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

January 2004

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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.

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.

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?

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.

Planting Cleaner Indoor Air

Back in the 1970s, houseplants were everywhere. Then decorating went high-tech and houseplants lost their cachet. But it turns out there are some very good reasons for growing plants indoors, and you might want to bring some into your 20th-century home. Houseplants are beneficial in a number of ways. There are aesthetic benefits, of course houseplants add color and soften the architecture of a room. Decades of research have shown that working with plants has psychological benefits, too.

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