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Housing is a fundamental human right. For most of human history, our homes were built by hand from whatever local materials were available. However, since the Industrial Revolution, most housing has become little more than quickly constructed, mass-produced, uniform boxes. At the same time, the invention and standardization of the 30-year mortgage and our ever-increasing reliance on credit has come to mean that most of us never own our homes outright.
Housing Reclaimed is a call to arms for nonconventional home builders. It examines how technological advances, design evolution and resourceful, out-of-the-box thinking about materials and efficiency can help us meet the challenge of building affordable, environmentally friendly, beautiful and unique homes. Focusing on the use of salvaged and reclaimed materials, this inspirational volume is packed with case studies of innovative projects including:
These projects and others like them demonstrate that building one's own home does not have to be an unattainable dream. This beautifully illustrated guide is a must read for anyone interested in creating quality zero- or low-debt housing, reducing landfill waste and creating stronger communities.
About the author
Jessica Kellner is editor-in-chief of Mother Earth Living magazine (www.motherearthliving.com) and a passionate advocate of using architectural salvage to create aesthetically beautiful, low-cost housing.
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 and products to readers. For more than 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.
Author: Jessica Kellner
Malcolm Wells' fourth book about underground architecture will show you that building a house underground is not only possible but also a very good idea for those who want a friendly-with-the-earth life.
This book covers everything you need to know about underground building, from concept basics to house plans you can use for your own underground home.
An architect by trade, Wells lived in The Underground Art Gallery, in Brewster, Mass., and wrote several books about this subject, which he began promoting in 1964. A pioneer of underground building and natural design, he penned such best-selling books as Gentle Architecture and The Earth-Sheltered House. How to Build an Underground House is scanned from his own handwritten and illustrated pages and is self-published.
Author: Malcolm Wells
Keeping Bees in Towns and Cities features everything an urbanite needs to know to start keeping bees: how to select the perfect hive, how to buy bees, how to care for a colony, how to harvest honey, and what to do in the winter. Urban beekeeping has particular challenges and needs, and this book highlights the challenges and presents practices that are safe, legal and neighbor-friendly.
The text is rounded out with profiles of urban beekeepers from all over the world, including public hives at the Maryland Center for Horticulture; beekeeping on an office balcony in Melbourne, Australia; and a poolside hive at a hotel in Vancouver, British Columbia.
Author: Luke Dixon
From foundation to finish, a wealth of information is available on sustainable construction methods. Entire volumes have been published on individual green and natural building techniques! But with so many different ideas from which to choose, there is no single resource that allows an owner or builder to quickly and objectively compare the merits of each system for their particular project.
Making Better Buildings cuts through the hype and provides the unvarnished facts about the upsides and downsides of the most widely discussed materials and technologies. Drawing on the real-world experiences of designer/builders, this comparative guide systematically and comprehensively examines each approach in terms of:
Each chapter is rounded out by a chart that summarizes the material in a quick and accessible manner.
Whether you are an owner preparing to build a green or natural home, or a conventional contractor determined to integrate sustainable alternatives into your existing construction practices, this up-to-the minute resource will help you make the best decisions for your project, while meeting your energy, efficiency, budgetary and site-specific needs.
Author: Chris Magwood
The second edition of No-Regrets Remodeling will educate homeowners about opportunities for improving their home's energy efficiency and comfort at one of the most critical junctures in home ownership. That moment comes when homeowners are faced with the decision to remodel a recently purchased or existing home, or due to a component failure, need to upgrade their home's HVAC, appliances, lighting or other energy-related systems.
No-Regrets Remodeling is not a technical guide for the pro or serious hands-on DIYer. It's oriented toward the homeowner who wants to make the right decisions to improve their home's comfort, safety, durability and energy savings, but isn't prepared to do more than simple weatherizing or efficiency measures.
No-Regrets Remodeling is valuable as a consumer-education tool for builders, remodelers and home-performance retrofitters. But most importantly, No-Regrets Remodeling will educate homeowners on how to choose the right professional for the job.
No-Regrets Remodeling introduces homeowners to the concepts of whole-home performance, energy auditing, energy rating, and how HVAC systems and other elements of a home work together. No-Regrets Remodeling will help homeowners understand and control energy use in their homes, pointing out money-saving opportunities they can take advantage of now, as well as helping them plan for future upgrades when they can afford them.
Ted and Kathy Carns live in the picturesque Laurel Highlands region of Western Pennsylvania. They have most of the usual modern conveniences: fridge, freezer, washer, computer, cell phone, hot tub, vacuum, hair dryer, flat screen TV with surround sound ... and they do it all without plugging into the power grid. Their house is wood-heated, their fuel is nonpetrol; they grow their own food, put up their harvest, make their own wine, and drop fresh canned peaches into the solar-powered blender for the morning smoothies. It's a simple life that works: zero waste, total recycling, and no “unnecessary necessities.” Others have done this, but the Carns are doing it in such a dramatic, inventive way that people flock to their astonishing Stone Camp home to learn their secrets. More than a dozen universities and colleges in the Tri-State/Mid-Atlantic area bring professors and students to Stone Camp every year to observe firsthand the remarkable lifestyle of Ted and Kathy Carns.
