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.

  • LIGHTS ON: THE NON-TECHNICAL 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

    Author: Jeffrey Yago

    Format: Paperback

  • 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

    Author: Kerri Fivecoat-Campbell

    Format: Hardcover

  • MICROSHELTERS

    Created by a wide array of builders and designers around the United States and beyond, these 59 unique and innovative structures show you the limits of what is possible. Each is displayed in full-color photographs accompanied by commentary by author Derek “Deek”Diedricksen . In addition, Diedricksen includes six sets of building plans by leading designers to help you get started on a microshelter of your own. You’ll also find guidelines on building with recycled and salvaged materials, plus techniques for making your small space comfortable and easy to inhabit.

    Item: 7812

    Author: Derek "Deek" Diedricksen

    Format: Paperback

  • MOTHER EARTH NEWS PREMIUM WISER LIVING SET

    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.

    Item: 6421

    Format: Paperback

  • PREFABULOUS + ALMOST OFF THE GRID

    Prefabrication offers a simple path to the green home of your dreams, and in her latest book, Prefabulous author Sheri Koones highlights the many ways of using prefabrication to create almost-off-the-grid homes: houses that are not only environmentally friendly but often operate at nearly zero annual energy cost.
    Item: 7115

    Author: Sheri Koones

    Format: Hardcover

  • PREPPER'S SURVIVAL RETREATS

    When disaster strikes, bugging out will be sufficient to escape short-term danger. But when widespread collapse comes, survival will depend on having a long-term prepper retreat ready and waiting. Prepper’s Survival Retreatsbreaks down the daunting task of strategic relocation into manageable steps that allow readers to create a personalized plan appropriate for their budget, needs, and specific goals. No two preppers are alike and no two strategic relocation plans should be the same,this book will show how to put together the perfect survival retreat for every prepper.

    Item: 8902

    Author: CHARLEY HOGWOOD

    Format: Paperback

  • PRESCRIPTIONS FOR A HEALTHY HOUSE

    CLEARANCE ITEM. PREVIOUS RETAIL PRICE WAS $28.95. AVAILABLE ONLY WHILE SUPPLIES LAST!

    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:

    • Frame construction alternatives
    • Thermal and moisture control
    • Finishes
    • Flooring
    • Furnishings

    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.

    Item: 4604

    Author: PAULA BAKER-LAPORTE

    Format: Paperback

  • REAL GOODS SOLAR LIVING SOURCE BOOK

    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:

    • Natural building
    • Permaculture and biodynamics
    • Electric and biofuel-powered vehicles
    • Passive solar
    • Solar water heating
    • Grid-tied photovoltaic systems

    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.

    Item: 7458

    Author: John Schaeffer

    Format: Paperback

  • ROUNDWOOD TIMBER FRAMING

    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.

    Item: 5269

    Author: Ben Law

    Format: Hardcover

  • SHELTER II

    Shelter II was published in 1978, five years after the book Shelter. It was a sequel in a sense, but a more sober and practical book (in black and white, not color) for any owner-builder interested in building a simple stud-frame house. The heart of the book consists of an introduction to the principles of house design, followed by a condensed 24-page instruction manual for the novice builder for building a stud-frame home: foundation, floor, wall and roof framing; roofing, windows, doors, interior finish, as well as plumbing and electrical work.

    Featured is a section of complete, to-scale drawings by Bob Easton of seven different homes, accompanied by floor plans. These unique drawings allow the first-time builder to visualize each structure as a whole by showing every member of the house frame.

    Indigenous builders are studied with an eye to the still-usable skills of the past. There are many photos of North American houses and barns: still-standing reminders of an era of practical building.

    Rehabilitation projects then underway in major cities are also covered. There's a critical analysis of domes - they were found to be neither practical nor durable, and there's a detailed critique of America's program in those years to establish colonies in space.

    Shelter II tells a story: Practical builders (past and present, in country and city) have always built with time-tested techniques and materials readily at hand: lumber, earth, stone, concrete, brick, thatch or abandoned city buildings. Design is governed by weather, purpose and economy. Building technique is determined by tradition, experience and practice. Then, as now, initiative and hand labor by owners can beat the high cost of building and reduce or eliminate lifetime mortgage obligations.

    Out of print for some 20 years, Shelter II is an integral part of the Shelter Publications suite of books on handbuilt homebuilding, and we're happy to make it available once again.

    Item: 7195

    Author: Lloyd Kahn & Bob Easton

    Format: Paperback

  • SHELTERS, SHACKS AND SHANTIES AND HOW TO BUILD THEM, 2ND EDITION

    Shelters, Shacks and Shanties, Second Edition presents lively, step-by-step tutelage on building all types of temporary and long-term accommodations from both natural and man-made materials. Originally published in 1914, this practical classic is as essential a guide for today's modern homesteader as it was at the turn of the 20th century.

    Included are instructions for dozens of worry-free shelters for you to choose from, including a sod house for the lawn, a treetop house, over-water camps, a bog ken and much more. Satisfying the builder's need for the creature comforts of home, it also provides tips on how to build hearths and chimneys, notched log ladders, and even how to rig a front door with a secret look. Illustrated throughout with a bounty of helpful line drawings, Shelters, Shacks and Shanties, Second Edition harkens back to the can-do spirit of the American frontier that still thrives today.

