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Musings of an Energy Nerd

Three New Books on Green Building

A tiny house book, a straw bale book, and a sustainable construction book

Three new books crossed my desk recently, each with a shiny cover and the promise of useful information for green builders. One turns out to be a gem, and the other two are clunkers.

New Society Publishers has just released a book by Patricia Foreman called A Tiny Home to Call Your Own. Although it’s hard to tell by looking at the book, this is actually a new edition of a book that was first published in September 2004. (Mysteriously, the latest edition drops the name of one of the co-authors of the first edition, Andy Lee.)

This book defines a tiny house as a “smaller house from about 350 square feet up to about 1,000 square feet.”

Foreman’s book has a few virtues:

The book provides a refreshing pep-talk on decluttering: “If downsizing seems daunting, keep in mind how encumbering it is to work just to pay for heated and air-conditioned housing and storage for your stuff. Then the stuff owns you and not the other way around.” The perspective is valuable, in spite of the fact that it isn’t particularly original. (In Walden, published in 1854, Henry David Thoreau expressed the same point: “And when the farmer has got his house, he may not be the richer but the poorer for it, and it be the house that has got him. … I am wont to think that men are not so much the keepers of herds as herds are the keepers of men, the former are so much the freer. Men and oxen exchange work; but if we consider necessary work only, the oxen will be seen to have greatly the advantage.”)

If you’re interested in construction details, however, the book is sadly lacking. The book is silent on ventilation systems. There is no advice on insulating the floors…

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One Comment

  1. User avater GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #1

    If any GBA readers post questions or comments below, be aware that I'm planning to be on vacation for the month of June. I'll respond to comments when I return on July 1.

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