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 www.greenhomebuilding.com, 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.

March 22, 2009

Green School Primer


I was given a pre-release review copy of "Green School Primer: Lessons in Sustainability" published by the Images Publishing Group. At GreenHomeBuilding.com I am mainly concerned with residential architecture, but what better way to learn about the effectiveness of sustainable architectural principles than within a school building that was designed with this in mind?

I loaned my copy of the book to a friend, Vince Palermo, who is advising a small charter school in Colorado. It just so happens that they are in the process of coming up with a proposal for a new school building. Vince, a retired physician and renewable energy consultant, is well versed in what makes for good sustainable design. Here are his comments:

"This is an excellent book, and very timely -- both in content and production. First, the book quality is very good, well laid out and organized, with lots of very good representative pictures
illustrating various principles, and is has a quality binding. Though LPA Architects are one of the largest planning firms in California, the book was printed in Australia. The forward and jacket are written by the current president of the American Institute of Architecture and Dean of
North Carolina State College of Design, so it is strongly supported by an important professional in the business."

"The content looks to my appraisal to be very good and embraces the spectrum of Green, from energy to holistic planning, including the environment and approach to proper utilization and selection of materials. The book is focused on ten principles and presents them succinctly and clearly with supporting illustrations. It is not focused on the details of execution -- leaving that to the architects."

"There is only so much you can put in 143 pages. It has a chapter on rating, but interestingly does not pursue the ultimate in energy efficiency, looking more on the total picture of green, healthy, and functional. LPA has designed or modernized 200 schools in California, some illustrated in the book."

"In all, an impressive book! I particularly like it because this could not be published at a better time, when the Secretary of Education is supporting charter schools and has a big purse. This is a template for progressive thinking in school design."

March 19, 2009

Natural Building Bookstore

Rosana, my ex-librarian wife, has taken the data from book sales at www.greenhomebuilding.com over the last four years to create a convenient book store that features the top 350 books from that list. These are grouped into several topics, so browsing is easy. You can check out this new book store at hartworks.com/naturalbuildingbooks.