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1.

THE SOLAR HOUSE: PASSIVE HEATING AND COOLING

Dan Chiras
Paperback

Price: $29.95

Before you build your home, read this definitive guide to designing with the sun in mind by Mother Earth News contributing editor Dan Chiras. Learn how you can cut your energy bills in half by choosin…

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Before you build your home, read this definitive guide to designing with the sun in mind by Mother Earth News contributing editor Dan Chiras. Learn how you can cut your energy bills in half by choosing the best passive solar heating and cooling techniques.

Passive solar heating and passive cooling — approaches known as natural conditioning — provide comfort throughout the year by reducing, or eliminating, the need for fossil fuel. Yet while heat from sunlight and ventilation from breezes is free for the taking, few modern architects or builders really understand the principles involved.

Now Chiras, author of the popular book The Natural House, brings those principles up to date for a new generation of solar enthusiasts.

The techniques required to heat and cool a building passively have been used for thousands of years. Early societies such as the Native American Anasazis and the ancient Greeks perfected designs that effectively exploited these natural processes. The Greeks considered anyone who didn't use passive solar to heat a home to be a barbarian!

In the United States, passive solar architecture experienced a major resurgence of interest in the 1970s in response to crippling oil embargoes. With grand enthusiasm but with scant knowledge (and sometimes little common sense), architects and builders created a wide variety of solar homes. Some worked pretty well, but looked more like laboratories than houses. Others performed poorly, overheating in the summer because of excessive or misplaced windows and skylights, and growing chilly in the colder months because of insufficient thermal mass and insulation and poor siting.

In The Solar House, Chiras sets the record straight on the vast potential for passive heating and cooling. Acknowledging the good intentions of misguided solar designers in the past, he highlights certain egregious — and entirely avoidable — errors. More importantly, Chiras explains in methodical detail how today's home builders can succeed with solar designs.

Now that energy efficiency measures including higher levels of insulation and multilayered glazing have become standard, it is easier than ever before to create a comfortable and affordable passive solar house that will provide year-round comfort in any climate.

Moreover, because modern building materials and airtight construction methods sometimes result in air-quality and even toxicity problems, Chiras explains state-of-the-art ventilation and filtering techniques that complement the ancient solar strategies of thermal mass and daylighting. Chiras also explains the new diagnostic aids available in printed worksheet or software formats, allowing readers to generate their own design schemes.

About the author
Daniel D. Chiras is the author of The Natural House. He holds a doctorate in physiology and teaches courses on sustainability and environmental health at the Universities of Colorado and the University of Denver. He is the author of five college and high school textbooks as well as other books on global environmental issues. Chiras is also an avid musician, organic gardener, river runner and bicyclist. He lives with his family in a passive solar/solar electric, straw bale and rammed tire house in Evergreen, Colo.


2.

THE GOOD LIFE

Helen & Scott Nearing
Paperback

Price: $16.00

This new edition of Living the Good Life and Continuing the Good Life brings together the Nearings' classic guides to the theory and practice of rural homesteading. This couple abandoned the city for …

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This new edition of Living the Good Life and Continuing the Good Life brings together the Nearings' classic guides to the theory and practice of rural homesteading. This couple abandoned the city for a rural life with minimal cash and the knowledge of self reliance and good health.

Today, more than ever before, our society is seeking ways to live more conscientiously. To help bring you the very best inspiration and information about greener, more sustainable lifestyles, Mother Earth News is recommending books to its readers. For more than 30 years, Mother Earth News has been North America’s “Original Guide to Living Wisely,” creating books and magazines for people with a passion for self-reliance and a desire to live in harmony with nature.


3.

STRAW BALE HOME STUDY PLAN

Living Shelter Design
Study Plan

Price: $14.95

Mother Earth News is pleased to offer a study plan of the beautiful Country Straw Bale Home, created by Living Shelter Design Architects, PLLC. The study plan provides detailed information on this cop…

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Mother Earth News is pleased to offer a study plan of the beautiful Country Straw Bale Home, created by Living Shelter Design Architects, PLLC. The study plan provides detailed information on this copyrighted home design, including elevation drawings, floor plan, descriptions of design features, the Mother Earth News feature article about the home and information for ordering the construction-ready blueprint.

DISCLAIMER

It is your responsibility to make sure that any project you undertake is safe, effective and legal for your situation. All Ogden Publications study plans are offered AS IS for information and entertainment purposes only. No warranties are expressed or implied. By using this information or this study plan you agree to hold Ogden Publications harmless from any damages or injuries of any kind that might result from errors, omissions or other causes.


4.

