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Art Of Natural Building, The Paperback – Jul 10 2009


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: New Society Publishers (July 10 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0865714339
  • ISBN-13: 978-0865714335
  • Product Dimensions: 2 x 20.1 x 22.5 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 599 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #161,458 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By J.W.K on July 12 2002
Format: Paperback
Today, around 5 million people on Earth work and live in buildings made of adobe, stone, rammed earth, straw bale, cob, wattle and daub and so forth. That is, most of our planetary brothers and sisters live in earthen houses that rely on renewable human labor and local resources like mud, straw, rock and tree. These houses are less energy intensive, more durable, and are often more esthetically pleasing than so-called "modern" homes, as this book shows.
"The Art of Natural Building" questions the environmental responsibility of a 5,000-sq-foot, 500,000-dollar house. As more and more people begin to make the kind of money it takes to buy their own American Dream house, we must question the feasibility our of contemporary building practices. Would it be possible cover the globe with modern homes? Building companies certainly think so, but aside from what a project of this immensity what mean environmentally, the resources are simply not available.
There is simply not enough lumber, brick, cement, and processed material to go around. Our building industry would gladly sell us into oblivion if it meant a buck or two in the short-haul, but we need to get away from this kind of thinking. We also need to consider the environmental impacts of our current practices. What are these impacts?
As this book reminds us, buildings already account for one quarter of the world's wood harvest, two-fifths of its material and energy use, and one-six of its fresh water usage. In the past 100 years the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has risen 27 percent, one-quarter of which has come the burning of fossil fuels just to provide energy for buildings. During the same period, the world lost more than 20 percent of its forest.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on Dec 12 2002
Format: Paperback
This is a great place to start your research if you are interested in natural building. Web sites, resorce books and organizations are listed at the end of each chapter. This book started my career in natural home building.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 16 2004
Format: Paperback
This is a very interesting book. It's mostly not about natural building, but rather a book about alternative wall building. Of the four major parts of a house - foundation, floors, walls, roof - this is an awful lot of information about walls, and very little else. Foundations covered in a few cursory pages, almost nothing on roofs, and nothing on floors at all, except for ground level earthen floors.
There is less world-saving going on than meets the eye. Almost all the bad stuff whether large amounts of timber, or reviled composites is in the roofs, floors, and foundations. When it comes to having wildflowers as part of the roof, they even embrace some pretty nasty membrane products.
There is also a fair amount of self-delusion going on. In the section on timber frames the author mentions the savings to be had by timber framed walls vs. stud walls, but makes no mention of the unsustainable old growth used in timber frames. Nor does he mention that the infill to timber frames is either the same studwalls he claimed to avoid using, or highly toxic SIPs. in total most timber buildings are built twice once for the frame, and enough infill material to again carry all structural loads. The same comments can be made about straw bale, cordwood and so forth, often as much wood is used avoiding studs as using them.
Natural building is completely unlikely to make an ounce of green difference in the West. It mainly won't be used, and where it is, it will just be another trophy home "look". Still it's all great stuff for dreamers, and the odd few who will actually build their own little earthship.
Because of all the authors contributing, the standard of information is highly inconsistent, but in the main good.
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