Check out our renewable energy books for everything about renewable energy for your home, transportation, and elsewhere.

  • BACKYARD BIODIESEL

    Small-scale home biodiesel production holds a singular attraction for the do-it-yourself enthusiast. While perhaps it can't save the world, this unique renewable fuel is economical, fun to make, better for the environment, and will help you reduce your dependence on Big Oil. And getting started is easier than you think.

    Backyard Biodiesel is written by two recognized experts in the field of small-scale biofuels. This comprehensive hands-on, practical, DIY guide includes:

    • The basics of small-scale brewing – recipes, strategies and technologies
    • Advanced backyard analytics and troubleshooting
    • Safety considerations and regulatory issues
    • Topping up the tank – how to put your biodiesel to work for you

    Making your own fuel is not only possible, it is rewarding. Designed to be accessible to everyone from readers with no prior technical expertise to alternative energy buffs, Backyard Biodiesel is a must-read for any aspiring brewer, packed with everything you need to get up and running quickly and safely.

    Item: 7551

    Author: Lyle Estill & Bob Armantrout

    Format: Paperback

  • DUDE MAKING A DIFFERENCE

    You want to do something for the planet, but what? Change a light bulb, install a low-flow faucet, eat organic? How about ride 4,700 miles across America on a bamboo bicycle, using only water from natural sources, avoiding fossil fuels almost completely, supplying your few electrical needs with solar power, and creating nearly zero waste?

    Item: 8763

    Author: ROB GREENFIELD

    Format: Paperback

  • GREEN TRANSPORTATION BASICS

    CLEARANCE $6.61. PREVIOUS RETAIL PRICE WAS $12.95. AVAILABLE ONLY WHILE SUPPLIES LAST!

    Green Transportation Basics is a guide to greening your personal driving habits by dramatically improving the efficiency of an existing vehicle using simple measures such as trip planning and regular maintenance to improve fuel economy. This handy guide also explores the most promising new green cars and trucks, including electric vehicles, hybrids, plug-in hybrids and natural-gas cars. And it critically examines sustainable fuels including ethanol, biodiesel, straight vegetable oil, hydrogen and biomethane, evaluating each according to a set of established criteria. Each green fuel source must:

    • be socially, economically and environmentally sustainable
    • have a high net energy yield
    • be clean, abundant, renewable and affordable.

    Don't let your dream of greening your transportation idle – Green Transportation Basics will guide you through the myths and misconceptions and provide clear options for the road to a more sustainable future.

    About the Author
    Dan Chiras is a respected educator and author who has published more than 25 books on residential renewable energy and green building. He is the founder and director of The Evergreen Institute, where he teaches workshops on small wind energy systems, solar electricity, passive solar design, energy efficiency, and green and natural building.

    Item: 4595

    Author: DAN CHIRAS

    Format: Paperback

  • HARNESS THE SUN

    Harness the Sun offers a grounded, persuasive vision of America’s energy future. It is a future fueled by clean, renewable sources of power, with solar at center stage.

    Item: 7809

    Author: Philip Warburg

    Format: Hardcover

  • HARVEST THE WIND

    Winds sweeping through the Great Plains once robbed the Farm Belt of its future, stripping away overworked topsoil and creating the dreaded Dust Bowl of the 1930s. Today, those winds are bringing new hope to the declining rural communities of the central United States. Nowhere is wind’s promise more palpable than in Cloud County, Kansas, where the soaring turbines of the Meridian Way Wind Farm are boosting incomes and bringing green jobs to a community that has, for decades, watched its children drift away. In Harvest the Wind, Philip Warburg brings readers face-to-face with the people behind the green economy–powered resurgence in Cloud County and communities like it across the United States. This corner of Kansas is the first stop on an odyssey that introduces readers to farmers, factory workers, biologists, and high-tech entrepreneurs—all players in a transformative industry that is taking hold across America and around the globe. In this illuminating book, Warburg reveals both the remarkable growth of a breakthrough technology and the formidable challenges it faces. He visits epicenters of anti-wind opposition as well as communities that have embraced wind farms as neighbors. He guides readers through an Iowa turbine assembly plant that is struggling to compete in a global marketplace dominated by European and Chinese manufacturers. And he looks at the thousands of miles that wind-generated power will need to travel to reach American consumers. Harvest the Wind is an earthly antidote to loftier treatises on global warming and green energy. By showing us how practical solutions are being implemented at the local level, Warburg offers an inspirational look at how we can all pursue a saner and more sustainable energy future—while at the same time investing in the nation’s infrastructure and jumpstarting its economy.

