Expand your sustainable lifestyle to include living in a green or naturall home. Whether already built, or starting from the ground up, check out our green building books.

  • PROJECTS TO GET YOU OFF THE GRID

    With Projects to Get You Off the Grid, the Instructables community of do-it-yourselfers have pooled their knowledge into a compact book focused on a series of projects that will get you thinking creatively about thinking green. This collection of 20 projects illustrate just how simple it can be to make your own backyard chicken coop, or turn a wine barrel into a rainwater collector.

    Illustrated with dozens of full-color photographs per project as well as easy-to-follow instructions, this Instructables collection uses the best that the online community has to offer, turning a far-reaching group of people into a mammoth database churning out ideas to make life better, easier, and in this case, greener.

    Item: 6917
  • A TINY HOME TO CALL YOUR OWN

    You can live in an attractive and upscale tiny house that also is built with quality materials, architecturally beautiful and highly marketable. The basis of this book: Small is beautiful, functional and economical.

    Item: 2339
  • A TINY HOME TO CALL YOUR OWN, 2ND EDITION

    From newlyweds to empty-nesters, downsizers to retirees, and everyone in between, A Tiny Home to Call Your Own will help you to find and create the living space and housing you love and that will serve you and your future.

    Item: 9607
  • BUDDHA HOUSE

    A picture-book of the Buddha House, by famed craftsman and natural builder Sun Ray Kelley. This house, built in Washington State, features sculpted walls of stucco, stone and cedar shakes, round timberframe construction, a living roof, and Sun Ray's signature curved ridgebeams and railings made from whole trees--roots and all. A collection of 60 color photographs of this one-of-a-kind house with sayings from the world's great thinkers that help explain SunRay's philosophy of natural building. This book is the first in a series documenting the work of SunRay Kelley and his School of Natural Living.

    Item: 6728
  • BUILD YOUR OWN GARAGE MANUAL (5th EDITION)

    Build the garage of your dreams by doing all or part of the work yourself. Planning and constructing a handsome new garage may seem like a daunting task, but you can make it a reality by following the instructions in this essential do-it-yourself guide. All of the techniques and tips you’ll need are inside, there are 175 terrific plans.

    Item: 8835
  • COMPACT HOUSES

    Discover the huge possibilities to be found in a small house! Whether you're building from scratch or retrofitting an existing structure, these 50 innovative floor plans will show you how to make the most of houses measuring 1,400 square feet or less. Gerald Rowan focuses on efficient layouts and creative ways to use every inch of your space, including closets, decks, porches, bathrooms, attics and basements. Artist renderings bring each house's exterior to life, and detailed interior drawings illustrate special space-saving features. Compact Houses includes one- and two-floor designs and plans with one to three bedrooms.

    Item: 6863
  • DIY BOOK OF BACKYARD SHEDS & TINY HOUSES

    Buildings from internationally recognized small living expert Jay Shafer have attracted the attention of CNN, Oprah, Fine Homebuilding and This Old House. Ranging in size from 100 to 120 square feet, these tiny backyard buildings can be used as guest cottages, art or writing studios, home offices, craft workshops, vacation retreats, or full-time residences. This revised edition of Tumbleweed DIY Book of Backyard Sheds and Tiny Houses is filled with photos (including many that weren’t in the original publication) and elevation drawings, as well as door and window schedules for constructing six of the handsome little buildings. You’ll also find an extensive how-to set of instructions that can be applied to any backyard building project.

    Item: 5895
  • EARTHEN FLOORS

    For most of human history, people have lived in durable, comfortable buildings made from natural materials such as soil, sand, rocks and fiber. All over the globe, these ancient traditions persist; a quarter to a third of the world's population today lives in houses built partially or entirely of earth. Conventional Western building techniques using industrial materials may save time and create efficiencies, but these perceived savings come at considerable financial and environmental cost.

