Chelsea Green Publishing

Building & Energy

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  1. The Carbon-Free Home

    The Carbon-Free Home

    By Stephen & Rebekah Hren

    You probably know that energy used in your home produces more global-warming pollution than your car, but what can you do to reduce your reliance on fossil fuels? Maybe you daydream of starting from scratch, building a new, super-efficient, passive-solar, off-grid house—but in reality you’ve got a roof (and a mortgage) over your head already. How can you turn your existing house into an environmental asset? One that simultaneously saves you money on utilities and insulates you from the possible shocks of Peak Oil?

    Read this book—then grab your handsaw, tape measure, and drill, and get started! A life powered by the sun is waiting for you. Meant as a guide for renovating existing homes, The Carbon-Free Home gives you the hands-on knowledge necessary to kick the fossil-fuel habit, with projects small and large listed by skill, time, cost, and energy saved. For every aspect of your life currently powered by fossil fuels, The Carbon-Free Home offers alternatives you can accomplish yourself to get started using renewable and sustainable sources of power.

    Having weaned themselves completely from fossil fuels in their conventional 1930s urban house, Rebekah and Stephen Hren provide a map for others to do the same. Their book shows first how to reduce energy consumption, then to retrofit existing homes to obtain all heating, cooling, cooking, refrigeration, hot water, and electricity from renewable sources. The Hrens also provide advice on renewable methods of transportation and home gardening. These practical approaches fit anyone’s budget and can be implemented over time to progressively liberate a home from fossil-fuel dependency.

    eBook $35.00

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  2. Build Your Own Earth Oven

    Build Your Own Earth Oven

    By Kiko Denzer and Hannah Field

    Earth ovens combine the utility of a wood-fired, retained-heat oven with the ease and timeless beauty of earthen construction. Building one will appeal to bakers, builders, and beginners of all kinds, from:

        •    the serious or aspiring baker who wants the best low-cost
bread oven, to
        •    gardeners who want a centerpiece for a beautiful
outdoor kitchen, to
        •    outdoor chefs, to
        •    creative people interested in low-cost materials and
simple technology, to
        •    teachers who want a multi-faceted, experiential project for students of all ages (the book has been successful  with
 everyone from third-graders to adults).

    Build Your Own Earth Oven is fully illustrated with step-by-step directions, including how to tend the fire, and how to make perfect sourdough hearth loaves in the artisan tradition. The average do-it-yourselfer with a few tools and a scrap pile can build an oven for free, or close to it. Otherwise, $30 should cover all your materials--less than the price of a fancy "baking stone." Good building soil is often right in your back yard, under your feet. Build the simplest oven in a day! With a bit more time and imagination, you can make a permanent foundation and a fire-breathing dragon-oven or any other shape you can dream up.

    Earth ovens are familiar to many that have seen a southwestern "horno" or a European "bee-hive" oven. The idea, pioneered by Egyptian bakers in the second millennium BCE, is simplicity itself: fill the oven with wood, light a fire, and let it burn down to ashes. The dense, 3- to 12-inch-thick earthen walls hold and store the heat of the fire, the baker sweeps the floor clean, and the hot oven walls radiate steady, intense heat for hours.

    Home bakers who can't afford a fancy, steam-injected bread oven will be delighted to find that a simple earth oven can produce loaves to equal the fanciest "artisan" bakery. It also makes delicious roast meats, cakes, pies, pizzas, and other creations. Pizza cooks to perfection in three minutes or less. Vegetables, herbs, and potatoes drizzled with olive oil roast up in minutes for a simple, elegant, and delicious meal. Efficient cooks will find the residual heat useful for slow-baked dishes, and even for drying surplus produce, or incubating homemade yogurt.

    Paperback $17.95

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  3. Energy: Use Less-Save More

    Energy: Use Less-Save More

    By Jon Clift and Amanda Cuthbert

    100 energy saving tips for everything in your home or business!

    Did you know . . .

    • Heating and cooling account for about 56% of the energy use in a typical home
    • Energy-efficient light bulbs last about 12 times longer than ordinary bulbs, and consume about 1/5 of the energy
    • If we all turned off our TVs and other gadgets that are kept on stand-by, we could shut down a couple of power stations in the United States, with huge reductions in CO2 emissions
    • Our energy use is projected to increase 17% from 1995-2015
    • Our homes produce even more CO2 emissions than our cars

    This book gives you 100 energy-saving tips for the home—from simple things like switching off unnecessary lights and having a shower instead of a bath, to more drastic measures such as installing a condensing boiler. If each one of us acts on just a few of these suggestions, we can save money—and help slow down climate change.

