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With Projects to Get You Off the Grid, the Instructables community of do-it-yourselfers have pooled their knowledge into a compact book focused on a series of projects that will get you thinking creatively about thinking green. This collection of 20 projects illustrate just how simple it can be to make your own backyard chicken coop, or turn a wine barrel into a rainwater collector.
Illustrated with dozens of full-color photographs per project as well as easy-to-follow instructions, this Instructables collection uses the best that the online community has to offer, turning a far-reaching group of people into a mammoth database churning out ideas to make life better, easier, and in this case, greener.
Author: Edited by Noah Weinstein
Whether building a summer cottage in the woods, the hunting cabin of your dreams, or homesteading off the grid, this handy reference provides a logical and sensible approach to building permanent shelter in out-of-the- way places. Including everything from choosing and clearing a site and creating an electrical power source, to clearing the land and creating a foundation, this book offers instruction on building an A-frame cabin and a rustic log cabin with a framed roof. There is also a special section on designing small buildings to cope with Mother Nature, including earthquakes, heavy snow, high wind, and flooding.
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.
Author: Gerald Rowan
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.
Author: Jay Shafer
Advances in solar technology have made many DIY-friendly products available to consumers. These include solar water heaters, solar battery charging stations, solar-powered lights, photovoltaic shingles that provide supplementary electricity, solar heat pumps, and solar panel kits that generate primary home electrical service. Among the step-by-step projects is a solar water heating system you can build and install yourself for under $1,000; simple thermosyphon solar heat collectors for barns and outbuildings; and "heat grabbers" that you can fabricate for $50 in materials and position below a south-facing window to provide auxiliary winter heat.
Want to read more? Preview this book: How to Make a Solar Still.
Author: Eric Smith
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, authors Miki Cook and Doug Garrett show how to:
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.
Author: Miki Cook & Doug Garrett
Malcolm Wells' fourth book about underground architecture will show you that building a house underground is not only possible but also a very good idea for those who want a friendly-with-the-earth life.
This book covers everything you need to know about underground building, from concept basics to house plans you can use for your own underground home.
An architect by trade, Wells lived in The Underground Art Gallery, in Brewster, Mass., and wrote several books about this subject, which he began promoting in 1964. A pioneer of underground building and natural design, he penned such best-selling books as Gentle Architecture and The Earth-Sheltered House. How to Build an Underground House is scanned from his own handwritten and illustrated pages and is self-published.
Author: Malcolm Wells
Keeping Bees in Towns and Cities features everything an urbanite needs to know to start keeping bees: how to select the perfect hive, how to buy bees, how to care for a colony, how to harvest honey, and what to do in the winter. Urban beekeeping has particular challenges and needs, and this book highlights the challenges and presents practices that are safe, legal and neighbor-friendly.
The text is rounded out with profiles of urban beekeepers from all over the world, including public hives at the Maryland Center for Horticulture; beekeeping on an office balcony in Melbourne, Australia; and a poolside hive at a hotel in Vancouver, British Columbia.
Author: Luke Dixon
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 from which to choose, 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:
Each chapter is rounded out by a chart that 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.
Author: Chris Magwood
The second edition of No-Regrets Remodeling will educate homeowners about opportunities for improving their home's energy efficiency and comfort at one of the most critical junctures in home ownership. That moment comes when homeowners are faced with the decision to remodel a recently purchased or existing home, or due to a component failure, need to upgrade their home's HVAC, appliances, lighting or other energy-related systems.
No-Regrets Remodeling is not a technical guide for the pro or serious hands-on DIYer. It's oriented toward the homeowner who wants to make the right decisions to improve their home's comfort, safety, durability and energy savings, but isn't prepared to do more than simple weatherizing or efficiency measures.
No-Regrets Remodeling is valuable as a consumer-education tool for builders, remodelers and home-performance retrofitters. But most importantly, No-Regrets Remodeling will educate homeowners on how to choose the right professional for the job.
No-Regrets Remodeling introduces homeowners to the concepts of whole-home performance, energy auditing, energy rating, and how HVAC systems and other elements of a home work together. No-Regrets Remodeling will help homeowners understand and control energy use in their homes, pointing out money-saving opportunities they can take advantage of now, as well as helping them plan for future upgrades when they can afford them.
What book would you want if you were stranded on a desert island? Widely regarded as the bible of off-grid living, the Solar Living Sourcebook might be your best choice. With more than 600,000 copies in print worldwide, it is the most comprehensive resource available for anyone interested in lessening their environmental footprint and increasing their energy independence.
This 14th edition of the sourcebook is the ultimate guide to renewable energy, sustainable living, natural and green building, off-grid living and alternative transportation, written by experts with decades of experience and a passion for sharing their knowledge. This fully revised and updated edition includes brand new sections on permaculture and urban homesteading, and completely rewritten chapters on solar technology, sustainable transportation and relocalization. It also boasts greatly expanded material on:
You’ll also find maps, wiring diagrams, formulas, charts, electrical code, solar sizing worksheets and much more.
Whether you're a layperson or a professional, novice or longtime aficionado, the Sourcebook puts the latest research and information at your fingertips … everything you need to know to make sustainable living a reality.
Author: John Schaeffer
Shelters, Shacks and Shanties, Second Edition presents lively, step-by-step tutelage on building all types of temporary and long-term accommodations from both natural and man-made materials. Originally published in 1914, this practical classic is as essential a guide for today's modern homesteader as it was at the turn of the 20th century.
Included are instructions for dozens of worry-free shelters for you to choose from, including a sod house for the lawn, a treetop house, over-water camps, a bog ken and much more. Satisfying the builder's need for the creature comforts of home, it also provides tips on how to build hearths and chimneys, notched log ladders, and even how to rig a front door with a secret look. Illustrated throughout with a bounty of helpful line drawings, Shelters, Shacks and Shanties, Second Edition harkens back to the can-do spirit of the American frontier that still thrives today.
Author: D.C. Beard
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