Small Strawbale: Natural Homes, Projects & Designs

Small Strawbale: Natural Homes, Projects & DesignsAuthors: Athena & Bill Steen and Wayne Bingham

Publisher: Gibbs Smith

Paperback: 240 pages

ISBN-10: 1586855158

ISBN-13: 978-1586855154

Order From: Amazon.com

or direct from the publisher.

Review from Mark Piepkorn, former editor of The Last Straw Journal:

A copy of the new book Small Strawbale: Natural Homes, Projects & Designs by Athena & Bill Steen and Wayne Bingham, published by Gibbs Smith, came into the office today. It’s gorgeous, like all the projects the Steens involve themselves with – and, as usual, it opens doors beyond strawbale. Love them for that.

Chapters include Garden Walls & Fences, Open-Air Structures, Greenhouses, Canelo Outbuildings (that’s their place), Tiny Studios & Meditation Retreats, The Shed Roof, The Gable Roof, Small Houses, and Clustered Compounds.

Most of the photos are sumptuous, the accompanying text insightful and inspiring – not at all overbearing. It’s not a how to *build* book, but a *how* to build book. It was an excellent surprise to see the Lander’s beautiful Shimizu-gaki bamboo gate featured (and later in the book their home, with a photo of them that makes me miss them even more), several of Athena’s stunning murals, and – Jack’s Flat! Kudos to Mr. Glassford!

This book fires my imagination and gives me joy.

The Humanure Handbook: A Guide to Composting Human Manure, 2nd edition

The Humanure Handbook: A Guide to Composting Human Manure, 2nd editionAuthor(s): J. C. Jenkins

Publisher: Chelsea Green Pub Co

ISBN: 0964425890

Order From: Amazon.com
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Written in laypeople’s terms by a humanure composting practitioner with twenty years’ experience, this book is for anyone interested in a unique topic that is fundamentally related to every human being on planet Earth.

The second edition of The Humanure Handbook is completely revised, expanded, and updated, but retains that element of improbable humor that made this book an underground classic. This fascinating, one-of-a-kind book tells you how to safely recycle human manure, and includes color photographs of humanure-compost gardens, listings for international commercial compost toilet sources and manufacturers, and a list of backyard composting bin and compost thermometer retailers. This new edition also contains a chapter on alternative graywater systems; illustrated, step-by-step instructions for building a simple, low-cost, composting toilet for household, camp, or emergency use; current information about community-level composting; and the latest material on composting microbiology.

From the author, J. C. Jenkins (JCJenkins@JenkinsPublishing.com) , 11/29/96:
This may be the start of a Big Movement.

From the Publisher

This is the 3rd edition of a self-published book. No respectable publisher would touch it with a ten foot shovel. The 1st edition of Humanurewas published in 1994 with a print run of 660 copies, which the author fully expected would last the rest of his life.Now, 11 years later, the book has sold over 25,000 copies in at least 59 countries worldwide and has been published in foreign editions on four continents. The 2nd Edition was a 2000 Independent Publisher Outstanding Book of the Year, deemed the book “Most Likely to Save the Planet,” a 2000 Finalist in ForeWord Magazine’s Book of the Year Awards, and a Finalist in the 2000 Benjamin Franklin Awards for Excellence in Publishing. It was an Amazon.com #1 bestseller in its category for several years, and has been reviewed by Mother Earth News, Whole Earth Review, Countryside Journal, The Journal of Environmental Quality, Natural Health, and many other popular print media. It has been talked about on NPR, BBC, CBC, Howard Stern, The Wall Street Journal, Playboy Magazine, Organic Gardening Magazine and many other national and international venues.


Solar Power Your Home For Dummies

Solar Power Your Home For Dummies

Author: Rik DeGunther

Publisher: For Dummies (December 10, 2007)

Paperback: 384 pages

ISBN-10: 0470175699

ISBN-13: 978-0470175699

Order From: Amazon.com

Want to take advantage of solar power in your home? Whether you’re looking to save on your energy costs by adding a few solar components or you want to build a solar-powered house from the ground up, Solar Power For Dummies takes the mystery out of this energy source and shows you how to put it to work for you!