     

     

    Paperback $7.95

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    eBook $7.95

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  4. The Rammed Earth House

    The Rammed Earth House

    By David Easton

    The Rammed Earth House is an eye-opening example of how the most dramatic innovations in home design and construction frequently have their origins in the distant past. By rediscovering the most ancient of all building materials —earth—forward-thinking homebuilders can now create structures that set new standards for beauty, durability, and efficient use of natural resources.

    Rammed earth construction is a step forward into a sustainable future, when homes will combine pleasing aesthetics and intense practicality with a powerful sense of place. Rammed earth homes are built entirely on-site, using basic elements—earth, water, and a little cement. The solid masonry walls permit design flexibility while providing year-round comfort and minimal use of energy. The builder and resident of a rammed earth house will experience the deep satisfaction of creating permanence in a world dominated by the disposable.

    eBook $40.00

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  5. A Handmade Life

    A Handmade Life

    By William Coperthwaite, John Saltmarsh

    William Coperthwaite is a teacher, builder, designer, and writer who for many years hasexplored the possibilities of true simplicity on a homestead on the north coast of Maine. In the spirit of Henry David Thoreau, Emily Dickinson, and Helen and Scott Nearing, Coperthwaite has fashioned a livelihood of integrity and completeness-buying almost nothing, providing for his own needs, and serving as a guide and companion to hundreds of apprentices drawn to his unique way of being.

    A Handmade Life carries Coperthwaite's ongoing experiments with hand tools, hand-grown and gathered food, and handmade shelter, clothing, and furnishings out into the world to challenge and inspire. His writing is both philosophical and practical, exploring themes of beauty, work, education, and design while giving instruction on the hand-crafting of the necessities of life. Richly illustrated with luminous color photographs by Peter Forbes, the book is a moving and inspirational testament to a new practice of old ways of life.

    Paperback $25.00

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    eBook $25.00

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  6. The Citizen-Powered Energy Handbook

    The Citizen-Powered Energy Handbook

    By Greg Pahl

    In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, Al Gore's summer blockbuster An Inconvenient Truth, and crude oil prices soaring to all-time highs, more people than ever know the truth about our oil addiction. Global warming is here. M. King Hubbert's oil peak is fast approaching (or may already have arrived). The secret's out: fossil fuel reserves are dwindling and popular interest has created the need for accessible, realistic solutions.

    The Citizen-Powered Energy Handbook, a clear-eyed view of the critical situation we face, offers ways out. Greg Pahl examines energy technologies currently available and homes in on renewable energy strategies that can be adopted by individuals and communities. Such cooperative initiatives have been common in Europe for years and are beginning to gain a foothold in the US. Each chapter focuses on a different renewable energy category--solar, wind, water, biomass, liquid biofuels, and geothermal--then reviews their advantages and disadvantages and desccribes numerous examples of successful, proven local initiatives.

    The Citizen-Powered Energy Handbook is an eloquent appeal for community and regional action to initiate an array of solutions to energy needs until now controlled by large, distant utilities and consortiums. It is time to take back control of the energy and environmental challenges ahead; this book will help people do just that. It is a handbook for anyone ready to take the first steps towards a more sustainable future.

    eBook $21.95

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  7. The Passive Solar House

    The Passive Solar House

    By James Kachadorian

    Revised and Expanded Edition - Includes CD-ROM with Custom Design Software

    For the past ten years The Passive Solar House has offered proven techniques for building homes that heat and cool themselves, using readily available materials and methods familiar to all building contractors and many do-it-yourself homeowners.

    True to this innovative, straightforward approach, the new edition of this best-selling guide includes CSOL passive solar design software, making it easier than ever to heat your home with the power of the sun. Since The Passive Solar House was first published, passive solar construction expert James Kachadorian has perfected user-friendly, Windows-compatible software to supplement the design process explained in the book by allowing homeowners/designers to enter the specifications of their design and see how changing a variable will affect its energy efficiency.

    This is the building book for a world of climbing energy costs. Applicable to diverse regions, climates, budgets, and styles of architecture, Kachadorian's techniques translate the essentials of timeless solar design into practical wisdom for today's solar builders. Profiles of successful passive solar design, construction, and retrofit projects from readers of the first edition provide inspiration to first-time homebuilders and renovators alike.

    Hardcover $40.00

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    eBook $40.00

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  8. Making Better Concrete

    Making Better Concrete

    By Bruce King

    Why a book about concrete? Because we use so much of it — far more than any other building material. It seems only sensible to inquire as to how we can use this ubiquitous building material without undue damage to the life and landscapes that surround us. You may have heard of fly ash as an eco-friendly alternative to using portland cement in concrete, but until now there has been no easy guide to how it makes superior concrete, or to how to use it.

