Archive for the 'Indoor Air Quality' Category

Q&A — How to remodel to protect children with allergies?

Question: My two daughters suffer from allergies and asthma. When we remodel next year, we need to end up with cleaner indoor air. What should we do? Answer: My first thought is that you should not live there during the remodel. Even with control measures, construction dust will infiltrate your house. Drywall dust is the [...]

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How’s that remodel working out? Greening up a modest tract house

Bill and Becka Doering did a whole-house green remodel on their Santa Barbara home, and I wrote a Pardon Our Dust feature about it, which you can read here. Bill is both an engineer and a green-building enthusiast. With his firm, Doering Design & Engineering, he helps others make their homes more energy-efficient. Also, the [...]

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What is home performance? Check this out

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The New Orleans Healing Center rises from the post-Katrina muck

My heart goes out to the victims of Hurricane Irene. I feel your pain. (And I promise not ask this inane question: Why would you live/rebuild where hurricanes can hit? I’ve been to Vermont. I know why you live there.) Six years ago, when the federal levee system failed in New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina, [...]

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A deep energy retrofit — coming soon to a very HOT climate

In case you’re not familiar with central Florida, let me break it down for you: it’s HOT, HOT, HOT. And humid. Think sunshine, thunder and flash rain storms in the summer. So what does this mean? Houses in hot and humid climates need to be built differently from those in, say, cool and dry climates. [...]

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Report: ‘Green’ product claims are often misleading — USA Today

More than 95% of consumer products marketed as “green,” including all toys surveyed, make misleading or inaccurate claims, says a report today. The number of products claiming to be green increased 73% since 2009, according to a survey by TerraChoice,an Ottawa-based marketing firm owned mostly by Underwriters Laboratory of Canada. The UL network does independent [...]

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Protect your family from lead-dust poisoning during remodeling

If you live in a house older than 1978, there’s a chance it contains paint with lead in it. Now don’t freak out. Even though lead when ingested or inhaled can cause brain damage, the paint itself is not dangerous unless it’s chipping off or is turned into dust by sanding and cutting. In a [...]

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New Orleans Saints Coach Sean Payton’s wife has a whole lotta shoes . . . and a great closet for storing them

If it wasn’t for the poisonous Chinese drywall used in the house owned by New Orleans Saints Coach Sean Payton and his lovely wife Beth, there may not have been a massive remodel to get rid of that drywall. And if there hadn’t been a massive remodel, she may not have gotten these awesome shelves [...]

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The carpenter’s daughter with elevated blood-lead levels

The other day, a little girl’s doctor told her parents their child’s blood-lead level was elevated. It wasn’t yet at the 10 micrograms per deciliter that is considered dangerous. But at 6 micrograms per deciliter, it was moving in that direction. And her dad freaked out. Why? See how lead blood levels are tested The [...]

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New Product Review: KILZ Clean Start Primer

One day, when I wasn’t looking, my once-charming front porch went from shabby chic to just plain disgusting. I waited for the crew from HGTV’s Curb Appeal to show up. When they didn’t come, I decided to take on the job. Here’s the porch I started with: As you can see, I had many challenges: [...]

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New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton is lead plaintiff in Chinese drywall suit

Saints coach Sean Payton is the lead plaintiff in a 591-page class action lawsuit against Knauf Plasterboard Tainjin Co. Ltd., a Chinese company that manufactured drywall that is believed to be corroding homes and making people sick. The suit, filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court in New Orleans on behalf of people with this particular [...]

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My new shower curtain: Should I toss it out?

I was so excited about this new shower curtain, which was a gift for my husband. It was at about 35,000 feet, breathing airliner air, when I saw in a magazine this really neat shower curtain. The clear vinyl on the top would allow our dark and narrow shower stall some needed daylight. And the [...]

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What blocks your views, poisons your neighbors and is slowly becoming illegal?

It’s your wood-burning fireplace, of course. And they’re slowing going out of style, much to the dismay of fire devotees (and I used to be one). Last weekend, I visited with a couple who took out their fireplace during a remodel. In this photo, you see a Santa Barbara home that also lost its fireplace [...]

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