Green Home Building

GreenHomeBuilding_Cook_GarrettAuthor(s):  Miki Cook & Doug Garrett

Publisher: New Society

ISBN: 9780865717794

Order From: New Society
(links will open in a new window)

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, the authors show how to:

  • Lower base construction costs to provide funding for high performance upgrades
  • Achieve a net zero energy home, including “zero-ing” water, waste, carbon and associated costs within fifteen years
  • Live affordably into the future, despite anticipated rising costs for fuel, water, materials, taxes and health care.

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.


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 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

Order From
(links will open in a new window)

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.

The Small Adobe House

The Small Adobe House

The Small Adobe House

Authors: Agnesa Reve, Robert Reck (photographer)

Publisher: Gibbs Smith; First Edition edition (July 18, 2001)

Hardcover: 76 pages

ISBN-10: 1586850652

ISBN-13: 978-1586850654

Order From:

Building or remodeling an adobe house is an artistic endeavor, with all the satisfaction–and occasional frustration–of any artistic effort. But once you’ve lived sheltered by adobe wall, you won’t want anything else. Whether the small adobe house is a work of art or a model of simplicity, it is by far the most appropriate house for the Southwest. The adobe serves as natural insulation, keeping the interior cool in summer and warm in winter, and muffling noise. No draft ever penetrates an adobe wall. The spaces of such a house accept with equal grace the basic curve of an Eames chair or the sumptuous gilding of Louis XIV. It is an easy house to live in. It is also easy to reshape. You may incorporate all sorts of modern ideas and still keep the classic look of the small adobe house, affording enjoyment of the newest conveniences within an enveloping tradition.

The Passive Solar House: Using Solar Design to Heat and Cool Your Home

The Passive Solar House: Using Solar Design to Heat and Cool Your Home

The Passive Solar House: Using Solar Design to Heat and Cool Your Home

Author(s): James Kachadorian

Publisher: Chelsea Green Pub Co

Paperback: 220 pages

ISBN: 0930031970

ISBN-13: 978-0930031978

Order From
(links will open in a new window)

Published in concert with the Real Goods Trading Company of California, this book explains in detail the whys and wherefores of a particular form of passive solar design, formerly patented but now in the public domain. The patent was held by the author and used while he was president of Green Mountain Homes, a fabricator of post-and-beam kit homes. The science he used and describes here is settled and elegant, even quaint, and is detailed to a degree that could be off-putting to some readers. On the bright side, the enthusiasm he brings to the subject is useful, even to those prospective homebuilders who may not be interested in solar heating and cooling. The book is suffused with a sensitivity to environmental issues of all sorts, a useful perspective in these resource-limited times. An essentially simple book, elegant in presentation and forceful in argument; recommended for extensive scientific (for the references and associated calculations) and/or broader home-building collections. -Alexander Hartmann, INFOPHILE, Williamsport, Pa.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Product Description

Finally there is a contemporary book that demonstrates the potential for heating and cooling a home with free energy. This new volume is a welcome addition to the canon of indispensable solar construction books, bringing fully up to date for the 1990s the legendary promise of 1970s-era solar pioneers: the promise of a home that heats and cools itself with minimal use of a back-up furnace.Whether you are adopting the model developed by Jim Kachadorian or using another designer’s layout and plan, The Passive Solar House will provide you with pragmatic, immediately applicable solar design advice that is usable in any region or climate. Information includes:
— Proper siting and strategic window selection and placement
— Energy and money-saving construction tips
— Ideal air-exchange rates, and ways to avoid overheating
— Methods for gauging and maximizing thermal mass
— Criteria for sizing of back-up heating systems
— Interior design for year-round comfort

This book is brimful of worthwhile, constructive how-to advice, and gives readers the basis for understanding the hows and whys of solar design, including a succinct presentation of ten key solar-design principles that have defined and guided solar architecture for thousands of years.