    Item: 4847

    Author: D.C. Beard

    Format: Paperback

  • SMALL HOMES: THE RIGHT SIZE

    This book features homes that are larger than “tiny,” but smaller than the national average. Small homes are less expensive, use less resources, are more efficient to heat and cool, and cheaper to maintain and repair. The homes here (some 65 of them) vary from unique and artistic to simple and low-cost. Some are plain, ordinary buildings that provide owners shelter at a reasonable cost, and some are inspiring examples of design, carpentry, craftsmanship, imagination, creativity, and homemaking.

    This book represents a logical step for Shelter Publications, after their two previous books on tiny homes. (By way of comparison, homes in their Tiny Homes: Simple Shelter, averaged 200 to 300 square feet.)

    Item: 8242

    Author: Lloyd Kahn

    Format: Paperback

  • THE ART OF NATURAL BUILDING, SECOND EDITION

    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:

    • The case for building with natural materials, from the perspectives of sustainability, lifestyle and health
    • What you need to know to plan and design your own beautiful and efficient natural home
    • Explanations of 30 versatile materials and techniques, with resources on where to go for further information on each
    • How these techniques are being used to address housing crises around the world

    Clearly written, logically organized and beautifully illustrated, The Art of Natural Building is the encyclopedia of natural building.

    Item: 7571

    Author: Kennedy, Smith, Wanek

    Format: Paperback

  • THE BEESWAX WORKSHOP

    Featuring more than 100 step-by-step recipes, The Beeswax Workshop presents easy-to-follow recipes that utilize the amazing flexibility of beeswax for crafting safe, highly effective home products. From lotions and salves to candles and cleaners, this book shows you how to make organic alternatives to chemical-laden store-bought items. You will love stocking first aid kits with natural sunburn salve and antimicrobial ointment; making beeswax-based beauty products such as lip balm, blush, perfume, shampoo, and hair pomade; and even waterproofing gardening tools and camping equipment. The Beeswax Workshop provides you with a wonderful collection of new and creative ways to use sustainable beeswax.

    Item: 8250

    Author: Chris Dalziel

    Format: Paperback

  • THE COMPLETE SURVIVAL SHELTERS

    A step-by-step ultimate guide to building life-saving structures for every climate and wilderness situation which is for beginners and experienced outdoor enthusiasts alike. Without shelter, a person stuck in the wild can die of exposure in a matter of hours—long before they run out of food or water. But most people, even hardened backpackers, don’t know how to build an adequate shelter. Packed with 30 easy-to-follow tutorials and over 200 step-by-step photos, this all-encompassing primer teaches readers how to construct a wide range of life-saving shelters using the natural materials available.

    Item: 8890

    Author: ANTHONIO AKKERMANS

    Format: Paperback

  • THE CONSUMER GUIDE TO HOME ENERGY SAVINGS, 10TH EDITION

    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:

    • Energy use characteristics
    • Comparisons between available technologies
    • Cost-effective repair and replacement options
    • Step-by-step guidance for finding the right equipment

    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.

    Item: 6478

    Author: J Amann, A Wilson, K Ackerly

    Format: Paperback

  • THE ECONEST HOME

    An EcoNest is not just a home … it is a breathtakingly beautiful structure that nurtures health and embraces ecology. This unique approach to construction combines light straw clay, timber framing, earthen floors, natural plasters and other natural techniques with the principles of building biology to create a handcrafted living sanctuary. By bringing together time-honored traditions and modern innovations, owners of EcoNests enjoy living spaces that reflect the best of both worlds.

    The EcoNest Home is an in-depth exploration of the benefits of choosing this technique over conventional alternatives, combined with a complete practical guide for prospective designers and builders. Authors Paula Baker-Laporte and Robert Laporte draw on their own extensive experience to provide:

    • A detailed explanation of the nature-based science behind EcoNests.
    • Fully illustrated, step-by-step instructions to guide you through construction.
    • Dozens of inspiring photos of completed projects.

    The most comprehensive, North American resource on light straw clay construction, written by its leading proponents, The EcoNest Home is a must-read for anyone considering building their own healthy, affordable, environmentally friendly, natural home.

    Item: 7687

    Author: P. Beker-Laporte, R. LaPorte

    Format: Paperback

  • THE FURNITURE BIBLE

    Christophe Pourny learned the art of furniture restoration in his father’s atelier in the south of France. In this, his first book, he teaches readers everything they need to know about the provenance and history of furniture, as well as how to restore, update and care for it—from antiques to midcentury pieces, family heirlooms and funky flea-market finds. The heart of the book is an overview of Pourny’s favorite techniques—ceruse, vernis anglais and water gilding, among many others—with full-color step-by-step photographs to ensure that readers can easily replicate each refinishing technique at home. Pourny brings these techniques to life with a chapter devoted to real-world refinishing projects, from a veneered table to an ebonized desk, a gilt frame to a painted northern European hutch. Rounding out this comprehensive guide is care and maintenance information, including how to properly clean leather, polish hardware, fix a broken leg and replace felt pads, as well as recipes to make your own wax, shellac, varnish, stain, and more.

    Item: 7594

    Author: Christope Pourny

    Format: Hardcover

  • THE GREENED HOUSE EFFECT

    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:

    • Testing the energy efficiency of your home and learning where improvements need to be made;
    • Dealing with local building codes and regulations;
    • Financing and paying for a DER;
    • Major components of the DER, such as roofs, exterior walls, basements, and whole house systems; and
    • Details of home-scale renewable energy options to complement the DER, including passive and active solar systems.

    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.

    Item: 6668

    Author: Jeff Wilson

    Format: Paperback

  • THE GREENEST HOME

    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.

    Item: 7065

    Author: Julie Torres Moskovitz

    Format: Hardcover

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