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

June 2008

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Storm Proofing

Here’s an eye-opening statistic: 43 percent of U.S. homeowners live in hurricane-prone coastal areas. In Florida alone, 800,000 homes are potentially at risk from hurricane damage. One more interesting statistic: 50 percent of damage claims filed after a hurricane result from catastrophic roof failure caused by heavy winds.

Drink to Your Health

Water quality has become an important issue for many homeowners, given recent reports about the quality of tap and bottled water. According to the National Tap Water Quality Database (, 260 contaminants have been found across the nation in residential tap water, and for more than half (141) of these contaminants, there are no enforceable safety standards. Nearly 200 million people are drinking these contaminants in their water.

Smart Summer Furniture

Relax in style this summer, and help the environment while you’re doing it, with these colorful Adirondack chairs made from recycled plastic milk jugs and water bottles. Shoreline Adirondack chairs, from Lancaster County, Pa.-based Millcraft Poly Furniture, are made from 100-percent recycled Poly Lumber, a high-density polyethylene plastic that is safe and maintenance-free.

Keeping a Low Profile

Smoke alarms have been integral safety devices in the home for nearly four decades, but during that time they haven’t changed much in appearance. The Silhouette Low-Profile Smoke Alarm is out to change that. With a sleek design that protrudes just a half-inch from the ceiling, it blends easily into its surroundings and won’t interfere with your interior décor.

Roofs on the Cutting Edge

Flowering succulents may seem more suited to a rock garden in your yard, but at Southface Energy Institute in Atlanta, Ga., a team of workers recently planted rows and rows of sedum, hens-and-chicks and other types of vegetation up on the roof of the nonprofit organization’s new Eco Office. The energy-efficient, environmentally sustainable office building has been designed to demonstrate a number of cutting-edge technologies, such as its new green roof.

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