Cob (an old English word for lump) is a building material as old as humanity made out of a mixture of clay, sand, and straw. The Cob Builders Handbook 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. Whether you’re just wanting to learn more about cob building or are ready to dive right in, this will be your go-to guide!
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.
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:
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.
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.
In the How-To Guide to Building With Straw Bales (Load Bearing) DVD, you'll discover how this form of construction uses the bales themselves as the structural element of the home.
The How-to Guide to Plastering DVD includes nearly a full hour of information, sourced from professionals, that you need to know to plaster your straw bale structure successfully with natural hydraulic lime.
Heating with wood is often considered a natural and economical alternative to electricity or fossil fuels. However, even with a fairly new and efficient woodstove, many cords of wood are required for burning over the course of a single winter, and incomplete combustion can contribute to poor air quality. A rocket mass heater is an earthen masonry heating system which provides clean, safe, and efficient warmth for your home, all while using 70 to 90 percent less fuel than a traditional woodstove.
These unique and beautiful installations provide luxurious comfort year-round. In cold weather a few hours of clean, hot burning can provide 20 or more hours of steady warmth, while the unit's large thermal mass acts as a heat sink, cooling your home on sizzling summer days. Packed with hard-to-find information, The Rocket Mass Heater Builder's Guide includes:
Earthen masonry heating systems are well-suited for natural and conventional builders alike. A super-efficient, woodburning rocket mass heater can help you dramatically reduce your energy costs while enhancing the beauty, value, and comfort of your home.
RVs are great for taking vacations, but today more and more people are discovering the advantages of living in an RV full time. Author and entrepreneur Gary Collins has found freedom and fulfillment in life on the road. His mile-by-mile guide shows how you, too, can liberate yourself and find lasting joy through simplicity.
Many of the oldest buildings in the world are made from earth, not because it is the most durable material, but because it’s cheap and easy to get. Often from right beneath your feat. Our ancestors didn’t have dump trucks, so they mostly made do with whatever soil was at hand. In Uncle Mud Cheetsheet #1: Sourcing Earthen Building Materials for Cheap and Easy Mud Fun, you’ll learn about the different ways to find soil and the benefits (such as health, economic, ecological, and social) to building with earth. So whether you’re a mud lover or building lover or both, this 4-page “cheat sheet” will be the first stepping stone into using mud as a building material.