We’ve written two books on “green” and “natural” building. They are available on-line from a variety of booksellers and in most major and many independent book stores.
-- approx. 1500 color photos
-- 80 color illustrations
To us, green building is less about materials and more about a shift in perspective. It means creating a building that fits its inhabitants and the building site like a glove to the benefit of both. To do that, the conception, design, and construction of a building needs to be a seamless, cohesive whole. That, in turn, means that the inhabitants (you) need to be deeply involved in the creation of the building. That’s often difficult because, to be blunt, the people from whose imagination the building has sprung (you again) usually know nothing about building.
The best way to learn about building is to build with someone who is willing to teach. That’s hard enough to find in the world of conventional construction. If you’re interested in green building, the small offering of opportunities thins considerably more. If you can’t do it, the next best thing is to watch it being done, so we decided to create a fully functional, exquisitely crafted little house right in front of your eyes in the pages of a book.
We start out with a short primer on building, so you’ll understand the basics. Next, we go over the fundamental problems with the modern building paradigm and offer general alternative strategies to improve on the norm. Then, we roll up our sleeves and take you through the conception, design, and construction of an “eco-cottage” chock full of green building materials and techniques including a gravel trench foundation, insulated light concrete stem walls, living roof, and a post and beam structure with five different wall infills: straw bale, cob, clay-slip straw, and modified stick frame. More importantly these materials are consciously placed as part of a passive solar design that nestles the cottage into its site to meet the needs of specific people. The whole process is documented with almost 1,500 color photos and 80 beautiful illustrations. In addition, we introduce every material and technique with a general discussion and end with options for varying what we’ve done to match your situation.
What can we say? This is simply an incredible book. It’s scope and organization make it useful to a wide variety of people. For the complete novice, it can serve as an eye-opening general introduction to the process of building. On the other hand, it's also a good resource for seasoned builders who want to expose themselves to some popular alternatives. In addition, it’s invaluable for anyone thinking of building (or paying to build) their own green home. It will also make a great book for an undergraduate design/build course in architecture. Finally, the breadth of photos of buildings around the world and up your green building street make it a beautiful coffee table book.
-- 240 pages
-- 400 color photos
-- 75 illustrations
Modern folks spend most of their time in buildings, but most of us know nothing about them. If you think about it, that’s sort of unsettling. It’s definitely not a recipe for creating the secure feeling that home is supposed to represent. Personally, I also think it’s a big reason why so much modern building is so bad. Most of us just accept the malls, skyscrapers, and tract home subdivisions because we’re too self-conscious of our ignorance to stand up and say, “What is this garbage? Would you please just stop it!” To me, the alternative/natural/green building movement is all about doing just that. By educating ourselves about the true purpose and function of the buildings we live in and use, we’ll start making better building decisions and regain control over a central part of our lives. I wrote “The Good House Book” as a primer to get people started on that road. It’s clear, straight-up, thorough, and, I’m told, interesting to read, sometimes even funny. It also has lots of nice "purty" pictures to look at.