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Advances in solar technology have made many DIY-friendly products available to consumers. These include solar water heaters, solar battery charging stations, solar-powered lights, photovoltaic shingles that provide supplementary electricity, solar heat pumps, and solar panel kits that generate primary home electrical service. Among the step-by-step projects is a solar water heating system you can build and install yourself for under $1,000; simple thermosyphon solar heat collectors for barns and outbuildings; and "heat grabbers" that you can fabricate for $50 in materials and position below a south-facing window to provide auxiliary winter heat.
Want to read more? Preview this book: How to Make a Solar Still.
Author: Eric Smith
Turn simple shipping pallets into stunning crafts for your home!
With DIY Wood Pallet Projects, you can finally personalize your space without having to spend a fortune on getting that perfect rustic chic look. Featuring 35 creative upcycling ideas, you'll transform old wood pallets into beautiful projects that will help fill your home and yard with style and personality. If you've never picked up a power tool, don't worry. The easy, step-by-step instructions guide you through the entire woodworking process as you re-create all of your favorite designs. Inside, you'll find one-of-a-kind creations like:
Complete with stunning photographs and plenty of inspiration, each of the designs in DIY Wood Pallet Projects will be the perfect addition to your home.
Author: Karah Bunde
Dying with plants is a kind of botanical alchemy, and in Eco Colour, artistic dyer and colorist India Flint teaches you how to cull and use leaves, roots, and flowers to color your cloth and yarn. She takes the path of doing the least possible harm to the dyer, the end user of the object, and the environment.Eco Colour will inspire both the novice home dyer and textile professional seeking to extend their skills using Flint's successful methods for achieving ecologically friendly, stunning color.
Author: India flint
Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without - our grandmothers knew the importance of responsible, thrifty choices. But somewhere along the way we succumbed to the belief that we can get everything for next to nothing, have it shipped halfway around the world and then, more often than not, just throw it away.
This consumer binge is taking its toll. Diet and lifestyle-related illnesses are epidemic, our environment is awash in a sea of plastic, our climate is changing, and the cost of everything is skyrocketing with the price of oil. Are we doomed? No. We can make greener, healthier choices, and we can do it while saving money.
Where to start? Ecothrifty is packed with simple, practical ideas and recipes to help you:
Author: Deborah Niemann
Prefabricated straw bale wall panels combine the performance and low environmental impact of traditional straw bale with reduced labor and more consistent results. Going well beyond the scope of many natural building books, this indispensable manual includes a complete introduction to the use of prefabricated bale walls, packed with all the information you need to determine whether they are the right choice for your project.Written by the world's leading sustainable builders, designers, and engineers, these succinct, user-friendly handbooks are indispensable tools for any project where accurate and reliable information are key to success.
Author: Chris Magwood
As communities seek greater resiliency in the wake of economic upheaval, job loss, climate change and global food shortages, local farmers are seen as a key resource to help reinvigorate (or create) a diversified, regionalized, ecologically based food system. Farms with a Future explores the passion, creativity and entrepreneurship that's needed to help family farms find their niche and remain sustainable and successful in an age of agribusiness and consolidation.
What is a farm with a future? What will make it sustainable and resilient? And what key qualities and skills does a farmer need in today's climate to be successful?
Rebecca Thistlethwaite addresses these and other crucial questions in this must-read book for anyone aspiring to get into small to mid-scale market farming, or who wants to make their existing farm more dynamic, profitable and, above all, sustainable.
A growing interest in locally grown food is evident: In 2008, local food sales (direct to consumers or direct to restaurants/retailers) totaled $4.8 billion dollars, according to a U.S. Department of Agriculture report. Those sales were predicted to top $7 billion by the end of 2011.
An experienced farmer herself, Thistlethwaite does not idealize or romanticize her subject in Farms with a Future. "If you are not prepared for some serious hard work, inclement weather, dirt lodged in every crevice of your body, and being so dog-tired that you fall into your easy chair at night and don't wake up until the next morning, then you might look into another vocation," the author warns.
Thistlethwaite and her husband took a one-year sabbatical and traveled the length and breadth of the United States to live and work alongside some of the nation's most innovative farmers to learn some of their best practices … and a whole lot about what doesn't work too.
Farms with a Future introduces readers to some of the country's most innovative farmers, who are embracing their "inner entrepreneur": unabashedly marketing and sharing the pride they have for what they produce; building systems and finding efficiencies and cost savings so they don't have to keep raising prices every year; shying away from huge debt loads by developing ways to build their businesses patiently over time, using earned income or creative arrangements with their community of customers; harnessing natural processes to ensure they are not degrading the natural resources the farms depend upon; and treating their employees and volunteers like family.