    This book isn't just for people who want to "build green" — it's for people who want to build better concrete.

    Paperback $20.00

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  9. The New Ecological Home

    The New Ecological Home

    By Daniel D. Chiras

    Shelter, like many other elements of human existence, comes at an extraordinary cost to our planet and its inhabitants. In the U.S. alone, construction of 1.2 million new homes a year results in a massive drain on Earth's natural resource base. Today, nearly 60 percent of all timber cut in the U.S. is used in building houses, not to mention construction wastes and the huge amounts of resources used in the day-to-day operation of the "modern" household. In addition to environmental costs, there are the personal economic costs—the thousands of dollars each homeowner spends each year to heat, cool, and power our homes.

    Today, a new generation of architects and builders is emerging, intent on creating homes that meet human needs for shelter while causing only a fraction of the environmental impact of conventional housing. The New Ecological Home provides an overview of green building techniques, materials, products, and technologies that are either currently available or will be in the near future. Author Daniel Chiras provides a wealth of up-to-date, practical information for home buyers, owner-builders, and anyone interested in building for a sustainable future. Included are chapters on:

    • The Healthy House
    • Green Building Materials
    • Wood-Wise Construction
    • Energy Efficiency
    • Earth-Sheltered Architecture
    • Passive Solar Heating and Passive Cooling
    • Green Power: Electricity from the Sun and Wind
    • Water and Waste: Sustainable Approaches
    • Environmental Landscaping

    eBook $35.00

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  10. Wind Power

    Wind Power

    By Paul Gipe

    In the wake of mass blackouts and energy crises, wind power remains a largely untapped resource of renewable energy. It is a booming worldwide industry whose technology, under the collective wing of aficionados like author Paul Gipe, is coming of age. Wind Power guides us through the emergent, sometimes daunting discourse on wind technology, giving frank explanations of how to use wind technology wisely and sound advice on how to avoid common mistakes.

    Since the mid-1970s, Paul Gipe has played a part in nearly every aspect of wind energy’s development—from installing small turbines to promoting wind energy worldwide. As an American proponent of renewable energy, Gipe has earned the acclaim and respect of European energy specialists for years, but his arguments have often fallen on deaf ears at home.

    Today, the topic of wind power is cropping up everywhere from the beaches of Cape Cod to the Oregon-Washington border, and one wind turbine is capable of producing enough electricity per year to run 200 average American households. Now, Paul Gipe is back to shed light on this increasingly important energy source with a revised edition of Wind Power.

    Over the course of his career, Paul Gipe has been a proponent, participant, observer, and critic of the wind industry. His experience with wind has given rise to two previous books on the subject, Wind Energy Basics and Wind Power for Home and Business, which have sold over 50,000 copies. Wind Power for Home and Business has become a staple for both homeowners and professionals interested in the subject, and now, with energy prices soaring, interest in wind power is hitting an all-time high.

    With chapters on output and economics, Wind Power discloses how much you can expect from each method of wind technology, both in terms of energy and financial savings. The book’s updated models, graphics, and weighty appendixes make it an invaluable reference for everyone interested in the emerging trend of wind power and renewable energy.

    Executive Director of the American Wind Energy Association Randall Swisher has said, "In the last two decades, no one has done more that Paul Gipe to bring wind energy to the public’s attention."

    eBook $50.00

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  11. The Slate Roof Bible

    The Slate Roof Bible

    By Joseph C. Jenkins

    Completely revised, greatly expanded and updated version of the award-winning The Slate Roof Bible, with 21 chapters including six that are new: International Roof Slate, European Slating Methods, Roof Inscriptions and Designs, Recycling Slate Roofs, and separate chapters on Chimneys and Valleys. The profusely illustrated full color format of this comprehensive book, with 330 color photos and hundreds of charts and line drawings, has elevated it into a work of art. Yet, the down-home writing style of Joseph Jenkins has converted a potentially tedious subject into a delight.

    With chapters on slate roof history, slate geology, roof safety, tools, installation, repairs, flashings, and regional slate quarries, as well as sections on ceramic tile roofs, asbestos roofs, and flat-lock copper roofs, The Slate Roof Bible is a fascinating book on its own, essential for anyone who wants to build naturally and permanently, and a must-have for architects, builders, roofers, designers, historians, and slate roof owners.

