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

July 2003

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Getting a Grip on Fuel Prices

The internet makes it easy to track energy supply and price trends.It was day three of the latest war in Iraq, and American and British troops had secured the oil fields near Basra. World petroleum prices, which had been driven upward all winter by cold weather, a strike in Venezuela and war speculation, took a sudden tumble in the third week of March.

The Bones of a Home

Like the skeleton of an animal, the frame of a house defines its shape. It also resists hurricane-force winds, snow on the roof and dance parties in the living room. Consider for a moment the skeleton of a bird. Evolution has engineered each bone to be just sufficient for its function. Each is thickened at points of maximum stress and precisely in proportion to that stress. Thicker bones might make for a stronger bird but not a better or more functional bird.

Giving Yourself A Lift

I t usually starts with the groceries. Though some people need an elevator in their house to access the multiple levels of living space, most homeowners purchasing elevators today simply want one for the convenience. "From a 2,000-square-foot house to a 14,000-square-foot house, people are installing elevators," says Eugene Aubrey, an architect who is planning an elevator in a luxury home in Northeast Harbor, Maine.

Something Old, Something New

The recycling circle begins with collecting and processing secondary materials, which then become ingredients in recycled-content products. When consumers choose recycled products, they create a loop that ensures the overall success and value of recycling. Recycled-content products are made from materials that would otherwise have been discarded. Items in this category are made totally or partially from material destined for disposal or recovered from industrial activities - like aluminum soda cans or newspaper.

Practical Homeowner: Rock-Solid Repairs

One of those chores that many of us dread is patching and repairing concrete. While not all that difficult, it is often easier just to forget about it and hope that it won't get worse. Unfortunately, it usually does. The best time to fix concrete is when it is just a stable, hairline crack.

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