While many other books address agricultural production, very few talk about business management for long-term sustainability. Farms with a Future will help guide farmers to manage for long-term sustainability and build a triple-bottom-line farming business focused on economic viability, social justice and ecological soundness.
Author: Rebecca Thistlethwaite
From Erin Benzakein, owner of internationally renowned Floret Flower Farm and a leader in the locaflor farm-to-centerpiece movement, Floret Farm's Cut Flower Garden is equal parts instruction and inspiration: a book overflowing with lush photography of magnificent flowers and breathtaking arrangements organized by season. This beautiful guide to growing, harvesting, and arranging gorgeous blooms year-round gives readers vital tools to nurture a stunning flower garden and use their blossoms to create showstopping arrangements. With irresistible photos of Benzakein's flower farm that showcase exquisite blooms, tips for growing in a variety of spaces and climates as well as step-by-step instructions for lavish garlands, airy centerpieces, and romantic floral décor for every season, Floret Farm's Cut Flower Garden informs and entices gardeners of all skill levels.
Author: E. Benzakein & J. Chai
Garden Projects gives you a range of plans for useful and ornamental additions to your garden. Each project is fully explained, with detailed step-by-step descriptions and illustrations to guide you through.
Author: Roger Marshall
Gardening with Less Water offers simple, inexpensive, low-tech techniques for watering your garden much more efficiently — using up to 90 percent less water for the same results. With illustrated step-by-step instructions, David Bainbridge shows you how to install buried clay pots and pipes, wicking systems, and other porous containers that deliver water directly to a plant’s roots with little to no evaporation.
Author: David A. Bainbridge
Owning a small wood or being able to help look after one well has become an increasingly popular subject. Getting Started in Your Own Wood has all you need to know about the basics. It is written by experts committed to the care and stewardship of woodland resources and provides practical advice and guidance for those coming to woodland management for the first time.
Getting Started in Your Own Wood is an expanded and updated edition of Julian Evans’ hugely successful Badgers, Beeches and Blisters, first published in the United Kingdom in 2006 and reprinted four times. Every chapter has been revised, and two new chapters were added by Will Rolls on firewood and tree pests and diseases. This revised and expanded edition includes:
Author: Julian Evans & Will Rolls
If you're considering a solar or wind system for your home or business, this solar power guide is a valuable resource. In Got Sun? Go Solar, the authors explain how installing a solar or wind system is an economically attractive and environmentally responsible option.
From Vermont to California, homeowners are plugging in to a hot new idea — reducing or eliminating their electric bills by using free energy from the sun and wind. In this straight-talking new solar power guide, authors Rex Ewing and Doug Pratt tell other grid-connected homeowners how to capture alternative energy and put it to use in their home.
Renewable energy is going mainstream, thanks to affordable new technologies with rebates and incentives from many states. Today more and more homeowners believe that installing a home RE system is the economically-attractive and environmentally-responsible thing to do. Whether they install a solar/wind system to benefit their checkbooks or to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels, they also enjoy the added independence of a more self-sufficient lifestyle.
This solar power guide covers battery backup versus non-battery systems, as well as equipment needed and installation considerations. Other topics include legal and safety issues, incentives/rebates, and permits and paperwork. An extensive appendix of resources, state energy offices, system sizing worksheets, and much more turns this 160-page book (filled with more than 120 photos and illustrations) into a must-have book for anyone interested in exploring their power options.
About the authors:
The authors of this solar power guide know firsthand how these systems work. Rex Ewing, author of Power With Nature has lived off-the-grid in the Colorado Rockies since 1999. Doug Pratt, the former technical editor of the Solar Living Sourcebook, lives in a grid-tied home in northern California, and has been on the front lines of the renewable energy revolution since 1985.
Recommended product 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 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.
Author: Rex A. Ewing and Doug Pratt
According to conventional wisdom, building a green home is an expensive endeavor. The standard approach treats green as an add-on, tacking "premium" products, finishes and equipment onto a traditional home design. As a result, many green home projects end up over budget or fail to achieve their environmental and performance goals.
Green Home Building explodes the myth that green homes have to cost more. Using proven methods based on applied building science, authors Miki Cook and Doug Garrett show how to:
This comprehensive guide to building green on any budget defines the strategies that maximize the return on green investments. Written for anyone who has ever been swayed by the argument that the price tag limits how green a home can be, Green Home Building is a must-read for builders, contractors, architects, designers and homeowners.
Author: Miki Cook & Doug Garrett
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