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

September 2002

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Turning Yard Waste Into Garden Gold

Composting crusaders have just about given up on persuading the rest of us that when we get to heaven, there'll be a compost pile just inside the Pearly Gates. These days they're preaching a less evangelistic message. "I just want people to know two things,€ says Rachel Solomon, who runs the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens Urban Composting program. "It's easy, and it doesn't stink.€

Foundations: Edison's Concrete Homes

The next time you think you have a can't-miss idea and it turns out to be a flop, take heart. Even Thomas Edison, who we all know churned out dozens of ingenious and revolutionary inventions, had more failures than successes. One of his more high-profile washouts involved his foray into the homebuilding business, which was in itself an extension of his failed iron-processing endeavor. In 1902, after realizing that his quest for perfecting the iron-ore refining process was doomed, he was determined to salvage something from that folly, at least.

Building a Better Basement Floor

Building a Better Basement Floor One of the most popular and economical ways to expand a home's living space has always been to finish an unfinished basement statistics show that nearly 900,000 homeowners do it every year. And a project of that type almost always starts with a professional laying down a lot of pressure-treated lumber over the concrete slab in order to attach a floor system. This method can be expensive and often does not solve the problems of cold and dampness associated with basement rooms.

Tips for Selecting an Electronic Security System

1. Contact the National Burglar and Fire Alarm Association or your state burglar and fire alarm association for a list of member companies in your area. 2. Call several companies and ask if their employees are trained and/or certified by the NBFAA. 3. Ask the companies if they have the appropriate state and/or local licenses, if required. 4. Ask the companies if they conduct any pre-employment screening.

Uninvited Guests Eating You Out of House and Home?

Carpenter ants and termites are wood-destroying insects that cost us billions of dollars every year. More than 90 percent of the homes in the United States are wood framed. But even homes built of masonry and steel serve up delicious wood treats to these pests. Left unchecked, they systematically destroy our homes and valuable wood objects in them. Termites pose a considerable economic threat to wood structures. As a nation, we spend two-thirds of our annual pest-control budget on termites.

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