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

January 2004

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Bringing Your Spirit Home

You've heard the clich, Home is where the heart is. More appropriately, home is where the spirit is. Enter the latest trend in home amenities meditation rooms, devotional sanctuaries or prayer rooms, a move fueled by the restless times just outside our front doors. Bringing spirituality into the home is not a new concept. Religious followers have built shrines and meditation corners in their homes for centuries. Not limited to eastern religions, Catholic, orthodox Christian, and Native American cultures have practiced similar customs for centuries.

Home Q & A

Question My clothes washer is making strange noises as it fills. I have a relatively simple and inexpensive machine, and I'm thinking that whatever is wrong with it would be fairly easy to fix. Any suggestions on what I can do to avoid calling a repairman?

Take Away That Toggle Switch

If you're like most homeowners, when you walk into a dark room, you reach for the light switch and turn it on. That's so 20th century. Increasingly, homes are being outfitted with advanced lighting controls. At the top end, there are systems that can automatically illuminate areas, to varying degrees, indoors and out, based on time of day or the homeowner's wishes. The most sophisticated systems turn off lights when no one is in a room, or can be activated remotely from a cell phone, for instance. You can control audio systems, heating and air conditioning, too.

Smart Windows

Forget miniblinds, verticals, curtains and shades. If you want privacy in your bathroom, you might want to consider getting SPD-Smart Windows. These windows have a small electric current passing through the glass. When the electricity is off, the window is dark; turn on the juice, and the window becomes clear. Several window manufacturers have licensed this technology, including SPD Systems, Razor's Edge Technologies, ThermoView, Cricursa and Traco.

Outfitting the Modern Garage

The American garage has changed considerably in the past 100 years as the automobile has become an ever larger factor in our lives. At the turn of the last century, a carriage house was rare. If one existed on your property, it was not attached to the main house and it was simply a smaller version of a barn. At the turn of this century, the garage has emerged as our personal entry point into our house, the storage spot for garden tools and sports equipment, and some of us even park our cars there. That can make it a cluttered and even dangerous place.

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