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The New Autonomous House: Design and Planning for Sustainability

Overview

"I've seen many books on this subject, but none so well documented and honest."—Whole Earth
In 1975 Brenda and Robert Vale published The Autonomous House, a manifesto offering down-to-earth suggestions for building homes that do not pollute the earth or squander its resources. Their book received tremendous praise around the world and was seen as a significant move toward green architecture. Nearly twenty years later, in the early 1990s, the Vales decided to turn their groundbreaking ideas into reality.The New ...
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Overview

"I've seen many books on this subject, but none so well documented and honest."—Whole Earth
In 1975 Brenda and Robert Vale published The Autonomous House, a manifesto offering down-to-earth suggestions for building homes that do not pollute the earth or squander its resources. Their book received tremendous praise around the world and was seen as a significant move toward green architecture. Nearly twenty years later, in the early 1990s, the Vales decided to turn their groundbreaking ideas into reality.The New Autonomous House records their building of a house on the principles of sustainable resources in the small town of Southwell in the British Midlands. As specialists in green architecture, the Vales sought to create an environmentally friendly four-bedroom house that was neither exotic in appearance nor difficult to maintain. They document the philosophy, design, and construction of a building that can produce power from the sun and obtain drinking water from the rain.The New Autonomous House has a simple but revolutionary message: It is possible to live in an inexpensive house that is kind to the planet and liberates its owner from utility bills. The Vales provide a thought-provoking, practical solution to the environmental problems caused by the houses in which we live, a blueprint of green architecture for future generations.
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Editorial Reviews

Whole Earth
I've seen many books on this subject,but none so well documented and honest.
Library Journal
The world's most energy-efficient house, according to the 1999 Guinness Book of Records, was built in 1993 in Southwell, England by the Vales. This book details the planning and construction of this extraordinary dwelling. The Vales's The Autonomous House (LJ 2/1/76) defined a theoretical ideal of a site and structure not dependent on outside sources of power or natural resources. The new book chronicles their efforts to put theory into practice. The text, replete with drawings of and specifications for the building's vital systems, is offered as proof that such homes can meet the aesthetic, practical, and political requirements of residents, neighbors, and local officials. Whereas the 1975 book often alluded to U.S. contributions to sustainable technologies, America's absence from the 2000 narrative is quite conspicuous. Overseas, the authors have earned widespread admiration; this book should bring their ideas wider dissemination stateside. Highly recommended for academic, environmental studies, and technology collections.--David Solt sz, Cuyahoga Cty. P.L., Parma, OH Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.\
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780500282878
  • Publisher: Thames & Hudson
  • Publication date: 9/28/2002
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 6.50 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Brenda Vale is a professor of architecture at Victoria University in Wellington, New Zealand. Her previous books include The New Autonomous House.

Robert Vale is a professor architecture at Victoria University in Wellington, New Zealand. His previous books include The New Autonomous House.

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Table of Contents

Preface 6
Chapter 1 Definitions and Introduction to the Problems 8
Definitions 8
Introduction to the problems 11
The future for buildings 16
Chapter 2 The Philosophical and Technical Background 18
The environmental movement 18
Alternative technology 21
Utopias--technology and society 22
Technologies and societies 34
Appropriate targets 35
Conclusion: the alternative-technology approach 41
Chapter 3 The Autonomous House as Built 42
Introduction 42
Why a house? 43
The site 46
The house 50
Chapter 4 Theoretical Analysis of the Technical Options 67
A methodology for design 67
Structure 67
Building enclosure 86
Services 104
Chapter 5 The Technical Options Implemented 140
Saving energy 140
Structure 141
Building enclosure 162
Services 172
Conclusions 190
Chapter 6 Performance in Use 191
The performance of the fabric 191
Ventilation 195
Space heating 196
Waste and water 212
Cost 228
Conclusions 229
Further research 231
Chapter 7 Conclusions 233
Appendices 239
Notes 246
Index 255
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