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OMG!!! Absolutely awesome book!!!! So many good informative images inside... Not just photos! Explains so many details with case study examples. My tech lecturer in BA2 was very impressed with this book!
I was hoping it would be a great resource to find products to help build my new home. However it has pictures of pigs and other comical animals, with quotes like "Use dual pane glass, it will save energy". I really got bored reading this book. It did not offer any "New" ideas to me. Suggestions like "Install more insulation, and you will save energy". Yawn.
This expensive book, $85 is worth it. Thoughtful, persistent, unrelenting, the authors take their time with their message - to rethink everything we do and change our ways. Reductionist thinking versus what we need, whole system thinking. They return to this again and again. Yet the book was not chosen to be a polemic, the facts demanding their viewpoint build up as the pages pass and so sparks must occur as the voltage mounts. There are even more developments they could have included supporting them. The book is never desperate, it draws its strength from its thoughtfulness, richness and the relentless message - change or else. There are aspects of passive design they don't go into. The book is more for architects and home builders than for engineers but such engineering books can follow. How can architects disregard the points of the compass? Bainbridge and Haggard notice this strange, modern convenient and perverse ignorance and bring it up several times. You and I read the menu with prices but Bainbridge and Haggard flash another energy menu for us to see as if btu's and kwhrs are the real prices not dollars yet this is wrong. We must work to have subsidies removed so prices reveal everything. How can Bainbridge and Haggard imagine that little energy goes into a straw bale when our sun has radiated uncounted terawatt hours in growing each one. Cheap yes, lots of energy, also yes. Why are there pages and pages on photovoltaic? Photovoltaics have received too much attention and passive solar too little. Why drop what others ignore to repeat what is already discussed too often. Finally we will see the battle of our time the organic against the electronic! There are good pages on water, sewage and building materials, you can learn lessons such as after straightening rusty nails polish them in a cement mixer. The advice about difficulty salvaging plastic foam insulation as well as other material is interesting especially to those of us already fatally surrounded by plastic. The books attention to the forgotten, Peter van Dresser of New Mexico and Jon Hammond and living Systems of California was very welcome. In passive solar many of us were excited to be the first to do this and that. Without Bainbridge and Haggard to maintain interest we could also be the last as the reductionist architects replace us and promote more electricity and gasoline. The essays of Fish and Levine didn't add much for me. It is already a long book why are they there? I think Bainbridge and Haggard too easily dismiss nuclear power, after all the A bomb and H bomb are mans most spectacular and influential accomplishments. We can hardly dismiss them. Let us bet that today's and tomorrow's engineers can make nuclear power safe if not cheap.
We're currently researching ways to build a low-maintenance, low-energy home and this book is the bible , packed with information. And I've only had time to skim through it so far. All I need now the time to delve into it. Will certainly use many of the tips and designs explored and explained. A bit pricey, but we have no doubt it will serve us well.
Most recent tome on the topic of passive solar. Promotes straw bale overmuch. A good overview of the latest thinking on this subject and latest technology. Admits software is still woefully unable to model passive solar.
I am trying to educate myself on the construction of net-zero homes so that I might eventually live off the grid. My motivations are entirely selfish monetary ones. The fact that they happen to coincide with socio-politically-correct green movement are of little consequence to me as a consumer.
I was encouraged by the 5-star average review of this book, but after reading through it I realized that the title and description of this book are totally misleading. A more appropriate title would be, "Eco-conscious Living: A Diatribe in Sustainability".
There are several great ideas and concepts for sustainable, low-waste practices, but very very little information on passive solar design concerns beyond lighting and the "advantage" of heating/cooling. Nearly zero information on implementation.
The author appears to be trying to sell the concept of sustainable living. This reader is already sold on it, so the message was completely wasted on me.