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

September 2001

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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.

Remodeling With the Sun

The solarium addition opened the house to the outdoors, and in the process made the kitchen a wonderful place to dawdle any time of the year.Even a house with a tried-and-true kitchen design can use a little remodeling to supercharge efficiency.

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.

Bright Lights, Big Savings

Compact fluorescent lamps are gaining market share as prices fall and quality improves.Home lighting has a dark side: It can waste a lot of energy. American houses contain more than 500 million light bulbs that burn for an hour or more each day.

On Toilets and Taps: Plumber's Hot Tips

Presgrave: There's not much a plumber can do that a homeowner cannot learn if he's prepared to put the time and effort into getting the books, reading up on the project, and then taking it slowly, step by step Wendell Presgrave is a fortunate man. He absolutely loves his job.

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