Prefabulous + Almost Off the Grid: Your Path to Building an Energy-Independent Home

Abrams
15
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Prefabrication offers a simple path to the green home of your dreams, and in her latest book, Prefabulous author Sheri Koones highlights the many ways of using prefabrication to create almost-off-the-grid homes—houses that are not only environmentally friendly but often operate at nearly zero annual energy cost.
Taking energy from the grid when necessary and returning any excess energy produced, almost-off-the-grid homes function on a fraction of the energy required by most houses, and additionally are more comfortable, healthier, quieter inside, and far cheaper to operate. As energy costs continue to rise, the almost-off-the-grid house proves its worth.
Prefabulous + Almost Off the Grid profiles more than 30 of the most energy-efficient homes in the United States, and this hardworking guide reveals how homeowners can achieve similar results with floor plans, the latest, most efficient technologies, and multiple images of the exterior and interior of each home.

Praise for Prefabulous + Almost Off the Grid:

Recipient of the 2013 Robert Bruss Gold Book Award from the National Association of Real Estate Editors (NAREE)

“You can build a high quality, environmentally friendly and efficient home at a reasonable price with a look and feel of a traditional home. Advancements like those used in our house and the other houses in this book will transform the homebuilding industry.” —Christine Todd Whitman, former governor of New Jersey and administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency

“The time has come to throw out the old stereotypes and to embrace prefab building techniques as the way of the future—and the best approach for today. For anyone wanting to create a house that’s sustainable in every sense of the word, this book is an excellent place to start.” —Sarah Susanka, architect and author of The Not So Big House series

“I'm passionate about prefab because I know that it can spark an incredibly positive change in the building industry and dramatically reduce costs and construction duration. Prefabulous + Almost Off the Grid is an enlightening guide on using prefab to create your own affordable, energy-efficient home.” —Bruce Ratner, chairman and chief executive of the Forest City Ratner Companies

“Sheri Koones highlights the many ways of using prefabrication to create almost-off-the-grid homes that are not only environmentally friendly but often operate at nearly zero annual energy cost. . . . This is an easy-on-the-eyes guide that includes floor plans and multiple images of the exterior and interior of each home. It is not a manual for green construction, but a general overview of aspects of prefab and green construction. And it does that well.” —Natural Life magazine

“If you’re ready to do something about your energy dependence, or if you enjoy stories of people who’ve bucked the trends, you owe it to yourself to give Prefabulous + Almost Off the Grid a look. Beautifully illustrated, it ends with a great resources list for the homes showcased.” —Examiner.com

“Indispensable guide to creating the ideal, almost-off-the-grid home. . . . This text is both timely and tempting to anyone interested in inhabiting a more comfortable and cost-efficient abode.” —Bask

“This attractive coffee-table-style book, the third in Koones’s Prefabulous series, features 32 prefabricated houses that, to a greater or lesser extent, boast environmentally friendly, efficient, and renewable-energy elements.” —Publishers Weekly
 
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About the author

Sheri Koones is a widely respected author who helps readers understand that getting the house of their dreams can be done in an ecologically responsible way. Her book, Prefabulous, explored the variety, beauty and eco-friendly benefits of prefab homes and recently won the prestigious Gold Award in the 2008 Robert Bruss Real Estate Book Awards from NAREE. Sheri is a member of the National Association of Real Estate Editors, the Sustainable Building Industry Council, and the American Society of Journalists and Authors. Sheri is also a columnist for Home Resource Guide and a freelance writer and speaker. She lives in Connecticut.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Abrams
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Published on
Oct 1, 2012
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Pages
240
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ISBN
9781613123966
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Language
English
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Genres
Architecture / General
Architecture / Sustainability & Green Design
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Read Aloud
Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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A stunning, full-color showcase of the latest innovations in sustainable architecture and eco-friendly design, featuring thirty-five diverse homes.

