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.