Recommendations for Books on Sustainable Homes?

A question for the experts out there… Christmas is coming, and that usually means I’ll get a few gift certificates to places like Amazon, Borders, etc.   My library has plenty of titles for cooking, homebrewing, gardening and things like that.  Living in Minnesota, one area I think I need to read up on are ways to keep a house warm in the wintertime without relying totally on natural gas and HVAC systems.

I live in a new house that’s pretty tightly constructed… there are a few tweaks here & there that I could do to keep the cold out, but overall I don’t think that’s the big issue.  What I’m wondering about are ways to keep homes warm that make sense in a low energy future.

Anyone have some recommendations for books dealing with this subject?  I’m looking for ideas about retrofitting existing homes as much as new sustainable construction methods.

Thanks in advance…


4 Responses to Recommendations for Books on Sustainable Homes?

  1. Jim says:

    No book suggestions, but I have some experience heating a home with unconventional methods.

    Growing up we heated entirely with wood: a big cast iron potbelly stove. Of course, that required a lot of wood, which you probably don’t have readily available. And it was messy. In college, my roommates and I lived in a drafty old house and were responsible for paying for gas heat. Our strategy was to wall off an area around the fireplace (by hanging blanket-curtains, etc.) and heat only that part of the house. We also selectively used space heaters to warm bedrooms at short intervals. The rest of the house stayed pretty cold. A side bonus was that we didn’t need to keep the refrigerator plugged in.

  2. Charles says:

    This is a great book:
    The Evolution of an Independent Home
    Paul Jeffrey Fowler
    ISBN 0-9645111-7-7

  3. onestraw says:

    Dan Chiras has several Great Books on the subject:
    The Solar House and The New Ecological Home
    I’ve read and recommend them both.

    Greg Pahl’s book Natural Home Heating gets good reviews and I like his other stuff.

    Looking to update an existing home? There are several books out there title Green Remodeling

    Passive Solar is hands down the best way if you can start from scratch. Next up for a heat source for me is a masonry stove like a Tulikivi. After that a soap stone lined wood stove, then further down the list are cast iron wood stoves and ending the list with geo thermal heat pump powered by solar cells. Living in MN, biomass heat in a strawbale home with the north face buried in a hill is a solid way to beat the winter cold.

    Even in our suburban HOA home our southern exposure allows me to all but maintain temps on sunny 25 degree days by opening the shades before work on the South Side.


  4. Bart says:

    Thanks everyone for your recommendations! I’ll check these titles out.

    Living as a suburban puke, I’m probably going to focus more on green remodelling type books rather than new construction books. That said, I’ve found strawbale & cob architecture interesting.

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