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

March 2004

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CRITICAL FACTORS IN CHOOSING GLUES

Toxicity Use glues with caution. Most have some precautions regarding chemical toxicity from inhalation, ingestion and absorption through the skin. Make sure you read the label and try to use the least-toxic glue for the job. Dry/cure time The manufacturer should tell you the setup time. However, there are external factors that may affect this time, including temperature (the colder, the longer to dry), humidity (dryer is better) and the amount of glue (PVAs and cyanoacrylates take longer the more you use, while epoxies set up faster in larger amounts).

The Father of American Landscape Architecture

Farmer, sailor, journalist, conservationist, visionary, city planner and landscape architect: Frederick Law Olmsted was all that and more. Countless cities in the United States were touched by his design genius. Some of the extraordinary parks Olmsted designed include New York's Central Park, Prospect Park in Brooklyn, the Buffalo Parks System, Boston's Emerald Necklace, Belle Isle in Detroit, Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, the White House grounds in Washington and the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, N.C.

Installing Insulation

In the previous installment we reviewed how to determine the optimum amount of insulation, considering the nature of the construction, the fuel type and the climate. In this installment we will consider a building™s thermal envelope, the type of insulation appropriate to each surface, and how to install it properly. The Thermal Envelope Building scientists define a building™s thermal envelope as the collection of building surfaces (walls, floors, ceilings, etc.) that separate the conditioned (heated and/or cooled) spaces from the outdoors.

Fresh Indoor Air

Have you had a lingering cough, headache, nausea or feel fatigued way too frequently? It may not be a cold or a virus it could be your house making you sick. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency ranks poor indoor air quality among the top five environmental risks to public health. Air pollution levels inside a home can be two to five times higher (and occasionally 100 times higher) than outside. And Americans spend as much as 90 percent of their time indoors.

Paint Like a Pro

When it comes to painting projects around the house, many Americans become consumed with selecting just the right hue, finding the perfect faux finish, and then starting the masking and taping. But experts say one of the most important ways to ensure a successful paint job is by using the proper brushes and rollers. Knowing what type of bristles to use, the proper brush size, how much nap your roller should have for a specific surface, and what effects varying qualities of brushes and rollers have on the painted surface are all key.

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