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

Insulating on the Outside

Insulation helps us tolerate nature's extremes, lowering home heating and cooling bills, and keeping us comfortable. Rising energy costs and more stringent government recommendations on energy efficiency are prodding builders and homeowners to look at this basic building component more carefully and find ways to stretch insulation dollars. One promising trend that can work wonders: Adding a blanket of insulation to the outside of your house.

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.

Biodiesel Hits Home

What do Jim Ashton of Vassalboro, Maine, William Grace of Seattle and Maine's Governor John Baldacci have in common? All of them have heated their homes with biodiesel, a blended fuel that includes new or recycled vegetable oil.

A Home Inspection Checklist

Your home is probably the most significant purchase you will ever make. Most homebuyers focus first on finding a real estate agent and shopping around for the best mortgage and interest rate. While some important details of homebuying include the number of bathrooms, the lot size or the proximity to good schools, you should also be sure to have your new home inspected professionally before you buy. It's important to understand that no home is perfect.

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