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

May 2003

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Put a Match to Your Siding

When I was a teenager still living with my parents, a neighbor's son was mowing his yard when he hit a rock and sent it flying about 40 yards across our backyard and through the vinyl siding on our house. After chuckling with the neighbor about it for a bit, my father went to the spot where he stored siding, left over from when he installed it just a couple of years before, and replaced the damaged piece.

Paint By The Numbers

A lot of today's exterior siding, trim and accent materials promise ease of maintenance - and many tell you that you'll never have to paint them. And even if a new paint job isn't necessary, maybe you'll want to shake up the look a little bit. But can you use the same brand and kind of paint on your fiber-cement siding that you used on your cellular PVC trim? And what kind of paint works best on factory-finished aluminum window frames? Now more than ever, home exteriors are made up of combinations of various different substrates.

Foundations: Keeping Warm with Rock, Steel and Glass

The manufacture of fiberglass insulation is an improvement upon slag wool, which comes from steel mills. Volcanoes started it all with rock wool. When most people think of home insulation, fiberglass almost always comes to mind.

Web Resources

Alcoa: or Alside Inc.: American Hardboard Association: American Society for Testing & Materials: Brick Industry Association: CertainTeed Corp.: http://www.certaint

A Mad Cow in the Garden?

The diagnosis of Mad Cow Disease in 30 people in Great Britain raised concerns as to whether using animal by-products in the garden poses a hazard. Most human cases of Mad Cow Disease resulted from people eating animals that had been fed tainted by-products, but four gardeners who came down with the disease might have been infected by inhaling bone-meal dust they were using on their roses.

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