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

September 2007

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Bristling at Waste

Think about your paintbrushes. The handles never need replacement - just the bristles, right? So why do you have to buy a whole new brush? The theory behind the Envirobrush is a solution to this problem. The bristles can be easily removed and replaced by flipping a small clamp on the brush handle. The bristles, held together by a solid block of plastic at one end, are sold separately at a fraction of the cost of a full brush, the manufacturer says. The Envirobrush comes in three widths up to 2.5 inches. www.envirobrush.com

The Right Roof for You

It's one of those remodeling efforts that probably won't net much return. A buyer just expects that the roof won't leak. So be prepared to shell out no less than $2,000, even if you have a small house. And if you have a large home and exacting roofing standards, the bill can be many multiples of that. Actually a leak is not necessarily evidence that you need a new roof. They can be caused by a variety of things, including ice dams in an incorrectly insulated attic. Roofs also leak around chimneys and vent pipes long before the shingles start to fail.

All Decked Out

The vast array of outdoor decking materials available today is less bewildering when you've had a chance to size up what you need in your own backyard. From pressure-treated and naturally rot resistant wooden decking to composite, plastic and metal decking, it's important to know which materials work best in your climate and are best for you and for your family's lifestyle.

Hydro Therapy

Two elements of a home that most people take for granted are the air and the water. Here we'll discuss the basics of clean, healthy household water. Household water can contain bacteria that cause disease or contaminants that can be detrimental to your health. Drinking water is not the only concern bathing and showering in poor-quality water can also have negative affects on your health. If you're ready to turn the page because your house is connected to a municipal water system, don't. Your water should be within legal limits, but it could still leave a lot to be desired.

Hoophouse Heaven

Hoophouses consist mainly of clear polyethylene film stretched over steel arches. Most hoophouses serve as greenhouses, but ours also serves as workshop, storage shed, exercise room, writing room, wildlife blind and photo studio often with music in the background. In winter, a hoophouse can also function as a sun-therapy room and tanning salon. From spring through fall, it could even serve as a bedroom for overflow guests albeit good-natured ones. Have I mentioned the pleasant patter of rain on the roof?

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