    As well as boasting a unique and beautiful aesthetic, natural building techniques are accessible, affordable and nontoxic. Earthen Floors: A Modern Approach to an Ancient Practice is the first comprehensive, fully illustrated manual covering the history, use and maintenance of this attractive, practical flooring option. This detailed, fully illustrated guide explains every part of the process, including:

    • Sourcing and harvesting materials
    • Preparing the subfloor
    • Pouring, finishing and sealing the floor
    • Living with and maintaining your earthen floor

    Because information on creating quality earthen floors was not previously widely available, there have been some negative experiences. Drawing on the combined knowledge of the most qualified earthen floor practitioners, as well their own substantial experience, the authors deliver the definitive resource for this exciting technique, perfect for everyone from the novice to veteran builder.

    Item: 7213
  • ENERGY-WISE LANDSCAPE DESIGN

    Residential consumption represents nearly one quarter of North America's total energy use, and the average homeowner spends thousands of dollars a year on power bills. To help alleviate this problem, Energy-Wise Landscape Design presents hundreds of practical ways everyone can save money, time and effort while making their landscapes more environmentally healthy, ecologically rich and energy efficient.
    Combining general guidelines with tips, techniques and actions, this fully illustrated guide explains the many opportunities our landscapes provide for conserving energy. Readers will learn how to:

    • lower a home's heating and cooling costs
    • minimize fuel used in landscape construction, maintenance and everyday use
    • choose landscape products and materials with lower embedded energy costs
    • make a positive difference without a major investment or change in lifestyle.

    Intended for homeowners, gardeners, landscape professionals and students, the design ideas in this book will work in every type of setting -large or small, hilly or flat, urban or rural. Written in non-scientific language with clear explanations and an easy conversational style, Energy-Wise Landscape Design is an essential resource for everyone who wants to shrink their energy footprint while enhancing their property and adding value to their home.

    Item: 4588
  • ESSENTIAL LIGHT STRAW CLAY CONSTRUCTION

    Distilling decades of experience, Essential Light Straw Clay Construction is the most complete book in English on the broad range of light straw clay techniques in use today. Fully illustrated, it provides step-by-step guidance for both the DIYer and professional designer and builder alike. It covers: • Material specifications, performance, and when and where to use it • Estimating quantities, costs, and sourcing • Illustrated, step-by-step guidance for mixing and installation, including "slip-chip" variations • Detail drawings for various wall systems including stud, timber, and pole framing, Larsen trusses, I-joists, plus retrofits • Code references, compliance, and best practice • Finishing and maintenance techniques • Additional resources.

    Item: 8375
  • ESSENTIAL PREFAB STRAW BALE CONSTRUCTION

    Prefabricated straw bale wall panels combine the performance and low environmental impact of traditional straw bale with reduced labor and more consistent results. Going well beyond the scope of many natural building books, this indispensable manual includes a complete introduction to the use of prefabricated bale walls, packed with all the information you need to determine whether they are the right choice for your project.Written by the world's leading sustainable builders, designers, and engineers, these succinct, user-friendly handbooks are indispensable tools for any project where accurate and reliable information are key to success.

    Item: 8001
  • ESSENTIAL RAMMED EARTH CONSTRUCTION

    Essential Rammed Earth Construction covers design, building science, tools, and step-by-step building methods for any climate, with a special emphasis on building in cold climates of the northern United States, Canada, and northern Europe. The book provides an overview of earthen building, and goes over topics that include the appropriate use of rammed earth walls, stabilized versus raw rammed earth, and design considerations. Inside, you’ll find construction drawings with step-by-step building instructions.

    Item: 9447
  • GARDENING WITH LESS WATER

    Gardening with Less Water offers simple, inexpensive, low-tech techniques for watering your garden much more efficiently — using up to 90 percent less water for the same results. With illustrated step-by-step instructions, David Bainbridge shows you how to install buried clay pots and pipes, wicking systems, and other porous containers that deliver water directly to a plant’s roots with little to no evaporation.

    Item: 7928
  • HOME SWEET ZERO ENERGY HOME

    Zero energy homes produce at least as much energy as they consume through a combination of energy efficiencies, passive design and renewable energy production. California has adopted zero net energy as the new residential standard for 2020; many other governments are considering similar policies. Developing zero energy homes is the first step toward making all buildings zero energy — a critical step in mitigating climate change as buildings account for 40% of material and energy use worldwide.

