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Sustainable building from the ground up - the pros and cons of the latest green and natural materials and technologies
From foundation to finish, a wealth of information is available on sustainable construction methods-entire volumes have been published on individual green and natural building techniques. But with so many different ideas to choose from, there is no single resource that allows an owner or builder to quickly and objectively compare the merits of each system for their particular project.
Making Better Buildings cuts through the hype and provides the unvarnished facts about the upsides and downsides of the most widely discussed materials and technologies. Drawing on the real-world experiences of designer/builders, this comparative guide systematically and comprehensively examines each approach in terms of:
- Cost, sourcing, labor intensity, and ease of construction
- Energy efficiency, embodied energy, and environmental impacts
- Viable applications and future potential.
Each chapter is rounded out by a chart which summarizes the material in a quick and accessible manner.
Whether you are an owner preparing to build a green or natural home, or a conventional contractor determined to integrate sustainable alternatives into your existing construction practices, this up-to-the minute resource will help you make the best decisions for your project, while meeting your energy, efficiency, budgetary, and site-specific needs.
Design your own sustainable home
Many people dream of building a beautiful, environmentally friendly home. But until now there has been no systematic guide to help potential builders work through the complete process of imagining, planning, designing, and building their ideal, sustainable home.
Essential Sustainable Home Design walks potential homebuilders through the process starting with key concepts, principles, and a project vision that will guide the house to completion.
- How to clarify your ideas and create a practical pathway to achieving your dream
- A criteria matrix to guide design, material, and systems decisions
- Creating a strong, integrated design team and working with professionals and code officials to keep the project on track from start to finish.
- Key building science concepts that make for a high-performance, durable building
- Primer on building logistics, material sourcing, and protocols to ensure that the initial vision for the project comes to fruition.
- One-page summaries and ratings of popular sustainable building materials and system options.
Ideal for owner-builders and sustainable building contractors working with clients aiming to design and build a sustainable home.
Chris Magwood has designed and built some of the most innovative, sustainable buildings in North America, including the first off-grid, straw bale home in Ontario. He is co-founder and director the Endeavour Centre for Innovative Building and Living and co-editor of the Sustainable Building Essentials series. Chris is the author of Essential Prefab Straw Bale Construction, Essential Hempcrete Construction, Straw Bale Details, More Straw Bale Building , and Making Better Buildings .
Hempcrete is a versatile, energy-efficient natural insulation material, useful for walls, roofs and floors. Made from the inner stem of the hemp plant mixed with a lime-based binder, it is a very strong, lightweight and breathable alternative to manufactured insulations. Essential Hempcrete Construction is a fully illustrated practical guide to this affordable, renewable method, from procurement to finishing.
Going well beyond the scope of many natural building books, this indispensable manual includes a complete introduction to hempcrete, packed with all the information you need to determine whether it's the right choice for your project. It covers:
- Material specifications, testing and building code references and climate data
- Detail drawings for design reference
- Tool lists, and complete step-by-step instructions for mixing and placing hempcrete
- Finishing and maintenance techniques
- Budgeting and labor estimates
- Additional resources.
Essential Hempcrete Construction is part of New Society's Sustainable Building Essentials Series. Series editors Chris Magwood and Jen Feigin have scoured the world of sustainable building to bring you the techniques and systems that deliver measureable benefits in terms of greater energy efficiency and reduced environmental impact. Written by the world's leading sustainable builders, designers and engineers, these succinct, user-friendly handbooks are indispensable tools for any project where accurate and reliable information are key to success. Get the Essentials!
The essential guide to prefab straw bale panels - an innovative spin on a widely used natural building method
Prefabricated straw bale wall panels combine the performance and low environmental impact of traditional straw bale with reduced labor and more consistent results. These structural insulated panels (SIPs) are built offsite and transported to the job site, or built onsite and "tipped up" into position. Essential Prefabricated Straw Bale Construction is a fully illustrated practical guide to this affordable, scalable method.
This indispensable manual includes a complete introduction to the use of prefabricated bale walls, packed with all the information you need to determine whether they are the right choice for your project. It covers:
- Specifications, engineering details and building code references
- Comprehensive step-by-step instructions and detail drawings
- Finishing and maintenance techniques
- Budgeting and labor estimates
- Additional resources
Essential Prefabricated Straw Bale Construction is part of New Society's Sustainable Building Series. Written by the world's leading sustainable builders, designers and engineers, these succinct, user-friendly handbooks are indispensable tools for any project where accurate and reliable information are key to success. Get the Essentials!
Chris Magwood is a sustainable builder and designer specializing in green and natural building techniques, the co-founder and co-director of the Endeavour Centre, and the author of several books on sustainable building including Making Better Buildings , More Straw Bale Building and Straw Bale Details .
Straw bale houses are easy to build, affordable, super energy efficient, environmentally friendly, attractive, and can be designed to match the builder’s personal space needs, esthetics and budget. Despite mushrooming interest in the technique, however, most straw bale books focus on “selling” the dream of straw bale building, but don’t adequately address the most critical issues faced by bale house builders. Moreover, since many developments in this field are recent, few books are completely up to date with the latest techniques.
More Straw Bale Building is designed to fill this gap. A completely rewritten edition of the 20,000-copy best--selling original, it leads the potential builder through the entire process of building a bale structure, tackling all the practical issues: finding and choosing bales; developing sound building plans; roofing; electrical, plumbing, and heating systems; building code compliance; and special concerns for builders in northern climates. New material includes:
more extensive sections on electric wiring and plumbing
updated sections on bale finishes and finishing
a section on prefabricated straw bale walls
a wider selection of case studies, photographs and illustrations
a section on common mistakes
budgeting for low-, medium- and high-cost projects, and new testing data that is in no other straw bale book.
Down-to earth and complete, More Straw Bale Building makes the remarkable benefits of straw bale building available in the most comprehensive and practical book on the subject to date.
Chris Magwood and Peter Mack are professional straw bale house builders and consultants who have constructed over 40 straw bale structures and have taught workshops and seminars in several countries. Chris is editor of The Last Straw Journal, an international quarterly devoted to straw-bale building, and the coauthor of Straw Bale Details: A Manual for Designers and Builders (New Society Publishers, 2003).