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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:
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.
Author: S. Reay Crimmel & J. Thomson
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:
Author: Barry Rehfeld
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Although there is nothing complicated about constructing healthier homes, building for health is still not standard practice, and in fact there are many aspects of conventional home construction that are detrimental to human wellbeing.
From foundation to rooftop, to home care and repair, Prescriptions for a Healthy House takes the mystery out of healthy-house building, renovation and maintenance, by walking the owner/architect/builder team through the entire construction process. Chapters include:
The authors -- an architect, medical doctor and restoration consultant -- bring a singular combination of expertise and perspectives to this book. The result -- now in its third completely updated edition -- is a unique guide to creating healthy indoor and outdoor spaces, including many new resources, as well as specialized knowledge from several nationally recognized experts in the field of building biology.
This unique guide will appeal to architects, designers, contractors, medical professionals and homeowners.
Author: PAULA BAKER-LAPORTE
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
The popularity of natural building has grown by leaps and bounds, spurred by a grassroots desire for housing that is healthy, affordable and environmentally responsible. While many books cover specific methods (such as straw bale construction, cob and timber framing), few resources introduce the reader to the entire scope of this burgeoning field.
Fully revised and updated, The Art of Natural Building is a complete introduction to natural building for everyone from do-it-yourselfers to architects and designers. This collection of articles from more than 50 leaders in the field is now stunningly illustrated with more than 200 full-color photos of natural buildings from around the world. Learn about:
Clearly written, logically organized and beautifully illustrated, The Art of Natural Building is the encyclopedia of natural building.
Author: Kennedy, Smith, Wanek
Cob (an old English word for lump) is old-fashioned concrete, made out of a mixture of clay, sand, and straw. Becky Bee's manual is a friendly guide to making your own earth structure, with chapters on design, foundations, floors, windows and doors, finishes, and of course, making glorious cob.
Author: Becky Bee
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
Featuring profiles on tiny house owners with photographs and floor plans of the homes, ideas on where to find materials, and what to look for and avoid when selecting reclaimed materials, Tiny Houses Built with Recycled Materials is a unique book perfect for your biggest DIY project yet!
Author: Ryan Mitchell
Bringing together the collective wisdom of a past generation of craftsmen, Traditional Toolmaking provides an in-depth record of the skills and techniques that made the mass production revolution of the 20th century possible. When first published in 1915, this book was an answer to a vast array of toolroom problems and explained many essential toolmaking operations. It includes timeless practices as well as some personally tailored methods by master toolmakers, including how to:
With detailed descriptions of every procedure, essential mathematical rules and calculations for use in the workshop, and a number of illustrative figures, this book stands as an invaluable reference for those with an interest in practicing hands-on toolmaking processes.
Author: Franklin D. Jones
Lumber prices are soaring, and deforestation is a rising concern. Yet millions of pounds of perfectly usable wood are dumped in landfills every year.
Wood Pallet Projects shows how anyone can upcycle salvaged pallet wood to create truly one-of-a-kind projects.
Maverick craftsman Chris Gleason combines sound woodworking techniques with a hip designer's sensibility to unleash the limitless possibilities of the common skid.
Inside you'll find 15 of his inspired projects for rescuing and repurposing pallets. Some of his pieces celebrate the rough, edgy character of the material, while others are crafted as fine furniture. He shows how to construct both indoor and outdoor furniture in a variety of styles, along with other useful items such as a birdhouse, toolbox and even a ukulele.
There's plenty of nitty-gritty here on working with pallets, including where to find them and how to process them into usable lumber. You'll learn about sanding, fasteners and the best finishes (if any) to use.
Gleason provides important advice on how to make sure that your pallets are safe and not sprayed with harmful chemicals. A colorful gallery of finished work provides further inspiration for green crafting.
Inside you'll find 15 projects for upcycling ordinary pallet wood into such objects as:
Author: Chris Gleason
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