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Build your way to a more self-sufficient lifestyle with step-by-step projects for backup and supplementary utilities -- including independent water, heat and electricity -- growing and storing food, raising small livestock, beekeeping and more. Many of the projects require basic materials available at your everyday home center, but this book also provides valuable DIY resources for solar, hydro, greenhouse and gardening needs.
This book will help you build security with utility backup systems and become more sustainable, resulting in less dependence on city systems for basic needs. Whether you have a city plot or simply pots, this book includes all of the information needed to plan, build and succeed with greater self-sufficiency.
Author: Betsy Matheson
Put the sun to work in your home with the new, expanded edition of the popular 2011 title DIY Solar Projects. Like the original, this edition offers small-scale, achievable solar projects that homeowners can build and install themselves. From cooking in solar ovens to mounting solar panels on your roof, this book teaches how to take advantage of solar energy. It's all possible with relatively small investments and minimal DIY building experience. You'll learn how to make: - Tool trailer with available AC-power (directly from the sun) - Solar systems for marine crafts - Solar-powered security light - Solar water heater - Solar hot-air collector window mount - Solar lumber kiln - Solar battery charging station - And more! With clear instructions, tips, and step-by-step color photos for each project, this book takes the intimidation out of DIY solar builds. For those with more ambitious solar power plans, this updated edition contains information on outfitting your home with solar electricity collection systems and integrating them into your primary power supply system. Excitement about home solar energy is exploding, and DIY Solar Projects: Updated Edition sheds light on how you can get involved immediately. This book also offers an extensive resource guide with links to tax-reducing, subsidy, and support programs on both a national and state-by-state level. With high energy costs and an environment that demands cleaner fuel sources, now is the time to introduce new, cost-saving solar projects into your home.
Author: ERIC SMITH
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:
Author: SUE REED
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.
Author: David A. Bainbridge
If you're considering a solar or wind system for your home or business, this solar power guide is a valuable resource. In Got Sun? Go Solar, the authors explain how installing a solar or wind system is an economically attractive and environmentally responsible option.
From Vermont to California, homeowners are plugging in to a hot new idea — reducing or eliminating their electric bills by using free energy from the sun and wind. In this straight-talking new solar power guide, authors Rex Ewing and Doug Pratt tell other grid-connected homeowners how to capture alternative energy and put it to use in their home.
Renewable energy is going mainstream, thanks to affordable new technologies with rebates and incentives from many states. Today more and more homeowners believe that installing a home RE system is the economically-attractive and environmentally-responsible thing to do. Whether they install a solar/wind system to benefit their checkbooks or to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels, they also enjoy the added independence of a more self-sufficient lifestyle.
This solar power guide covers battery backup versus non-battery systems, as well as equipment needed and installation considerations. Other topics include legal and safety issues, incentives/rebates, and permits and paperwork. An extensive appendix of resources, state energy offices, system sizing worksheets, and much more turns this 160-page book (filled with more than 120 photos and illustrations) into a must-have book for anyone interested in exploring their power options.
About the authors:
The authors of this solar power guide know firsthand how these systems work. Rex Ewing, author of Power With Nature has lived off-the-grid in the Colorado Rockies since 1999. Doug Pratt, the former technical editor of the Solar Living Sourcebook, lives in a grid-tied home in northern California, and has been on the front lines of the renewable energy revolution since 1985.
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 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.
Author: Rex A. Ewing and Doug Pratt
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
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.
Author: Sheri Koones
The MOTHER EARTH NEWS WISER LIVING SERIES SET brings you nearly 600 pages of expert advice, recipes, do-it-yourself projects, and more information on living a self-sufficient life. This set covers everything from organic gardening to easy solar power, from raising chickens for meat to self-reliance and country skills. The do-it-yourself projects include simple solar heater plans as well as instructions on how to paint your house, install your own windows, and easily take advantage of energy from the sun. Follow recipes for making homemade bread and preserving preserve food (including simple ideas for easy canning, freezing, and dehydrating). Discover how to save money with energy-saving tips for your home, and how to cut your food bills in half by growing your own food right in your own backyard.
This set includes:
MOTHER EARTH NEWS Guide to Self-Reliance and Country Skills
Whether you live in the country or simply enjoy putting country skills to use in the city or suburbs, you will find many ideas and projects in this issue that you’ll be excited to tackle. Find empowerment and joy in self-reliant living!
MOTHER EARTH NEWS Guide to Organic Gardening
Many of us have chosen to use natural, nontoxic methods in our gardens. In part, we’re motivated by a desire for healthy food and soil. After all, who wants to eat food that’s been sprayed with toxic chemicals better suited to chemical warfare than gardening? The good news is many of these sustainable, natural methods are surprisingly simple, as well as low-cost. Find many of these tips in this special issue.
