Green Home Building and Sustainable Architecture

Sustainable architecture is an exciting and important field, with many people reviving traditional methods of building and others creating innovations to established practices. Kelly Hart, webmaster of the popular website, posts text and photos featuring what he discovers from around the world.

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Location: Crestone, Colorado, United States

Kelly Hart has been involved with green building concepts for much of his life. He has also worked in various fields of communication media, including still photography, cinematography, animation, video production and now website development. Kelly has lived in an earthbag/papercrete home that he built and consults about sustainable building design.

February 17, 2009

The Most Popular Green Home Building Books

I sell a lot of books from, mostly as affiliate links through Out of curiosity my ex-librarian wife did a search through our sales records of the last four years and discovered some interesting trends. Our top seller was Earthbag Building: The Tools, Tricks and Techniques, and we averaged selling over 6 of these every month.

Close behind this is The Hand-Sculpted House: A Practical and Philosophical Guide to Building a Cob Cottage. Actually, books about building with cob are very popular, with two others showing up in the top 11 best sellers: Building With Cob: A Step-by-step Guide and The Cob Builders Handbook: You Can Hand-Sculpt Your Own Home. This makes cob building the single most popular topic!

General books about green building are also very popular, with Building Green: A Complete How-To Guide to Alternative Building Methods selling about 5 copies each month. The New Ecological Home: A Complete Guide to Green Building Options and The Good House Book: A Common-Sense Guide to Alternative Homebuilding were also in the top 15 best sellers.

Two books about underground and earth-sheltered construction made the top 25: Earth-Sheltered Houses: How to Build an Affordable Underground House and The Fifty Dollar and Up Underground House Book. Actually the first of these is more about cordwood building, so if you combine this with Cordwood Building: The State of the Art, author Rob Roy has two titles among the top 7 best sellers.

The Stonebuilder's Primer: A Step-By-Step Guide for Owner-Builders, The Solar House: Passive Heating and Cooling, and Earthship: How to Build Your Own, Vol. 1 all made the top 10 list, selling about 3 each month. Then, if you add to this The Tire House Book, which was also among the top 25, it is obvious that building with tires is a popular concept.

There were three books on the top 25 list about adobe and rammed earth building: Adobe: Build It Yourself, The Owner-Built Adobe House, and The Rammed Earth House: Revised Edition. This makes methods of using earth for construction extremely popular.

Strawbale building also had three titles in the top 25: Small Strawbale: Natural Homes, Projects & Designs, More Straw Bale Building: A Complete Guide to Designing and Building with Straw, and Serious Straw Bale: A Home Construction Guide for All Climates. Considering how popular strawbale building has become in the last decade this is not surprising.

There are two books about storing food in root cellars that made the top 25 list: Root Cellaring: Natural Cold Storage of Fruits & Vegetables and Build Your Own underground Root Cellar.

One of my favorite books, Home Work: Handbuilt Shelter, a book published by Lloyd Kahn which features the earthbag/papercrete house I built in Colorado along with many others, made the top 25 list.

The final book on the list is Ceramic Houses and Earth Architecture: How to Build Your Own, a book written over a decade ago by Nader Khalili of earthbag building fame.

It is gratifying to see the popularity of all of these books, and many others that didn't quite make the list, that feature various aspects of natural building and sustainable architecture. It bodes well for the future.


Anonymous rveturis said...

Nice post Kelly. Neat that your wife was able to pull your best sellers. Great list.

I work for a green architectural firm in Irvine, CA so I'm very into the green building movement as well.

In fact, we just published our third book about green schools. If you're interested in reviewing it, let me know and I'll get you a pre-release copy.

Keep up the great work.

Best regards,
rveturis @

10:22 AM  
Anonymous storm charity said...

Nice books list.. I'll make it my collection. at least one. :)

by the way..
do I have permit to translating your articles ?... I'll use it for my college paper

2:57 AM  
Anonymous Kelly Hart said...

Storm, I don't mind your translating some portions of my articles for your research project; just give me credit where it is due.

8:24 AM  
Anonymous Shropshire Architect said...

A great list and some very helpful associated posts too.

4:36 AM  
Anonymous Ryan said...

Thanks for the list of books I will check them out

3:18 PM  
Anonymous Paige Green said...

Green home tips save money and help the planet! Great to see so many great ideas. Keep up the great work!

10:31 PM  
Blogger newagain said...

I love that there is now so many great books on building green. However, I'm finding that if you want to go green and still live in your old home, in the city, your options for ideas drys up very quickly. I'm looking for those creative and innovative people who can help people like me recycle/reuse their old home. Have any recommendations?

Thank you, Tambrey

1:28 PM  
Blogger Kelly Hart said...

You can find many books that relate to remodeling your home in a green fashion at and also there several directories that help you find local professionals that might help decide what to do:

3:46 PM  

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