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The SustainableABC book store is an ever changing collection of literature culled from the best authors on eco architecture, green building and healthy living.

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Art of Natural Building
by Joseph F. Kennedy (Editor), Albert Bates, Catherine Wanek (Editor), Michael Smith

This comprehensive introduction to the natural building field is for lay people, architects, and designers who wish to build beautiful, low-cost, and environmentally-sensible structures. From straw bale and cob, to recycled concrete and salvaged materials, this anthology of articles from leaders in the field focuses on both the practical and the esthetic concerns of ecological building designs and techniques. Profusely illustrated and packed with resources.

All three editors are central practitioners in the natural building movement. Joseph F. Kennedy has expanded the boundaries of ecological architecture with NASA's space station habitability module. Michael Smith is the author of The Cob Cottage (Chelsea Green, 2001), among others. Catherine Wanek is the editor of The Last Straw Journal.

 

The New Natural House Book: Creating a Healthy, Harmonious and Ecologically Sound Home
by David Pearson

The Natural House Book, first published in 1989, originated the phrase "natural house" and established the presence of the Green movement in home design. Author David Pearson has updated and expanded this eco-aware homebuilder's classic with new resource listings, a new photo-essay in the introduction, and revised text describing the latest and best developments in natural construction.

This completely revised and redesigned edition of the bestselling Natural House Book brings you hundreds of practical energy- and money-saving ideas to enhance your home, your environment, and your well-being.

Originally published in 1989, The Natural House Book anticipated our problems with garbage disposal, indoor air pollution, water purification, and environmental hazards. Today more than ever, we need inspiration and cutting-edge information to transform our homes into havens for the body, mind, and spirit.

Lavishly illustrated with more than 100 full-color photos, combining the expertise of top architects, designers, and ecology authorities from all over the world, here is a hands-on, step-by-step, room-by-room architectural and design guide to bring you and your family safely and happily into the twenty-first century. .

 

Prescriptions for a Healthy House
by Paula Baker-Laporte, Erica Elliott, John Banta, Lisa Flynn (Illustrator)

This invaluable guide for the homeowner/architect/builder takes the mystery out of healthy house building by walking the reader through the construction process. It explains where and why standard building practices are not healthful, what to do differently, and how to obtain alternative materials and expertise. Prescriptions for a Heathy House shows how to design interior and exterior space, and select construction materials that enhance and promote physical well-being.

Paul Baker specializes in residential architecture. She has been diagnosed as chemically sensitive and is intimately aware of the health threat of many construction materials and methods. Erica Elliott is a physician trained in environmental medicine. John Bantra has over a decade of trouble-shooting experience detecting indoor environmental problems..

Healthy House Building for the New Millennium
by John Bower

With over 200 photos and illustrations, as well as a complete set of detailed construction drawings, Healthy House Building for the New Millennium shows you everything you need to know to build a healthy house. While your home probably won't look like the one featured in this book, the important how-to information necessary to build or remodel in a healthy manner can be applied to any house. This third edition has been expanded to contain an update at the end of each chapter with new building products, techniques, options, and web sites - and there's a brand new chapter about the author's own new healthy home.

John Bower is the owner of The Healthy House Institute, and has been involved with healthy house construction as a designer, builder, writer, and consultant since 1984. He has personally built four healthy houses for chemically sensitive people, and consulted on the construction of many others across the country. John is the author of scores of articles in magazines ranging from Custom Builder, Journal of Light Construction, and Indoor Air Review, to East West, Greenkeeping, and Mother Earth News. He has appeared on dozens of radio and television programs, and is a regular speaker at housing conferences in the U.S. and Canada. In 1991 John was awarded a Professional Achievement Award by Professional Builder magazine for "healthy house advocacy." He has been named one of the "Indoor Environment Power 50" - a Who's Who in the Indoor Environment Industry by Indoor Environment Review, and one of "60 Influential People, Products, and Events" in the home building industry by Professional Builder magazine.