This friendly, hands-on guide is packed with tips for making your home more energy-efficient though solar power—and helping the planet at the same time. You’ll see how to survey your home to determine your current household energy efficiency and use, and evaluate where solar power would best benefit you. You’ll also calculate what the return on your investment will be before you make any decisions. Once you’ve decided on a project, you’ll see whether it’s best to hire a contractor or do it yourself. We leave no stone unturned—you’ll also discover how to:

  • Choose and install your best solar system
  • Handle small to large solar projects
  • Heat and cool your house with solar energy
  • Install exterior solar lighting
  • Handle swimming pool, water heater, or ventilation solar projects
  • Create greenhouses or solar rooms
  • Build, buy, or sell a solar home
  • Finance your solar investments
  • Take advantage of tax rebates and incentives associated with solar power
  • Avoid the worst solar mistakes

Featuring ten of the easiest and cheapest do-it-yourself solar projects, Solar Power For Dummies is the fun and easy way to meet your energy needs with this clean power source!

Sun/Earth Buffering and Superinsulation: Building for Energy Independence

Building for Energy Independence: Sun/Earth Buffering and SuperinsulationAuthor(s): Don Booth, Jonathan Booth, Peg Boyles

Publisher: Rodale Pr (September 1984)

Paperback:
ISBN: 0960442235
ISBN-13: 978-0960442232
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Hardbound:
ISBN-10: 0960442243
ISBN-13: 978-0960442249
Order From: Amazon.com

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Back in 1983 Don Booth’s company, Community Builders was one of the premier developers of energy efficient homes in New England. This privately published book was probably written to help prospective customer’s understand the technology and boost sales. No matter what his reason, Don’s book became a classic of the genre. Calling upon his experience, he goes step-by-step through the theory and practice of building super insulated and passive solar/geothermal homes. The explanations are clear, the examples are informative and it provides just the right amount of technical detail. If you are planning to build a new home, read this book first. The principles you learn here will save you thousands of heating and cooling dollars. It has already saved me from a very expensive mistake.

Unlike most books on this topic, you can actually read this book without stunning your brain. Instead of bulking up the book with endless pages of sun elevation charts or conversion tables, Don includes twenty ‘reviews’ of solar/geothermal homes by their owners, designers and builders. These vary from the comic to the insane as the early pioneers struggle to build their dream homes. Some of these stories would make good movies. My personal favorite is the lady who lives in a tent on the site while her home is built. We watch with dismay as construction delays move completion deep into the cold New England winter. Finally, she moves gleefully into the shell while waiting for the windows, only to have her children complain that the tent was warmer. Who says we can’t learn from the mistakes of others.

Build Your Own Earth Oven, 3rd Edition: A Low-Cost Wood-Fired Mud Oven; Simple Sourdough Bread; Perfect Loaves

Build Your Own Earth Oven, 3rd EditionAuthor(s): Kiko Denzer

Publisher: Hand Print Press; 3 Rev Exp edition (April 2007)

Paperback: 132 pages

ISBN-10: 096798467X

ISBN-13: 978-0967984674

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Learn how easy and practical an outdoor baking oven is to build and use. The design is a two layer retained heat oven, and can be built with onsite materials such as earth and sand, and uses a brick base-floor, or even an earthen floor. These ovens burn a small amount of wood, get very hot, and allow you to bake breads and meals slowly after the coals have been raked out.

Kiko sculpts his ovens with wonderful animal and nature shapes.

Imagine a huge Phoenix bird, its belly the oven, the flue its throat, with smoke escaping from the upturned beak! Children can help build these ovens, and play with earth at the same time. Complete instructions, 100 pages, 8.5×7, line drawings, and wonderful COLOR oven photographs of frog, squirrel, and Phoenix bird oven-bench, plus B&W of a snail and other fanciful ovens.

How to Make Low-Cost Building Blocks: Stabilized Soil Block Technology

How to Make Low-Cost Building Blocks: Stabilized Soil Block TechnologyAuthor(s): Malcolm Davis

Publisher: Practical Action (December 1993)

Paperback: 36 pages

ISBN-10: 1853390860

ISBN-13: 978-1853390869

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With the right soil, correctly prepared and compressed, it is possible to halve the amount of cement used for block-making. This manual shows how to make and use strong blocks from soil, from the initial planning to the end product.

Soil testing instruction basic description for making Cinva Ram bricks, 36 pages, simple instructions, written for third world or non-English speaking readers, covers soil testing for clay, how to mix and prepare soils, well illustrated, softcover.