Off On Our Own is Ted Carns' manual for living off-grid, told with Mark Twainesque humor and irreverence: how he created the various systems that power the Stone Camp (including a how-to chapter) and what he thinks about oil, self-reliance, waste, nature and reducing one's carbon footprint to walk more gently on the earth. The book is illustrated throughout with more than 60 black-and-white photos.
Author: Ted Carns
What book would you want if you were stranded on a desert island? Widely regarded as the bible of off-grid living, the Solar Living Sourcebook might be your best choice. With more than 600,000 copies in print worldwide, it is the most comprehensive resource available for anyone interested in lessening their environmental footprint and increasing their energy independence.
This 14th edition of the sourcebook is the ultimate guide to renewable energy, sustainable living, natural and green building, off-grid living and alternative transportation, written by experts with decades of experience and a passion for sharing their knowledge. This fully revised and updated edition includes brand new sections on permaculture and urban homesteading, and completely rewritten chapters on solar technology, sustainable transportation and relocalization. It also boasts greatly expanded material on:
You’ll also find maps, wiring diagrams, formulas, charts, electrical code, solar sizing worksheets and much more.
Whether you're a layperson or a professional, novice or longtime aficionado, the Sourcebook puts the latest research and information at your fingertips … everything you need to know to make sustainable living a reality.
Author: John Schaeffer
Author: William P. Spence
This definitive manual marks the birth of a new vernacular for the 21st century. More than 400 color photographs and step-by-step instructions guide you through the building of anything from a garden shed to your own woodland house. This practical ‘how-to’ book will unquestionably be a benchmark for sustainable building using renewable local resources and evolving traditional skills to create durable, ecological and beautiful buildings.
Author: Ben Law
Shelter II was published in 1978, five years after the book Shelter. It was a sequel in a sense, but a more sober and practical book (in black and white, not color) for any owner-builder interested in building a simple stud-frame house. The heart of the book consists of an introduction to the principles of house design, followed by a condensed 24-page instruction manual for the novice builder for building a stud-frame home: foundation, floor, wall and roof framing; roofing, windows, doors, interior finish, as well as plumbing and electrical work.
Featured is a section of complete, to-scale drawings by Bob Easton of seven different homes, accompanied by floor plans. These unique drawings allow the first-time builder to visualize each structure as a whole by showing every member of the house frame.
Indigenous builders are studied with an eye to the still-usable skills of the past. There are many photos of North American houses and barns: still-standing reminders of an era of practical building.
Rehabilitation projects then underway in major cities are also covered. There's a critical analysis of domes - they were found to be neither practical nor durable, and there's a detailed critique of America's program in those years to establish colonies in space.
Shelter II tells a story: Practical builders (past and present, in country and city) have always built with time-tested techniques and materials readily at hand: lumber, earth, stone, concrete, brick, thatch or abandoned city buildings. Design is governed by weather, purpose and economy. Building technique is determined by tradition, experience and practice. Then, as now, initiative and hand labor by owners can beat the high cost of building and reduce or eliminate lifetime mortgage obligations.
Out of print for some 20 years, Shelter II is an integral part of the Shelter Publications suite of books on handbuilt homebuilding, and we're happy to make it available once again.
Author: Lloyd Kahn & Bob Easton
Shelters, Shacks and Shanties, Second Edition presents lively, step-by-step tutelage on building all types of temporary and long-term accommodations from both natural and man-made materials. Originally published in 1914, this practical classic is as essential a guide for today's modern homesteader as it was at the turn of the 20th century.
Included are instructions for dozens of worry-free shelters for you to choose from, including a sod house for the lawn, a treetop house, over-water camps, a bog ken and much more. Satisfying the builder's need for the creature comforts of home, it also provides tips on how to build hearths and chimneys, notched log ladders, and even how to rig a front door with a secret look. Illustrated throughout with a bounty of helpful line drawings, Shelters, Shacks and Shanties, Second Edition harkens back to the can-do spirit of the American frontier that still thrives today.
Author: D.C. Beard
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Charles McRaven, a dedicated stonemason for more than 50 years, brings his practical experience and deep respect for the material to this essential guide for homeowners interested in adding stone to any setting, indoors or out. How-to techniques, step-by-step projects for the home, stone mason profiles, and beautiful photography give the book appeal as both a solid DIY guide and an inspirational dream book.
Author: Charles McRaven
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