Can This Home Be Greened? A Suburban Rescue

Lack of maintenance undermines a Texas tract home.


| May/June 2006


When Elise and Lee Whitworth moved two years ago from California to Austin, Texas, they bought a 1995 “tract home.” Like many first-time buyers, their biggest consideration was getting the most space for the dollar. With a home-based web-development company, two boys (Logan, 3, and Lucas, 2), and a dog, the Whitworths needed space badly.

Since they’ve moved to Austin—a renowned hub for the green building movement—they’ve become more aware of healthy home environments. A few months ago, Elise attended a green-building workshop organized by Austin Energy, the progressive local utility. She learned a lot, but she also became dismayed by her home’s low-quality materials, shoddy construction and lack of prior maintenance. Although the couple wants to add on a room and do something about the dried-up, unlandscaped yard, the workshop helped Elise understand that the house needs help before they make any additions. She wrote to Natural Home and asked us to help her green her suburban home.

Problem: Elise believes her home needs better ventilation. It smells dusty and musty, and when she cooks an aromatic meal, the smell lingers for hours. Typically, using the range hood and bathroom fans solves this problem, but a few other issues are at play here. First, the range-hood fan is a recirculating type that doesn’t vent outdoors. Second, the family keeps windows closed because the curious boys might crawl through them the moment Lee and Elise weren’t watching. Finally, the adults are deaf and can’t tell when the fans are running, so they tend not to use them so that they won’t accidentally leave them running unnoticed for hours.

Solution: Installing a new range-hood fan is a necessary, inexpensive solution. The on/off controls are obvious to see, or the adults can touch the hood to feel the vibration. In the bathroom, the Whitworths could replace the bath-fan switches with a switch timer that can turn itself off after a short time, or run for longer periods when continuous house ventilation is desired. A whole-house fan with automatic controllers also would help.

Can’t stand the heat





mother earth news fair 2018 schedule

MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR

Next: April 28-29, 2018
Asheville, NC

Sit in on dozens of practical workshops from the leading authorities on natural health, organic gardening, real food and more!

LEARN MORE



Subscribe today and save 58%

Subscribe to Mother Earth Living !

Mother Earth LivingWelcome to Mother Earth Living, the authority on green lifestyle and design. Each issue of Mother Earth Living features advice to create naturally healthy and nontoxic homes for yourself and your loved ones. With Mother Earth Living by your side, you’ll discover all the best and latest information you want on choosing natural remedies and practicing preventive medicine; cooking with a nutritious and whole-food focus; creating a nontoxic home; and gardening for food, wellness and enjoyment. Subscribe to Mother Earth Living today to get inspired on the art of living wisely and living well.

Save Money & a Few Trees!

Pay now with a credit card and take advantage of our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. You’ll save an additional $5 and get six issues of Mother Earth Living for just $14.95! (Offer valid only in the U.S.)

Or, choose Bill Me and pay just $19.95.




Facebook Pinterest Instagram YouTube Twitter


Copyright 2018, All Rights Reserved
Ogden Publications, Inc., 1503 SW 42nd St., Topeka, Kansas 66609-1265