    Item: 6719

    Author: Philip Warburg

    Format: Paperback

  • HIGH VOLTAGE

    CLEARANCE $11.45.

    A behind-the-scenes look at the robustly competitive race to dominate the market for electric cars, the larger-than-life moguls behind them, and the changes that are transforming the auto industry.

    In the 1980s, it was unimaginable that the home computer would become as common and easy to use as a toaster. Today, plug-in charging stations and smart grids seem like something still far off in the future. But by 2020, the auto industry will look very different from today’s field of troubled auto giants. The combination of technological breakthroughs and charging networks driven by global warming and peak oil makes it clear that revolutionary change in the auto industry is happening right now.

    In High Voltage, Jim Motavalli captures this period of unprecedented change, documenting the evolution from internal combustion engines to electric power. Driven by the auto world’s ambitious and sometimes outlandish personalities, the book chronicles the race to dominate the market, focusing on big players like Tesla and Fisker, as well as a tiny start-up and a battery supplier. Flashing forward to the changes we’ll see in the coming years, High Voltage shows a not-so-distant future where we will live on a smart grid, our cars “fueling,” that is, charging, while we shop or sleep. The ramifications of these changes will be on a grander scale than most of us ever imagined—altering foreign policy, reducing trade deficits, and perhaps even ending global warming.

    Item: 6032

    Author: Jim Motavalli

    Format: Hardcover

  • INSTALL YOUR OWN SOLAR PANELS

    Labor and related costs account for more than half of the price of the average home solar installation. But homeowners can save thousands of dollars with this user-friendly manual, which follows the same process professional contractors use. Through detailed directions and step-by-step photos, veteran solar installer Joseph Burdick and seasoned builder Philip Schmidt teach you how to determine the size, placement, and type of installation you’ll need. This comprehensive DIY guide covers everything from assembling rooftop racking or building a ground-mount structure to setting up the electrical connections and making a battery bank for off-grid systems.

    Item: 8284

    Author: J. Burdick & P. Schmidt

    Format: Paperback

  • 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 OFF THE GRID

    In daily life, we can take control of the resources and services we depend on. Electricity and energy don’t have to come off the public utility grid—alternatives abound in solar, wind, and water generated power. Design decisions can drastically affect power consumption, and bio-diesel and alternative fuels can help break the oil habit. Dave Black describes alternatives for eco-pimping your home and lifestyle for independence, economy, and a more integrated way of life. Equally valuable for the urban dweller vaguely concerned about the size of his or her carbon footprint and the rural self-sufficiency enthusiast, Living Off the Grid can help anyone take control of his or her life and way of living.

    Item: 8546

    Author: DAVID BLACK

    Format: Paperback

  • MOTHER EARTH NEWS GUIDE TO GREEN CARS

    Just how high will gas prices go? Nobody knows, but you can save money on gas now and find the right fuel-efficient vehicle for your needs via our new Guide to Green Cars. With reviews of more than 50 cars that get 35-plus mpg, proven tips for maximizing mpg, and the latest on hybrid, electric, clean diesel and flex-fuel vehicles, this 100-page special issue will be an invaluable resource whether you need a new ride now or down the road.