TIMBER FRAMING FOR THE REST OF US

ROB ROY
Paperback

Price: $24.95

This is the first book to describe in depth the timber framing methods used by most contractors, framers and owner-builders — methods that use modern metal fasteners, special screws, and common-sense …

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This is the first book to describe in depth the timber framing methods used by most contractors, framers and owner-builders — methods that use modern metal fasteners, special screws, and common-sense building principles to create post and beam structures in much less time. The book includes everything an owner-builder needs to know about building strong and beautiful structural frames from heavy timbers.

Recommended Product for Wiser Living: Today, more than ever before, our society is seeking ways to live more conscientiously. To help bring you the very best inspiration and information about greener, more sustainable lifestyles, Mother Earth News is recommending books to readers. For 40 years, Mother Earth News has been North America’s “Original Guide to Living Wisely,” creating books and magazines for people with a passion for self-reliance and a desire to live in harmony with nature.


5.

THE NEW ECOLOGICAL HOME

Dan Chiras
Paperback

Price: $35.00

A great overview of green building techniques, materials, products and technologies that are either currently available or will be in the near future. Author Dan Chiras provides practical information…

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A great overview of green building techniques, materials, products and technologies that are either currently available or will be in the near future. Author Dan Chiras provides practical information for home buyers, owner-builders and anyone interested in building for a sustainable future.


6.

GREEN REMODELING: CHANGING THE WORLD ONE ROOM AT A TIME

David Johnston and Kim Master
Paperback

Price: $9.89

CLEARANCE ITEM. PREVIOUS RETAIL PRICE WAS $29.95. AVAILABLE ONLY WHILE SUPPLIES LAST!

Create a gorgeous and greener home with the help of Green Remodeling, a Mother Earth News Book for Wiser Living. It…

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CLEARANCE ITEM. PREVIOUS RETAIL PRICE WAS $29.95. AVAILABLE ONLY WHILE SUPPLIES LAST!

Create a gorgeous and greener home with the help of Green Remodeling, a Mother Earth News Book for Wiser Living. It includes energy-efficient, healthful and attractive choices in building materials, heating and cooling systems and appliances. It's easy-to-read and well illustrated.

Whether because of changing lifestyles or simply because houses are becoming outdated, millions of North Americans are renovating their homes every year, spending more money annually on renovation than on new home construction. But renovations can be fraught with unintended consequences like indoor air pollution. How do you remodel in a healthy, environmentally friendly way?

Green Remodeling is a comprehensive guide. It first points out the advantages of remodeling. Buildings are responsible for 40% of worldwide energy flow and material use, so how you remodel can make a difference. Upgrading furnaces, cabinets and toilets means less fossil fuel pollution, reduced resource depletion and fewer health risks. Green remodeling is more energy-efficient, more resource-conserving, healthier for occupants, and more affordable to create, operate and maintain.

Green Remodeling then discusses simple green renovation solutions for homeowners, focusing on key aspects of the building - including foundations, framing, plumbing, windows, heating and finishes. Room by room, it outlines the intricate connections that make the house work as a system. For example, how new windows may affect the structure and mechanical systems of the rooms below, the health of the family, and the future of old-growth forests. Then, in an easy-to-read format complete with checklists, personal stories, expert insights and an extensive resource list, it covers easy ways to save energy, conserve natural resources and protect the health of loved ones. Addressing all climates, this is a perfect resource for conventional homeowners, as well as architects and remodeling contractors.

About the authors:

David Johnston has been developing green building programs for the last 10 years. Named one of the top 50 remodelers in the country by Remodeling Magazine in 1990, he developed the first green remodeling program in the country in Boulder, Colorado. He trains remodelers across the U.S. and is creating a national green certification program for the National Association of the Remodeling Industry. He is president of What's Working and Lightworks Construction, Inc. He is from Boulder, Colorado.

Kim Master is a Green Building Consultant and Senior Associate with What's Working. She was previously Ecommerce/Project Manager with Care2.com, the largest environmental website for healthy living and a healthy planet. She is from Boulder, Colorado.


7.

HOME WORK: HANDBUILT SHELTER

Lloyd Kahn
Paperback

Price: $26.95

Building on the enormous success of his original Shelter book, Lloyd Kahn continues his odyssey of finding and exploring the most magnificent and unusual handbuilt houses in existence. Among the intri…

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Building on the enormous success of his original Shelter book, Lloyd Kahn continues his odyssey of finding and exploring the most magnificent and unusual handbuilt houses in existence. Among the intriguing domiciles described in Home Work are a Japanese-style stilt house accessible only by a cable across a river; a stone house in a South African valley whose roof serves as a baboon trampoline; and a bottle house in the Nevada desert.

More than 1,500 photos illustrate various innovative architectural styles and natural building materials that have gained popularity in the last two decades, such as cob, papercrete, bamboo, adobe, strawbale, timber framing and earthbags. If you love fine, fun and/or funky buildings, you will want to own this splendid book.


