Innovative solutions for creating healthy, efficient, eco-friendly homes

February 2008

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SH Bookshelf: Multitasking Homes

Today’s homes are required to do more than just keep the rain off our heads. They’re also expected to be more flexible as well as more durable.

Smart Choices for Siding

Most homeowners understand the concept and value of curbside appeal. It can make or break a house sale, or simply ensure your home makes a good impression on neighbors, guests and passersby. Landscaping contributes to a home’s overall exterior cachet, but the façade carries the brunt of the aesthetic burden. And for most homes, that façade is comprised of some type of siding.

6 Hidden Toxins

It sounds like a horror movie: Hidden dangers lurking in your home, ready to strike. Common household toxins could be making your family sick, but because they’re often odorless and invisible, you may not know why. Your best defense: Monitor potentially dangerous substances and remove them when you can — or better yet, keep them out of the house in the first place. Here are some tips to help you identify and eliminate six toxins that might be in your home.

What Goes Around

Look at the homes on your block, in your neighborhood or pretty much anywhere else around the world today, and chances are they all are the same basic shape. Sure, you might notice a few A-frames here and there, or perhaps a postmodern architectural wonder that breaks the design mold. But pretty much every home you’ll see, whether it’s a ranch, cape, Colonial, Victorian, log cabin, bungalow, cottage or whatever, is essentially a box — that is, a box-like dwelling either square or rectangular in shape, or some combination of the form.

Building Green Step by Step

When our company, Meadowlark Builders, purchased a large lot near downtown Ann Arbor, Mich., we saw an opportunity to build two single-family homes that would showcase the enormous benefits of alternative construction methods. As a builder, I’m sometimes amazed by the sheer volume of new building products available today. Many of these new products can result in increased energy savings and more durable homes. But when it comes to building green, I believe the major impact comes from re-thinking the basic elements of construction and mechanical systems.

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