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1.

TIMBER FRAMING FOR THE REST OF US

ROB ROY
Paperback

Price: $24.95

This is the first book to describe in depth the timber framing methods used by most contractors, framers and owner-builders — methods that use modern metal fasteners, special screws, and common-sense …

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This is the first book to describe in depth the timber framing methods used by most contractors, framers and owner-builders — methods that use modern metal fasteners, special screws, and common-sense building principles to create post and beam structures in much less time. The book includes everything an owner-builder needs to know about building strong and beautiful structural frames from heavy timbers.

Recommended Product for Wiser Living: Today, more than ever before, our society is seeking ways to live more conscientiously. To help bring you the very best inspiration and information about greener, more sustainable lifestyles, Mother Earth News is recommending books to readers. For 40 years, Mother Earth News has been North America’s “Original Guide to Living Wisely,” creating books and magazines for people with a passion for self-reliance and a desire to live in harmony with nature.


2.

THE NEW ECOLOGICAL HOME

Dan Chiras
Paperback

Price: $35.00

A great overview of green building techniques, materials, products and technologies that are either currently available or will be in the near future. Author Dan Chiras provides practical information…

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A great overview of green building techniques, materials, products and technologies that are either currently available or will be in the near future. Author Dan Chiras provides practical information for home buyers, owner-builders and anyone interested in building for a sustainable future.


3.

EARTHBAG BUILDING

Kaki Hunter & Donald Kiffmeyer
Paperback

Price: $29.95

More than 70% of Americans cannot afford to own a code-enforced, contractor-built home. This has led to widespread interest in using natural materials — straw, cob and earth — for building homes and o…

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More than 70% of Americans cannot afford to own a code-enforced, contractor-built home. This has led to widespread interest in using natural materials — straw, cob and earth — for building homes and other buildings that are inexpensive, and that rely largely on labor rather than expensive and often environmentally-damaging outsourced materials.

Earthbag Building, a Mother Earth News Book for Wiser Living, is the first comprehensive guide to all the tools, tricks and techniques for building with bags filled with earth — or earthbags. Having been introduced to sandbag construction by the renowned Nader Khalili in 1993, the authors developed this "Flexible Form Rammed Earth Technique" over the last decade. A reliable method for constructing homes, outbuildings, garden walls and much more, this enduring, tree-free architecture can also be used to create arched and domed structures of great beauty — in any region, at home, in developing countries or in emergency relief work.

This fully-illustrated guide first discusses the many merits of earthbag construction, and then leads the reader through the key elements of an earthbag building:

  • Special design considerations
  • Foundations, walls and floors
  • Electrical, plumbing and shelving
  • Lintels, windows and door installations
  • Roofs, arches and domes
  • Exterior and interior plasters


With dedicated sections on costs, making your own specialized tools, and building code considerations, as well as a complete resources guide, Earthbag Building is the long-awaited, definitive guide to this uniquely pleasing construction style.

About the contributors:

Kaki Hunter and Donald Kiffmeyer have been involved in the construction industry for the last 20 years, specializing in affordable, low-tech, low-impact building methods that are as natural as possible. Together, over the last nine years they developed the "Flexible Form Rammed Earth Technique" of building affordably with earthbags. They have taught the subject and contributed their expertise to several books on natural building.


4.

EARTH-SHELTERED HOUSES

Rob Roy
Paperback

Price: $27.95

This guide brings earth-sheltered construction up-to-date for those who want to build their own underground home at a moderate cost. It covers all the various construction techniques, including detail…

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This guide brings earth-sheltered construction up-to-date for those who want to build their own underground home at a moderate cost. It covers all the various construction techniques, including details on planning, excavation, footings, floor, walls, framing, roofing, waterproofing, insulation and drainage.


5.

YOUR GREEN HOME

Alex Wilson
Paperback

Price: $7.50

CLEARANCE ITEM. PREVIOUS RETAIL PRICE WAS $17.95 AVAILABLE ONLY WHILE SUPPLIES LAST!

More and more homeowners today want houses that are healthy to live in and cause minimal damage to the environment. …

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CLEARANCE ITEM. PREVIOUS RETAIL PRICE WAS $17.95 AVAILABLE ONLY WHILE SUPPLIES LAST!

More and more homeowners today want houses that are healthy to live in and cause minimal damage to the environment. That's what green building is all about.

Your Green Home, a Mother Earth News Book for Wiser Living is written for homeowners planning a new home — whether you are working with an architect or builder, or serving as your own general contractor. Intended to improve the overall environmental performance of new houses being built, the book sets out to answer some of the big-picture questions relating to having a home designed and built — and getting what you want.

