Innovative solutions for creating healthy, efficient, eco-friendly homes

Archive of: Book Reviews

Title Issue
Water is poised to become the new oil

Water is poised to become the new oil

In an era of dwindling resources, water is poised to become the new oil as the entire world now faces the reality of a decreasing supply of clean water. To avert a devastating shortage, we must not only look at alternate water sources for existing structures, we must also plan our new developments differently.

Design for Water is an accessible and clearly written guide to alternate water collection, with a focus on rainwater harvesting in the urban environment. The book:

July 2009
Book review: "Power from the Wind"

Book review: "Power from the Wind"

Faced with frequent power outages, skyrocketing energy costs and constant reminders of the impacts of conventional energy sources, homeowners and businesses are beginning to explore ways to generate their own electricity to reduce fuel bills and their carbon footprint – and to achieve greater independence.

June 2009
Renewable energy for your home

Renewable energy for your home

Ready to tap into clean, affordable, renewable energy sources to heat and cool your home? The Homeowner's Guide to Renewable Energy, by Dan Chiras, will tell you how. Throughout the book, Chiras focuses on specific renewable energy strategies needed to replace specific fuels, and examines practical energy options available to homeowners, including solar electricity, solar hot water systems, wind-generated electricity, passive solar design, passive cooling, wood heat and emerging technologies such as micro-hydro systems, fuel cells and hydrogen energy.

February 2009

SH Bookshelf: Multitasking Homes

Today’s homes are required to do more than just keep the rain off our heads. They’re also expected to be more flexible as well as more durable.

February 2008
SH Bookshelf: Your Home, Illustrated

SH Bookshelf: Your Home, Illustrated

Long-term readers of this magazine will recall that for our first three years of publication, we ran a continuing series of
articles called "From the Ground Up," by then-technical editor Charlie Wing. Those 22 illustrated articles, which examined in detail all of the various systems in a typical home, were and remain some of the most popular features published in this magazine.

The book upon which those articles were based has long been out of print.

October 2007

SH Bookshelf: Green Pages

Homeowners interested in making their houses more eco-friendly can turn to a growing number of books for help and advice. Here are two that caught our eye. Green Remodeling, by Boulder, Colo.-based green consultants David Johnston and Kim Master, is a comprehensive guide to residential greenbuilding.

September 2007

SH Bookshelf: Carbon Busters, Organic Lawns

You can give both your home and your lawn an eco-friendly makeover this summer, as described in two new books. The Carbon Buster's Home Energy Handbook, by Godo Stoyke, an energy efficiency consultant, explains that carbon busting - that is, reducing carbon emissions by making your home more energy efficient - is not only good for the environment, but profitable as well. Stoyke notes that by following the recommendations he presents in the book, a typical family can cut annual carbon emissions by 70 percent and home energy bills by as much as $3,500.

September 2007

SH Bookshelf: Beginnings and Endings

Two new books provide details on how to efficiently build homes as well as take them apart. Prefabulous: The House of Your Dreams, Delivered Fresh From the Factory, by Sheri Koones (a Smart HomeOwner contributing writer), demystifies the concept of the prefabricated house, and explains why these factory-built homes are greener, more efficient, sturdier and more cost-effective than site-built homes. The book examines all types of prefab houses, including modular, panelized, timber frame, concrete and steel, as well as log construction and homes built with structural insulated panels (SIPs).

September 2007

SH Bookshelf: Achieving Energy Independence

Given the uncertain nature of our current oil, gas and natural gas reserves, many homeowners are starting to look for viable alternatives. One option is to move toward energy independence, in which a household relies on alternative power sources instead of fossil fuels. So how does one achieve energy independence? Two new books provide valuable information on the subject.

September 2007
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