    Paperback $40.00

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  12. The Solar House

    The Solar House

    By Daniel D. Chiras

    Passive solar heating and passive cooling—approaches known as natural conditioning—provide comfort throughout the year by reducing, or eliminating, the need for fossil fuel. Yet while heat from sunlight and ventilation from breezes is free for the taking, few modern architects or builders really understand the principles involved.

    Now Dan Chiras, author of the popular book The Natural House, brings those principles up to date for a new generation of solar enthusiasts.

    The techniques required to heat and cool a building passively have been used for thousands of years. Early societies such as the Native American Anasazis and the ancient Greeks perfected designs that effectively exploited these natural processes. The Greeks considered anyone who didn't use passive solar to heat a home to be a barbarian!

    In the United States, passive solar architecture experienced a major resurgence of interest in the 1970s in response to crippling oil embargoes. With grand enthusiasm but with scant knowledge (and sometimes little common sense), architects and builders created a wide variety of solar homes. Some worked pretty well, but looked more like laboratories than houses. Others performed poorly, overheating in the summer because of excessive or misplaced windows and skylights, and growing chilly in the colder months because of insufficient thermal mass and insulation and poor siting.

    In The Solar House, Dan Chiras sets the record straight on the vast potential for passive heating and cooling. Acknowledging the good intentions of misguided solar designers in the past, he highlights certain egregious—and entirely avoidable—errors. More importantly, Chiras explains in methodical detail how today's home builders can succeed with solar designs.

    Now that energy efficiency measures including higher levels of insulation and multi-layered glazing have become standard, it is easier than ever before to create a comfortable and affordable passive solar house that will provide year-round comfort in any climate.

    Moreover, since modern building materials and airtight construction methods sometimes result in air-quality and even toxicity problems, Chiras explains state-of-the-art ventilation and filtering techniques that complement the ancient solar strategies of thermal mass and daylighting. Chiras also explains the new diagnostic aids available in printed worksheet or software formats, allowing readers to generate their own design schemes.

    Paperback $29.95

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    eBook $29.95

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  13. The Complete Yurt Handbook

    The Complete Yurt Handbook

    By Paul King

    The yurt or ger is a low-impact structure that causes no permanent damage to the land on which it is pitched. It is easy to erect and can be taken down in an hour. It is cool in summer and, with a stove, warm in winter. For centuries, people throughout central Asia have made yurts their homes. Robust and versatile, the yurt has evolved into the ultimate portable dwelling.

    Yurts are perfect for offices, summer houses, meditation spaces, spare rooms, or just beautifully satisfying spaces to be in! Join the thousands of North Americans who are discovering the many virtues of the yurt.

    Part One of the book delves into the history of the yurt and the principles behind its construction, and explores modern life in a Mongolian ger and the culture and etiquette of ger living.

    Part Two gives fully illustrated and detailed instructions on how to make several of the most popular types of yurt, including the "weekend yurt." With a few common wood-working tools, even an absolute beginner could build the frame for this simple, elegant structure.

    Paperback $25.00

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  14. The Hand-Sculpted House

    The Hand-Sculpted House

    By Ianto Evans, Michael G. Smith and Linda Smiley

    Are you ready for the Cob Cottage? This is a building method so old and so simple that it has been all but forgotten in the rush to synthetics. A cob cottage,cobb, however, might be the ultimate expression of ecological design, a structure so attuned to its surroundings that its creators refer to it as "an ecstatic house."

    The authors build a house the way others create a natural garden. They use the oldest, most available materials imaginable--earth, clay, sand, straw, and water--and blend them to redefine the future (and past) of building. Cob (the word comes from an Old English root, meaning "lump") is a mixture of non-toxic, recyclable, and often free materials. Building with cob requires no forms, no cement, and no machinery of any kind. Builders actually sculpt their structures by hand.

    Building with earth is nothing new to America; the oldest structures on the continent were built with adobe bricks. Adobe, however, has been geographically limited to the Southwest. The limits of cob are defined only by the builder's imagination.
    Cob offers answers regarding our role in Nature, family and society, about why we feel the ways that we do, about what's missing in our lives. Cob comes as a revelation, a key to a saner world.

    Cob has been a traditional building process for millennia in Europe, even in rainy and windy climates like the British Isles, where many cob buildings still serve as family homes after hundreds of years. The technique is newly arrived to the Americas, and, as with so many social trends, the early adopters are in the Pacific Northwest.

    Cob houses (or cottages, since they are always efficiently small by American construction standards) are not only compatible with their surroundings, they ARE their surroundings, literally rising up from the earth. They are full of light, energy-efficient, and cozy, with curved walls and built-in, whimsical touches. They are delightful. They are ecstatic.

