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

September 2001

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Laser Levels: A Winning Lineup

Back in the 1990s, those carefree days when the stock market could only go up, the demand for laser diodes soared as well. These tiny, light-emitting devices were at the heart of every CD player ever made, and we were making millions of them.

Hot Water Savings

Americans take hot water for granted, and we still heat it and consume it in fundamentally archaic ways. We burn non-renewable resources - natural gas, fuel oil, propane - to heat water. Incredibly, we then dump the warm waste water out of our buildings and into the environment - wasting at least 75 percent of the water's heat, much of which could be recovered simply and affordably. But it doesn't have to be that way. There are practical and cost-effective strategies available that can provide plenty of hot water, save energy and help the environment all at the same time.

Understanding Energy Star

Refrigerators are among the biggest successes in energy conservation.

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.

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