 

Earth Prayers: From Around the World, 365 Prayers, Poems, and Invocations for Honoring the Earth
by Elizabeth J. Roberts (Editor), Elias Amidon (Editor)

In forest clearings, beneath star-filled skies, in cathedrals, and before the hearth...women and men have always given voice to the impulse to celebrate the world that surrounds and sustains them. Now, as we face a diminished present and an uncertain future, the need to honor the interconnection between people and the planet is heightened.

From Walt Whitman, Thich Nhat Hanh, and Black Elk, to Margaret Atwood, the Rig Veda, and the chant of a Samar fisherman, the varied voices linked here offer songs and prayers for land, sea, and air; graces for food; and invocations, poems, and passages that reveal in the common spiritual heritage of all who cherish creation.

In forest clearings, beneath star-filled skies, in cathedrals, and before the hearth... women and men have always given voice to the impulse to celebrate the world that surrounds and sustains them. Now, as we face a diminished present and an uncertain future, the need to honor the interconnection between people and the planet is heightened.

From Walt Whitman, Thich Nhat Hanh, and Black Elk, to Margaret Atwood, the Rig Veda, and the chant of a Samar fisherman, the varied voices linked here offer songs and prayers for land, sea, and air; graces for food; and invocations, poems, and passages that reveal in the common spiritual heritage of all who cherish creation.

 

Rural Studio: Samuel Mockbee and an Architecture of Decency
by Andrea Oppenheimer Dean, Timothy Hursley (Photographer)

The genius of an architect who made beautiful and functional homes out of inexpensive materials is celebrated in Rural Studio: Samuel Mockbee and an Architecture of Decency. The book showcases work Mockbee (1944-2002) undertook in Hale County, Ala., where he recruited architecture students to help design and build free homes for impoverished residents. Andrea Oppenheimer Dean, a former executive editor at Architecture magazine, and photographer Timothy Hursley, an architectural photographer who has been documenting Rural Studio for nine years, present 132 color and 12 b&w photos of the warm, modern homes (which often incorporate recycled and natural materials like tires and hay bales) and discuss them with Mockbee, his students and the home owners. The work has been featured on Oprah, Nightline, CBS News and in Time and People.

This book is a revelation. It displays, for the first time in book form, the accomplishments of one of the most celebrated architectural studios in America, the Rural Studio, led by Samuel Mockbee of the Auburn University School of Architecture. Mockbee ran this studio for ten years until his tragic death from leukemia last year at the age of 57, a year after winning a MacArthur genius award. His students and associates created some of the most interesting and innovative architecture in the United States by serving the humblest needs of some of the poorest people in the most neglected counties of Alabama and Mississippi. About a dozen houses, churches, playgrounds, pavilions, and community centers are represented here in elegant photographs by Hursley, the unofficial photographer of the studio, and in concentrated prose by Dean, a former executive editor of Architecture magazine. The book includes descriptions of each project, interviews with students and clients, instructive essays on key topics, and a complete bibliography of the Rural Studio.

 

Dharma Gaia: A Harvest of Essays in Buddhism and Ecology
by Allan Hunt Badiner et al

If we are to halt our progress toward the ruin of our environment, more is called for than a few changes in lifestyle. Our destructive ways did not come haphazardly into existence; they spring from a particular attitude toward the earth and our relation to it, and it is that attitude that these essays address. Dharma is the Buddhist teaching; Gaia is the concept of the earth as a living being, an organism that is whole the way a body is, each part of it inseparable from the rest. When you look at the earth through the eyes of Buddhism, you arrive at a picture very like Gaia: the idea of the interdependency of all things is at the heart of Buddhism. Damage one element, and you damage the whole. This is in the spiritual realm what ecology is in the scientific, and so the two systems of thought lead naturally into each other. The essays in this book come at the subject from different angles, all the way from Christopher Reed's Eco-Precepts ("I vow to recycle everything I can") to David Abram's philosophical look at how the Gaia hypothesis influences our perception, to Joanna Macy's thoughts on "the greening of self' - the change from the self as a separate entity to the self as "coextensive with other beings and the life of our planet." Some essays - such as Macy's - are thought-provoking and lively. Others are more dutiful, more academic. But on the whole, the good essays make up for the poorer ones, and the matching of Buddhism with ecology points us in fruitful directions.

