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Staying green in winter


12/09/10
By Amy Diaz adiaz@hippopress.com



Considering some changes to your home or yard? A little weather-stripping, maybe, or insulation, or replacing a leaky water heater? Maybe just sprucing up a little? Winter’s a fine time for home improvement and for planning some spring improvements. These books offer advice on green renovations both inside and outside.

Practical Green Remodeling: Down-to-Earth Solutions for Everyday Homes, by Barry Katz (2010, The Taunton Press, 236 pages) For those looking to remodel and interested in getting results in as green a way as possible, this book offers, as stated in its introduction, not instructions for completing the task but ideas to consider. For example — redoing the kitchen? This book helps you consider flooring, countertops, energy-efficiency, water use and other issues that aren’t necessarily about how to get the job done but are more about what you want the remodel to accomplish. Katz gives examples of different kinds of homes and walks you through the building blocks, from appliances big and small to issues you’ll confront as the work is being done.

The Revolutionary Yardscape: Ideas for Repurposing Local Materials to Create Containers, Pathways, Lighting and More, by Matthew Levesque (2010, Timber Press, 189 pages) The Revolutionary Yardscape can help you make over your outdoor space using recycled or repurposed materials. You’ll see fencing made of a variety of materials (metal, plastic strapping) that breaks up the space or provides texture. Sitting areas seem half structure, half sculpture. Grass and garden areas are mixed with containers and boxed plants. Old dishes can become decorative gravel. The projects don’t seem like the way to go if you’re looking for places for the kids to play, but the book does offer ideas for creating yard space that is more like living space and doing it in a way that is visually interesting and completely unlike anything you’ll find in the garden section at Home Depot.

Toward a Zero Energy Home: A Complete Guide to Energy Self-Sufficiency at Home, by David Johnston & Scott Gibson (2010, The Taunton Press, 250 pages) For the serious environmentalist looking to greatly reduce his or her home’s carbon footprint or just looking to learn more about what’s possible, Toward a Zero Energy Home offers information on getting energy through wind and solar and getting heat through biomass. This book features ideas about yet-to-be-built buildings as well as retro-fits and includes things relevant to suburban-type homes (such as solar panels created to fit with architecture of even old colonial-style homes) as well as ideas for more energy-efficient high rises. —Amy Diaz






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