Good books on green building and construction are hard to find. With industry growth in building green, comprehensive guides to rethinking construction for energy efficiency and sustainability are helpful to anyone new to the field. In a recent article, Green Building Advisor’s Martin Holladay reviews four new books on green building. Here are some of his key points on the industry’s latest works.
1. The New Net Zero by William Maclay
Holladay explains that Maclay is no new architect to the world of energy efficiency. With decades of experience designing green buildings mainly in Vermont, Maclay has designed single-family, commercial and institutional buildings in New England that focus on being airtight to increase efficiency. The book includes detailed project drawings and accurate technical details. One drawback is his regional focus, giving the book a bias toward buildings in colder climate.
2. Making Better Buildings: Sustainable Construction for Homeowners and Contractors by Chris Magwood
Making Better Buildings is a focus on getting back to nature, according to Holladay. The author focuses on natural materials that are less energy-intensive than the most commonly used in North American construction. While the materials noted might be far better for the environment, many of the ideas explained require very high labor input and are not recognized by building codes, presenting a unique challenge for contractors who would like to use this as a project guide.
3. Green Home Building by Miki Cook and Doug Garrett
Green Home Building is a good place to start for anyone new to green building principals. The book covers a wide range of topics from roofing to Volatile Organic Compounds. Holladay says, however, that Cook and Garrret's book has significant technical errors including some misconceptions about tankless water heater efficiency and claims of a direct link between certain toxins and allergies.
4. Housing Reclaimed: Sustainable Homes for Next to Nothingby Jessica Kellner
Housing Reclaimed offers three examples of families who built homes from salvaged materials, a sustainable form of construction that requires a much lower investment than new construction. According to Holladay, the problem is that many details of the simplicity of building that Kellner outlines are exaggerated as all families interviewed about their projects have years experience in the building industry. There is only a small chapter on the basics of building and the homes constructed are not revisited to see how they have held up. Good examples of great work, though.
Read Holladay's full reviews on Green Building Advisor.