 

Cohousing : A Contemporary Approach to Housing Ourselves
by Kathryn McCamant, Charles Durrett, Ellen Hertzman

Does the idea of not having to cook meals for yourself or family every night, deal with traffic on your block, or worry when your children are out playing in the neighborhood appeal to you? If the answer is yes, you may want to consider exploring cohousing, a concept that originated in Denmark in the early 1970s and has spread throughout Europe. In Cohousing, a number of European cohousing communities are profiled. Although each community is a unique reflection of its members' tastes and desires, there are some common components, such as parking lots on the perimeters of the community for pedestrian safety, a common house where meals can be shared, and recreational facilities housing various community activities and services. With all the responsibilities entailed in managing a home and/or a family, cohousing is a solution for finding sufficient time to relax and spend with the people who are important to us. (The authors have recently started The Cohousing Company, a design and development company formed specifically to assist groups interested in planning and implementing cohousing in this country.)
Review by Ilene Rosoff

 

The Straw Bale House
by Athena Swentzell Steen, Bill Steen, David Bainbridge, David Eisenberg

Get a leg up on the first Little Pig with The Straw Bale House, your guide to inexpensive, durable, earth-friendly construction that will stand up to much more than the Big Bad Wolf. Authors Athena Swentzell Steen and Bill Steen founded the Canelo Project, which promotes innovative building; David Bainbridge is a California restoration ecologist; and David Eisenberg is an alternative-materials builder who pioneered straw bale wall testing. Between them, they have encyclopedic knowledge of their subject. The book is comprehensive, broadly covering why and how to build with straw and then focusing on the details, which are both intellectually and aesthetically delightful.
Beside being cheap, clean, and lightweight, straw also provides advantages like energy efficiency and resistance to seismic stresses. For the nervous Martha Stewart types, there are scads of black-and-white and color plates of strikingly beautiful interiors and exteriors from New Mexico to southern France. Both new and experienced builders will appreciate the clear, simple instructions and diagrams, as well as practical explanations for dealing with building codes and insurers. The Straw Bale House shows us advantages so numerous and dramatic that you'll wonder why we ever moved on to sticks and bricks. By Rob Lightner

 

Earth to Spirit: In Search of Natural Architecture
by David Pearson, William McDonough

From the author of The Natural House Book comes a provocative volume for anyone interested in design, designing or building which integrates the lessons of the past with today's technology to create structures where the land, the home, and the spirit coexist harmoniously.

Earth to Spirit is the record of David Pearson's personal odyssey for natural architecture. The renowned author of The Natural House Book, David Pearson has combed the world to find a diverse array of buildings that head the ancient wisdom of ecology, health, and spiritual awareness. In this book, he weaves together remarkable photographs and an evocative text to reveal a new awakening in modern architecture that integrates the lessons of the past with the technology of the present day.

 

Cradle to Cradle
by William McDonough and Michael Braungart

Paper or plastic? Neither, say William McDonough and Michael Braungart. Why settle for the least harmful alternative when we could have something that is better--say, edible grocery bags! In Cradle to Cradle, the authors present a manifesto calling for a new industrial revolution, one that would render both traditional manufacturing and traditional environmentalism obsolete. Recycling, for instance, is actually "downcycling," creating hybrids of biological and technical "nutrients" which are then unrecoverable and unusable. The authors, an architect and a chemist, want to eliminate the concept of waste altogether, while preserving commerce and allowing for human nature. They offer several compelling examples of corporations that are not just doing less harm--they're actually doing some good for the environment and their neighborhoods, and making more money in the process. Cradle to Cradle is a refreshing change from the intractable environmental conflicts that dominate headlines. It's a handbook for 21st-century innovation and should be required reading for business hotshots and environmental activists.

