Building Green: A Complete How-To Guide to Alternative Building Methods Earth Plaster * Straw Bale * Cordwood * Cob * Living Roofs

Overview

Clarke Snell and Timothy L. Callahan, whose popular Good House Book helped environmentally-minded readers create an earth-friendly home, have returned with a photo-packed, amazingly complete, start-to-finish guide to "green" housebuilding.

This absolutely groundbreaking manual doesn't just talk about eco-friendly building techniques, but actually shows every step! More than 1,200 close-up photographs, along with in-depth descriptions, follow the real construction of an ...

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Overview

Clarke Snell and Timothy L. Callahan, whose popular Good House Book helped environmentally-minded readers create an earth-friendly home, have returned with a photo-packed, amazingly complete, start-to-finish guide to "green" housebuilding.

This absolutely groundbreaking manual doesn't just talk about eco-friendly building techniques, but actually shows every step! More than 1,200 close-up photographs, along with in-depth descriptions, follow the real construction of an alternative house from site selection to the addition of final-touch interior details. Co-authors Clarke Snell and Timothy Callahan (a professional builder and contractor) provide thorough discussions of the fundamental concepts of construction, substitutes for conventional approaches, and planning a home that's not only comfortable and beautiful, but environmentally responsible. Then, they roll up their sleeves and get to work assembling a guest house that incorporates four different alternative building methods: straw bale, cob, cordwood, and modified stick frame. The images show every move: how the site is cleared, the basic structure put together, the cob wall sculpted, the bales and cordwood stacked, a living roof created, and more. Most important, the manual conveys real-world challenges and processes, and offers dozens of sidebars with invaluable advice. It's head and shoulders above all others in the field.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
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.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
It's not easy being green, but its advantages in home construction are extolled at length in this substantial book. Green building relies on alternative methods and materials (e.g., earth plaster, strawbale, cordwood, cob), with an eye toward ecofriendliness and sustainability. Snell (The Good House Book: A Common-Sense Guide to Alternative Homebuilding) and Callahan, an experienced builder and craftsman, use a sample project of a small cottage to illustrate these methods and materials. Though the book is meant to be a manual on alternative building techniques, its bulk is devoted to green philosophy, with occasional asides on more practical construction considerations and mistakes to avoid. Only for larger collections or where there is demand. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781579905323
  • Publisher: Lark Books NC
  • Publication date: 1/28/2006
  • Pages: 616
  • Sales rank: 533,726
  • Product dimensions: 8.25 (w) x 10.21 (h) x 2.42 (d)

Meet the Author

Clarke Snell is an expert in the field of green building and self-sufficiency. Author of The Good House Book (Lark, 2004), he lives in the mountains of Western North Carolina with his wife in a partially-bermed, passive-solar house in a small intentional community they helped create.

Tim Callahan is a practicing general contractor. An experienced timber-frame builder, Tim is currently focused on residential projects of unique character.

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 1, 2008

    Very nice book on Green/Alternative building.

    This is a large heavy book filled with great full-color photos and illistrations throughout. It was a good overall reference to some alternative building materials and methods. I was able to learn a lot about the charecteristics of various materials and when and where it is or is not appropriate to use them. Even though the author goes to great length to explain how to build with these materials he can't cover every detail for every situation so you are left with a desire to purchase other books to get the whole picture. Such is the case in the chapter about roofing, when he goes into detail about installing a living roof, then concludes with recommending against beginners utilizing such a roof due to its excessive weight. I would have to say though he does redeem himself by having enough humility to include a few sidebars he called 'construction blunders' where he explains some details that didn't go quite as planned and offers some insight as to how to avoid making the same mistakes. Overall I would recommend this book to others, but with with a cautionary word that it is not going to be 'The only book you'll ever need'.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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