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

November 2003

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Make Room for the Sun

According to the Annual Builder Practices Report by the National Association of Home Builders Research Center (NAHBRC) in Upper Marlboro, Md., 102,000 sunrooms were added to homes in 1999, 103,000 in 2000 and 130,000 in 2001. The National Association of the Remodeling Industry in Des Plaines, Ill., estimates sunrooms account for more than 500,000 remodeling projects each year.Sunrooms come in a diverse range of styles, sizes and designs. They're known by many names: sunroom, Florida room, garden room, conservatory, greenhouse, sunporch, patio room, solarium, and the list goes on.

The Un-Wired Lifestyle

Multiple computers sharing one printer, family photos stored on a PC shown on a large-screen TV, music files stored on a computer but played through a stereo system, no more waiting to go online until someone else finishes, digital images displayed on any PC in the house showing the view from a wireless camera aimed at the baby's crib or the front door - the possibilities for work, play and security that are offered by wireless networking at home are extensive and expanding rapidly.

Solar Homework

The major blackout in the Northeast this past summer emphasized our reliance on electricity - and the need to explore alternative sources. While conservation can do much to bring down costs, adding solar components to your home can also make a significant difference in your wallet and in the environment.

Not Seeing is Believing

Duct tape is amazing. It seems like this magic tape can solve just about every problem imaginable. I recently saw it used in a movie to treat a nasty knife wound (don't try that at home). Duct tape may be a cure-all, but it's not pretty, that is unless you love gray. That's why the folks at Scotch have developed transparent duct tape. It's perfect for sealing cracks in the walls or floors and patching window screens and screen doors. Transparent duct tape will last all season long without that ugly look of traditional gray duct-tape repairs.

Heat Loss for 1 Square Foot

FClife = (24 x HDD x F x PWF ) (Rin x T x 105) FClife = lifetime cost of fuel to supply heat loss through 1 square foot. 24 = hours in a day HDD = heating degree-days F = fuel cost for 105 BTUs of heat delivered to the living space PWF = present worth factor, a multiplier for F, accounting for the price of fuel over the life of the insulation Rin = R-value per inch of insulation thickness T = total thickness of insulation

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