First, I have to disclose that author Carol Venolia and I have been friends for over twenty years, and we have been discussing this subject for all that time. So my review is a bit biased in that regard. Please do believe me, however, that this is an incredible book that will change how you think about building and your place in, relationship with, and how you interact with Nature.
This is unique among green building books in two ways: it addresses remodeling houses (most green building books are about new construction) and it focuses on ways to welcome the flows of nature into your home--sun, air, and water--to provide not just function, but joy.
In a world where green building is about materials and certifications and sometimes complex engineering, Carol and Kelly bring us simple things we can do to bring our own existing homes and ourselves into greater harmony with the natural environment in which we dwell. This book goes beyond saying "bring in the sun for natural light'...it actually shows a diagram of the sun's changing path in relation to a house throughout the year, a chart of qualities of sunlight from different directions, gives you step-by-step instructions on how to figure out how best to bring the sun into your home (or shade it out, as the case may be) and much more.
Because Carol and Kelly have actual hand-on expeience applying all these concepts in design projects for their clients, the book is full of the kind of important tips that come only from actually doing what you are writing about. For example, Carol's climate rose that neatly sums up all the climate data for a site in a single diagram--directions of prevailing winds, winter storms, and sun' path, so this data is at your fingertips when making design decisions.
I just can't even begin to tell you how much I appreciate that Carol and Kelly have written this book and how needed and important it is. It redefines the concept of "natural" from referring to a consumer product made from natural ingredients to meaning "integrating our lives into the flows of nature". This is where we need to go, not just with remodeling, but with every aspect of our lives, individually and collectively. Carol and Kelly understand this and are showing us all first steps we can take in this direction.