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

Geothermal's New Twist

Four years ago, at a time when fuel prices were relatively low and Detroit was kicking out more SUVs than sedans, Del Leese sensed a looming energy crisis. When he and his family constructed their new home in Mechanicsburg, Pa., he made the decision to install a geothermal heating and cooling system. Now, while many of his neighbors are experiencing record-high electric and gas utility bills, Leese and his family are enjoying record savings.

When Your Drain Is a Pain

The natural reaction for many homeowners when they realize they have a clogged drain is to stand frozen at the spot where nothing is sinking but their spirits as they consider the likelihood of paying for a plumber. But it doesn't have to be that way. Many drain-line problems can be pinpointed and corrected by anyone with a basic understanding of their home's wastewater system. Knowing how your plumbing system works won't make unclogging jobs any less messy, but it will save you some real dollars over the years.   Easy First Fixes

A Yard Over Your Head

There is a growing trend in the United Sates of using grass, plants and even trees on a roof surface in place of the traditional materials. So far, this trend has been limited mostly to commercial and government buildings, and then mainly in large cities to reduce storm-water runoff problems, reduce summer temperatures from the sun reflecting off roofs, and reduce pollution. But the trend is spreading to houses and garages to provide those same and other environmental benefits. And there are many people who feel that they are more appealing to the eye than the typical roof.

Smart Ideas for the Home

Track Attack What if you could put up track lights using only scissors? Sounds like a cutting-edge idea, huh? Well, ease of installation is the driving concept behind Valo Instant Track Light Kits from LitesNow. Installation, which takes about 15 minutes, involves applying a peel-and-stick track to the ceiling or wall and then clipping lamps to the track. Simply plug the low-voltage system into an existing wall outlet, and voila! instant track lighting.

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