 

Eco-Economy: Building an Economy for the Earth
by Lester R. Brown

Eco-economic theory calls for harmony between our economy and natural resources. Our current, untenable, profit-focused economic model, says Brown (Building a Sustainable Society), depletes forests, oil, farmland, topsoil, water, atmosphere and species beyond a sustainable level. Brown, founding director of the Earth Policy Institute, uses the Sumerians as an antimodel: as the land was overworked, water sources eventually disappeared. And he uses forestry as a counterexample: forests secure land and store water, acting as natural dams. Logging delivers paychecks, but doesn't consider flood damage from tree loss. Eco-economists would say that the logger and the town, while temporarily profiting, pay more in the end in rising insurance costs, flood damage to homes and infrastructure, increased taxes and disaster relief funds. The goal, presented here in convincing detail, is to design a profitable economy that accurately reflects the social cost of abuse of resources. Brown suggests shifting "taxes from income to environmentally destructive activities, such as carbon emissions." Individuals and towns should receive tax breaks for deploying solar and wind-generated power. However receptive to Brown's excellent, sophisticated proposals, many readers will wonder how they can become reality; for eco-economics to work, all world leaders would need to agree on what makes practices environmentally unsound. (Nov. 5)Forecast: In light of the current administration's poor reputation for eco-concern and its withdrawal from the Kyoto Protocol, Brown's book will do well among students, activists and the growing environmental movement.

Lester R. Brown is the founder and president of Worldwatch Instutute , a private, nonprofit environmental research organization in Washington, DC. He is the recipient of a MacArthur Foundation "genius award," the United Nations 1989 Environment Prize and the Asahi Glass Foundation's Blue Planet Prize.

 

 

The Hand-Sculpted House: A Philosophical and Practical Guide to Building a Cob Cottage
by Evans

 

 

 

 

Alternative Construction: Contemporary Natural Building Methods
by Lynne Elizabeth (Editor), Cassandra Adams

The first comprehensive guide to combining traditional natural materials and modern construction methods.

From adobe to straw bales, traditional building materials are being adapted to meet code-required standards for health and safety in contemporary buildings around the world. Not only are they cost effective and environmentally friendly, but, when used correctly, these natural alternatives match the strength and durability of many mainstream construction materials.

This book examines a broad range of traditional and modern natural construction methods, including straw-bale, light-clay, cob, adobe, rammed earth and pise, earthbag, earth-sheltered, bamboo, and hybrid systems. It also covers key ecological design principles, as well as current engineering and building code requirements.

Experts on each building system have contributed core chapters that explore the history, development, climatic appropriateness, environmental benefits, performance characteristics, construction techniques, and structural design principles for each method. More than 200 visuals depict both construction processes and completed structures. An extensive resource guide shows where to go for further information, training, and research.

In an increasingly resource-conscious era, alternative construction is truly an idea whose time has come. Whether you're an architect, designer, student, or homeowner, this book will help you to combine indigenous building materials with modern construction systems and design standards to create low-impact, high-quality buildings that meet the highest levels of comfort, health, and safety.

LYNNE ELIZABETH is a consultant on sustainable community development and ecological design. She edits New Village Journal, the national periodical of Architects, Designers, and Planners for Social Responsibility.

CASSANDRA ADAMS is an architect and consultant in construction management and ecological design. She has taught architecture, construction, and environmental courses at the University of Washington and the University of California, Berkeley.

 

Places of the Soul: Architecture and Environmental Design As a Healing Art
By Christopher Day

"...one of the seminal architecture books of recent times." --Professor Tom Wooley, Architects Journal

At a time when the environment is increasingly under the spotlight, "Places of the Soul" examines how people can reinstate the human factor in the building equation.

 

Building with the Breath of Life
by Tom Bender

So simple yet profound it carries the force of revelation...A condensed guide for those ready to take energetics into their homes and communities.

Of immense practical interest to students of alternative medicine, metaphysical spirituality, feng-shui, architecture, and a New Age approach to body, mind and spirit.

 

 

Your Natural Home: A Complete Sourcebook and Design Manual for Creating a Healthy, Beautiful, Environmentally Sensitive House
by Janet Marinelli, Paul Bierman-Lytle

Drawing upon the expertise of one of the world's premier designers of ecologically sensitive houses, this unique guide provides both inspiration and practical advice for creating a natural, more energy-efficient home. The heart of the book is a compendium of 2,000 building, remodeling and decorating products. Detailed illustrations & informative sidebars.

