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Remodelista Gift Guide 2020: 15 Surprises for the Eco-Minded Aesthete

For the zero-waster (and the wannabe), consider a present that’s both practical and inspiring. Here are 15 ideas from workshops devoted to using only natural, renewable materials (scraps included)—and to marrying utility with beauty. If you’re like us, you’ll shop this list for yourself, too. Better Bowl Covers Above: Award for the prettiest palette. Lots of companies make beeswax-infused food wraps (for use instead of plastic) and we ourselves are true converts. Wax Atelier of London stands out for its Waxed Linen Wraps in botanically dyed colors. See their other products in our post Artisanal Candles (and More). Cult Cast-Iron…

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Wingnut Blower-Door Testing

I recently conducted an initial blower-door test on a new home that I helped to design. We were at the rough-framing stage, and ended up with results that I had hoped for: .55ACH50 or 140cfm. Given the volume of the home, the leakage area was equal to approximately 15 sq. in. We were at a good point in the construction to do a little blower-door experimenting, so I borrowed Peter Yost’s wingnut hat and went to work.  I wanted to know how many holes of a specific size it would take to get this home to the code-required 3ACH50. I…

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All About Shipping Container Homes

When thinking about the construction of a new building, thoughts typically go to lumber, sheathing, and perhaps bricks. But how about dropping a modified steel shipping container or two (onto your property, and starting there? This article spells out the details of using shipping containers for buildings. What Are Shipping Containers? in the 1950s by visionary truck driver Malcolm McLean, shipping containers transformed international trade, and their versatility has made them viable, popular structures for storage units, backyard offices, and even homes. How to Use a Shipping Container for a Building The first step is to be sure your local…

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Best Gutter Guards of 2020

The gutters along the edge of your home’s roof can become clogged over time with leaves, pine needles, twigs, and branches. If you don’t regularly clean your gutters, any collected water won’t be able to drain out the gutter’s drain pipe, which can lead to structural damage to your home. To avoid having to climb up a ladder several times a year to clean out your gutters, consider investing in a gutter guard. While a gutter guard doesn’t completely eliminate the need for maintenance, it decreases the amount of time it takes for debris to build up. Keep reading to…

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Remodelista Gift Guide 2020: Gifts for the Home Fragrance Snob

I’m very cautious when it comes to fragrance; averse to synthetics and anything fruity or overly intoxicating. I rarely burn scented candles or incense at home for fear of competing fragrance from room to room and infusing every fabric in the house with an irreversible aroma. If you’re shopping for a friend with an olfactory sensitivity, here are 10 nuanced and sophisticated home fragrances sure to please. Above: The Bodha Calm Incense has a gentle fragrance and smokeless burn. Made in Japan using traditional methods, the incense is $32 at The Primary Essentials who also carries the full line of…

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Designing Batteries for Easier Recycling

As concern mounts over the impacts of climate change, many experts are calling for greater use of electricity as a substitute for fossil fuels. Powered by advancements in battery technology, the number of plug-in hybrid and electric vehicles on U.S. roads is increasing. And utilities are generating a growing share of their power from renewable fuels, supported by large-scale battery storage systems. These trends, coupled with a growing volume of battery-powered phones, watches, laptops, wearable devices and other consumer technologies, leave us wondering: What will happen to all these batteries once they wear out? Despite overwhelming enthusiasm for cheaper, more…

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