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

Our Price $ 34.00  
Retail Value $ 40.00  
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Item Number 287570  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   468
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 1.25" Width: 8" Height: 10.25"
Weight:   2.5 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Jun 1, 2000
Publisher   Chelsea Green
ISBN  1890132578  
EAN  9781890132576  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
The Natural House is a tour of the construction, costs, and pros and cons of fourteen natural building methods. Straw Bale, Rammed Earth, Cob, Cordwood, Adobe, Earthbags, Papercrete, Earthships...whatever the method, the common goal is to create a house that is economical, energy efficient, nontoxic, soothing to the soul, kind to the environment, and pleasing to behold. This comprehensive sourcebook offers in-depth information that will guide your search for the perfect sustainable dream home. It is a must for home builders, contractors, and architects.
Author Dan Chiras shows how you can gain energy independence and reduce your environmental impact through passive solar heating and cooling techniques, solar electricity, wind power, and micro-hydropower. He also explains safe, economical ways to obtain clean drinking water and treat wastewater, and discusses affordable green products.
While he's an unabashed advocate of natural building techniques, Chiras takes care not to romanticize and to alert readers to avoidable pitfalls. His detailed, practical, and ecologically sound advice can save tens of thousands of dollars, whether you are buying, building, or renovating a natural home.

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More About Daniel D. Chiras

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Dan Chiras paid his last electric bill in June of 1996. It is not that he has disavowed the use of electricity and modern conveniences, but rather that he has turned to the sun and wind to meet his family's needs. In 1995, Dan, a former full-time college professor with years of experience in sustainable development, built a state-of-the-art rammed earth tire and straw bale home in Evergreen, Colorado. He installed solar electric panels on the roof; a year or so later he installed a small wind generator. Since that time, he has met nearly all of his electrical needs for his home and office from these clean, renewable sources. Dan also heats his home in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains 8000-feet above sea level with energy from the sun thanks to passive solar design. For backup heat on those cold winter nights, he burns a cord of wood a year, gathered free from his community. His annual gas bill, mostly for showers and cooking, runs about $120 a year - about $2 to $3 per month for natural gas and $10 per month to read the meter! Dan has spent much of the past 30 years studying sustainability and applying what he has learned in solar energy, natural building, and green building to his residences, and most of the last ten years sharing the practical knowledge he has gained through writing, lectures, slide shows, and workshops. Dan has published 21 books to date including several college and high school textbooks: Environmental Science: Creating a Sustainable Future, Natural Resource Conservation, Human Biology, and Biology: The Web of Life. His high school environmental science text, Environmental Science, was selected as the official book of the U.S. Academic Decathlon's 1991 competition. In the early 1990s, Dan published two trade books on environmental issues and sustainability for a general audience: Beyond the Fray: Reshaping America's Response and Lessons from Nature: Learning to Live Sustainably on the Earth. Since 1995, Dan has focused most of his attention on residential green building. He has written extensively on the subject. His is books include: The Natural House: A Complete Guide to Healthy, Energy Efficient, Environmental Homes; The Natural Plaster Book; The Solar House: Passive Heating and Cooling; Superbia! 31 Ways to Create Sustainable Suburbs; and The New Ecological Home. His newest book, EcoKids: Raising Kids Who Care for the Earth will be published in the Spring of 2005 by New Society Publishers. Dan also writes extensively for magazines, journals, newsletters, and newspapers. He has published nearly 250 articles on environmental issues, sustainability, natural building, natural plaster, green building, and passive solar heating and cooling. His articles appear regularly in Home Power, Mother Earth News, Natural Home, and The Last Straw. Dan also writes frequently for World Book Encyclopedia (Science Year) and Encyclopedia Americana. He authored a 12-page article on the environment for Encyclopedia Americana. Dan has written environmental pollution section for World Book Encyclopedia's annual publication, Science Year, since 1993. In 1997, he wrote an extensive piece for World Book on population growth and its many implications. Dan also wrote the ecology and air pollution sections for Encyclopedia Americana. In addition to his writing, Dan has served as an adjunct professor at the University of Colorado in Denver and the University of Colorado at Denver. He has been a visiting professor at the University of Washington, where he taught a course on environmental science. He currently is a Melon Visiting Professor at Colorado College where he teaches courses on renewable energy, ecological design, and sustainable development.

Daniel D. Chiras currently resides in Evergreen, in the state of Colorado. Daniel D. Chiras has an academic affiliation as follows - Director, The Evergreen Institute Director, The Evergreen Institute, C.

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Great resource, but a little outdated  Jan 30, 2007
My husband and I are building a new house and we were looking for a good resource for information about eco-friendly options for our home. This turned out to be an excellent resource, but a little outdated. There have been so many advances in various eco-friendly technology since this book was written and it would be great it Daniel Chiras would update this book to show that. However, this book did provide us with the basic information we needed to make most of the decisions for our house. I would definitely recommend it to anyone wanting to build green or do a green remodel to their house. In addition to this, I would recommend getting a subscription to Smart Homeowner Magazine and/or Mother Earth, both of which will provide you with the latest in green products and technology, along with a lot of other valuable information. They make a great update to The Natural House.
An excellent overview of "natural" building; buy it!  Mar 29, 2006
I've recently become interested in green building. My local library system provided a lot of interesting books, most of which weren't really worth buying.

Daniel Chiras' book is different: comprehensive, well-organized, and sincere. I purchased a copy as this is a definite keeper.
Good Introduction  Dec 9, 2001
Being an architect already, I found that the book was an excellent introduction, even for me, to the various alternative building techniques emerging. It gave the author's honest opinion about many of the techniques, which was very appreciated. Don't expect it to be a precise how-to guide for any of the methods. It is an excellent overview, though, that can help you evaluate which building techniques you would like to explore further. The references at the end are vast and helpful.

However, I found that for a book about the "Natural House", it often suggested many un-green building materials (OSB, polypropylene bags). Sometimes their "ungreeness" was mentioned, sometimes not.

The Primer on Natural Building  Oct 18, 2000
If you're interested in building a natural home (cob, rammed earth, straw-bale, earthship, whatever), this is your primer. The author has done his homework and presents the description, pros/cons and pitfalls of each type of construction. He is very honest about just how "do-it-yourself" each type can be, and how much it will cost you. He also covers passive and active solar design, natural water capture and other alternative technologies to go with your natural home. This is an excellent overview on all these subjects.

The best thing about this book is that he refers you to other sources for more detail - books, videos, newsletters and organizations that will support you, give you a workshop or just give you more detailed information than belonged in this primer book.

I highly recommend this as the first book you read on the subject. Once you know which type of house you are interested in, you can pick up some of the other books he suggests on that building type.

One of the best in this subject area!  Sep 7, 2000
Dan Chiras has done a number of things I really like in this book.

The first part of his book provides a chapter on each of several natural building technologies with enough information to help novice readers understand what is involved. Moreover, he adds a pro and con table at the end of each to help readers compare and contrast them - and to make a decision about which is best for their particular situation.

Chiras also provides an ample helping of "food for thought" material to help potential natural builders understand the "why" of their prospective natural building projects, an essential process for anyone who is contemplating an out of the ordinary building project.

Chiras serves his readers well by acting as a "fair broker" of natural building as a concept as well as each of the technologies he presents. This allowing his readers to make their own informed judgements about which natural building method, if any, they will use. Chiras additionally provides numerous references so that readers can find more detailed material for further research and project planning.

I would strongly recommend this book to anyone who is in the process of considering or planning construction of a natural home, especially to those who are not already familiar with conventional construction materials and methods and at least reasonably familiar with natural construction alternatives.

It's easily worth the price.


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