    Articles in this guide include:

    • Buying a Green Car
    • Living with a Plug-In Hybrid
    • Fuel from Plants! The Basics of Biofuels
    • The Truth About Electric Car Safety
    • How to Calculate Gas Mileage
    • Best Green Large Vehicles
    • And many more!
    Item: 6027

    Author: Mother Earth News Editors

    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

  • POWER FROM THE SUN

    Solar panel systems can give you the energy independence you want, and in Power From the Sun, author Dan Chiras gives you accurate and easy-to-understand information about small-scale solar energy systems.

    Starting with basic information about electricity and solar power, this book includes information about site assessment for optimum use of your solar panel system, types of PV systems, inverters, batteries, generators and maintenance of your solar electric system.

    With chapters for every part of a solar panel system, you will be able to understand clearly how and why everything works. The authors have also included a final chapter on permits, insurance and other necessary paperwork for solar panel systems.

    Homeowners and businesses will benefit from reading Power From the Sun by better understanding how a solar panel system can save them money in a short time, and how they too can achieve energy independence.

    About the author:

    Dan Chiras is president of Sustainable Systems Design, Inc., a residential renewable energy and green building consulting firm, and is director of The Evergreen Institute's Center for Renewable Energy and Green Building. He is an internationally acclaimed speaker and author and has published 25 books, including The Homeowner's Guide to Renewable Energy and Power from the Wind.

    Robert Aram, PE, LEED AP, is a renewable energy advocate and consultant. His consulting projects include off-grid farmsteads, highly energy-efficient homes and a solar system for a university sports complex. He has participated in the design and installation of photovoltaic, solar thermal and small wind systems.

    Kurt Nelson has been installing solar electric systems through his company SOLutions since the late 1980s. He specializes in off-grid PV and teaches classes for the Midwest Renewable Energy Association.

    Recommended Books 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 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.

    Item: 4275

    Author: Dan Chiras

    Format: Other/miscellaneous products

  • POWER FROM THE SUN, 2ND EDITION

    Written for the layman, this is the fully revised and updated guide for individuals and businesses interested in generating their own electricity using the sun. Practical and accessible, it provides a basic understanding of electricity, wiring, and solar energy, and guides the reader through site assessment and determining the type of system needed, providing a solid understanding of grid-tied and off-grid systems, along with important guidelines on installation.

    Power from the Sun — 2nd Edition discusses types of photovoltaics (PVs) and photovoltaic systems, and includes comprehensive information on recent changes and improvements in PV modules, charge controllers, inverters, batteries, generators, and net metering policies. It offers an excellent overview of the many options available, allowing the reader to make the best choices for their individual situation during the design, installation, and operation of a solar electric system.

    This is the definitive guide for homeowners, business owners, installers, architects, and just about anyone interested in lowering energy bills while achieving greater energy independence.

    Item: 8147

    Author: Dan Chiras

    Format: Paperback

  • PRACTICAL PROJECTS FOR SELF-SUFFICIENCY

    Have you ever wanted to build your own chicken coop, cider press or herb-drying rack? How about a clever two-bin composter, horse-blanket washing machine or genuine Langstroth beehive? In Practical Projects for Self-Sufficiency, you'll find these projects and a couple dozen more to help you develop and grow your self-reliant lifestyle. Most self-sufficiency books give you pages of words and a couple of small drawings for an explanation, but this book shows you exactly how to do things, employing beautiful photos and complete plans. The projects are organized into four categories: Food Prep & Preservation, Homestead, Garden and Animals. Among the projects are a simple brooder box for chicks, a jumbo cold frame, a basic loom, a large-capacity soil sifter, fencing, trellises and even a solar oven. So, whether you're a longtime do-it-yourselfer looking to complete your skill set or a newcomer taking your first step toward sustainability, Practical Projects for Self-Sufficiency is the book to get you there.