Your Green Home covers:

  • Home location and its relationship to the community
  • Site design
  • Construction systems
  • Building design to optimize energy performance
  • Renewable energy systems
  • Material selection
  • Indoor environmental quality
  • Water efficiency
  • Material selection


This book will prove useful not only to future homeowners, but also to designers and builders seeking to meet this demand. Building professionals well-versed in green building may find this a useful book to give to potential clients to convey the scope and principles of green building.

About the Contributor:

Alex Wilson is President of Building-Green, an authoritative source for information on environmentally responsible design and construction, which also publishes Environmental Building News. Co-editor Mark Piepkorn has extensive experience with natural and traditional building methods.


6.

HOW TO BUILD WITH GRID BEAM

Phil & Richard Jergenson
Paperback

Price: $14.00

CLEARANCE ITEM. PREVIOUS RETAIL PRICE WAS $29.95 AVAILABLE ONLY WHILE SUPPLIES LAST!

How To Build With Grid Beam is a Mother Earth News book that will help you become familiar with the modular, reusabl…

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CLEARANCE ITEM. PREVIOUS RETAIL PRICE WAS $29.95 AVAILABLE ONLY WHILE SUPPLIES LAST!

How To Build With Grid Beam is a Mother Earth News book that will help you become familiar with the modular, reusable building system that is fast, easy, affordable and virtually goof-proof.

Grid beam's modular pieces and bolt-together construction make the system fast and straightforward to work with. It has all the advantages of an industrial building system: standard, modular sizes; uniform materials; and interchangeable parts. Projects knock flat and are easy to transport. Since the pieces can be used over and over again, grid beam is easy both on your wallet and on the environment — the authors have been using some of their components for over 30 years.

How to Build with Grid Beam includes hundreds of photos of real projects built over a 60-year period, showing the many uses of grid beam, from shelves for college students to projects involving alternative energy. The versatility of grid beam is inspiring, for beginners, more experienced do-it-yourselfers, and innovators who will develop their own designs. Even school-age children can use grid beam to build simple projects.

About the Contributor(s):
Phil Jergenson is an innovator who built the first grid beam vehicle.

Richard Jergenson built his first grid beam project in 1977.

Wilma Keppel is a writer and editor who is also a welder, carpenter and grid beam builder.


7.

THE EARTH-SHELTERED HOUSE

Malcolm Wells
Paperback

Price: $29.95

The Earth-Sheltered House is a classic in the annals of sustainable building books, written by a legend in the field of sustainable architecture. Malcolm Wells had a fundamentally different way of loo…

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The Earth-Sheltered House is a classic in the annals of sustainable building books, written by a legend in the field of sustainable architecture. Malcolm Wells had a fundamentally different way of looking at the design and building process, and his iconoclastic perspective has never been more apparent.

Wells’ work is revolutionary, but readers will find his message to be pure common sense. Earth sheltering offers superior comfort with minimal energy input, and it is adaptable to diverse terrains as well as a variety of architectural aesthetics.

This architect's sketchbook will show you how you can build underground homes of different styles. Complete with floor plans, elevation drawings and detailed diagrams, this book is a necessary resource for anyone who is considering building green.

An architect by trade, Wells lived in The Underground Art Gallery, in Brewster, Massachusetts, and wrote several books about this subject, which he began promoting in 1964. He was a pioneer of underground building and natural design. His best-selling books include Gentle Architecture and How to Build an Underground House. The Earth-Sheltered House is scanned from his own handwritten and illustrated pages.


8.

COMPACT CABINS

Gerald Rowan
Paperback

Price: $19.95

Huge Holiday Gift Sale! Sale Price: $15.96. Enter code MMEEMEBE on the bottom of the Order Review Page during the Check Out Process to receive your discount.

Compact Cabins presents 62 design interpre…

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Huge Holiday Gift Sale! Sale Price: $15.96. Enter code MMEEMEBE on the bottom of the Order Review Page during the Check Out Process to receive your discount.

Compact Cabins presents 62 design interpretations of the getaway dream. Whether it be a small cabin on a sparkling lakefront, a breath-taking mountaintop, an expansive beach, or some other peaceful location, there is something here to please every taste. Best of all, these small-footprint designs are affordable and energy-efficient without skimping on comfort and style. The cabins range in size form a cozy 150 square feet to a more spacious but still economical 1,000 square feet, and all include sleeping accommodations, kitchen and bath facilities, and a heat source. Complete chapters on low-maintenance building materials, utilities and appliances, and alternative energy sources supply you with the options for living efficiently in small space.

