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

January 2003

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A Baker's Dozen of Water-Conservation Tips

Park & Co., a Phoenix-based marketing firm, created the Water - Use it Wisely campaign on behalf of several Arizona cities, to develop and reinforce a universal water-conservation ethic. The following water-conserving landscape tips are courtesy of the website at Collect the water you use for rinsing produce or from cleaning your fish tank and reuse it to water houseplants. Use compost when planting to add water-holding organic matter to the soil. Layer organic mulch around plants to reduce evaporation and save hundreds of gallons of water a year.

Tips on Using Grey Water

If you can be choosy about the gray water you recycle on your garden, then use shower and bathtub water first, followed in decreasing order of desirability by water from the bathroom sink, utility sink, washing machine, kitchen sink and dishwasher. Water from the kitchen sink and dishwasher is not desirable because of the larger proportion of grease, food particles and other materials it will contain. If there is no way you can avoid using water from the kitchen sink and dishwasher, try to limit the amount of grease and solid food particles that go down the drain.

Engineered Wood

  An I-joist is a wood version of a steel beam. Their structural performance is much better than old-fashioned dimensional lumber.

Keeping a Healthy Oil Tank

1. Legs are solid and level 2. No rust, weeps, wet spots or excessive denting 3. No drips or signs of leakage around the filter or valves 4. Oil lines are encased in a protective tubing. 5. Nothing in danger of falling from above (i.e., snow or ice) 6. Vent is open and not clogged by anything 7. Overfill whistle is unobstructed and audible when filling the tank 8.

Power to the People

A transfer-switch system is the safest and most effective way to connect a portable generator to your home. Installed next to the home's main panel, it allows users to choose which circuits to run in an outage. A house without electricity is like a car without gas, but it doesn't have to be that way.

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