Making Clean Indoor Air A Budget Priority
today's economy, many consumers are scaling back on splurge purchases and
budgeting instead on products that can help protect their family. Bottled
water and hand sanitizer often remain at the top of the
"must-have" shopping list for savvy consumers. But did you know
it's also worth making a modest budget investment in cleaning your indoor
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says levels of indoor air
pollution can be between two and five times higher than outdoor air. Poor
indoor air quality can negatively impact many people's health. In fact,
some coldlike symptoms including sneezing, sore
throats and runny noses can be triggered by indoor allergens.
Microscopic particles that are invisible to the naked eye, such as dust,
mold spores and pet dander, are commonly found in indoor air in homes,
schools and offices and can potentially pose health concerns. Air purifiers
are one proven method to improve poor indoor air quality. Effective air
purifiers, like Honeywell air purifiers, eliminate up to 99 percent of
airborne pollutants and allergens from the air passing through their
Some consumers believe portable air purifiers are too expensive to fit
their budget. In reality, many air purifiers are extremely affordable to buy
and operate, and the benefits justify the modest investment.
Here are three simple tips on choosing an air purifier:
1. Choose products certified by the Association of Home Appliance
Manufacturers (AHAM). Look for Clean Air Delivery Rate (CADR) products
certified by AHAM. The CADR rating tells you an air purifier has been
independently tested and the results are certified by AHAM. Additionally,
the CADR level, which will always be posted on the package, determines how
effectively the product will perform in a particular room size.
2. Ensure safe ozone emission levels. The harmful effects of ozone, a
component of smog, are well documented. Look for air purifiers that fall
well within government guidelines for safe ozone emission levels. A listing
of air purifiers that adhere to recommended limits can be found at AHAM's Web site, www.CADR.org/consumer.
3. Energy efficiency and room size matter. Look for air purifiers
certified for your room size. Some run on about the same amount of energy
as a standard lightbulb, and some are even Energy
Honeywell portable air purifiers, marketed by Kaz,
Inc., are available at most major retailers. To learn more about how to
choose an effective air purifier, visit www.honeywellcleanair.com.
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Going Green In Style
don't have to sacrifice style to be eco-conscious at home. You can use
these five simple tips from Linda Woodrum, designer
of the HGTV Green Home 2010, to make your living environment more energy
efficient, visually appealing and environmentally friendly:
1. Welcome home--Create a welcoming entrance to your home by making sure
your exterior relates to the interior. For example, antique wicker chairs
painted red and placed on the front porch can introduce visitors to the
color scheme inside. And the unexpected color demonstrates that you can be
green without being boring.
2. Reduce, reuse, recycle--Unique pieces, such as a dining room table
made from reclaimed wood and a light fixture made from a repurposed basket,
make a room richer and more interesting. The HGTV Green Home could inspire
you to use everyday items in unexpected and amazing ways.
3. Create a mood in your master bedroom--Capture all that's good about a
place or location through your choice of color and decor but keep it clean
and natural with organic and recycled materials. A red four-post bed made
of reclaimed wood in the home's master bedroom evokes a vintage
Northeastern cottage yet is reinterpreted in a fun, contemporary color.
4. Saturate with one primary color--It's important to pick a color
palette and stay true to it. In the HGTV Green Home, red is used
prominently. It's easy to re-create the look with low-VOC paint and
environmentally friendly fabrics.
5. Use durable materials in high-traffic areas--Your front and back
entrances are subject to a lot of wear and tear. A durable tile floor in
the mud/laundry room and powder room is a green option that's easy to
maintain yet appealing in a New England−style
For information on the HGTV Green Home Giveaway, visit www.hgtv.com.
Make Your Home A Healthier Home
your family from potential health hazards in your home may be easier with a
few tips from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Unsafe and unhealthy homes continue to harm the health of millions of
Americans. The following suggestions look at some current common problems
and offer simple solutions:
Problem: Exposure to dust mites and mold aggravates asthma and results
in increased health costs each year.
• Ensure proper ventilation in the attic and bathroom to prevent
excessive moisture that can promote mold growth.
• Wash sheets and blankets in hot water weekly and use mattress and
pillow covers to reduce asthma triggers and attacks.
• Vent the clothes dryer outside the home to prevent mold and mildew.
• Vacuum carpets to remove allergens that trigger asthma attacks and
Problem: Falls are the leading cause of home injury deaths. The cost of
fall injuries for people 65 and older exceeds $19 billion annually.
• Remove any items that can be tripped over (such as papers, books,
clothes and shoes) from stairs and places where you walk.