For every design, you will find floor plans with detailed suggestions for designing the space for optimal use. These plans are flexible: many feature modular elements that can be mixed and matched to accommodate your particular needs or hobbies. Features such as an outdoor fireplace, covered porch, or external storage locker might work nicely in several cabin designs. It's all about enhancing and maximizing small spaces to your individual needs and preferences.

  • Need plenty of sleeping space for visiting friends and family? Jean's Run Cabin sleeps six in 501 square feet.
  • Do you own a shallow plot on a beautiful lake? Glass House Cabin offers terrific views, a large deck, and a wide-frontage floor plan.
  • Is your priority a romantic getaway? A Cabin for Two features a fireplace, a spa tub, and a cozy sleeping nook.
  • Love hosting parties? Clerestory Cabin with Dining Room has a dedicated dining space right next to the porch, which is perfect for cocktails or coffee.
In this time of uncertain energy costs, global warming, and tighter budgets, building small is a very appealing idea. Gerald Rowan shows you how to achieve your cabin dreams on a small footprint.

Recommended Product for Wiser Living: Today, more than ever before, our society is seeking ways to live more conscientiously. To help bring you the very best inspiration and information about greener, more sustainable lifestyles, MOTHER EARTH NEWS is recommending books to readers. For 40 years, MOTHER EARTH NEWS has been North America's "Original Guide to Living Wisely," creating books and magazines for people with a passion for self-reliance and a desire to live in harmony with nature.


9.

DIY BOOK OF BACKYARD SHEDS & TINY HOUSES

Jay Shafer
Paperback

Price: $19.99

Buildings from internationally recognized small living expert Jay Shafer have attracted the attention of CNN, Oprah, Fine Homebuilding and This Old House. Ranging in size from 100 to 120 square feet, …

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Buildings from internationally recognized small living expert Jay Shafer have attracted the attention of CNN, Oprah, Fine Homebuilding and This Old House. Ranging in size from 100 to 120 square feet, these tiny backyard buildings can be used as guest cottages, art or writing studios, home offices, craft workshops, vacation retreats, or full-time residences. This revised edition of Tumbleweed DIY Book of Backyard Sheds and Tiny Houses is filled with photos (including many that weren’t in the original publication) and elevation drawings, as well as door and window schedules for constructing six of the handsome little buildings. You’ll also find an extensive how-to set of instructions that can be applied to any backyard building project.


10.

TINY HOMES: SIMPLE SHELTER

Lloyd Kahn
Paperback

Price: $28.95

Huge Holiday Gift Sale! Sale Price: $23.16. Enter code MMEEMEBE on the bottom of the Order Review Page during the Check Out Process to receive your discount.

There's a grassroots movement in tiny hom…

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Huge Holiday Gift Sale! Sale Price: $23.16. Enter code MMEEMEBE on the bottom of the Order Review Page during the Check Out Process to receive your discount.

There's a grassroots movement in tiny homes these days. The real estate collapse, the economic downturn, burning out on 12-hour workdays – many people are rethinking their ideas about shelter – seeking an alternative to high rents, or a lifelong mortgage debt to a bank on an overpriced home.

In this book 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.

There are 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.

At the heart of our 1973 book Shelter were drawings of five small buildings, which we recommended as a starting point in providing one's own home. Now, almost 40 years later, there's a growing tiny house movement all over the world – which we've been tracking over the past two years.

Many people have decided to scale back, to get by with less stuff, to live in smaller homes. You can buy a ready-made tiny home, build your own, get a kit or pre-fab, or live in a bus, houseboat, or other movable shelter. Some cities have special ordinances for building "inlaw" or "granny flats" in the back yard. There are innovative solutions in cities, such as the "capsules" in Tokyo. There are numerous blogs and websites with news, photos, and/or plans for tiny homes, documented here.

If you're thinking of scaling back, you'll find plenty of inspiration here. Here's a different approach, a 180º turn from increasing consumption. Here are builders, designers, architects (no less), dreamers, artists, road gypsies, and water dwellers who've achieved a measure of freedom and independence by taking shelter into their own hands.

About the Author
In 1968 Lloyd Kahn worked as Shelter editor for the Whole Earth Catalog. In 1971 he published Domebook 2. His shake-covered geodesic dome was featured in Life magazine. Ultimately disillusioned with domes, he took Domebook 2 out of print and in 1973 published the oversized book Shelter, which went on to sell more than 250,000 copies. In 2004, Kahn published HomeWork: Handbuilt Shelter – in many ways the sequel to Shelter – and Builders of the Pacific Coast in 2008. Tiny Homes: Simple Shelter is the fourth book in this series. Kahn and his wife, Lesley live and work in a small coastal town in Northern California.

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