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

January 2004

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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.

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.

The First Jacuzzi

Necessity may be the mother of invention, but inspiration can come from just about anywhere. When it comes to the creation of the first whirlpool bath, its origins can be traced through a single family with a long and remarkable history, whose name has come to symbolize aquatic respite Jacuzzi. It began when seven Jacuzzi brothers immigrated to California from Italy at the turn of the last century and soon began making technological advancements in aviation.

Fit and Trim

Homes, much like the human body, need to be fit and flexible to provide the best possible living conditions. When they are not completely fit and even slightly inflexible, they can limit residents just like an unhealthy body might. Most houses are not as physically fit as people think they are. And few homeowners understand the benefits of home flexibility, even though they live daily with the disadvantages of inflexible home design. These days, universal design is opening the door to lifelong comfort in any home.

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?

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