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

September 2001

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Understanding Energy Star

Refrigerators are among the biggest successes in energy conservation.

Is Your Garage Making You Sick?

The time was when garages, mimicking the stables of earlier years, were built separate from the house. That changed after World War II, when architects began including garages in the house structure. Attached garages make life a little more convenient for homeowners, but they also have an unwelcome effect: They can, and frequently do, pose a health hazard for the home's occupants. A recent study in Anchorage, Alaska, found that attached garages readily leak or funnel airborne pollutants, most notably carbon monoxide (CO) from idling cars, into adjacent living quarters.

Going Wireless at Home

The Nokia 9290 combines phone, fax, e-mail, calendar and imaging in a handheld unit.Americans communicate today in two parallel ways: their landline service at home and their wireless service on the go. Some people, however, are deciding to simplify their communications by doing away with the landline and relying entirely on cell phones.

A Natural Herbicide's Humble Roots

Corn gluten meal has gone from byproduct to wonder product. Researchers at Iowa State University in the 1980s were studying how effective a corn byproduct would be as a fertilizer. In the process, they realized the product acted not only as a growth stimulator, but also as a weed inhibitor. The result was a natural weed-and-feed product that gives homeowners a chemical-free way to feed their turf and kill weeds, such as crabgrass, dandelions, pigweed and plantain, before they take root.

Replacing Your Water Heater Element

Changing a water heater element is easy. Shown here is a screw-in element. If your water heater suddenly produces less hot water - and you haven't added a teenager to the household - you've probably burned out one of its heater elements. But don't worry. Unless the tank is leaking, it isn't dead.

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