specialty shops, but also at big-box chain stores,” he notes. “The healthy building materials are sold alongside the more toxic options, often with very little price difference.”

Synovic serves as Remodeler’s Council chair for the Metropolitan Builders Association, which brings him in contact with many industry professionals. He has noted that while many contractors, suppliers and materials manufacturers had been resistant to exploring healthy home solutions in the past, they now seem to be coming around, realizing that many customers are becoming aware of illnesses and allergies caused by chemicals in their living environment and want to know how to make their homes safer.

Achieving the goal of helping people with every aspect of their project is the most gratifying aspect of Synovic’s daily work. “It’s absolutely wonderful to sit down with people and get to know them. We ask the questions and never view the job as just a project, but instead as a long-term relationship.”

Source 1 Project Solutions, Inc., is located at 4535 N. 128 St., in Butler. For more information, call 262-912-0022 or visit

Sheila Julson is a contributor to Natural Awakenings magazine who lives in Milwaukee. Connect with her at [email protected].