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31.

A MODERN LOOK AT STRAW BALE CONSTRUCTION

Andrew Morrison
Paperback

Price: $39.99

In A Modern Look at Straw Bale Construction, Andrew Morrison presents what he believes are the best details for the highest quality construction available.

The idea behind the book was bo…

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In A Modern Look at Straw Bale Construction, Andrew Morrison presents what he believes are the best details for the highest quality construction available.

The idea behind the book was born of his comprehensive straw bale workshops. Each year, Morrison teaches hundreds of people how to build with straw bales, hands-on - and each year, he sketched out the same details and sections over and over again. Asked on several occasions to draw them up on a computer and then bundle them as hand-outs, he did just that.

Then Morrison contacted an excellent straw bale designer, Chris Keefe of Organicforms Design, and asked him to help with the drawings. Having designed more than 40 straw bale homes, Keefe had a ton of experience. Together, they have created a book that, as one reader raves, "fills an enormous gap in what information is available."

Morrison's focus is always on designing and building a structure that is beautiful, durable, safe, efficient, healthy, natural and inspiring, and this book brings that vision to life. It contains a thoroughgoing discussion of topics as well as 22 construction details provided by Keefe.


32.

MOTHER EARTH NEWS & GRIT SELF-SUFFICIENT RESOURCE SET

Mother Earth News & GRIT
Paperback

Price: $14.99

Mother Earth News and Grit come together to bring you 600 pages of expert advice, recipes, do-it-yourself projects and more information on living a self-sufficient life. This set covers everything fro…

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Mother Earth News and Grit come together to bring you 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 bees and honey, from backyard rabbits to self-reliance and country skills. The do-it-yourself projects include energy-saving household updates as well as instructions for constructing chicken coops, outdoor bread ovens and permanent garden beds. Follow recipes for baking sourdough bread, preparing rabbit meat, fixing delicious egg dishes, and cooking with honey. 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 Organic Gardening, 4th Edition
This glossy-paged guide is perfect for beginners or expert gardeners. It covers everything from perennial vegetables to choosing a greenhouse, from organic pest control to making compost. Read how poultry is the secret weapon for organic pest control. Learn how to make the best homemade tomato cages. Or plan out your kitchen garden with four delightful herb gardens plans.

Mother Earth News Guide to Self-Reliance and Country Skills, 2nd Edition
With more than 20 articles, this guide has hundreds of great ideas for self-reliant living. From preserving food to small-space gardening, from backyard chickens to making your own yogurt and cheese, this special guide has a wide variety of information that will help you lead a sustainable life.

Grit Guide to Homemade Bread, 3rd Edition
Bread, bagels, pretzels, pizza crust, cookies and more! All of these delicious homemade creations can be found in this Guide to Homemade Bread. This guide includes more than 53 keys to successful bread making, outdoor bread oven plans, fail-proof no-knead breads, top bread machines tips and more.

Grit Guide to Backyard Rabbits, 2nd Edition
You'll find more than 25 keys to a successful rabbit-raising enterprise in this special Barnyard Series guide. Learn about raising rabbits for meat and breeding stock. Build rabbit homes and learn what equipment you'll need. Read about a basic bunny diet that will keep them happy and healthy, and also discover so much more.

Grit Guide to Backyard Chickens, 4th Edition
Calling all chicken enthusiasts! The fourth edition of this popular guide is overflowing with expert advice, key facts and easy chicken coop plans that will have both beginner and seasoned chicken owners crowing for joy! Read how to build a broiler coop on a shoestring budget. Build the perfect chicken tractor. Learn which heritage hens are the best for laying eggs. Follow the wide variety of delicious chicken recipes this book has to offer.

Grit Guide to Backyard Bees and Honey, 3rd Edition
This treasure-trove of bee knowledge has more than 75 ways to get more from your bees. Cover-to-cover, this guide includes tips on saving money while building your own beehive or honey extractor with simple materials available at your local hardware store. Read how to use a top-bar hive, a less expensive method to raising bees that will pollinate your crops and provide tasty honey fresh from the comb.


33.

THE GREENED HOUSE EFFECT

Jeff Wilson
Paperback

Price: $29.95

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.


    34.

    COMPACT HOUSES

    Gerald Rowan
    Paperback

    Price: $19.95

    Discover the huge possibilities to be found in a small house! Whether you're building from scratch or retrofitting an existing structure, these 50 innovative floor plans will show you how to make the …

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    Discover the huge possibilities to be found in a small house! Whether you're building from scratch or retrofitting an existing structure, these 50 innovative floor plans will show you how to make the most of houses measuring 1,400 square feet or less. Gerald Rowan focuses on efficient layouts and creative ways to use every inch of your space, including closets, decks, porches, bathrooms, attics and basements. Artist renderings bring each house's exterior to life, and detailed interior drawings illustrate special space-saving features. Compact Houses includes one- and two-floor designs and plans with one to three bedrooms.