Today’s architects, designers, building craftsman, and homeowners are becoming more environmentally conscious, choosing eco-friendly living spaces with small carbon footprints that are built with sustainable materials. New Eco Homes explores various aspects of modern eco design, from its environmental and economical benefits, to factors considered when choosing materials: how much energy went into manufacturing the product, whether it is long lasting, and whether it can be recycled or safely disposed of as it eventually breaks down. It also examines important details involved in building, such as climate regulation, drainage systems, and regional planning. Each of the thirty-five projects contain photographs, floor plans, and detailed drawings that illustrate certain sustainable features, revealing how much the parameters of ecological design have expanded in just a few short years.

New Eco Homes includes an introductory interview with an international specialist in green building, site plans, architectural drawings, and a complete directory of resources. Combining concern for the environmental with aesthetic sensibility, it is an essential resource for architects, designers, and homeowners interested in creating warm and inviting homes that are not only beautiful to inhabit, but help protect and conserve our natural environment as well.

Hacking the Earthship: In Search of an Earth-Shelter that Works for EveryBody is a comprehensive collection of academic and in-the-field research findings on Earthships, combined with practical how-to advice for designing and financing your own truly sustainable earth-sheltered home.

Rachel Preston Prinz and contributing authors discuss the history, research, design issues, and evolution of Earthships, drawing on the knowledge of thousands of builders, craftsmen, and designers who have mastered the art of earth sheltering. Then, they walk readers step by step through design, offering a wealth of resources that can inspire, inform, and educate. Within, readers will find the tools needed to understand their place's culture, architecture, and climate... and the ideal building methods for their climate, personality, values, and budget.

THE NEW GENERATION OF EARTHSHIP ENTHUSIASTS:

•                    Does not want to cart questionable building materials long distances and call it “green”.

•                    Wants to build locally and naturally… and they want to build it themselves.

•                    Wants their buildings to be cool in summer, warm in winter, the humidity to be predictable and regular; and they want to minimize pests and allergens.

•                    Wants to be able to get a permit and insurance, and resell their homes if they want to; or pass them on if they can.

•                    They want a smaller home that is “just right”… for their budget, time, ability, energy use, and maintenance.

•                    They want to make their home easy to manage, maintain, and get around in, even if they are in a walker or wheelchair.

•                    They want their home to feel like it is made from and relating to the earth: in views, in light, in fresh air, in the ability to grow food, and in a beautiful landscape that supports the home.

Finding the balance between all these desires is a delicate and lengthy process of discernment, study, and goal-setting. That is what this book aims to help you do.

Chapter 1 THE EARTHSHIP REALITY PROJECT discusses the issues and resolutions of the design.

Chapter 2 THE SCIENCE: ACADEMIC RESEARCH AND TIRE OFF-GASSING reviews academic and scientific research on Earthships.

Chapter 3 A WAY FORWARD discusses financing and insurance, minimizing waste, managing the build, visioning, and Code requirements.

Chapter 4 THE BUILDING’S CONTEXT AND SITE addresses the site and landscape.

Chapter 5 DESIGNING FOR THERMAL COMFORT addresses natural, mechanical, and design options for improving thermal performance. Topics covered include passive solar design; thermal mass versus insulation; earth-coupling versus earth-sheltering; thermal and moisture protection; and natural ventilation.

Chapter 6 THE STRUCTURAL SYSTEM addresses the ways we can form the building’s structure.

Chapter 7 THE ENCLOSURE SYSTEM outlines the construction of the building’s envelope or skin. We discuss traditional earthship building blocks like tire, glass, and can walls, as well as alternative systems like adobe, cob, rammed earth, earthbags, wood block concrete forms, timber frame, log, cordwood, and strawbale buildings. We also cover various roofing options as well as doors and windows.

Chapter 8 ROOMS, SPACES, COLORS, & TEXTURES discusses how we can create a home we love.

Chapter 9 MECHANICAL SYSTEMS outlines basic mechanical, electrical, and plumbing considerations, especially on-grid systems since those are what make an Earthship most affordable.

Chapter 10 IMBUING SPACE WITH SPIRIT addresses psychological and spiritual aspects of design.

Chapter 11 CONCLUSION: A NEW SET OF EARTH-SHELTER BUILDING CRITERIA

Chapter 12 OVERWHELMED? NEED HELP? discusses some helpful tips if you hire an architect or residential designer .

The APPENDICES offer resources and worksheets.

