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

September 2002

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Which Lamps are Champs

It's Saturday morning, and like any other good homeowner, you are off to the local mega-hardware/lumber/appliance/flooring store to buy something for your weekend project. If your store is set up like mine, the very first products you see walking in the door are the light bulbs. This arrangement isn't by accident. The floor plans of these stores are carefully designed to promote sales, so one must conclude that light bulbs are big business. They are - last year, an estimated 1.3 billion "medium socket" bulbs were sold in the United States.

How To Read Your Appliances

Since 1980, all appliances sold in the United States have been required by the Federal Trade Commission to carry an Energy Guide label. The original intent of this label was to inform consumers of just how energy efficient -or inefficient - their white goods (refrigerators, freezers, washers, dryers, etc.), heating and cooling equipment, and water heaters are in use.

A Refined Floor Plan

In the previous installment, we documented the needs of a family of four through an activity analysis. The analysis resulted in a list of the family's activities that required space, approximate size of each space in square feet, preferred orientation of the space (activity) relative to the position of the sun at the time of the activity, and degree of privacy appropriate to the activity. We then cut out oval bubbles proportional in size to the area of each activity space.

Keep Hot Water $ From Going Down the Drain

Keep Hot Water $ From Going Down the Drain Conventional storage-tank water heaters keep water hot continually, which is certainly not the most efficient method. In fact, about 20 percent of the operating costs associated with these systems can be attributed to standby loss, where the tank is just sitting there waiting to be used.

The Ins and Outs of Reverse Mortgages

If you or a loved one own a home but are strapped for cash, i.e., house-rich but cash-poor, a reverse mortgage may be just what the doctor ordered. Until fairly recently, there were only two ways to get cash from your home - you could sell your home and move, or you could borrow against your home and make monthly loan repayments. Now there is a third alternative called a reverse mortgage, and it is another way to draw cash from your home - without selling it or making regular loan repayments.

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