Don’t waste your time chasing books with a good title or cover page but no substance. In light of Henry David Thoreau’s admonition: “Read the best books first, or you may not have a chance to read them at all,” we’ve taken the time to highlight a few books on our subject matter that you should read. Here’s the list:
1. Prefab Architecture
2. Prefabulous + Almost Off the Grid
3. Container Atlas
4. Tiny Homes: Simple Shelter
5. The Not So Big House
6. Toward a Zero Energy Home
7. Easy Guide to Solar Energy
8. Energy-Wise Landscape Design
9. The Carbon-Free Home
Written by Ryan E. Smith for architects and related design and construction professionals, Prefab Architecture is a guide to off-site construction, presenting the opportunities and challenges associated with designing and building with components, panels, and modules. It presents the drawbacks of building on-site and demonstrates why prefabrication is the smarter choice for better integration of products and processes, more efficient delivery, and realizing more value in project life cycles.
Prefabrication offers a simple path to the green home of your dreams, and in her latest book, 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.
Shipping containers are modular, affordable, and virtually indestructible. More and more often they are being used to build temporary structures such as pavilions, offices, galleries, and bars that can be easily moved if necessary. This phenomenon has a name: container architecture. Container Atlas presents a wide range of contemporary projects along with an in-depth investigation into the background and evolution of this topical field. The book illustrates how containers are being used as building blocks to accommodate the daily lives and special events of urban nomads.
In this book by Lloyd Kahn are some 150 builders who have taken things into their own hands, creating tiny homes (under 500 sq. ft.). Homes on land, homes on wheels, homes on the road, homes on water, even homes in the trees. There are also studios, saunas, garden sheds, and greenhouses with 1,300 photos, showing a rich variety of small homemade shelters. And there are stories (and thoughts and inspirations) of the owner-builders who are on the forefront of this new trend in downsizing and self-sufficiency.
This expanded 10th anniversary edition of Sarah Susanka’s The Not So Big House is ready to inspire a whole new generation of homeowners and builders. Though a decade has passed, her deceptively simple message remains as powerful as ever: when it comes to our homes, quality should always come before quantity. With comforting guidance and clear language, America’s favorite home architect shows how to create a house that emphasizes comfort, beauty, and a high level of detail.
Co-authored by David Johnston and Scott Gibson, “This comprehensive home energy self-sufficiency guide explores the design of zero-energy, near-zero-energy, off-the-grid and carbon-neutral homes from start to finish, giving readers an unparalleled look at these emerging trends in environmentally friendly building,” according to Mother Earth News.
Solar Basics by Neil Kaminar explains solar energy in simple terms. Find out what all the fuss over solar is about without a lot of technical jargon (but if you want more technical information, see Solar Design also by Kaminar). The cost of a solar system can be paid back in a few years by eliminating electricity bills. Learn how to get rebates, tax credits, and financial assistance.
Residential consumption represents nearly one quarter of North America’s total energy use and the average homeowner spends thousands of dollars a year on power bills. To help alleviate this problem, Energy-Wise Landscape Design by Sue Reed presents hundreds of practical ways everyone can save money, time, and effort while making their landscapes more environmentally healthy, ecologically rich, and energy efficient.
Rebekah and Stephen Hren provide a map for others interested in the path to producing all their own energy and living a fossil fuel-free life. They show first how to reduce energy consumption as much as possible, then how to retrofit an existing home in order to obtain all heating and cooling, all cooking and refrigeration, and all hot water and electricity from renewable sources.
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Note: the above descriptions were taken from Amazon.com for the purpose of providing a quick assessment of content.