A Pattern Language: Towns, Buildings, Construction
by Christopher Alexander

"Brilliant....Here's how to design or redesign any space you're living or working in--from metropolis to room. Consider what you want to happen in the space, and then page through this book. Its radically conservative observations will spark, enhance, organize your best ideas, and a wondrous home, workplace, town will result"--San Francisco Chronicle.

A handbook designed for the layman which aims to present a language which people can use to express themselves in their own communities or homes, and to better communicate with each other.

 

Gaviotas: A Village to Reinvent the World
by Alan Weisman

...a book telling a tale too lovely for fiction, a lyrical, well-observed book that reports from the llanos of eastern Colombia, savannas tortured by guns and cows and cocaine, of an experiment in solar democracy in which "appropriate technology" is anything but a sad product on the discount tables of broken, post-sixties idealism.
By The Nation, Tom Athanasiou

 

The Power of Place: Sacred Ground in Natural and Human Environments
By James A. Swan

In an age when you may feel you have lost your connection to the planet, this book will help you discover your relationship to the life around you.

 

Toxics A to Z: A Guide to Everyday Pollution Hazards
by John Harte et al

The best book of its kind for the layman. The general chapters are a good overview of a wide-ranging subject but put environmental toxins into their proper perspective. The individual entries are supported by an excellent glossary and full index.

Relates general information on the hazards of toxic materials in the environment and alphabetically lists facts about more than one hundred individual toxins, with explanations of how to identify each substance and avoid the danger of contamination.

 

Healing Environments: Your Guide to Indoor Well Being
by Carol Venolia, Debra Lynn Dadd

The physical environments we live, work and play in have a direct, but often unrecognized, effect on the harmony of our lives. Becoming aware of our interactions with these spaces and making changes to improve them can help create balance and emotional well-being. Healing Environments provides ways in which to reconfigure our lifestyles and surroundings that will enhance our lives and spiritual beings. For instance, adding accents of silver, the color of the moon, can aid creativity, soothe emotions and soften the ambience in our surroundings. An architect by profession, Carol Venolia guides us beyond the structural dimensions and into the sensorial realms of the spaces we inhabit. This book is presented as a way to get to know ourselves and evaluate our environments, as well as to teach us how the components of color, sound, temperature, light, arrangement and texture can be cultivated to create a healthier and more fufilling existence.

 

Healthy House Building: A Design & Construction Guide
by John Bower

How you put your house together is just as important as the materials you choose. Healthy House Building takes you step-by-step through the construction of a Model Healthy House. With over 200 photos and illustrations, as well as a complete set of detailed construction drawings, Healthy House Building shows you everything you need to know to build a healthy house. While your house probably won't look like the one in this book, the important how-to information necessary to build or remodel in a healthy manner can be applied to all houses. This second edition contains updated addresses for the suppliers of materials used in the Model Healthy House.

Of course, having comprehensive text on healthy housing is important. But Healthy House Building (Second Edition) by John Bower takes this information further--by actually showing readers how to build a healthy house from the ground up. Want to see how to lay a ceramic tile floor using a self-made, no-additive grout; how to install a metal roof; or how the air-tight drywall approach should be done? These and all the other steps required to build a "model healthy house" are explained in text--but also with over 250 photographs, and 25 pages of detailed house plans. This is the type of information you'll be able to apply to your next building or remodeling project.

"Indoor air pollution accounts for 50% of all illness," according to a Massachusetts Special Legislative Commission, but you can protect yourself by reading this book. Healthy House Building reveals the unsuspected sources of indoor air pollution that you and your family breathe on a daily basis. But more importantly, it gives you real world, readily available solutions. Everything about a house is covered, including foundations, flooring, cabinets, painting, filters, ventilation, etc., and a complete set of house plans is included. Healthy House Building is a valuable illustrated resource. It will be useful for homeowners and renters who have never picked up a hammer, as well as experienced builders and designers who are after up-to-date information on the subject. If you are planning to build a new house or simply remodel an existing one you need Healthy House Building.

