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Book Reviews

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This is a list of the most important book reviews on GBA.

If you are looking for an index that spans all categories, with a special focus on “how to” articles, check out this resource page: “How to do Everything.”

  • Musings of an Energy Nerd

    Where Can I Find Good Advice?

    Donald Wulfinghoff is an energy consultant who works in Maryland. In 2015, he published Super House, a 700-page book that explains how an ordinary person without architectural training can design a superinsulated home that (he claims) will use only 10% to 20% as much energy for heating and cooling as a conventional home.

  • Musings of an Energy Nerd

    Carbon Emissions By the Construction Industry

    Burning fossil fuels or using electricity results in carbon dioxide emissions (unless the electricity is produced by photovoltaics, wind, or another renewable energy source). Since CO2 emissions cause global climate change, environmentally conscious builders aim to build energy-efficient buildings.

  • Musings of an Energy Nerd

    Henry Gifford Publishes a Book

    Henry Gifford is a plumber with a New York accent, working-class roots, and deep erudition. He’s also a well-known designer of heating, cooling, and ventilation systems.

  • Musings of an Energy Nerd

    In Search of a DIY Guide to Rooftop PV

    Most new grid-tied photovoltaic (PV) systems are installed by solar contractors. Here’s what usually happens: the homeowners call up a few local solar companies; representatives come to the house to make a site assessment; the homeowners choose the contractor whose quote sounds reasonable and sign a contract for the work. The homeowners don’t even have to put up a ladder; all they have to do is sign a check.

  • Musings of an Energy Nerd

    Building Science Information for Builders

    Jacob Deva Racusin, a Vermont builder and educator, has just written a book called Essential Building Science. The book aims to provide builders — especially so-called “natural builders” — with a basic understanding of the ways that heat and moisture flows affect residential buildings. (The book is available from New Society Publishers for $34.95.)

  • Musings of an Energy Nerd

    Rural Construction Methods in Tropical Countries

    Green building enthusiasts come in two camps. Builders in the first camp follow programs that emphasize energy efficiency; those in the other camp are so-called “natural builders” who emphasize the use of materials like straw, mud, and sticks. (For an analysis of this split, see Low-Road Buildings Are Homeowner-Friendly.)

  • Musings of an Energy Nerd

    Books for Homeowners Interested in Saving Energy

    Two books that do a good job of explaining residential energy use issues to homeowners are Consumer Guide To Home Energy Savings and No-Regrets Remodeling. Both books have been around for years. Recently the publishers of these two books issued new editions, so I decided to give them a careful read. Consumer Guide To Home Energy Savings

  • Musings of an Energy Nerd

    New Books on Green Building

    If you are a cold-climate architect looking for a reference book that provides guidance on designing energy-efficient superinsulated buildings, I strongly suggest that you buy William Maclay’s The New Net Zero. It’s the best book on the topic by far.

  • Musings of an Energy Nerd

    Carl and Abe Write a Textbook

    Carl Seville, this website’s resident green building curmudgeon and blogger, has teamed up with Abe Kruger, an energy rater and BPI Building Analyst, to write a new textbook, Green Building: Principles and Practices in Residential Construction.

  • Musings of an Energy Nerd

    Books on Insulation and Energy-Efficient Building

    Two new books that might interest green builders recently caught my eye: The BuildingGreen Guide to Insulation Products and Practices by Alex Wilson and The JLC Guide to Energy Efficiency by the editors of The Journal of Light Construction. Full disclosure: I was a minor participant in the creation of both books. At Wilson’s request, I reviewed portions of his manuscript before publication and provided feedback. I also wrote several of the articles appearing in the JLC book.

  • Musings of an Energy Nerd

    The Uncertain Future of Phoenix and Las Vegas

    The American Southwest is running out of water. For a powerful reminder, if any is needed, of why builders in Western states should integrate water-conservation strategies in all new buildings, check out a new book by James Lawrence Powell, Dead Pool: Lake Powell, Global Warming and the Future of Water. Powell’s message is stark: according to scientists’ best predictions, millions of Americans living in the Southwest will face unprecedented water shortages in the next few decades.

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