8.

EARTHBAG BUILDING

Kaki Hunter & Donald Kiffmeyer
Paperback

Price: $29.95

More than 70% of Americans cannot afford to own a code-enforced, contractor-built home. This has led to widespread interest in using natural materials — straw, cob and earth — for building homes and o…

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More than 70% of Americans cannot afford to own a code-enforced, contractor-built home. This has led to widespread interest in using natural materials — straw, cob and earth — for building homes and other buildings that are inexpensive, and that rely largely on labor rather than expensive and often environmentally-damaging outsourced materials.

Earthbag Building, a Mother Earth News Book for Wiser Living, is the first comprehensive guide to all the tools, tricks and techniques for building with bags filled with earth — or earthbags. Having been introduced to sandbag construction by the renowned Nader Khalili in 1993, the authors developed this "Flexible Form Rammed Earth Technique" over the last decade. A reliable method for constructing homes, outbuildings, garden walls and much more, this enduring, tree-free architecture can also be used to create arched and domed structures of great beauty — in any region, at home, in developing countries or in emergency relief work.

This fully-illustrated guide first discusses the many merits of earthbag construction, and then leads the reader through the key elements of an earthbag building:

  • Special design considerations
  • Foundations, walls and floors
  • Electrical, plumbing and shelving
  • Lintels, windows and door installations
  • Roofs, arches and domes
  • Exterior and interior plasters


With dedicated sections on costs, making your own specialized tools, and building code considerations, as well as a complete resources guide, Earthbag Building is the long-awaited, definitive guide to this uniquely pleasing construction style.

About the contributors:

Kaki Hunter and Donald Kiffmeyer have been involved in the construction industry for the last 20 years, specializing in affordable, low-tech, low-impact building methods that are as natural as possible. Together, over the last nine years they developed the "Flexible Form Rammed Earth Technique" of building affordably with earthbags. They have taught the subject and contributed their expertise to several books on natural building.


9.

CABINS

David and Jeanie Stiles
Paperback

Price: $19.95

Inspiring color photographs help you choose from a variety of cabins to suit your lifestyle and preference. More than 400 detailed illustrations, designs, floor plans and architectural details complem…

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Inspiring color photographs help you choose from a variety of cabins to suit your lifestyle and preference. More than 400 detailed illustrations, designs, floor plans and architectural details complement the text that takes you through the entire building process from construction basics to a finished cabin.


10.

MORE STRAW BALE BUILDING

Magwood, Mack and Therrien
Paperback

Price: $11.00

CLEARANCE ITEM. PREVIOUS RETAIL PRICE WAS $32.95 AVAILABLE ONLY WHILE SUPPLIES LAST!

Straw bale houses are easy to build, affordable, super energy efficient, environmentally friendly, attractive, and c…

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CLEARANCE ITEM. PREVIOUS RETAIL PRICE WAS $32.95 AVAILABLE ONLY WHILE SUPPLIES LAST!

Straw bale houses are easy to build, affordable, super energy efficient, environmentally friendly, attractive, and can be designed to match the builder's personal space needs, esthetics, and budget. Despite mushrooming interest in the technique, however, most straw bale books focus on "selling" the dream of straw-bale building, but don't adequately address the most critical issues faced by bale house builders. Moreover, since many developments in this field are recent, few books are completely up to date with the latest techniques.

More Straw Bale Building, a Mother Earth News Book for Wiser Living, is designed to fill this gap. A completely rewritten edition of the 20,000-copy best-selling original, it leads the potential builder through the entire process of building a bale structure, tackling all the practical issues: finding and choosing bales; developing sound building plans; roofing; electrical, plumbing, and heating systems; building code compliance; and special concerns for builders in northern climates. New material includes:

  • more extensive sections on electric wiring and plumbing
  • updated sections on bale finishes and finishing
  • a section on prefabricated straw bale walls
  • a wider selection of case studies, photographs and illustrations
  • a section on common mistakes
  • budgeting for low-, medium- and high-cost projects
  • new testing data that is in no other straw bale book


Down-to earth and complete, More Straw Bale Building makes the remarkable benefits of straw bale building available in the most comprehensive and practical book on the subject to date.

About the Contributors:

Chris Magwood and Peter Mack are professional straw bale builders and consultants who have constructed over 40 straw bale buildings, consulting on many more. They have taught workshops and seminars across the continent and overseas, and are authors of one of the first straw bale how-to books, Straw Bale Building (New Society, Publishers, 2000) which has sold 20,000 copies. Chris Magwood has been editor of The Last Straw Journal, an international quarterly devoted to straw-bale building, since 2001. He is also the coauthor of Straw Bale Details.

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