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Advances in solar technology have made many DIY-friendly products available to consumers. These include solar water heaters, solar battery charging stations, solar-powered lights, photovoltaic shingles that provide supplementary electricity, solar heat pumps, and solar panel kits that generate primary home electrical service. Among the step-by-step projects is a solar water heating system you can build and install yourself for under $1,000; simple thermosyphon solar heat collectors for barns and outbuildings; and "heat grabbers" that you can fabricate for $50 in materials and position below a south-facing window to provide auxiliary winter heat.
Want to read more? Preview this book: How to Make a Solar Still.
Author: Eric Smith
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
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
There's really nothing essential oils can't handle (from repelling ants to removing rust stains, to eliminating smells in washing machines), and all without the need for dangerous chemicals. With Essential Oils for a Clean and Healthy Home, you'll discover all the benefits that a few drops of essential oil can bring.
Author: Kasey Schwartz
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
Discover why ground-source heat pumps are the best choice for heating and cooling new or existing homes in any climate and how this reliable, silent, nonpolluting way of extracting free energy from the Earth saves money year after year. Then go a step further and learn the simple science behind this proven technology.
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Author: Donal Blaise Lloyd
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
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Green construction is the building trend of the decade. In direct response to the growing demand for sustainable, healthy and energy-efficient homes, David Johnston and Scott Gibson present the most forward-thinking theories and the best proven methods of new and remodeled green construction. They begin with down-to-earth explanations of green building basics and move on to site planning, materials selection, energy efficiency, and indoor air quality ... detailing along the way every step in design and construction, from framing to finishes.
A must-have reference for contractors who want to remain competitive, Green from the Ground Up is also a remarkable resource for homeowners who require the clearest and most thorough green building information available.
Author: D. Johnston, S. Gibson
According to conventional wisdom, building a green home is an expensive endeavor. The standard approach treats green as an add-on, tacking "premium" products, finishes and equipment onto a traditional home design. As a result, many green home projects end up over budget or fail to achieve their environmental and performance goals.
Green Home Building explodes the myth that green homes have to cost more. Using proven methods based on applied building science, authors Miki Cook and Doug Garrett show how to:
This comprehensive guide to building green on any budget defines the strategies that maximize the return on green investments. Written for anyone who has ever been swayed by the argument that the price tag limits how green a home can be, Green Home Building is a must-read for builders, contractors, architects, designers and homeowners.
Author: Miki Cook & Doug Garrett
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
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!
Author: Heather Rodino
Housing is a fundamental human right. For most of human history, our homes were built by hand from whatever local materials were available. However, since the Industrial Revolution, most housing has become little more than quickly constructed, mass-produced, uniform boxes. At the same time, the invention and standardization of the 30-year mortgage and our ever-increasing reliance on credit has come to mean that most of us never own our homes outright.
Housing Reclaimed is a call to arms for nonconventional home builders. 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. Focusing on the use of salvaged and reclaimed materials, this inspirational volume is packed with case studies of innovative projects including:
These projects and others like them demonstrate that building one's own home does not have to be an unattainable dream. This beautifully illustrated guide is a must read for anyone interested in creating quality zero- or low-debt housing, reducing landfill waste and creating stronger communities.
About the author
Jessica Kellner is editor-in-chief of Mother Earth Living magazine (www.motherearthliving.com) and a passionate advocate of using architectural salvage to create aesthetically beautiful, low-cost housing.
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 and products to readers. For more than 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: Jessica Kellner
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