Sustainable Building Essentials Collection

Purchase at least 3 books in this collection and receive 30% off each book at checkout

By: Anthony Dente, Michael G. Smith, Massey Burke, Leslie Doyle, Tim Krahn, Michelle Avis, Rob Avis, Ann Baird, Gord Baird, Michael Henry, Tina Therrien, Kelly Hart, Rob Roy, Chris Magwood, Lydia Doleman, Jacob Deva Racusin

From: $119.97 USD

Essential Cob Construction

Essential Cob Construction presents both hands-on and rigorous technical information on how to build code compliant, low-embodied carbon, and fire- and earthquake-resistant buildings from cob – a mix of clay, sand and straw. The definitive cob guide for engineers, architects, designers, contractors, and owner-builders.

Essential Green Roof Construction

Essential Green Roof Construction is a comprehensive, in-depth guide to building simple green roofs for houses and small buildings. Packed with detailed photos, illustrations, case studies, and code compliance advice, it offers clear step-by-step instructions necessary to create your own living roof.

Essential Rammed Earth Construction

Essential Rammed Earth Construction covers design, building science, tools, and step-by-step building methods for building with rammed earth - and, gravel, and clay or lime/cement binder packed into forms - in any climate with an emphasis on cold climates.

Essential Rainwater Harvesting

Essential Rainwater Harvesting covers complete home-scale rainwater harvesting system design including goal setting, system planning, site assessment, calculations, and material selection and sizing for all climates.

Essential Composting Toilets

Essential Composting Toilets is a streamlined, illustrated manual that takes a practical approach to system selection criteria, design, installation, and operation, while meeting universal health and safety objectives.

Essential Natural Plasters

Essential Natural Plasters is the most comprehensive guide to making and using natural plasters for all types of buildings. It covers clay, lime, and gypsum plasters; waterproof tadelakt plaster; fibers and additives; interior and exterior use; substrate preparation; mixing, testing, and tinting; and practical application tips.

Essential Earthbag Construction

Essential Earthbag Construction is an illustrated guide to building with earth-filled polypropylene bags, a low-impact, highly durable method of construction. It includes material specifications, installation, design guidance, foundations, wall plastering, basic utilities, seismic reinforcement, maintenance, and the variety of uses.

Essential Cordwood Building

Cordwood building – log-ends set in insulated mortar – is an economical, low-impact building method. Essential Cordwood Building is the first fully illustrated, step-by-step guide for design, material specification, construction, detailing, maintenance, and code compliance of cordwood. For both the DIYer and professional builder.

Essential Sustainable Home Design

Essential Sustainable Home Design walks homebuilders through designing an environmentally friendly home. Covering what makes a building green, a criteria matrix to guide design, material, and systems decisions, working with code officials, and choosing sustainable materials to keep the project goals on track from start to finish.

Essential Light Straw Clay Construction

Light straw clay is a code compliant high-performance, low-impact building material with insulation and moisture handling qualities. This illustrated guide to light straw clay for stud, timber, pole and other framing styles covers material specifications, best use, mixing, installation, retrofits, code compliance, finishing and maintenance.

Essential Building Science

Poor heat and moisture detailing are enemies of durability, comfort and efficiency in house design. Essential Building Science provides a visual, accessible introduction to the fundamentals of building physics and the skills to develop thermal and moisture strategies for creating better new buildings and improving old ones.

Essential Prefab Straw Bale Construction

Essential PrefabStraw Bale Construction is an illustrated guide to pre-manufactured bale walls. This manual covers the properties, applications, specifications, code-compliance and climate data, with step-by-step instructions and budgeting information for this development in sustainable building.

Essential Hempcrete Construction

Essential Hempcrete Construction is an illustrated guide to this affordable, renewable method, from procurement to finish. This indispensable manual covers material properties, applications, specifications, code-compliance and climate data, rounded out by step-by-step instructions and budgeting information.

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Written by the world’s leading sustainable builders, designers, and engineers, these succinct, user-friendly handbooks are indispensable tools for any project where accurate and reliable information are key to success.

About The Author(s)

Massey Burke is a natural materials design-build consultant, educator, and co-director of the California Straw Building Association. She has worked with cob since 2005, and focuses on removing barriers to scaling up natural, climate-positive building methods. A contributor to The New Carbon Architecture, she lives in the San Francisco Bay area, CA.

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Tina Therrien started plastering in 1997 as part of Camel’s Back Construction, the first straw bale building company in Ontario. One of the founding members of the Ontario Natural Building Coalition, Tina has made numerous contributions in the natural building world and has plastered in France and Haiti. Passionate about food, gardening, and chickens, Tina lives in a modest timber frame home with her spouse, daughter, their flock of chickens, and their slowly expanding gardens. She is co-author of More Straw Bale Building, and she operates Shelter By Hand, a timber framing company, with her spouse. She lives in Low, Quebec.

