Building an Affordable House by
Fernando Pages Ruiz
A great, easy to read book that talks about many of the strategies available to reduce to costs of building a new home. I need to note that the term affordable house as used in this book does not mean subsidized or poor quality. The strategies presented provide huge benefits when used effectively in semi custom and custom homes. It explains in detail the how simple design changes that are integrated at the very beginning of the design and building process can reduce the quantity (and consequently the costs) of materials as well as the time needed to build a new home.
The Not so Big House by Sarah
Susanka and Kira Obolensky
This book is directed more towards architects and those consumers interested in the specific design, layout, and traffic flow in a new home. The main takeaway of the book is that by decreasing square footage of a home and keeping the budget the same, more money can be spent on improving the quality of the finishes you see and use everyday (wood trim, faucets, appliances, etc.) It uses a number of examples of floor plans to show how walls, furniture, and even doors and windows impact the feel of a home. Of course, there are also many color pictures of these perfectly finished and staged houses to get design ideas from.
The Tipping Point
by Malcolm Gladwell
The third recommended book and still no mention of the word Green? That's right, and this book doesn't mention green building or even homebuilding, so why is it recommended? The Tipping Point examines our society in the creation, adoption, and response to fads, trends, and shifts in consumer demand. While green building is not mentioned, applying the theories of this book to the shifting market for high performance homes is extremely interesting and insightful.
Greening Your Home by Clayton
This is a short book that gives brief overviews of different areas of sustainability from low flow faucets to composting and green cleaning products. This book is meant to be thin on the details and provide only a basic look at the topics discussed, and the short explanations are perfect to read a few at a time before going to bed. If you are interested in any of the subjects discussed, you will need to get more information from an additional source.
Green Building and Remodeling for Dummies
by Eric Freed
An excellent book that is almost required reading for anyone interested in building a green home. The book covers a huge amount of material and gives great overviews of most of the aspects of green building. Though not directly, it does a great job of illustrating the sustainability tradeoffs in choosing materials for building. The book provides great summaries, but if you are interested in using any concept or material from the book, you should use it only as a starting point and do some additional research relating to that specific material or idea.
Recommended Magazines, Articles and Internet Resources
Homebuilding Magazine, Green Building article:
Money Magazine, Building Your Own House: www.money.cnn.com
The Green Home Guide: www.greenhomeguide.com
Aspen Homes, a Colorado green builder: www.aspenhomesco.com
GreenBuilders, Inc., a Texas green builder: www.greenbuildersinc.com
McStain Neighboorhoods, a Colorado green builder/developer: www.mcstain.com
The 100k House Project
A blog by Philadelphia developer Postgreen Homes that follows the process of trying to build a modern, urban house for under $100,000 (not including the lot) and still include sustainable materials, solar energy, and radiant floors. It is extremely interesting since it freely details the decision making process (and budget impact) for almost every part of the house. The worldwide interest has spawned a number of additional projects and encouraged allowed the founding couple to start their own sustainable development firm.
365 Days of Trash
This California writer is cataloguing all of the trash he creates for an entire year and keeping it in his basement. Others around the world have participated by keeping a record for a day or a week with some very interesting results.
An interactive website that allows you to put in any address an see how "walkable" the neighborhood is. The site calculates your distance to various places including schools, restaurants, libraries, shopping, and public transportation and gives a score from 1 to 100 to rate the address's walkability.
National Association of Homebuilders
A great site with information about buying, financing, building, maintaining or remodeling your home. This site guides you through every stage of homeownership and helps you understand more about home building and the environmental and community growth issues facing neighborhoods. Whether you’re a current or prospective home owner, teacher, student or just an interested consumer — there’s something for everyone.
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