Residential Energy: Cost Savings and Comfort for Existing Buildings (5th Edition)

Residential Energy: Cost Savings and Comfort for Existing Buildings (5th Edition)Author(s): John T. Krigger

Publisher: Prentice Hall; 5 edition (October 18, 2009)

Paperback: 320 pages

ISBN-10: 0135125413

ISBN-13: 978-0135125410

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Residential Energy introduces readers to a home’s energy-related components and explains all the important possibilities for energy conservation. Readers will learn from this exceptionally illustrated text that effective energy conservation requires a whole-house approach that addresses the biggest energy wasters first!

Covering everything from basic principles and air leakage to insulation and windows and doors, this user friendly manual is an essential text/reference for anyone interested in the design, construction, and operation of energy efficient homes! PLUS, every book includes a CD-ROM containing an electronic version of the text!

Ideally suited for programs in weatherization, energy auditors/raters and general construction trades including carpentry, HVAC, plumbers, electricians, and more! Residential Energy is packed full of the latest information on energy consumption, analyzing energy costs, and other energy-auditing information.

Adobe Construction Methods Using Adobe Brick or Rammed Earth (Monolithic Construction) for Homes

Author(s): LW Neubauer

Publisher: UC California Agricultural Sciences Dept ,1964

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35 page booklet

A very thorough primer for Adobe! Explains how to make and build with adobe bricks. Soil selection, stabilization and waterproofing with cement, emulsified asphalt, lime are detailed.

Describes how to build and mortar walls, place lintels, windows, doors, and build roofs. Shows diagrams of construction details from foundation to roof, with correct measurements given. Covers finishing, painting, limewashing, fireplaces and chimneys,. Even describes other tamped earth methods such as English Cob, rammed earth, poured adobe; with photos and diagrams of formworks used. Black and white photos throughout, produced by UC California Agricultural Sciences Dept ,1964.

Earthen Floors

Earthen FloorsAuthor(s): Bill Steen and Athena Swentzel Steen

Publisher: Canelo Project

ASIN: B001RF9BLG

Order From: Canelo Project
HC1 Box 324
Canelo/Elgin, AZ 85611

Alternate Source: Amazon.com
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Natural earth floors are fast becoming the finish of choice for people building with adobe, strawbale and cob. Comfortable to walk on, forgiving of dropped pottery and simple to maintain. Earthen floors are inexpensive, don’t off-gas like man-made products and are easily repaired. This illustrated booklet covers all aspects of earthen floors: base preparations for various climates, earthen mixtures; installation; non-chemical sealants; and upper story applications. 30 page booklet.

The Hand-Sculpted House: A Practical and Philosophical Guide to Building a Cob Cottage

The Hand-Sculpted House: A Practical and Philosophical Guide to Building a Cob CottageAuthor(s): Ianto Evans, Michael G. Smith, and Linda Smiley

Publisher: Chelsea Green Publishing Company

Paperback: 346 pages

ISBN: 1890132349

ISBN-13: 978-1890132347

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The Hand-Sculpted House A Practical and Philosophical Guide to Building a Cob Cottage by Ianto Evans, Michael G. Smith, and Linda Smiley This is the long awaited full strength cob building book! Lots of detailed information, color photos and great descriptions on how to build every aspect of a cob house. Recommended!

Publishers description: 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, 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 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.

The Hand-Sculpted House is theoretical and philosophical, but intensely practical as well. You will get all the how-to information to undertake a cob building project. As the modern world rediscovers the importance of living in sustainable harmony with the environment, this book is a bible of radical simplicity.

About the Authors
Ianto Evans is an applied ecologist, landscape architect, inventor, and teacher with building experience on six continents. Cob is traditional in his homeland, Wales. In addition to teaching ecological building, Ianto has consulted with USAID, the World Bank, the Peace Corps, and several national governments. Michael G. Smith teaches practical workshops and consults on cob construction, natural building, and permaculture. He is the author of The Cobber’s Companion: How to Build Your Own Earthen Home and co-editor of The Art of Natural Building: Design, Construction, Resources. Linda Smiley teaches workshops on cob, sculpting sacred spaces, intuitive design, and natural plasters and finishes. With a background as a recreational therapist, she specializes in helping people use natural building as a tool for personal transformation and healing.

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