It’s said that the greenest building is the one that’s already built, because so much energy is embodied in the existing structure.
With greater public awareness of the need for energy independence, the issue of how we can make our existing homes more resource-efficient is becoming ever more critical. Residential buildings make up a large fraction of our energy needs, largely due to heating and air-conditioning. So it’s no longer enough to simply do the small stuff, like switching to compact fluorescent bulbs, or turning down the thermostat at night.
In The Greened House Effect, author Jeff Wilson brings his twenty-five years of construction experience and hands-on knowledge of home building to bear on making our current houses cleaner, greener, more comfortable, and healthier. Think of a deep energy retrofit (DER) as a “whole home makeover”—one that represents a significant investment, but that saves money from the get-go by capturing the energy you “drop on the ground” every month, every year, through inefficiency, poor design, or simply living in a typical older home. This isn’t a book about freezing in the dark, but a solution that allows us to live more comfortably while making a positive impact in the world.
“We can’t buy our way out of the current and impending crises with the latest and greatest high-tech. We can’t buy our way out of it by simply replacing our old stuff with newer, “greener” stuff. That approach only assures that we will continue to experience the vicious circle of energy waste and dependence. I would argue, though, that we can save our way out of these problems,” writes Wilson.
Using his own family’s retrofit of their 1942 home as a prime example, Wilson weaves a readable narrative at a practical, hammer-and-nail level. He presents the solutions to our building and energy problems, making them seem possible for average homeowners and small contractors by offering the right balance of information, skills, financing strategies, and materials.
Technical information is presented in sidebars and graphs, and numerous color photos illustrate the process, including:
Wilson’s building experience, along with his lifelong passion for energy issues, all come together to form an inspirational, can-do approach to making our community, our nation, and our world a better place—one home at a time.
Author: Jeff Wilson
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In The Healthy Home, a father and son -- Dr. Myron Wentz, well-known microbiologist and founder of the USANA Corporation, and Dave Wentz, CEO of the USANA Corporation -- take readers on a tour of a specific home for a look at the surprising health risks posed by the everyday products and behaviors of a modern family. Beginning in the bedroom and ending in the garage and backyard, readers learn about the degenerative effects of toxins in the home and receive simple solutions to help minimize exposure without forgoing convenience. The Healthy Home is not a comprehensive tome on modern health hazards, nor is it a treatise on eco-conscious living. Instead, the book focuses on the most important environment -- the home -- and the problems that can most easily be lessened or eliminated. Busy parents who suspect that they should be doing more to protect their family but don't know where to start will learn about practical changes they can make in the next 15 minutes, 15 days or 15 months to create a haven for healthier living.
Author: Dr. Myron Wentz, Dave Wentz
Designer/builder Ethan Fierro celebrates summer with this collection of original outdoor shower designs that he’s discovered across North America. He offers dozens of designs to choose from, all pictured in stunning color photographs, ranging from a simple showerhead on the side of your cottage to semi-detached and freestanding structures. Fierro also includes an overview of basic plumbing and structural requirements, along with suggestions for using a wide range of building materials, such as stone, wood, metal, frosted glass blocks, earth, concrete, tile, stucco, and landscape vegetation. His plans are environmentally sound and incorporate cost-saving techniques, with ideas for repurposing found and recycled materials.
Author: Ethan Fierro
Are you looking for ways to save water -- or money? This accessible guide by Laura Allen, founder of Greywater Action, explains how to use water smartly and efficiently, increasing supply, saving money, reducing wear on your septic system, and fulfilling your home and garden needs. She describes proven conservation techniques, explains how to create a water-wise landscape, and provides illustrated, step-by-step instructions for setting up a waterless composting toilet as well as systems to reuse greywater, harvest rainwater, and more.
Author: Laura Allen
How can we adequately provide housing when disaster strikes? Catastrophes come in a variety of forms, be they weather-related (hurricanes, floods and droughts) or society-driven (resulting from civil disorder or poverty), instantaneous (earthquakes, tsunamis) or gradual (rising sea levels). Yet all urgently demand safe, sustainable housing designs that are cheap to build, environmentally friendly, and hardy enough to withstand severe environmental conditions. Not only is there climate change to contend with, there are millions of people, right now, who do lack safe or adequate housing.
In Urgent Architecture, Bridgette Meinhold showcases 40 successful emergency and long-term housing projects-from repurposed shipping containers to sandbag homes. She surveys successful structures as well as highlighting promising projects that are still being developed. Every one is quickly deployable, affordable and sustainable. This book is an essential resource for those who are interested in green building, sustainable design, eco-friendly materials, affordable housing, material reuse and humanitarian relief.
Author: Bridgette Meinhold