John Bower (BS Purdue University, MA Ball State University) has been involved with healthy house construction since 1984. He has written extensively on the subject in several books (The Healthy House, The Healthy House Answer Book, and Understanding Ventilation) as well as in articles for such publications as Custom Builder, The Journal of Light Construction, and Mother Earth News. In addition, he has been an invited speaker at builders' conferences throughout the U.S. and Canada sponsored by such organizations as the National Association of Home Builders, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the American Institute of Architects. In 1991, he was honored with a Professional Achievement Award for "healthy house advocacy" from Professional Builder magazine. He is currently serving on the Editorial Advisory Board of Indoor Environment Review.

 

Ecological Design
by Sim Van Der Ryn & Stuart Cowan

Ecological Design presents a vision of how the living world and the human world can be rejoined by taking ecology as the basis for design--adapting and integrating human design with natural processes. The authors weave together case studies, personal anecdotes, images and theory to provide a thorough treatment of the concept of ecological design.

 

Less Toxic Alternatives
by Carolyn Gorman

Out of print but a wonderful resource and available used at Amazon.com.

Better Basics for the Home: Simple Solutions for Less Toxic Living
by Annie Berthold-Bond

These days, more and more people are saying no to "better living through chemistry" and yes to a lifestyle that is less toxic and more environmentally friendly. This trend toward a more natural lifestyle has become something of a crusade for Annie Berthold-Bond, author of Better Basics for the Home. After developing hypersensitivity to even very low concentrations of chemicals, Berthold-Bond was forced to rid her life of as many toxins as possible. "It wasn't until I had to be away from chemicals that I began to realize how many we lived with. The extent of the contamination is startling--from hair spray and floor wax to dandelion killers and plastic shower curtains and other products that line our hardware stores and supermarket shelves."

This book represents the culmination of her search for a more sustainable lifestyle. Taking her cue from an earlier time, Berthold-Bond, former editor in chief of Green Alternatives for Health and Environment, offers more than 800 simple and practical alternatives to common household toxins, covering everything from skin care to gardening. And the good news is that adopting her suggestions and formulas isn't hard at all. "Mixing up face creams or wood stain isn't much different than cleaning the windows with vinegar, soap, and water instead of using Brand Name X, or making a cake with flour, eggs and milk instead of buying a mix," see asserts. "With a few simple staples we can clean our houses, wash our hair, rid the dog's bed of fleas, and do many other things as well." If you have your doubts, here is her formula for metal polish:

3 teaspoons salt, 1 tablespoon flour, and enough white distilled vinegar to make a paste. Scoop the paste onto a clean sponge, and polish the metal clean. Rinse with hot water and buff dry.

Sure, these days it's literally impossible to lead a life that is completely toxin-free. But you can significantly reduce your exposure, and picking up a copy Better Basics for the Home is a great way to get started.

Home Safe Home: Protecting Yourself and Your Family from Everyday Toxics and Harmful Household Products in the Home
by Debra Lynn Dadd

Provides more than four hundred tips on ways one can remove harmful substances from the home and have them replaced by safer, do-it-yourself formulas, and gives helpful hints on how to purchase natural food, clothing, and beauty supplies."


Card catalog description
Home Safe Home offers more than 400 tips, including do-it-yourself formulas for inexpensive, safe products to replace harmful substances we are exposed to in our own homes. Whether you suffer from unexplained headaches, fatigue, or depression, or if you worry about the link between increased use of toxics and the rising rate of cancer, the many suggestions in this book can make your life virtually toxic-free!

 

Clean and Green: The Complete Guide to Non-Toxic and Environmentally Safe Housekeeping
by Annie Berthold-Bond, Annie Berhold Bond

Better than Heloise's Hints for A Healthy Planet....

Garbage Magazine, March/April 1991
The result of her years of experimentation is not only an encyclopedia for environmental cleanliness, but also a laundry list of solutions of solutions for everyday puzzlers.

 

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