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The Real Goods Independent Builder
Designing & Building a House Your Own Way
by Sam Clark

      "A successful project requires getting a lot of simple decisions right. My goal is to help readers succeed at this process, and also realize their imaginative design goals." -- 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.

      The Real Goods 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, and making contracts that work.

      "I am planning to build an owner-built house next summer, and have read upwards of 50 books on the subject. The Independent Builder is by far the best. It shared wisdom in addition to information." -- Mark Harrison of Jaffrey, New Hampshire

The Real Goods Independent Builder    $30.00    Quantity:

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The Natural House
A Complete Guide to Healthy, Energy-Efficient, Environmental Homes
by Daniel D. Chiras

      In the early 1990s, people were still asking a question that now sounds surprising: "Is it really possible to build a house that is economical, energy-independent, gentle on your health, nourishing to the soul, and kind to the environment?" Now that books such as The Independent Home and The Straw Bale House have sold tens of thousands of copies, that question is much easier to answer. Gracious, comfortable, and ecologically benign homes are being built all across America. But many people--including potential homeowners, professional contractors, and architects--are intrigued by solar techniques and natural materials, yet lack an overview introducing the basic choices now available.

      The Natural House addresses that need with style and substance. This exciting new book, written by a veteran author who himself lives in a straw-bale and rammed-tire home, takes the reader on a tour of fourteen natural building methods, including straw bale, rammed earth, cordwood, adobe, earthbags, papercrete, Earthships, and more. You'll learn how these homes are built, how much they cost, and the pros and cons of each. A resource guide at the end of every chapter offers a wealth of information.

      With a writing style that is clear, understandable, at times humorous, and fun to read, the author shows how we can gain energy independence and dramatically reduce our environmental impact through passive heating and cooling techniques, solar electricity, wind power, and micro-hydropower. Chiras also explains safe, economical ways of acquiring clean drinking water and treating wastewater, and discusses affordable green building products.

      While Chiras is an advocate of natural building, he takes a careful look at the "romance" of natural building techniques and alerts readers to avoidable pitfalls, offering detailed practical advice that could save you tens of thousands of dollars, whether you're buying a natural home, building one yourself or renovating an existing structure, or considering hiring a contractor to build for you.

The Natural House    $35.00    Quantity:

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The Solar House
Passive Heating and Cooling
by Dan 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.

The Solar House    $30.00    Quantity:

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The Passive Solar House
Using Solar Design to Heat and Cool Your Home
by James Kachadorian

      The Passive Solar House gives readers a comprehensive look at the ten key principles of solar design that can complement any style of architecture or method of building. Kachadorian's sensible approach is both appealing and reassuring for those who think innovation in solar design ended in the 1970s. Kachadorian emphasizes that solar homes need not look experimental or futuristic, nor do they require complicated, expensive, or hard-to-maintain gadgetry. Good planning is worth much more than special technologies or equipment.

      The Passive Solar House contains information on how to save money when building, how to avoid overheating, and which interior design features will lead to year-round comfort. Heavily illustrated, with color photos and easy-to-use formulas, this book is perfect for anyone considering a building project which maximizes energy efficiency. The author's clear, simple presentation of the basics combined with his technical authority make the material accessible to the owner/builder, professional contractor, or architectural student.

      The new edition of The Passive Solar House includes a CD with 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.

The Passive Solar House (Book + CD)    $40.00    Quantity:


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