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The Complete Guide to Alternative Home Building Materials & Methods: Including Sod, Compressed Earth, Plaster, Straw, Beer Cans, Bottles, Cordwood, and Many Other Low Cost Materials [Paperback]

April 3, 2013

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The Complete Guide to Alternative Home Building Materials & Methods: Including Sod, Compressed Earth, Plaster, Straw, Beer Cans, Bottles, Cordwood, and Many Other Low Cost Materials [Paperback]

The mounting pressure on Earth s ecosystems through human activity is undeniable. In this era of global warming, peak oil, and declining biodiversity, it is clear we must find new ways to live so that future generations will also have accessible opportunities for a healthy life. However, our modern lifestyle is stifling our very chances for survival. As individuals, one of the areas where we have the most control over energy and resource use is in our homes. Whether building a new house or remodeling an existing one, we can make choices that will diminish our consumption of fossil fuels and lessen the emission of greenhouse gasses, while preserving precious water, forests, and other resources. The Complete Guide to Alternative Home Building Materials and Methods offers many options for building green and sustainable homes. The alternatives presented tend to reduce the use of energy- intensive industrial materials and promote energy-efficiency in your home over time. The best choice of exactly what to adopt for your own home building project depends on many factors, including local availability of materials, climate, cost, design, ease of construction, and personal aesthetics. While no book can describe everything you might need to know about every aspect of building, this book does a remarkable job of introducing the basics of alternative home building. It takes you through the step-by-step process of construction, from foundations and roofs to electrical installation and wall systems. Choices for heating, cooling, and insulating your home are also evaluated. The most common and some uncommon alternative methods of building are thoroughly examined. What is actually involved in building with cordwood, adobe, light straw-clay, rubber tires, straw bales, earthbags, cob, sod, rammed earth, compressed earth blocks, papercrete, recycled cans and bottles, and salvaged materials? By the time you have finished reading this book, you should have a pretty good idea of how to answer this question. There are many case studies interspersed throughout the text that amplify the themes presented and provide a personal and pertinent statement about how these ideas are implemented in the real world. Many resources for further study are outlined to help you down your path of creating a green future for yourself and others. Having gone down this path myself, I can attest to how extremely satisfying it is to actually live in a house that you had a hand in designing and building. And knowing that it is as sustainable as you can make it only adds to the satisfaction. Happy building! –Kelly Hart

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