• Good lighting can make a difference. Keep everything well lit.
• Install grab bars in bathrooms.
Problem: For children, fire, suffocation, firearms, drowning and
poisoning are the leading causes of deaths at home.
• Install and maintain smoke and carbon monoxide alarms.
• Make sure that cribs, playpens and play equipment are safe and always
keep a crib free of soft objects or loose bedding.
• If you have a swimming pool, install four-sided isolation fencing
around the pool with a self-closing, self-latching gate.
• In homes with young children, control or eliminate lead-based paint
hazards and lock up products used for cleaning, car maintenance, gardening,
and pest control.
For more information, visit www.cdc.gov/healthyhomes.
Chemists Offer New Formula For Earth Day
might be surprised to learn that naturally occurring chemicals--such as
nitrogen and potassium--play an important role in keeping plants growing
Thanks to a program that celebrates the benefits of chemistry, they can
learn about this and other ways that chemistry contributes to the world
The program--Chemists Celebrate Earth Day (CCED)--is sponsored by the
American Chemical Society (ACS) and is celebrated annually on April 22. The
event was created to highlight the positive impact that chemistry has on
The ACS offers a suite of events, contests and educational resources
that can be used by ACS members, chemical educators and chemistry
enthusiasts to illustrate the positive role that chemistry plays in the
This year, the American Chemical Society's observance of Earth Day
includes a wide variety of community activities focusing on the program's
theme, "Plants--The Green Machines!" This annual event unites ACS
local sections, businesses, schools and individuals in communicating the
importance of chemistry to the quality of life. Activities planned by ACS
local sections and student chapter members range from planting gardens,
helping children conduct hands-on activities using everyday household
materials, playing word games and puzzles, to sponsoring an illustrated
poem contest for students in grades K−12.
Children can write poems in any style including haiku, limerick, ode,
ABC poem, free verse, end rhyme, blank verse and sonnet, and no longer than
40 words. Topics can include:
• Environmental chemistry--plants help to keep air clean;
• Food chemistry--plants are a source of food;
• Biochemistry--plants are being used as an alternate fuel source; and
• General plant function--photosynthesis and respiration.
First-place winners in each of the national contest's grade categories
will win $200. Second-place winners in each grade category will win $100.
The American Chemical Society is a nonprofit organization chartered by
the U.S. Congress. It is the world's largest scientific society and a
global leader in providing access to chemistry-related research.
For information about ACS, various activities and the illustrated poem
contest, including contest deadlines, visit www.acs.org/earthday.
Printing Tips To Reduce Environmental Impact
consumption can account for a vast majority of the total carbon footprint
of a printing device, making it the largest contributor above other factors
such as energy consumption and manufacturing.
So for those small business and home office owners who really want to
minimize the environmental impact of printing, just looking at
"green" products or products that are "eco-engineered"
is not enough. Even looking at the energy efficiency of the device isn't
enough, since the amount of watts consumed by printing devices are all
pretty much the same.
In fact, it takes up to 60 times more electrical energy to manufacture
one sheet of paper than it does for a laser printer to print on it.
So how do you print less? How do you effectively reduce the volume of
pages flowing through the devices deployed throughout your organization?
Try these tips:
• Think before you print. Whether at home or at work, just take a moment
to print smarter. Review all documents from the computer and only print
final versions when necessary. Share soft (electronic) copies of documents
when possible. Also, reduce your margins in text documents to get more
content onto each page, therefore reducing the total number of pages used.
• Print on both sides of the paper. Check to see if your printer offers
a duplex or two-sided printing option. This automatically cuts the amount
of paper being used and therefore your cost of paper supplies is reduced by
up to 50 percent.
• Print text only (or print in draft mode) to reduce the amount of ink
• Use high-yield cartridges to reduce your cost per page.
• Share printers in the home or office through wireless networking
• Recycle your printed pages and use paper with recycled content. If you
print on one side only, save those pages in a designated spot and use again
on the blank side. Use a designated blue box for this, placing the side
with text face down to make reuse easier.
• Look for electronics with a longer warranty, such as Lexmark's
Professional Series inkjet products, which offer an industry-leading,
five-year warranty to extend the life cycles of your devices.
• Join a supply rewards program. Supply programs reduce your costs and
reward you for purchasing and recycling original cartridges. For full
program details, visit www.lexmarkrewards.com.
• When the printer's life cycle is complete, return the printer to a dedicated
collection point for recycling.
• Reduce energy usage by switching the device off after use.
• Choose a multifunction device that allows you to scan a document into
a digital format for storage on shared folders, archiving or sending
More information can be found online at www.lexmark.com.