MOTHER EARTH NEWS Guide to Great DIY Projects
Self-efficiency – doing things for yourself – is a great way to save money, utilize local resources, and create durable projects and buildings. If you’re a new DIYer, you’ll be amazed at how many jobs you can manage yourself. This guide includes information on do-it-yourself skills and projects for those just starting out, as well as those with years of experience. You can save money by doing things yourself instead of hiring a builder, mechanic, or repair technician, plus you will build many items better than you can buy them.
MOTHER EARTH NEWS Guide to Living on Less
Spending less doesn’t have to mean enjoying life less. So slow down, get out of the rat race, and take more time to enjoy the things that are truly important. This special collection of articles is all about spending less on food, housing, and energy, and simplifying your life without living less comfortably.
MOTHER EARTH NEWS Guide to Country Skills
Many people dream of leaving the city for a serene life in the country, where they can grow their own food and become more self-sufficient. This guide will help you make that dream a reality, whether you’re starting from a metropolitan apartment or living in the suburbs. And if you’re already living in the country, this guide offers some great tips to help you become more self-reliant.
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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
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.
Author: Edited by Noah Weinstein
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
Solar energy is an abundant resource. Once a curiosity, solar electric systems are becoming commonplace. As we transition away from finite and polluting fossil fuels, clean, reliable and affordable renewable technologies such as solar electricity will become the mainstay of our energy supply.
Solar Electricity Basics provides a clear understanding of the sun, solar energy and solar electric systems. It discusses the theoretical, practical and economic aspects of residential solar installations including inverters, batteries and controllers, costs of solar electric systems, financial incentives, system installation and maintenance, permits, covenants, utility interconnection, and buying a system.
Whether your goal is to lower your energy bill through a grid-connected system or to achieve complete energy independence, Solar Electricity Basics is the introduction you need.
Author: Dan Chiras
As fossil fuel supplies dwindle, home heating will be one of the major challenges in temperate and cold climates. The reserves of natural gas used to heat the majority of North American buildings are rapidly being depleted. This latest Green Energy Guide helps readers who want to slash their energy bills and reduce their dependence on scarce resources to navigate the sometimes-confusing maze of clean, reliable and affordable options.
Solar Home Heating Basics focuses on renewable energy strategies to heat new and existing homes and small businesses. These include:
While most solar home heating resources are geared primarily towards new buildings, this practical and easy-to-understand guide also addresses ways of retrofitting existing buildings, making solar a reality for many people.
Packed with all the essential information home and small-business owners need to find alternatives to conventional heating solutions, Solar Home Heating Basics is your key to a personal energy.
Author: Dan Chiras
Increasing the energy efficiency of your home can save you money, help the environment and enhance your comfort, but how do you decide which improvements are the most beneficial and cost-effective? Completely revised to incorporate the latest developments in green technology, The Consumer Guide to Home Energy Savings is the definitive resource for consumers who want to better their home's performance while reducing their energy bills.
Well-organized and highly readable, The Consumer Guide to Home Energy Savings begins with an overview of the relationships between energy use, economics and the environment. Updated and expanded chapters focus on specific aspects of any home, such as heating and cooling, ventilation, electronics, lighting, cooking and laundry, and provide helpful explanations for each, including:
This comprehensive resource is packed with tips on improving existing equipment and guidance for when and why to invest in new purchases, as well as a reminder to check local government and utilities for purchase or retrofit grants or incentives. It is a must-read for anyone concerned about reducing both their energy bills and their environmental impact.
Author: J Amann, A Wilson, K Ackerly
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
Passive is the new green. Passive Houses, well-insulated and virtually airtight buildings, can decrease home heating consumption by an astounding 90 percent, making them not only an attractive choice for current and prospective homeowners, but also the right choice for a sustainable future. The Greenest Home showcases 18 of the world's most attractive Passive Houses by forward-thinking architects such as Bernheimer Architecture, Olson Kundig Architects and Onion Flats, among many others. Each case study consists of a detailed project description, plans and photographs. Including a mix of new construction and retrofit projects built in a variety of site conditions, The Greenest Home is an inspiring sourcebook for architects and prospective homeowners, as well as a useful tool for students and builders alike.
Author: Julie Torres Moskovitz
Are you looking for creative ways to lower your energy costs, generate more of your own power, or become less reliant on the grid? Energy expert Paul Scheckel offers practical advice for taking matters into your own hands. Understand the fundamentals of solar, wind, water and biofuel energy production as you make your home ready for renewables. Each chapter of The Homeowner's Energy Handbook provides a comprehensive discussion of renewable energy sources, along with "green guides" for building your own energy-saving (and energy-producing) equipment. Step-by-step instructions show you how to build a bicycle-powered generator, biodiesel processor, thermosiphon solar hot-water collector, biogas generator, smokeless wood-gas camp stove, and more. Whether you want to button up your house to be more energy-efficient, find deep energy savings or take your home entirely off the grid, this guide has the knowledge and skills you need to reduce your use, then produce!
Author: Paul Scheckel