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Article From HouseLogic.com
By: Lisa Kaplan Gordon
Published: May 21, 2012
MIT researchers have developed glass that cleans itself. Is spring cleaning without window washing in our future?
Big brains at MIT have developed a glass of the future (http://web.mit.edu/newsoffice/2012/glare-dust-and-fog-free-glass-0426.html) that cleans itself and resists fogging and glare – our idea of the perfect picture window.
Based on nanotechnology, the new “multifunctional” glass is created with coating and etching techniques to produce microscopic cones that prevent reflection and cause water droplets to bounce off, taking dirt and dust with them.
If manufacturing costs can be contained, MIT researchers are envisioning applying this miracle glass to solar panels (http://www.houselogic.com/home-advice/tax-credits/tax-credits-installing-solar-panels/), smartphone and television screens, and even windows (http://www.houselogic.com/maintenance-repair/preventative-home-maintenance/windows-doors/).
Could this mean the end of spring cleaning (http://www.houselogic.com/guide/spring-cleaning-101/) window washing?
How much would you pay for windows that clean themselves?
Article From HouseLogic.com
By: Lisa Kaplan Gordon
Published: May 29, 2012
Experts say we’re in for a bad mosquito season. To prevent nasty bites and the West Nile virus, remove standing water from these unlikely places, and eliminate mosquito breeding grounds.
Mosquitoes spreading the West Nile virus (http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvbid/westnile/qa/prevention.htm) are showing up across the country months before their usual summer schedule. So, it’s more important than ever to dry up wet breeding grounds in your yard.
Wading pools and birdbaths are obvious places for mama mosquitoes to lay their eggs. Change water weekly and add water wigglers like this sun-powered water fountain pump (http://www.houselogic.com/blog/solar-energy/solar-water-fountain-pump/) to prevent water from stagnating.
But mosquitoes can breed in tiny amounts of water, as small as a capful, making it tricky to spot and eliminate all birthing places.
Here are some places to look.
•Empty ceramic pots and saucers
•Discarded water bottle tops
How do you defend your family from mosquitoes, ants, and wasps and other backyard pests?
Article From HouseLogic.com
By: Lisa Kaplan Gordon
Published: June 05, 2012
When your kids whine, “I’m borrrrrred” during school breaks, sign into plant and animal tracking websites and teach them about nature.
If you’re looking for something constructive for kids to do during school breaks and get them to help you with yardwork and gardening (http://www.houselogic.com/outdoors/landscaping-gardening/), turn them into junior environmental reporters by logging onto websites that track the comings and goings of plants and animals.
These tracking sites depend on participants to report when they see a particular bud blooming or hummingbird humming as a way to determine how environmental factors – temperature, rain, whatever – are changing established growing and migration patterns.
Your kids will learn how to identify creatures large and small, understand the growing stages of plants, and appreciate the inextricable link between man and nature. At the very least, you’ll recruit a grunt worker (think weeding (http://www.houselogic.com/home-advice/landscaping-gardening/how-to-get-rid-of-weeds-naturally/)!) and unglue them from their video games.
Here are some reporting sites to check out.
Project BudBurst: BudBurst (http://neoninc.org/budburst/index.php) is a national network of people who monitor plants as the seasons change and collect important ecological data based on the timing of leafing, flowering, and fruiting – called “phenophases.” Scientists use the data to learn how individual plant species are responding to climate change. You can make single reports or keep a running log of what you see.
Hummingbirds.net: Hummingbirds are Nature’s sideshow — humming, darting, dive-bombing miniatures that are a riot to watch and feed. Your kid can help track of the Ruby-throated hummingbird’s migration (http://www.hummingbirds.net/map.html) by contributing to the site’s map, which indicates when the little darlings show up throughout the U.S. Hummingbirds.net also tracks hummingbird festivals around the U.S., a novel family vacation destination. More: Great projects for kids that attract birds (http://www.houselogic.com/blog/outdoors/pamper-your-backyard-birds-free/) to your backyard.
Journey North: This site (http://www.learner.org/jnorth/) – and mobile app – turns your child into a field biologist who can report sighting everything from monarch butterflies to singing frogs. Your child also can view maps (http://www.learner.org/jnorth/maps/Maps.html) that document other sightings. What better way to learn by doing?
Project FeederWatch: Thousands of FeederWatchers count the birds that arrive at their feeders from November through April, and report the information to the tracking project, run by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Participants receive the project’s annual summary publication, Winter Bird Highlights. Sign ups (http://store.birds.cornell.edu/Project_FeederWatch_p/pfw-online.htm) for the 2012-2013 season are underway now. A $12 to $15 donation is required to receive the data entry kit.