    Item: 7400

    Author: Chris Peterson

    Format: Paperback

  • PREPPER'S COMMUNICATION HANDBOOK

    The ultimate guide to acquiring, assembling, and using lifesaving emergency communication systems, this book includes in-depth information on operating ham radios, walkie-talkies, shortwave radios, and citizens band (CB) radios. When disaster strikes, calls, texts and emails don’t work. After 9/11, Hurricane Katrina, and Hurricane Sandy, cell phones were rendered useless when transmission towers were destroyed and networks became overloaded. Having an alternative way of reaching family and loved ones at these critical moments is essential. With this guide, learn the best tips, tricks, and expert secrets for surviving when phones and the internet fail. This comprehensive guide covers everything needed to be fully prepared for when the grid goes down.

    Item: 8896

    Author: JIM COBB

    Format: Paperback

  • PREPPER'S DEHYDRATOR HANDBOOK

    The long-term food storage techniques for nutritious, delicious, lifesaving meals in this book include tips and tricks for preparing shelf-stable foods in your dehydrator. Forget those tasteless K-rations and preservative-filled, prepackaged foods. With this book and a dehydrator, you can quickly and easily convert fresh fruits, vegetables, and meats into a delicious stockpile of tasty foods. The most environmentally sustainable way to utilize your survival garden’s complete harvest, dehydrating is an ideal solution to long-term food storage. Plus, it’s healthy and affordable!

    Item: 8897

    Author: SHELLE WELLS

    Format: Paperback

  • PREPPER'S SURVIVAL HACKS

    This guide features easy-to-follow picture tutorials on how to build your own DIY survival projects (50 in all!). One of the prepping movement’s most prolific authors, Jim Cobb has taught readers how to fortify their homes, survive for weeks without electricity, and prepare themselves financially for years of economic turmoil. Now he turns to some of his favorite DIY projects to teach his thousands of fans how to create cheap, easy, and ingenious tools to help survive any natural disaster. Prepper’s Survival Hacks is filled to the brim with intriguing, fun, and innovative projects to secure any home.

    Item: 8900

    Author: JIM COBB

    Format: Paperback

  • RAINWATER HARVESTING FOR DRYLANDS AND BEYOND VOLUME 1

    Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands and Beyond, Volume 1, 2nd Edition: Guiding Principles to Welcome Rain into Your Life and Landscape is the first book in a three-volume guide that teaches you how to conceptualize, design, and implement sustainable water-harvesting systems for your home, landscape, and community. This revised and expanded second edition increases potential for on-site harvests with more integrated tools and strategies for solar design, a primer on your water/energy/carbon connections, descriptions of water/erosion flow patterns and their water-harvesting response, and updated illustrations to show you how to do it all. The stories of people who are successfully welcoming rain into their life and landscape will inspire you to do the same!

    Item: 8008

    Author: Brad Lancaster

    Format: Paperback

  • RAINWATER HARVESTING FOR DRYLANDS AND BEYOND VOLUME 2

    Earthworks are one of the easiest, least expensive, and most effective ways of passively harvesting and conserving multiple sources of water in the soil. Associated vegetation then pumps the harvested water back out in the form of beauty, food, shelter, wildlife habitat, and passive heating and cooling, while controlling erosion, increasing soil fertility, reducing downstream flooding, and improving water and air quality. Building on the information presented in the first volume of this series, this book shows you how to select, place, size, construct, and plant your chosen water-harvesting earthworks. It presents detailed how-to information and variations of a diverse array of earthworks, including chapters on mulch, vegetation, and greywater recycling, so you can customize the techniques to the unique requirements of your site. Real life stories and examples permeate the book, including:

    • How curb cuts redirect street runoff to passively irrigate flourishing shade trees planted along the street
    • How check dams have helped create springs and perennial flows in once-dry creeks
    • How infiltration basins are creating thriving rain-fed gardens
    • How backyard greywater laundromats are turning "wastewater" into a resource for growing food, beauty, and shade that builds community and more
    • How to create simple tools to read slope and water flow
    • More than 225 illustrations and photographs
    Item: 8009

    Author: Brad Lancaster

    Format: Paperback

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