Card catalog description
This book offers a technique for building homes that heat and cool themselves in a wide range of different climates, using ordinary building materials available anywhere and with methods familiar to all building contractors and many do-it-yourselfers. A formerly patented design for author James Kachadorian’s Solar Slab heat exchanger is now available for the use of anyone motivated by the desire to build a house that needs a backup furnace or air conditioner rarely if ever. This is a building book for the next century. Applicable to a diversity of regions, climates, budgets, and styles of architecture, Kachadorian’s techniques translate the essentials of timeless solar design (siting a home in harmony with nature, using windows as solar collectors, achieving year-round comfort by balancing good insulation with healthy supplies of fresh air) into practical wisdom for today’s new generation of solar builders. Customer Comments from Longmont, Colorado , 10/25/97, rating=9:
Passive solar design basics, formulae and needed databases An excellent book for the beginner in passive solar home design with a cookbook approach and worksheets to calculate the solar performance of you building design. Usefull tables needed for calculations are included but only for a limited number of localities. Based upon a sound, albiet more than 20 year old, approach to passive solar design. An easy to understand process for the design of a truely passive home with methods to determine the need for and cost of supplemental heat in many areas of the country. Principles throughout the book may be applied to other designs. A detailed explanation and instructions on building the solar slab. Well worth the price of admission!

Table of Contents
1. Let Nature Heat Your Home
2. The Passive Solar Concept
3. The Solar Slab and Basic Solar Design
4. Insulation, Venting, and Fresh Air
5. Basic Layouts and Floor Plans
6. How to Do the Solar Design Calculations
7. The Foundation Plan, and Backup Heating and Cooling
8. A Sidehill Variation, and Solar Design Worksheets
9. Sunspaces, and Special Design Considerations
10. Interior Design for Year-Round Comfort By Cornelia C. Kachadorian
App. 1. Solar Design Worksheets
App. 2. Solar Intensity and Solar Heat Gain Factors for 16 to 64 degrees North Latitude
App. 3. Thermal Properties of Typical Building and Insulating Materials (Design Values)
App. 4. North Latitude, Elevation, and Outside Winter Design Temperatures for Selected Cities in the U.S. and Canada
App. 5. Average Monthly and Yearly Degree Days for Cities in the U.S. and Canada
App. 6. Mean Percentage of Possible Sunshine for Selected Cities in the U.S. and Canada
App. 7. Isogonic Chart (Magnetic Declination)

Small Houses (Great Houses)

Small Houses (Great Houses)

Small Houses (Great Houses)

Publisher: Taunton Press

Paperback: 160 pages

ISBN: 1561581062

ISBN-13: 978-1561581061

Order From:
(links will open in a new window)

Small Houses (Great Houses: Fine Homebuilding)

September 1995
Color photos, floor plans.
160 pages

In these economically depressed times, which include a slumping housing market, how does one justify the appearance of another book on building a new home? This volume is the second in a three-book series made up of articles collected from 10 years of Fine Homebuilding . The 37 examples included here are carefully selected as the antidote for an industry in temporary decline. There’s more than a hint of a deliberate return to attitudes and concerns of the near past that were so smugly trashed in the ’80s: that small is better and that energy efficiency can help lead us to a more environmentally sound future. The shrinking availability and more effective use of space are pointedly addressed. The featured houses fit into modest plots of land, and are geared to suit the empty nesters, small families and singles, as well as the vacation or second home owner. The editors have assembled handsome and interesting design solutions that are stylistically American, from saltbox, barn and Victorian cottage to ranch house, urban studio apartment and cabin.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. –This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product Description

Small houses are less expensive to build, more energy efficient, and easier to maintain than big homes, but they don’t have to feel small. In this collection of 37 articles from FINE HOMEBUILDING magazine, you’ll find new houses, remodels, urban rowhouses, and guest cottages that double as work studios. A book full of practical design ideas and construction information that will help you realize just how beautiful small can be.


