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Try these products, tips to improve your home

Recently I've discovered somegreat new products for thehome and wanted to sharesome new things we've been usingin our design work, as well as a fewproducts that I've seen and will beusing soon.

One new product I love is MarvinIntegrity Windows, which are perfectfor the Lowcountry's climate.The exterior is made of a fiberglassmaterial with a patented coatingand the interior is wood. They areextremely weather resistant andcome with impact glass rated forhurricane protection.

Another great product is ArmorScreen, a fabric-based, roll-downwindow and door protection system.It blocks 97 percent of rain and windin a heavy storm, while allowing filteredlight to enter. This screen alsois great on porches.

Because new houses are sealedvery tightly, fresh air needs to beintroduced to prevent "sick buildingsyndrome."

In our climate, it is not desirableto use untreated hot, humid air. Inaddition to a heat pump, each HVACsystem needs an energy recoveryventilator. The ventilator pre-treatsthe hot, humid fresh air before itenters your heat pump or air conditioner.The load on your air conditioneris less, you save on coolingcost and your indoor air quality isgreatly improved.

Composting your vegetablescraps and coffee grounds is greatfor your garden but can be unsightlyon your kitchen counter. Blanco Soloncomposting system traps odorsand is flush mounted on your countertop.It won Interior Design Magazine'sbest eco product for 2010.

I currently have three favoritetile companies.

The Virginia-based New RavennaMosaics creates contemporary interpretationsof the ancient art form ofmosaics. Designs range from classicto whimsical and can be executed ina wide range of stone and glass. Fordetails, go to www.newravenna.com.

Artistic Tile has interesting shapesand patterns that will knock yoursocks off. I am currently installingits "Sinuous" pattern in a house andeveryone who walks in says "Wow!"For details, go to www.artistictile.com.

Alyse Edwards Tile also has interestingdecorative trim pieces andliners available in stone and glass.

Finally, I like a paper-basedcountertop material that has itsroots in outdoor skate park ramps.Called Richlite, it is made from FSCcertified wood and post-consumerrecycled paper that is treated withresin, pressed and baked into solidsheets. It looks good, too. For details,go to www.richlite.com.

Jane Frederick, AIA, LEED AP is aprincipal in Frederick + FrederickArchitects in Beaufort. Contact her at 843-522-8422.

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