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Reviews of:    Green Building Bible Volume 1 (fourth edition)


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Lewis Taylor 10 Feb 2009, 7:26 PM
A 'must have' for anyone planning a self build.
The Green building bible Volume 1 (4th Edition), in its own words, contains "Essential information to help you make your home, building and outdoor areas less harmful to the environment, the community and your family". As a catchall phase for this publication, I think the description is 'spot on'.

This 4th Edition Volume 1 publication contains a huge amount of information about nearly every aspect of constructing a green building, be it residential or commercial. The content of the book has been split up into nine separate chapters with each chapter containing a number of subjects relevant to that section. These chapters and subjects range from designing for good health, reducing water and power consumption, natural finishes (paints and stains etc) to material selection, construction methods and renewable energy sources.

Each of these subjects is discussed at length by a different author. I was expecting the style and persona of the book to seem choppy or disjointed because of this, however the subjects and chapters gel together well. The main advantage of having multiple authors, is a far greater knowledge and experience base is available, which when dealing with a subject as vast as ‘green building’ is no bad thing.

Generally this publication would be a 'must have' for anyone planning a self build. Even if you have no real green ambitions, understanding things like the importance of air tightness, controlled ventilation, choice of heating system and so on, will almost definitely lead to a final building that will perform better and more efficiently than if these issues had not been considered at all in the process. If you are planning a green build of some sort, the information, could prove invaluable.

Of great interest personally is the section on materials and building techniques. This is perhaps one of the most fundamental choices to be made early on in any build or design. "What sort of building fabric do I want?" There are a lot of aspects to consider when making this decision, and it is not something that is easily changed at a later date. Types of heating systems, what energy sources are driving these systems, occupancy characteristics, location and orientation, use of passive solar gain, super insulation and air tightness are to name but a few of the issues that need to be considered when making this sort of a decision. Having read the majority of Volume 1, I have a much better understanding of how the choice of building fabric can have a profound effect on many of the other seemingly unrelated issues, and of course, vice versa.

I am a newly qualified Code for Sustainable Homes assessor and there is a lot of information out there regarding green building techniques and renewable energy sources that is not particularly easy to understand or digest and which can be skewed by champions of these techniques or technologies. The Green Building Bible provides general impartial commentary on many of these issues, weighing the pros and cons of these systems against given locations, building types and end user expectations enabling people like myself and my client, or you as a self builder to make more informed choices.
 

Martin Anderson MBEng, Senior Building Control Officer 27 Nov 2008, 7:34 PM
Relevant and well researched
With Energy Performance Certificates, the Code for Sustainable homes and the new BREEAM standards having been introduced in the last year, the fourth edition of The Green Building Bible is once again the right book at the right time.

The book comes in two volumes with this first one taking the reader through the whole sustainability field in a way which allows you to dip in and out according to the varying interests and competence of the readership. Those new to the area will find a structured and interesting guide through the issues, while more experienced practitioners will find a thorough reference source of the goals, current directions and practical solutions to the challenge of sustainable living. The book is structured as a series of articles by experienced and knowledgeable contributors on a comprehensive range of related topics. The reader can work through the whole series or dip in and out in the order which suits their individual interests or requirements.

Whether you are an environmentally aware home-owner looking for ways to reduce your personal carbon footprint or a national building company looking to understand current thinking and comply with the latest standards, this book will lead you to the information you need.

Starting with the primary facts of “green” or ecologically aware living and outlining the goals to which we must aspire in order to ensure the healthy futures of ourselves and the planet, the book goes on to outline the trends and directions in the building industry while alerting the reader to the dangers of “greenwash” solutions. Specific technologies, materials and building methods are outlined and though not always in great detail, the missing extra information required is usually to be found in the more in depth technical references provided by Volume Two.

The Green Building Bible goes on to show how the green credentials of existing homes can be improved and further into the discussion of the execution of new-build ecohome projects. There is even a section for the environmentally aware industrialist to use as reference in bettering the energy consumption and environmental impact of their operations. Finally there is a section giving references to a large range of organisations, trade contacts, training providers and inspirational places to visit.

In short, at under a tenner you unlikely to find a more relevant and well researched text book on a technical subject. Additionally this has the added benefits of useful yet non-intrusive advertisements to lead you to where all the products being discussed can be compared and sourced. There should be a copy in every architect’s, local authority’s, and builder’s offices in the country.
 
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Green Building Bible, Fourth Edition Green Building Bible, fourth edition (both books)
These two books are the perfect starting place to help you get to grips with one of the most vitally important aspects of our society - our homes and living environment.

Buy individually or both books together. Delivery is free!
   
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