The Not So Big House: A Blueprint for the Way We Really Live

The Not So Big House: A Blueprint for the Way We Really Live

The Not So Big House: A Blueprint for the Way We Really Live

Author(s): Sarah Susanka, Kira Obolensky (Contributor)

Publisher: Taunton Press

Hardcover: 199 pages

ISBN: 1561581305

ISBN-13: 978-1561581306

Order From: (paperback) (hardcover)

(links will open in a new window)

When describing a favorite room in the house, do you find yourself using terms such as “expansive,” “formal,” and “spacious”–a marble foyer or a formal dining room perhaps? Or do the words “cozy,” “intimate,” and “warm” come to mind–a cheery little breakfast nook or a window seat complete with plenty of pillows and a breathtaking view? More than likely, you–like thousands of other homeowners–are drawn to the more personal spaces in your home, where comfort, beauty, and efficiency meet. In The Not So Big House, respected architect Sarah Susanka and coauthor Kira Obolensky address our affinity for the “smaller, more personal spaces” and propose “clear, workable guidelines for creating homes that serve both our spiritual needs and our material requirements.” The heart of the not-so-big house–which is not “just a small house … [but] a smaller house,” that uses “less space to give greater quality of life,” and is designed to not only “accommodate the lifestyles of its occupants” but also to express “our values and our personalities,” is discussed in chapter 1, entitled “Bigger Isn’t Better.” Susanka’s urging for homeowners to get creative with their space as well as loads of ideas to encourage that creativity are covered in “Rethinking the House” and “Making Not So Big Work.” Discussions of specific needs, such as a home for one and designing for kids, can be found in “Lifestyles of the Not So Rich and Famous,” while “Dreams, Details, and Dollars” gets down to the nuts and bolts of the operation, looking at quality versus quantity, budgeting, and what “low end,” “middle ground,” and “high end” really mean in home design and construction. Lastly, the authors look at the home of the future, which involves simplifying, recycling, reducing waste, and using energy-efficient construction. With more than 200 color photographs, as well as floor plans and Susanka and Obolensky’s intelligent and lively dialogue, The Not So Big House is perfect for homeowners ready to rethink their space. –Stefanie Hargreaves

From Library Journal

Architect Susanka believes that the large homes being built today place too much emphasis on square footage rather than on current lifestyles. Here she shows how homes can be designed to feature “adaptable spaces open to one another, designed for everyday use.” She describes how to examine occupants’ lifestyles, how to incorporate the kitchen as the focal point of the home, how to give the illusion of space, and how, with storage, lighting, and furniture arrangement, a smaller home can be comfortably livable. Photographs of contemporary homes as well as those by Frank Lloyd Wright and other modern architects illustrate Susanka’s ideas and show the timelessness of the style she advocates. This thought-provoking book will be a good addition to architectural and interior design collections.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

More Small Houses

More Small Houses

More Small Houses

Publisher: Fine Homebuilding

ISBN: 1561582786

Order From:
(links will open in a new window)

In this is new collection from Fine Homebuilding magazine, you’ll find 31 articles — each one a study in craft and efficiency of space. The homes include a mountain retreat, an island homestead, an urban row house, a timber-frame farmhouse, an apartment over a garage, a duplex with roof-top garden, a Craftsman-style cottage, a surprising number of towers and more. Some are simple, some elegant… but none are plain. As you would expect from Fine Homebuilding, the articles illustrate a wide variety of real world situations, clever design and superb craftsmanship. A thread of sustainable construction runs through many articles including descriptions of passive solar heating, water efficiency and super-insulation. Whether you’re remodeling your existing house or building a new one, More Small Houses will inspire you to think big about small spaces. Hardcover,160 pages, 1998

Creating the Not So Big House: Insights and Ideas for the New American Home

Creating the Not So Big House: Insights and Ideas for the New American Home

Creating the Not So Big House: Insights and Ideas for the New American HomeAuthor(s): Sarah Susanka

Publisher: Taunton; First Edition edition (October 1, 2000)

ISBN: 1561583774

ISBN-13: 978-1561583775

Order From
(links will open in a new window)

Sarah Susanka’s first book, The Not So Big House, created a movement that is changing the way people think about the American home. That groundbreaking book proposed a new blueprint for the American home: a house that values quality over quantity, with an emphasis on comfort and beauty, a high level of detail and a floor plan designed for today’s informal lifestyle.

