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Essential Sustainable Home Design
A Complete Guide to Goals, Options, and the Design Process
Many people dream of building a beautiful, environmentally friendly home. But until now there has been no systematic guide to help potential builders work through the complete process of imagining, planning, designing, and building their ideal, sustainable home.
Essential Sustainable Home Design walks potential homebuilders through the process starting with key concepts, principles, and a project vision that will guide the house to completion.
- How to clarify your ideas and create a practical pathway to achieving your dream
- A criteria matrix to guide design, material, and systems decisions
- Creating a strong, integrated design team and working with professionals and code officials to keep the project on track from start to finish
- Key building science concepts that make for a high-performance, durable building
- Primer on building logistics, material sourcing, and protocols to ensure that the initial vision for the project comes to fruition
- One-page summaries and ratings of popular sustainable building materials and system options.
Ideal for owner-builders and sustainable building contractors working with clients aiming to design and build a sustainable home.
Chris Magwood has designed and built some of the most innovative, sustainable buildings in North America, including the first off-grid, straw bale home in Ontario. He is co-founder and director the Endeavour Centre for Innovative Building and Living and co-editor of the Sustainable Building Essentials series. He has helped hundreds of people work through the process to design their own sustainable home and achieve their dreams. Chris is the author of Essential Prefab Straw Bale Construction, Essential Hempcrete Construction, Straw Bale Details,Â More Straw Bale Building, and Making Better Buildings.
"It's all here. Everything you need to know about designing a sustainable home, for you, your family and the planet. Easy to read and understand while tackling a myriad of complex subjects. Well illustrated and filled with useful information."
Martin Hammer, architect, co-author of the Strawbale, Light Straw-Clay and Tiny Houses appendices in the International Residential Code
"Chris has given us a wonderful gift in this book. The rational approach to design criteria is excellent and thorough, measured with humour and honesty based on his experience building sustainably over the past 20 plus years. I will be referring prospective clients and colleagues alike to Essential Sustainable Home Design."
Tim Krahn, LEED AP, P. Eng.
"Once again, Chris Magwood has put his deep and broad experience to excellent use in creating this book. The book is both comprehensive and concise, covering in a highly useful format, all the important aspects of the process of seeking sustainable goals in designing a house. Chris couples his extensive and rigorous approach to research, experimentation, and learning, with his gift for teaching and communicating what he's learned. The result is another terrific addition to the sustainable design and building literature."
David Eisenberg, Director, Development Center for Appropriate Technology
"Finally! An up-to-date overview of the most important approaches and questions to address when making a more sustainable home. This book is essential in navigating the overwhelming field of sustainable house design and distills it down to its basics, allowing one to make informed decisions about creating their home."
Ben Falk, MALD, author, The Resilient Farm and Homestead and Whole Systems Design, LLC
"I found this to be a useful and comprehensive guide to the entire process of creating a sustainable and resilient home by a leading exponent of sustainable building practices. The author correctly stresses the importance of process - determining the objectives of the project up front, specifying clear project goals, and putting together an appropriate team to realise these goals. Also stressed are the decision-making processes and the importance of understanding the big picture implications of decisions. These are essential but often overlooked aspects of creating a sustainable home."
Dr. Mark Gorgolewski, Chair of the Department of Architectural Science, Ryerson University, Toronto.
"This wonderful book by Chris Magwood offers a wealth of knowledge about the materials, systems and processes needed to design better homes. Two things set this book apart from other "green" guides: The Approach section gives you the tools you need to create your own set of goals and criteria, and the section on Materials and Systems offers a comprehensive and unbiased review of both "green" and mainstream materials."
Larry Strain, FAIA LEED AP, SIEGEL & STRAIN Architects
"Creating a home from scratch is a rare opportunity to express our deepest values. If those values include health and planetary ecology the process can be especially daunting because these are not the primary values of the conventional housing market, and the "Green" building world is multifaceted with information that often seems contradictory. In Essential Sustainable Home Design, Chris has written an intelligent synthesis of all things "green", presented in an easy-to-understand format to help future home owners make the best choices for every stage in creating their new home."
Paula Baker-Laporte FAIA co-author, Prescriptions for a Healthy House and The EcoNest Home
How to Plan, Design and Build with Straw
Living Well in Just-Right Houses
Understanding the Language of Green Building
Protecting Your Buildings from Climate Change
Choosing Muscles Over Motors