Green from the Ground Up is a good background and overview of building green, and why this should be the way to construct your home.
Green is in. I am sitting in my car between home inspection jobs when I see a dry cleaner advertising in large letters “WE’RE GREEN”. I am not exactly sure how they justify this claim, but it has become an important marketing gambit. I am waiting for the tanning salon next to it to make such a statement. I can see it now; sand in the parking lot behind the building. The client walks in to be handed a beach towel while being directed to the sand pit. Green concerns are infecting the building industry too. A recent trip to a bookstore found me staring at several shelves of books on green construction techniques. The store only stocked a few books on this subject last year.
I decided to see if I could set some criteria for a book which could help homeowners convert their home to fit this green trend. One of my home inspections on Saturday showed that this desire is alive in Houston. The owner had taken several steps to improve their home’s efficiency, though it still had more steps to take. I wanted to find a book that would explain the principles behind what makes a house green in an easy to understand manner by someone who is an established expert in the field. I also wanted the book to detail how an existing home could be converted wisely. This last point proved daunting. All of the books were calling for major renovations or more often new construction. I did not realize that I was asking so much.
When perusing the shelves, I found Green from the Ground Up by David Johnston and Scott Gibson. Johnston is the expert with the experience while Gibson provides the clear writing for understanding. The book details new construction techniques in a way which is great for builders (and home inspectors) as well as the public at large. I probably drifted to the book since it is published by Taunton Press which has so many good reference material for the home building industry. The format of the book reminds me a bit of a magazine, which is not my favorite reading, but the boxes provide greater details of the material at those points. In part, the book is an argument to homeowners and builders why green building makes sense and is necessary.
The best part of the book is that it looks at many options and details of what will be needed to create a green home. I appreciated the fact that the authors were forthright about the pros and cons of the different materials and problems you could face. I did find that by reading the book that I could gain ideas of how to convert an existing home to a green vision, but this is not the purpose of the work.
If you wish to gain an understanding of what a green home is, and the current state of green building, this book is a great introduction for the professional and lay reader. When planning a house, this book should be read before you start making any plans, so you can understand how to proceed. Building green needs to begin when you first think of having a green home. Well, I still need to search for a good book on taking simple steps to a green conversion of my home, but I do plan to begin a series of posts on this topic starting tomorrow.