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The Natural House: A Complete Guide to Healthy, Energy-Efficient, Environmental Homes

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The Natural House
A Complete Guide to Healthy, Energy-Efficient, Environmental Homes
by Daniel D. Chiras

      In the early 1990s, people were still asking a question that now sounds surprising: "Is it really possible to build a house that is economical, energy-independent, gentle on your health, nourishing to the soul, and kind to the environment?" Now that books such as The Independent Home and The Straw Bale House have sold tens of thousands of copies, that question is much easier to answer. Gracious, comfortable, and ecologically benign homes are being built all across America. But many people--including potential homeowners, professional contractors, and architects--are intrigued by solar techniques and natural materials, yet lack an overview introducing the basic choices now available.

      The Natural House addresses that need with style and substance. This exciting new book, written by a veteran author who himself lives in a straw-bale and rammed-tire home, takes the reader on a tour of fourteen natural building methods, including straw bale, rammed earth, cordwood, adobe, earthbags, papercrete, Earthships, and more. You'll learn how these homes are built, how much they cost, and the pros and cons of each. A resource guide at the end of every chapter offers a wealth of information.

      With a writing style that is clear, understandable, at times humorous, and fun to read, the author shows how we can gain energy independence and dramatically reduce our environmental impact through passive heating and cooling techniques, solar electricity, wind power, and micro-hydropower. Chiras also explains safe, economical ways of acquiring clean drinking water and treating wastewater, and discusses affordable green building products.

      While Chiras is an advocate of natural building, he takes a careful look at the "romance" of natural building techniques and alerts readers to avoidable pitfalls, offering detailed practical advice that could save you tens of thousands of dollars, whether you're buying a natural home, building one yourself or renovating an existing structure, or considering hiring a contractor to build for you.