Creating the Not So Big House is this blueprint in action. Focusing on key design strategies such as visual weight, layering and framed openings, Sarah Susanka takes an up-close look at 25 houses designed according to Not So Big principles. The houses are from all over North America in a rich variety of styles — from a tiny New York apartment to a southwestern adobe, a traditional Minnesota farmhouse to a cottage community in the Pacific Northwest. The description of each house is accompanied by a floor plan and several beautiful color photographs by Grey Crawford. Informative sidebars sprinkled throughout the book show how specific house features and clever design details illustrate “Not So Big” principles. Whether new or remodeled, these one-of-a-kind homes provide all the inspiration you need to create your own Not So Big House.

As an advocate of “less is more” in residential architecture and interior design, Sarah Susanka has emerged as one of America’s favorite home architects. As a result of the success of the Not So Big House and the new vision it holds for the American home, she was featured by U.S. News and World Report as one of 18 innovators in American culture. Susanka has appeared on the Oprah Winfrey Show, the Charlie Rose Show, and numerous radio programs around the country. She is a former principal and founding partner of the firm chosen by LIFE magazine to design its 1999 dream home. Plans are available for all the houses featured in Creating the Not So Big House.

258 pages, 2000

“Sarah Susanka shows how to downsize the dream house without diminishing the dream.” –Washington Post

“Sarah Susanka offers us a more hopeful strategy for sustaining human development–just make life richer, not bigger….Improve your life and everyone else’s. Use the ideas in this book–not more square feet!” –William McDonough, FAIA, architect, educator, and winner of the Presidential Award for Sustainable Development

“In The Not So Big House, Sarah Susanka offered so much sound advice for those seeking comfort and beauty with a sense of proportion. Now, she has a new book with additional solutions to that all-important question–how do we want to live?” –Barbara Mayer, author of In The Arts and Crafts Style

“Susanka’s book, Creating the Not So Big House, shows how space can be small but beautiful and visually expansive….She has tapped into those principles that Frank Lloyd Wright used in his ‘Usonian’ Houses and has presented them in a very clear and beautifully illustrated format.” –Eric Lloyd Wright, architect

Small House Designs

Small House Designs: Elegant, Architect-Designed Homes – 33 Award-Winning Plans 1,250 Square Feet or Less

Small House Designs

Author(s): Kenneth R. Tremblay (Editor), Lawrence Von Bamford (Editor)

Publisher: Storey Books

ISBN: 0882669664

Order From
(links will open in a new window)

192 pages
July 1997

Storey Publishing’s newest book on small homes, Small House Designs, represents the top choices in Storey’s international juried competition of plans for small modern homes. The Criteria: affordable, aesthetically pleasing, functional, environmentally conscious, and innovative. The Results: geographic and stylistic diversity to inspire homeowners, buyers, builders, and designers of all kinds. Each design includes an exterior drawing, floor plan, site plan, axonometric of interior, and elevations. Judges’ critiques and the designer’s concept comments accompany plans for each project. Addresses for architects and designers are also provided for readers interested in obtaining scale plans or more information about a particular house.

The Tiny Book of Tiny Houses

The Tiny Book of Tiny Houses

The Tiny Book of Tiny Houses

Author(s): Lester Walker

Publisher: Overlook Press

ISBN: 0879515104

ISBN-13: 978-0879515102

Order From:
(links will open in a new window)

The Tiny Book of Tiny Houses

96 pages
Rei Gift edition July 1998

From George Bernard Shaw’s writing hut to a tiny Cape Cod honeymoon cottage, here are 17 of the smallest, most charming retreats ever built. Award-winning architect Lester Walker explores the minute details of each tiny house, captured by plentiful photographs.

Customer Comments

Ron from New Brunswick, Canada , October 8, 1998
This Tiny Book of Tiny Houses packs a BIG punch! It’s hard to believe that such a small book is so big on content — not that there’s an abundance of it, but what you read will no doubt inspire you to want (to build) one of these quaint homes for your very own.

from Whidbey Island, WA , April 23, 1998
Simplify your life by downsizing your house! This book is a great visual treat. It shows you how people can live in very small places. It got me to build a 10′ x 14′ teenager’s cottage with my two sons. We had a great time, spent about $1400 and now have a get-a-way in the woods.