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Michael G. Smith is a natural builder, trainer, designer, and consultant who has been working with natural building systems for over 30 years. He holds a B.S. in Civil and Environmental Engineering from MIT. In 1993 he co-founded the iconic Cob Cottage Company with Ianto Evans and Linda Smiley, reviving the ancient tradition of cob building. His hands-on workshops focus on energy efficiency, empowerment of people through simple, accessible techniques, and the regenerative use of locally available materials. Smith has led or been involved in over 100 natural building projects in North America and internationally and he is a board member of the Cob Research Institute, where he helped write the first model building code for cob. He is co-author of The Hand-Sculpted House and The Art of Natural Building and author of The Cobber’s Companion. He lives on an organic farm near Sacramento, California.

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Rob Roy is widely recognized as a world leading authority on cordwood construction. He is Director of Earthwood Building School in West Chazy, New York, which teaches owner-builders how to build with cordwood masonry. Rob and his wife Jaki have built four cordwood homes and numerous outbuildings, and have conducted workshops all over North America and around the world. Rob has authored and edited 15 books including Cordwood Building, second edition (2016), Timber Framing for the Rest of Us, Earth-Sheltered Houses, and Stoneview.

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Jacob Deva Racusin is a sustainable and natural building designer, builder and educator. He is co-author of The Natural Building Companion , contributor to The Art of Natural Building and Systems Director and Co-Owner of New Frameworks Natural Design/Build, focusing on mechanical, water, energy, and enclosure system design and quality control. He is also a Building Performance Institute-certified Envelope Professional and Building Analyst. Jacob is the program director of the Building Science and Net Zero Design Certificate Program at the Yestermorrow Design/Build School, and has taught natural building and building science at various universities and building schools. He and his family live in a 2000 sq ft high-performance, natural home in the mountains of northern Vermont, where they run a small-scale Permaculture-inspired homestead.

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Chris Magwood has designed and built some of the most innovative buildings in North America, including the first off-grid, straw bale home in Ontario which became a fifteen-year research project into the implementation of sustainable building materials and technologies. He is a director of the Endeavour Centre in Peterborough, Ontario where he teaches hands-on workshops and is a lead instructor for the Sustainable New Construction certificate program. Chris is co-editor of the Sustainable Building Series and author of several previous books on sustainable building, including Making Better Buildings More Straw Bale Building and Straw Bale Details . He is a regular contributor to Mother Earth News Home Power and The Last Straw Journal.

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Tim J. Krahn, P. Eng. is a registered professional engineer and partner in Building Alternatives Inc., a consulting engineering company specializing in non-conventional structural and building envelope engineering with an emphasis on natural materials and energy efficiency. He holds a masters degree in geotechnical engineering and a bachelors degree in civil engineering from the University of Manitoba, and is a founding member of the Natural Building Engineering Group, the current chair of the Ontario Natural Building Coalition, and is active on the Renewable Materials task force of the Embodied Carbon Network. He received the first building permit for a rammed-earth structure in the city of Ottawa, and has been the structural engineer on more than twenty rammed-earth projects in Canada, including the first net-zero municipal building in Ontario, the Oxford County Municipal Solid Waste Office and Education Centre. He currently resides in Ontario, Canada.

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Michael Henry has researched plasters and plastered his way across Ontario for the past decade, plastering for Camel’s Back Construction and Straworks. His attention to detail and mad-scientist plaster experiments have made him a noted expert in the field and a sought-after workshop leader on plasters at the Endeavour Centre. Michael is co-author of Ontario’s Old-Growth Forests, and he lives in Peterborough, Ontario, with his wife and two children.

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Kelly Hart is a pioneering earthbag builder, author, and filmmaker. The building of his multi-dome earthbag Colorado residence is chronicled in the video Building with Bags: How We Made Our Experimental Earthbag/Papercrete House. Kelly also founded and hosts the widely visited natural and green building websites, devoted to all aspects of sustainable architecture and natural building,, which features a wide range of ecological home plans for sale by various architects and designers, and which explores in depth the many possibilities for building with earthbags. Kelly’s other publications include Rolling Shelter: Vehicles We Have Called Home, Remodel Green: Make Your Home Serve Your Life, and Earthbag Architecture: Build Your Dream with Bags. Kelly lives in Silver City, New Mexico. 

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Leslie Doyle is the owner of Restoration Gardens Inc., a green roof design and installation firm that has designed and built dozens of green roofs for residential and commercial buildings from 80 square feet to 30,000 square feet. She is a certified LiveRoof Installer and an accredited Green Roof Professional by the Industry Association, Green Roofs for Healthy Cities. She shares her knowledge and passion for integrating nature in the built environment as a green roof instructor at the Endeavour Centre and formerly at Fleming College. Leslie lives in Toronto, Ontario.

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