What home and garden projects have you enlisted your kids to do? How do you keep them busy during school vacations?
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Among homeowners in the know, laminate flooring has long been known as an affordable solution. Now, with the green movement catching on with homeowners, laminate has earned a reputation as an inherently green one as well.
Laminate flooring is composed of a hybrid of materials fused together through a unique lamination process. Thanks to the layer of high-definition photography used to give laminate flooring its beauty, laminate creates the realistic look of a natural resource – such as wood, marble or stone – without actually using it, so fewer raw materials are used in the manufacturing process.
“The manufacture of laminate flooring doesn’t involve the harvesting of old-growth hardwoods like those found in tropical rainforests,” says Bill Dearing, president of the North American Laminate Flooring Association (NALFA). “Laminate provides the desired look, no matter how scarce, without depleting natural resources.”
Moreover, textures that replicate saw marks, worm holes and other decorative details give laminate flooring a remarkably realistic look, but not at the expense of Mother Nature. For example, laminate’s fiberboard core is typically comprised of at least 74 percent pre-consumer recycled waste, such as sawdust from mills and wood chips from log processing.
NALFA conducts independent, third-party performance tests on laminate flooring, and products that earn the NALFA Certification Seal are deemed sustainable.
“Laminate flooring has a wealth of green advantages, and products certified to NALFA’s sustainability standard are being used in growing numbers because of them,” Dearing says. “Consumers are becoming increasingly conscious of the importance of environmentally friendly products.”
Dearing says the NALFA Certification Seal is confirmation that a laminate floor is manufactured with these earth-friendly qualities:
• It’s made with recycled natural resources producing a heavy-duty, high-density core board. • It’s recyclable. • It’s free of air-damaging chemicals. Because laminate is installed without glues and adhesives, and because laminate floors can be cleaned without the use of harsh chemicals, laminate helps to prevent harmful emissions of volatile organic compounds. • It complies with formaldehyde emissions regulations for laminate flooring core board set forth by the California Air Resources Board. • It is comprised of recycled content that may contribute points to the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards for homes and businesses.
Finally, at the end of a laminate floor’s lifetime, it can be reused or recycled. Or, when dismantled, the boards can be put back into the production process, ground for agriculture use, or burned as waste-to-energy. That keeps old flooring from landing in the landfill.
When it comes to selling your home, creating a positive first impression is crucial. While it’s important to make sure your home’s interior is up to par, it’s just as important to make sure the exterior is in good shape. If you’re in the process of getting ready to list your home, be sure that your driveway and walkway aren’t overlooked. Paying attention to these areas will not only provide prospective buyers with a positive first impression, it will also help reel in interested buyers.
“A well-built, well-maintained asphalt driveway adds curb appeal to your house. It’s the first impression of your home that people see and it should look as good as it could,” said Steve Fradianni of M&S Paving and Sealing Inc., in Danbury, Conn. “Asphalt driveways are easy to keep free of snow and ice in the winter and relatively dirt-free in the summer. They are economical, durable and long lasting, and they are easy to maintain.”
Once a potential buyer leaves their car to head to the front door, the walkway begins to play an important role. That’s why it’s vital to make sure both the driveway and walkway are looking their best.
Do a thorough inspection—of both the driveway and walkway—and repair any cracks you see. If you have the time and money, you may want to consider getting the driveway repaved as this will go a long way toward creating a positive first impression. Cracks in the walkway should be repaired with concrete paint. This can usually be done in a few hours and is a relatively inexpensive fix.
In addition to making necessary repairs, make sure there are no toys, acorns, leaves or gardening equipment blocking someone’s path to the front door. Potential buyers shouldn’t have to maneuver through an obstacle course to reach the front door. Driveways should also be free of clutter and debris.
Once the walkway is clear, make sure that no grass or weeds are growing in the cracks. Spend the time necessary to create a perfect walk to the entrance of your home.
If you have garbage cans that typically sit at the end of your driveway, you should get them out of sight—even if they’re clean—before people come to look at your home. The same holds true for hoses. Take the time to put them away neatly as they could inadvertently trip someone. Old, tangled hoses may also conjure negative thoughts among prospective buyers.
You should also be mindful of where your cars are parked. If someone comes to see your house and there are two or three cars taking up the driveway and they are forced to park on the street, you may be starting things off on the wrong foot. Move your cars to the street so that prospective buyers feel as if they are pulling into the driveway of their future home.
By Keith Loria