ECOKIDS: RAISING CHILDREN WHO CARE FOR THE EARTH

To forge a sustainable future, we need citizens who care for the Earth. This 240-page book presents a coherent plan that will help parents foster a love for nature in their children, teach them the importance of environmental protection, promote environmental values and inspire action.

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THE HOMEOWNER'S GUIDE TO RENEWABLE ENERGY, REVISED & UPDATED

Energy bills have skyrocketed in North America, and traditional energy sources can be as damaging to the environment as they are to your pocketbook. The Homeowner's Guide to Renewable Energy will show you how to slash your home energy costs while dramatically reducing your carbon footprint.

Completely revised and updated, this new edition describes the most practical and affordable methods for making significant improvements in home energy efficiency and tapping into clean, affordable, renewable energy resources. If implemented, these measures will save the average homeowner tens of thousands of dollars over the coming decades.

Focusing on the latest technological advances in residential renewable energy, this guide examines each alternative energy option available, including:

  • Solar hot water and solar hot air systems
  • Space heat: passive and active solar retrofits and heat pumps
  • Wood heat
  • Passive cooling
  • Electricity from solar, wind, and microhydro
  • Hydrogen, fuel cells, methane digesters, and biodiesel

This well-illustrated and accessible guide is an essential resource for those wanting to enter the renewable energy field. Packed with practical tips and guidelines, it gives readers sufficient knowledge to hire and communicate effectively with contractors. It’s a must-read for anyone interested in saving money and achieving energy independence.

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GREEN TRANSPORTATION BASICS

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Green Transportation Basics is a guide to greening your personal driving habits by dramatically improving the efficiency of an existing vehicle using simple measures such as trip planning and regular maintenance to improve fuel economy. This handy guide also explores the most promising new green cars and trucks, including electric vehicles, hybrids, plug-in hybrids and natural-gas cars. And it critically examines sustainable fuels including ethanol, biodiesel, straight vegetable oil, hydrogen and biomethane, evaluating each according to a set of established criteria. Each green fuel source must:

  • be socially, economically and environmentally sustainable
  • have a high net energy yield
  • be clean, abundant, renewable and affordable.

Don't let your dream of greening your transportation idle – Green Transportation Basics will guide you through the myths and misconceptions and provide clear options for the road to a more sustainable future.

About the Author
Dan Chiras is a respected educator and author who has published more than 25 books on residential renewable energy and green building. He is the founder and director of The Evergreen Institute, where he teaches workshops on small wind energy systems, solar electricity, passive solar design, energy efficiency, and green and natural building.

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POWER FROM THE SUN

Solar panel systems can give you the energy independence you want, and in Power From the Sun, author Dan Chiras gives you accurate and easy-to-understand information about small-scale solar energy systems.

Starting with basic information about electricity and solar power, this book includes information about site assessment for optimum use of your solar panel system, types of PV systems, inverters, batteries, generators and maintenance of your solar electric system.

With chapters for every part of a solar panel system, you will be able to understand clearly how and why everything works. The authors have also included a final chapter on permits, insurance and other necessary paperwork for solar panel systems.

Homeowners and businesses will benefit from reading Power From the Sun by better understanding how a solar panel system can save them money in a short time, and how they too can achieve energy independence.

About the author:

Dan Chiras is president of Sustainable Systems Design, Inc., a residential renewable energy and green building consulting firm, and is director of The Evergreen Institute's Center for Renewable Energy and Green Building. He is an internationally acclaimed speaker and author and has published 25 books, including The Homeowner's Guide to Renewable Energy and Power from the Wind.

Robert Aram, PE, LEED AP, is a renewable energy advocate and consultant. His consulting projects include off-grid farmsteads, highly energy-efficient homes and a solar system for a university sports complex. He has participated in the design and installation of photovoltaic, solar thermal and small wind systems.

Kurt Nelson has been installing solar electric systems through his company SOLutions since the late 1980s. He specializes in off-grid PV and teaches classes for the Midwest Renewable Energy Association.