    Home Sweet Zero Energy Home is the first practical guidebook that clearly shows how zero energy homes can be good, livable, affordable homes. The author identifies all the pieces of the zero energy puzzle and how they fall into place, and explains how homeowners and buyers can also take smaller steps toward sharply reducing the energy use of existing buildings. Focusing on real costs and savings, this book takes an in-depth look at:

    • Site selection and passive design
    • Insulation, windows, doors and building materials
    • Heating and cooling
    • Appliances and electronics
    • Financial resources and incentives
    Whether you are a prospective buyer, owner or developer, Home Sweet Zero Energy Home is your complete guide to creating a more comfortable, efficient, environmentally friendly home without breaking your back or your bank account.

    Item: 5829
  • HOUSEHOLD HINTS

    Inside you'll learn how to make cleaning solutions and scrubs, and you’ll find tips concerning pets, natural pest control, gardening, your yard, and even beauty care. These recipes and ideas for the home are conveniently organized according to use. With these ingredients you can do almost anything; the possibilities are limitless!

    Item: 7910
  • HOUSING RECLAIMED

    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.

    Item: 5298
  • HOW TO BUILD AN UNDERGROUND HOUSE

    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.

    Item: 632
  • HUT-TOPIA

    A holistic DIY guide designed to help you along the path to creating a sustainable homestead and affordable dwelling. It provides perspectives on the history of small homes, building and zoning codes, as well as on being a landowner, how rural living is different than urban, examples of off-grid dwellings, and much more.

    Item: 7828
  • LIGHTS ON: THE NON-TECHHICAL GUIDE TO BATTERY POWER WHEN THE GRID GOES DOWN

    Following the simple plans in Lights On will ensure that you are safe and secure during widespread long-term power outages. The United States electric grid is at greater risk today than ever before. From aging infrastructure, severe weather, and EPA mandated closure of coal-fired power plants to solar storms, digital sabotage, terrorism, and electromagnetic pulse attacks, future outages are almost certain. And they will likely last far longer and cover much larger areas than anything experienced in the past. When the grid is down and you run out of fuel for your generator, and all the stores are closed, then what? Lights On has the solution. Energy expert Jeffrey Yago lays out the lost history of early residential battery power and delves into just how durable and universal battery-powered devices are. Battery-powered devices can provide lighting, communications, refrigeration, safety, and entertainment when all else fails. Yago covers the multiple ways to keep your batteries recharged and ready to go. There are many books and magazines on emergency preparedness, survival, solar power, and disaster planning, which show strong public interest in these topics. However, many offer brief introductions to each topic. Lights On provides easy-to-understand, detailed information on having a plan of action for setting up a battery-powered home in advance of widespread and sustained power outages. This is the only book you need to be prepared to keep your refrigerator running, your lights on, and much more.

    Item: 8259
  • LIVING LARGE IN OUR LITTLE HOUSE

    Based on the successful blog of the same name, Living Large in Our Little House is a practical and inspirational memoir about the joy and freedom of tiny house living. Traditionally, the American dream has included owning a house, and until recently that meant the bigger, the better. McMansions have flourished in suburbs across the country, and as houses got bigger we filled them with more stuff. Kerri Fivecoat-Campbell had been subconsciously trying to live up to this ideal when circumstances forced her and her husband into a 480-square-foot house in the woods. What was supposed to be a writing cabin and guest house became their full-time abode and they quickly discovered that they had serendipitously discovered a better way of life. They realized that by living smaller, they were, in fact, living large. They were not spending extra time cleaning and maintaining the house, but had the freedom to pursue their hobbies; they did not waste money on things they didn’t need; and they grew emotionally (as well as physically) closer. Kerri and her husband realized that living large is less about square footage and more about a state of mind. As Fivecoat-Campbell relates the story of her own transformation, she also profiles more than a dozen other families living tiny house lives. And she offers practical advice for how you can too.

    Her book:

    • walks you through the financial advantages of small space living
    • helps you define and find the right size house
    • teaches you to scale down to the essentials, to be surrounded only by things you love
    • shows you how to make use of outdoor space
    • gives tips on how to decorate judiciously
    • and much more!

    Whether readers are inspired to join the tiny house movement or not, they are sure to be inspired to live large with less.

    Item: 8143

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