Portions of the proceeds will go to our non-profit architectural education programs ARCHITECTURE FOR EVERYBODY and BUILT FOR LIFE.

Passivhaus is the fastest growing energy performance standard in the world, with almost 50,000 buildings realised to date. Applicable to both domestic and non-domestic building types, the strength of Passivhaus lies in the simplicity of the concept. As European and global energy directives move ever closer towards Zero (fossil) Energy standards, Passivhaus provides a robust ‘fabric first’ approach from which to make the next step.

The Passivhaus Designers Manual is the most comprehensive technical guide available to those wishing to design and build Passivhaus and Zero Energy Buildings. As a technical reference for architects, engineers and construction professionals The Passivhaus Designers Manual provides:

State of the art guidance for anyone designing or working on a Passivhaus project;

In depth information on building services, including high performance ventilation systems and ultra-low energy heating and cooling systems;

Holistic design guidance encompassing: daylight design, ecological materials, thermal comfort, indoor air quality and economics;

Practical advice on procurement methods, project management and quality assurance;

Renewable energy systems suitable for Passivhaus and Zero Energy Buildings;

Practical case studies from the UK, USA, and Germany amongst others;

Detailed worked examples to show you how it’s done and what to look out for;

Expert advice from 20 world renowned Passivhaus designers, architects, building physicists and engineers.

Lavishly illustrated with nearly 200 full colour illustrations, and presented by two highly experienced specialists, this is your one-stop shop for comprehensive practical information on Passivhaus and Zero Energy buildings.

FEW TECHNOLOGICAL ACHIEVEMENTS are as impressive as the ability to see our own planet from outer space. The beautiful sphere suspended against the black void of space makes plain the bond that the billions of us on Earth have in common.

This global consciousness inspires space travellers who then provide emotional and spiritual observations. Their views from outer space awaken them to a grand realization that all who share our planet make up a single community. They think this viewpoint will help unite the nations of the world in order to build a peaceful future for the present generation and the ones that follow.

Many poets, philosophers, and writers have criticized the artificial borders that separate people preoccupied with the notion of nationhood. Despite the visions and hopes of astronauts, poets, writers, and visionaries, the reality is that nations are continuously at war with one another, and poverty and hunger prevail in many places throughout the world, including the United States.

So far, no astronaut arriving back on Earth with this new social consciousness has pro- posed to transcend the world's limitations with a world where no national boundaries exist. Each remains loyal to his/her particular nation-state, and doesn’t venture beyond patriotism - "my country, right or wrong" – because doing so may risk their positions.

Most problems we face in the world today are of our own making. We must accept that the future depends upon us. Interventions by mythical or divine characters in white robes descending from the clouds, or by visitors from other worlds, are illusions that cannot solve the problems of our modern world. The future of the world is our responsibility and depends upon decisions we make today. We are our own salvation or damnation. The shape and solutions of the future depend totally on the collective effort of all people working together.



From the authors of Cradle to Cradle, we learn what's next: The Upcycle
The Upcycle is the eagerly awaited follow-up to Cradle to Cradle, one of the most consequential ecological manifestoes of our time. Now, drawing on the green living lessons gained from 10 years of putting the Cradle to Cradle concept into practice with businesses, governments, and ordinary people, William McDonough and Michael Braungart envision the next step in the solution to our ecological crisis: We don't just use or reuse and recycle resources with greater effectiveness, we actually improve the natural world as we live, create, and build.
For McDonough and Braungart, the questions of resource scarcity and sustainability are questions of design. They are practical-minded visionaries: They envision beneficial designs of products, buildings, and business practices—and they show us these ideas being put to use around the world as everyday objects like chairs, cars, and factories are being reimagined not just to sustain life on the planet but to grow it. It is an eye-opening, inspiring tour of our green future as it unfolds in front of us.
The Upcycle is as ambitious as such classics as Rachel Carson's Silent Spring—but its mission is very different. McDonough and Braungart want to turn on its head our very understanding of the human role on earth: Instead of protecting the planet from human impact, why not redesign our activity to improve the environment? We can have a beneficial, sustainable footprint. Abundance for all. The goal is within our reach.
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