Recommended Books 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 its readers. For nearly 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.

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POWER FROM THE SUN, 2ND EDITION

Written for the layman, this is the fully revised and updated guide for individuals and businesses interested in generating their own electricity using the sun. Practical and accessible, it provides a basic understanding of electricity, wiring, and solar energy, and guides the reader through site assessment and determining the type of system needed, providing a solid understanding of grid-tied and off-grid systems, along with important guidelines on installation.

Power from the Sun — 2nd Edition discusses types of photovoltaics (PVs) and photovoltaic systems, and includes comprehensive information on recent changes and improvements in PV modules, charge controllers, inverters, batteries, generators, and net metering policies. It offers an excellent overview of the many options available, allowing the reader to make the best choices for their individual situation during the design, installation, and operation of a solar electric system.

This is the definitive guide for homeowners, business owners, installers, architects, and just about anyone interested in lowering energy bills while achieving greater energy independence.

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POWER FROM THE WIND

This book by Mother Earth News contributing editor Dan Chiras will enable you to make wise decisions during the design, purchase and installation of home-based wind energy systems. Written in consultation with two of the most experienced "small wind" experts in the United States, this is the book you need if you are interested in a wind turbine for your home.

Faced with frequent power outages, skyrocketing energy costs, and constant reminders of the impacts of conventional energy sources, homeowners and businesses are beginning to explore ways to use energy more efficiently and to generate their own electricity to reduce fuel bills and their carbon footprint and to achieve greater independence.

Power From the Wind is an easily understandable guide for individuals and businesses interested in installing small wind energy system. Written for the layperson, this practical guide provides an accurate and unbiased view of all aspects of small wind energy systems, including:

  • Wind and wind energy systems
  • Ways to assess wind resources at your site
  • Wind turbines and towers
  • Inverters and batteries
  • Installation and maintenance of systems
  • The costs and benefits of installing a wind system

This book is designed to help readers make the smartest, most economical choices. Readers will gain the knowledge they need to make wise decisions during the design, purchase and installation of small wind energy systems and to communicate effectively with wind system installers.

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POWER FROM THE WIND, 2ND EDITION

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THE NATURAL HOUSE

This exciting book takes the reader on a tour of fourteen natural building methods, including straw bale, rammed earth, cordwood, adobe, earthbags, earthships, and more. You'll learn how these homes are built, how much they cost, and the pros and cons of each.

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THE SCOOP ON POOP

The Scoop on Poop presents a wide range of ways to answer the call of nature, and in so doing maximize the benefits of existing wastewater. This book explores proven alternatives to Western wastewater disposal. Whether you're interested in composting toilets, outdoor greywater or blackwater planters, constructed wetlands, or other innovative solutions, author Dan Chiras will walk you through:

  • System pros and cons.
  • Design, construction and maintenance advice.
  • Costs, permitting issues and the safe treatment of composted waste.

All system plans are relatively simple and straightforward — enough so that the average homeowner can build and install them. Intended for readers who live in cities, towns and rural environments, this is a practical guide to safe, ingenious ways to capture the nutrients from waste and recycle them back into your soil to grow fruit trees, vegetables and flowers — all without running afoul of the "ick" factor.

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THE SOLAR HOUSE: PASSIVE HEATING AND COOLING

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.

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WIND POWER BASICS

Wind power is the fastest-growing source of energy in the world, and by the year 2020 it is projected to supply at least 12 percent of global electrical demand.

Wind Power Basics provides a clear understanding of wind and wind energy systems including turbines, towers, inverters and batteries, site assessment, installation, and maintenance requirements.

Whether you're considering your own small-scale wind energy system or just want a straightforward, detailed introduction to the benefits and challenges of this rapidly emerging technology, Wind Power Basics is the guide for you.

About the author:
Dan Chiras is a respected educator and author who has published more than 25 books on residential renewable energy and green building, including Power From the Wind. He is the director of the Evergreen Institute, where he teaches workshops on small wind energy systems, solar electricity, passive solar design, energy efficiency, and green and natural building.

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