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

September 2002

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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.

What's Out There and Where To Find It

Currently, there are numerous green building programs operating in the United States. Additional information is available for each one on their websites. In the near term, lacking national guidelines for green homes, these programs represent an opportunity to look under the hood and see what green builders are doing to prepare for the next phase of the market. In general, most of the programs appear to evolve from the Austin Energy Green Building Program developed in the 1980s.

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.

Green Building: A Consumer Status Report

Homebuilders are gradually constructing more environmentally friendly homes around the United States, but deeper-green environmental building is still slow to emerge. One sure way builders will include more environmentally friendly features is by informed consumers asking for them more frequently. According to interviews we conducted, homebuilders are not yet reporting increased consumer demand for aggressive green-building approaches, but they are responding to energy efficiency, health (mold resistance) and low-maintenance needs.

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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