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

September 2003

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Keep Home Fires From Burning

This photo shows the damage that can be caused when the fire department has to be called into your home.More than 90 percent of American homes today have smoke detectors. Since their widespread introduction in the 1980s, smoke detectors have cut the number of home fire deaths in half.

Your Tap Water: Fit or Failing

A recent report from the Natural Resources Defense Council graded the municipal drinking-water supplies of 19 major U.S. cities, and they were found to be lacking. While none of the cities failed outright, only Chicago earned a rating of excellent, and that was in only one of three categories tested.

The Home RF Alternative

You may have heard of another wireless networking technology called HomeRF. HomeRF uses the 2.4-GHz band just like Wi-Fi, but the standard is squarely aimed at the home and has had a slow start due to late approval from the FCC for a faster version that closely matches Wi-Fi's speed. Wi-Fi has built up momentum due to a rapid drop in price during 2001. Prices fell for most equipment by 50 to 70 percent, while HomeRF's fast version just started appearing in electronics stores last summer. If you expect to use a laptop or other portable device, Wi-Fi is the only way to go.

Making New Paint From Old By Recycling

Try this exercise: Go to your basement and inspect every can of old paint you have. Estimate how much is left in each, then add it all up. How much do you have? Five gallons? Ten? You may not use all that paint yourself, but it doesn't have to stay there or be thrown away. Whether the paint is oil-based or latex, someone in your community could have a use for it. Check with your local government or recycling center; many sponsor programs that collect paint for use by others. If that's not the case in your area, simply ask your friends, colleagues or neighbors if they have any use for it.

One Green Acre

The dishwater is eventually used to irrigate the garden, and the compost fertilizes it.Something about having a garden - watching those frail seedlings turn into mass-producing marvels, biting into a juicy, fresh-picked tomato, breathing in the sharp scent of oregano and mint - makes us appreciate the eternally forgiving spirit of Mother Nature.

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