    Paperback $35.00

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  15. Serious Straw Bale

    Serious Straw Bale

    By Paul Lacinski and Michel Bergeron

    In 1994, when Chelsea Green published The Straw Bale House, the response from many people was a loud, "Huh?!"

    Those days are gone. With more than 100,000 copies sold, and straw bale projects underway in most regions of North America, we've entered a new era. Even building-code officials and insurance companies now look favorably upon straw bale buildings, with their extraordinary energy efficiency and wise use of agricultural waste for construction materials.

    Bergeron and Lacinski's new book Serious Straw Bale is the first to look carefully at the specific design considerations critical to success with a straw bale building in more extreme climates-where seasonal changes in temperature, precipitation, and humidity create special stresses that builders must understand and address. The authors draw upon years of experience with natural materials and experimental techniques, and present a compelling rationale for building with straw-one of nature's most resilient, available, and affordable byproducts.

    For skeptics and true believers, this book will prove to be the latest word.

    • Thorough explanations of how moisture and temperature affect buildings in seasonal climates, with descriptions of the unique capacities of straw and other natural materials to provide warmth, quiet, and comfort year-round.
    • Comprehensive comparison of the two main approaches to straw bale construction: "Nebraska-style," where bales bear the weight of the roof, and framed structures, where bales provide insulation.
    • Detailed advice-including many well-considered cautions-for contractors, owner-builders, and designers, following each stage of a bale-building process.

    This is a second-generation straw bale book, for those seeking serious information to meet serious challenges while adventuring in the most fun form of construction to come along in several centuries.

    Paperback $34.95

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    eBook $34.95

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  16. The Toilet Papers

    The Toilet Papers

    By Sim Van Der Ryn

    A classic is back in print! One of the favorite books of 1970s back-to-the-landers, The Toilet Papers is an informative, inspiring, and irreverent look at how people have dealt with their wastes through the centuries. In a historical survey, Van der Ryn provides the basic facts concerning human wastes, and describes safe designs for toilets that reduce water consumption and avert the necessity for expensive and unreliable treatment systems. The Toilet Papers provides do-it-yourself plans for a basic compost privy and a variety of graywater systems.

    Paperback $14.00

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    eBook $14.00

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  17. The Cob Builders Handbook

    The Cob Builders Handbook

    By Becky Bee

    Cob (an old English word for lump) is old-fashioned concrete, made out of a mixture of clay, sand, and straw. Becky Bee's manual 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.

    "I believe that building with cob is a way to recreate community and experience the joy of working together while taking back the right to build our own homes and look after our Mother Earth."

    She loves doing something that makes sense in a world where lots of things don't.

    Paperback $23.95

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  18. Buildings of Earth and Straw

    Buildings of Earth and Straw

    By Bruce King

    Straw bale and rammed earth construction are enjoying a fantastic growth spurt in the United States and abroad. When interest turns to action, however, builders can encounter resistance from mainstream construction and lending communities unfamiliar with these materials. Buildings of Earth and Straw is written by structural engineer Bruce King, and provides technical data from an engineer's perspective. Information includes: special construction requirements of earth and straw; design capabilities and limitations of these materials; and most importantly, the documentation of testing that building officials often require.

    Paperback $25.00

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  19. Independent Builder

    Independent Builder

    By Sam Clark

    This is a comprehensive manual of design and building methods for owner-builders as well as professional builders and their clients. In addition to presenting specific building techniques, the book explains the design principles and planning processes that underlie all good building, so that readers can develop their own exceptional designs, independently.

    Independent Builder develops subjects not covered thoroughly in other books, but critical to success:

    • Designing small houses that seem big
    • Understanding innovation
    • Estimating and controlling costs
    • Incorporating ergonomics and accessibility
    • Doing drawings and scale models
    • Making contracts that work

    Paperback $40.00

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  20. Ceramic Houses and Earth Architecture

    Ceramic Houses and Earth Architecture

    By Nader Khalili

    Khalili's classic, authoritative manual describes how to build arches, domes, and vaults with earth, as well as techniques to fire and glaze earth buildings to transform them into ceramic houses. This newly revised edition also provides insight into the latest response by building officials to Superadobe or earthbag technology (structures of sandbags and barbed wire), a patented system that is free for the owner-builder and licensed for commercial use.

    Nader Khalili's ideas on ceramic houses and earth architecture have been published by NASA and utilized by the United Nations, and have passed building and safety tests in California. This new edition is now in its fifth printing.

    Paperback $26.95

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