    35.

    MAKING BETTER BUILDINGS

    Chris Magwood
    Paperback

    Price: $39.95

    From foundation to finish, a wealth of information is available on sustainable construction methods. Entire volumes have been published on individual green and natural building techniques! But with so…

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    From foundation to finish, a wealth of information is available on sustainable construction methods. Entire volumes have been published on individual green and natural building techniques! But with so many different ideas from which to choose, there is no single resource that allows an owner or builder to quickly and objectively compare the merits of each system for their particular project.

    Making Better Buildings cuts through the hype and provides the unvarnished facts about the upsides and downsides of the most widely discussed materials and technologies. Drawing on the real-world experiences of designer/builders, this comparative guide systematically and comprehensively examines each approach in terms of:

    • Cost, sourcing, labor intensity, and ease of construction
    • Energy efficiency, embodied energy and environmental impacts
    • Availability/accessibility
    • Viable applications and future potential
    Each chapter is rounded out by a chart that summarizes the material in a quick and accessible manner.

    Whether you are an owner preparing to build a green or natural home, or a conventional contractor determined to integrate sustainable alternatives into your existing construction practices, this up-to-the minute resource will help you make the best decisions for your project, while meeting your energy, efficiency, budgetary and site-specific needs.


    36.

    PREFABULOUS + ALMOST OFF THE GRID

    Sheri Koones
    Hardcover

    Price: $22.95

    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-…

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    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.

    Taking energy from the grid when necessary and returning any excess energy produced, almost-off-the-grid homes function on a fraction of the energy required by most houses, and additionally are more comfortable, healthier, quieter inside, and far cheaper to operate. As energy costs continue to rise, the almost-off-the-grid house proves its worth.

    Prefabulous + Almost Off the Grid profiles more than 30 of the most energy-efficient homes in the United States, and this hardworking guide reveals how homeowners can achieve similar results with floor plans, the latest, most efficient technologies, and multiple images of the exterior and interior of each home.


    37.

    SHELTER II

    Lloyd Kahn & Bob Easton
    Paperback

    Price: $19.95

    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…

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    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.


    38.

    PRETTY PRUDENT HOME

    J. Boneau & J. Morrison Curtis
    Hardcover

    Price: $24.95

    Pretty Prudent Home is part design book, part DIY guidebook, with beautiful photography inviting readers to tackle projects both simple and sophisticated. With images from the authors’ homes, as well …

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    Pretty Prudent Home is part design book, part DIY guidebook, with beautiful photography inviting readers to tackle projects both simple and sophisticated. With images from the authors’ homes, as well as those of trendsetters around the world, fans are given an in-depth look into the lives and design sensibilities of a wide spectrum of stylish, aspirational, yet down-to-earth families. With modern projects that include repainting thrift store finds, repurposing vintage heirlooms, creating quick window treatments, sewing your first hand-me-down quilt, and even tips on the easiest ways to throw a last-minute party or host a bake sale, Pretty Prudent Home offers practical projects and a large dose of Boneau and Curtis’s trademark banter and whimsy to help you create a truly inspired yet livable home.


    39.

    THE WATER-WISE HOME

    Laura Allen
    Paperback

    Price: $24.95

    Are you looking for ways to save water -- or money? This accessible guide by Laura Allen, founder of Greywater Action, explains how to use water smartly and efficiently, increasing supply, saving mone…

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    Are you looking for ways to save water -- or money? This accessible guide by Laura Allen, founder of Greywater Action, explains how to use water smartly and efficiently, increasing supply, saving money, reducing wear on your septic system, and fulfilling your home and garden needs. She describes proven conservation techniques, explains how to create a water-wise landscape, and provides illustrated, step-by-step instructions for setting up a waterless composting toilet as well as systems to reuse greywater, harvest rainwater, and more.


    40.

    CABIN LESSONS

    Spike Carlsen
    Paperback

    Price: $14.95

    Carpenter Spike Carlsen, his wife, and their recently blended family of five kids set out to build a cabin on the north shore of Lake Superior. Part building guide and part memoir, Cabin Lessons tells…

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    Carpenter Spike Carlsen, his wife, and their recently blended family of five kids set out to build a cabin on the north shore of Lake Superior. Part building guide and part memoir, Cabin Lessons tells the funny, wry, and heartwarming story of their eventful journey -- from buying land on an eroding cliff to (finally) enjoying the hideaway of their dreams. Learning as they go, and learning about themselves and each other along the way, they find in the end that they’ve built a strong family as much as a sturdy cabin.

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