I've read quite a few books
on various green building technologies. Some have been good, some just silly.---- The best book on green building which I've ever encountered is called "Building Green" by Clark Snell and Tim Callahan.
It covers a wide variety of green building choices and examines important issues like durability and labor efficiency. Tim Callahan has been a builder most of his life and at the end of each segment gives a rundown of the pros and cons of each building system described. If a process is hugely labor-intensive, he says so. In some books and on many Internet sites there is a tendency to downplay or ignore completely, important considerations like labor efficiency. Most importantly these guys aren't fixated on talking you into only building a certain way out of certain materials and in that way I find it much less biased than the majority of other books in this category. The green building community
is well-connected with one another and they often review books by other authors. If either of these two guys say that some other book has merit that holds more weight for me than great reader reviews or high sales volume.
I gleaned a review off the Internet and it is presented below.
This large, generously illustrated manual is an excellent primer on owner-designed and site-inspired building. Snell, who wrote the eco-friendly The Good House Book, and Callahan, a more conventional but highly experienced builder and contractor, take readers step-by-step through the creation of a charming little guesthouse, demonstrating a variety of "green" techniques along the way. They start with an introduction to building fundamentals and how alternative materials can provide the necessities of housing: structure, climate-control and separation from as well as connection to the outer world. Next comes a mini-course in design. But the bulk of the book is hands-on: the nuts-and-bolts of siting; foundations; flooring; living (plant-covered) roofs; and cob
, cordwood, straw-bale and modified stick frame walls-although the book's minimal treatment of electricity and plumbing, and how to integrate them with unfamiliar materials like cob
or straw-bale, disappoints. Snell's tendency to decry the sins of modern architectural practice can become exasperating, but doesn't diminish the value of his extensive experience-derived knowledge; and the grace and beauty of the authors' building project, featuring Callahan's fine finish work, is inspiring. The abundance of color photos detailing the construction process, supplemented by examples from indigenous
buildings around the world, is particularly helpful. (Jan.)
I will soon buy The rocket mass heater
book. The review will come complete with photos of one that I will build based on the book and YouTube videos.
I'm finding that YouTube is becoming more useful over time. For just about anything you plan to do there is a YouTube video which often leads to more in depth information. Whether you've just purchased a skateboard or a crane, watch a few of the cautionary tales that are a YouTube mainstay.
And now for something fun.
It was suggested that >"Walt", > Clint Eastwood's character in Gran Torino
would make a good moderator for these forums. The Following is my take on how that might go. -------------------
Personally, I would love it if Walt were one of the moderators. But I don't think it would work out for very long. Walt was a no-nonsense kind of guy. And sometimes our members engage in nonsense. He wouldn't tolerate any malarkey from the people who make up facts to support their position, he'd bitch slap those who fail to punctuate and produce giant run-on sentences with no capitalization and with every second word misspelled. He would delete the post and then send the member a private message informing them that they're a dumb ass.
Walt would be all for the gardening
thing and slaughtering hogs, building your own house and all the tips on saving money. He'd probably become a major contributor to the trespassing thread and the one on automotive frugality.
But he'd never engage in poop
talk on a forum where there are ladies present. Walt was a product of the 50s when etiquette meant something. He would quickly put a stop to all the bathroom talk. "Women peeing outdoors" "Can I drink the water
from my septic system?" "Can ladies sanitary napkins be used as hamster surfboards?" "What would happen if I wiped my butt with this plant with three shiny leaves?" He would delete all that stuff. And if anybody posted a picture of a steaming pile asking; "What kind of shit is this?" Walt would Google them and then hunt them down at home to personally deliver one hell of a bitch slapping.
Even Paul wouldn't be safe from Walt's delete button and they'd really get into it whenever something went outside Walt's comfort zone. He would try to hijack the whole forum in the name of common sense
" Feeding dogs on tofu." "Uses for nose hair?" "Why I don't use soap" "Knitting for men" "Do you know where I can buy land
for five bucks?" "How would you preserve an igloo in Texas?" "Should people be allowed to own land?" He wouldn't hear any of these people out, he'd just remove the post and then write their name in a little book he keeps in his jacket.
Sometimes he'd delete an entire thread filled with dozens of harmless posts just because he figured it was too silly: " Could I live on just lettuce? Has anybody ever built a house from doughnut holes? Walt wouldn't even read these posts, he'd just shake his head as he muttered to himself and hit delete. No explanations, no warning or remorse.
Eventually things would come to a head and Walt would have to be removed. He wouldn't go down easy since even at his age he can out wrestle five hippies and three dreamers. But eventually after far too many warnings Walt would have his delete button taken away.
In time he would be allowed back as a regular member since the conversion of Walt would be of concern to us all. He's from California so we'd probably be able to get him into a solar
heated adobe house. After getting over his initial shock over the messy nature of poly-culture he would at least learn to appreciate the shade.(I've seen Walt's car and garage. Based on this I'll assume he plants his vegetables in neat rows). He'd probably try some of Dave's homemade shampoo
bars. And he would be completely obsessed with his state of the art
aquaponics system and his rocket stove
But there's no way Walt would ever agree to get rid of the gas guzzler or to accept endless bathroom talk. Walt would be very useful in bringing people of his generation on board but we would all need to accept his boundaries and biases. Although Walt will never be sugar sweet nice, he could become a little nicer. And who knows with enough
time he might not be too put off by women peeing outdoors.