March 5th, 2013
So many options, so little time. At least the choices for washers (though not dryers) have become ever more energy and water efficient. Here’s our advisory for 2013.
February 28th, 2013
Are you weary of mowing, weeding and fertilizing that yawning stretch of lawn? Consider installing a patch of native prairie. A Pocket Prairie can reduce your thirsty conventional turf, replacing it with native grasses and flowers. You’ll be feeding butterflies and birds, and cut down your grass mowing obligations, perhaps to zero.
February 22nd, 2013
Yes, it’s cold for you, the tree trimmer. But pruning in the winter is kinder to plants. It discourages sap flow from the cuts, inhibits the spread of disease (like oak wilt) and gives deciduous and blooming trees time to recover before the spring growth period.
February 1st, 2013
In an effort to address Texas’ ongoing drought, two state lawmakers have proposed legislation that would free thousands of homeowners from having to water and maintain conventional sod lawns.
January 23rd, 2013
It’s a little like a storyline from those nuclear-age science-fiction movies from the 1950s. An invisible, insidious gas invades your home, poised to undermine your family’s health.
But this is no fiction. It’s radon, a gas that exists naturally in the earth, but can concentrate in homes raising the cancer risk for those who are exposed long term.
November 6th, 2012
Summer is little more than a memory, and those outrageous air conditioning bills that came with it are, at least for the moment, a thing of the past. Even if temperatures shouldn’t be approaching three figures again anytime soon, making your home as energy efficient as possible during the winter months should be on everyone’s agenda, too.
Before you know it, it could actually be cold outside. And when winter blows into town, you don’t want it to be cold inside, too.
October 31st, 2012
Here’s a scary thought just released on Halloween, what if your smart meter were leaking information about you to the world?
Automatic Meter Reading systems may need better security, according to a USC team.
With millions of so-called “smart meters” being installed in the U.S. annually, utility companies are getting closer to creating a smart grid that can target energy delivery where it’s needed and thus avoid having to run extra capacity at power plants. It’s a potential win-win that could help keep energy prices affordable.
October 17th, 2012
It’s getting easier to track your home or business energy use and find ways to reduce your energy consumption and costs.
Yes, there’s an app for this.
October 3rd, 2012
When the Environmental Working Group released their scorecard on green cleaners last month, I sprang from my chair to check the label on the case of Ecover Limescale Remover that UPS had just delivered.
I don’t usually buy by the case, but this was the only way I could get this cleaner, which I adore because it transforms my shower door from an icky, opaque bacteria-generator into a sheet of glistening glass, without using toxic ingredients. Or so I believed.
Fortunately, my limescale remover skated by with a solid “B” on the EWG 2012 Guide to Healthy Cleaning. Whew!
But some of the other products I’m using did not make the grade, despite being sold as “green” or “natural” products.
That’s right. Amazingly, many green cleaners contain endocrine disrupters, suspected carcinogens, toxic ingredients with unknown effects and needlessly harsh ingredients, like sodium laurel sulfate, according to the EWG review of more than 2,000 cleaners .
Tags: · chemicals in cleaning products, eco-cleaners, Environmental Working Group, EWG, Green Cleaners, Green Homes, Guide to Green Cleaning, household cleaners, ingredients to avoid, less toxic cleaners, safer cleaning, toxic cleaners
September 11th, 2012
Green cleaners exploded onto store shelves over the last five years, offering to detoxify our homes, laundry, dishes and countertops with a dazzling line-up of herb-y, botanically scented, natural and biodegradable formulas.
These products promised to replace the old guard of harsh, caustic and unhealthful less-than-green products, solving those perennial problems of tub rings, toilet bowl stains and kitchen sink germs but without killing aquatic life, risking anyone’s fertility or triggering asthma episodes.
August 23rd, 2012
With the U.S. in the grip of possibly the worst outbreak of West Nile Virus ever, people need to do all they can to avoid getting bitten by the Culex mosquito that carries the disease and reduce the mosquito population in their yard…residents may be able to repel or reduce the mosquitoes living and reproducing in their yards by applying botanical oils that mosquitoes find disagreeable. A caveat: These products are no substitute for protecting your person (please refer back to the advice above). But they could reduce the mosquitoes breeding in and visiting your yard.
August 6th, 2012
Check out the chair at the right. Perhaps you have one that’s similar, a solid serviceable chair that you bought some years ago.