Your Neighborhood From The Ground Up
you get down to it, the way your place is paved can have a greater effect
than many realize on how well the environment fares.
The right road, street and parking lot paving can lower stormwater runoff and so reduce pollution. Many people
are asking the people in charge of paving to consider using permeable
interlocking concrete pavement (PICP) on upcoming projects.
They look like popular concrete paving stones but are set in with small
spaces between them. The space is filled with small stones to allow runoff
to filter down and into the soil. They come in a variety of styles and
colors to suit most places and purposes.
In Addition, The Pavers:
• Meet U.S. Environmental Protection Agency stormwater
performance criteria as a structural best management practice while
providing parking, road and pedestrian surfaces;
• Provide compliance with the U.S. National Pollutant Discharge
Elimination System regulations;
• Reduce runoff from common rainstorms by as much as 100 percent;
eliminate surface puddles and flooding;
• Promote street tree survival;
• Reduce ice hazards because snow melts faster;
• Have a 50-year life cycle for surface;
• Are compatible with underground stormwater
storage systems, many slower-draining clay soils and cold climates;
• Preserve wooded areas that would otherwise be cleared for stormwater detention or retention ponds;
• Contribute to urban heat island reduction through evaporation and
reflective, light-colored pavers;
• Are highly visible;
• Reduce the need for continuous expansion of drainage infrastructure;
• May be used on sloped site with proper design;
• Simplify surface and subsurface repairs; no unsightly patches or
weakened pavement from utility cuts;
• Can be used for traffic calming;
• Enhance property values.
What Can I Do?
Contact your local municipal officials and make sure they know that
permeable pavements can reduce stormwater runoff
Communities and their members can learn more from the Interlocking
Concrete Pavement Institute and find ICPI-certified installers at www.icpi.org or by calling (703) 657-6900.
Cleaning Can Make Your House Dirty
it comes to eliminating those uninvited guests called dirt and lingering
germs, it may be a good idea to stop before you mop. Unbeknownst to many,
some traditional cleaning methods are actually spreading germs rather than
It's important to assess if old approaches to cleaning are the most
effective and even more importantly, the safest. Before bringing out the
traditional mops, seemingly harmless sponges and die-hard dust rags, you
may care to consider whether they'll make your house dirty.
Unsuspected bacteria and germs can live and thrive in surprising places.
Some startling statistics to review before you start your cleaning include:
• Problem: The sponge with which you clean your dishes and countertops
contains more germs than the toilet bowl.
• Solution: Replace old sponges at least once a week and add them to
your daily load of laundry to ensure cleanliness.
• Problem: Your refrigerator, the place where you store the food you
later eat, is riddled with hidden bacteria and germs.
• Solution: Get rid of old, spoiled food and wipe down all shelves,
drawers and bins with sanitizing wipes.
• Problem: The kitchen sink is one of the most germ-ridden areas in the
• Solution: Steam clean the entire kitchen sink and counter including
the tiny, scum-loving crevices around handles and faucets with a HAAN HS-20
handheld, Deluxe Personal Sanitizing Steam Cleaner with the concentrator
• Problem: Clothes, drapes and linens stored in a damp attic or basement
are breeding grounds for bacteria.
• Solution: Refresh and sanitize using the HAAN GS-60 Steam Station to
kill up to 99.9 percent of household germs and leave linens smelling fresh.
• Problem: Bacteria and germs hiding in carpet fibers are not killed by
• Solution: Sanitize your carpets. You can do so using the new HAAN Duo
with a dual-purpose sweeper and steamer, great for cleaning and sanitizing
both carpets and hard surfaces.
For a fresh look at cleaning tips visit www.haanusa.com.
owners go green if they heed these hints:
• Don't speed. Gas mileage decreases sharply above 60 mph.
• Drive gently. Avoid sudden accelerations and jerky stop-and-go's.
Use cruise control on open highways to keep your speed as steady as
• Avoid idling.
• Remove excess items. Less weight means better mileage.
• Remove rooftop cargo carriers after vacations.
• Consolidate your errands to eliminate unnecessary driving.
• Keep your engine tuned. A misfiring spark plug will reduce fuel
efficiency. Replace filters and fluids as recommended in your owner's
• Check your tires for proper inflation. Underinflation
wastes fuel by making your engine work harder to push the vehicle.
• Look for qualified auto technicians as evidenced by trade school
diplomas, certifications by the National Institute for Automotive Service
Excellence and signs of advanced course work.
Visit www.ase.com for more information
and car care advice.