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

January 2003

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Engineered Wood

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

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.

Warm-Air Heating

One of the really remarkable things about life is how limited the human comfort range is. Without protection, humans can only tolerate a narrow temperature range - about 64° to 113° F. Over the millennia, humans have developed means for tempering the air around them, from fires in caves to microprocessor-controlled heat pumps. There is evidence of fixed central hearths excavated in Greece from as far back as 2500 B.C. Under-floor radiant heating systems date back to around 1300 B.C. in the Arzawa kingdom of modern-day Turkey.

Now You Can Paint With Plastic

Now You Can Paint Your Plastic If you've ever tried to touch-up your faded plastic resin lawn furniture or wanted to change the color of a planter or mailbox, you were almost certainly disappointed. Those items had to be sanded and primed first, and even then the finish coat often peeled off in sheets.

Disposer Dos and Don'ts

Disposal units have become quieter, more compact, and easier to use and maintain.A garbage disposal, or food-waste disposer, as it is properly called, is considered by most to be a domestic godsend. But when this appliance acts up, it can wreak havoc in the kitchen.

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