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63 of 65 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cost Effective & Energy Efficient Construction
Too many contractors operate on a "if it ain't broken don't fix it" and "I have been successfully doing things (the old way) for 25 years." It is difficult to get the average contractor to think and act green. Johnston & Gibson lay out and walk through the key ideas . . . in plain English with lots of excellent photographs. Every architect, county planning department,...
Published on June 25, 2008 by Scott M. Kruse

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97 of 98 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Building science principles & good graphic design
This book does a good job at setting up a working definition of "green building" as a decision making process that occurs at each point in the design of a building, with an emphasis on residential construction. The book has a lot of pictures and pop-up bubble sidebars that make each page seem more like a design school presentation poster (that's a good thing). It...
Published on June 27, 2008 by R. Cichocki


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97 of 98 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Building science principles & good graphic design, June 27, 2008
By 
This book does a good job at setting up a working definition of "green building" as a decision making process that occurs at each point in the design of a building, with an emphasis on residential construction. The book has a lot of pictures and pop-up bubble sidebars that make each page seem more like a design school presentation poster (that's a good thing). It presents a lot of basic information and principles about each part of a building, from foundations, insulation, windows, framing, flashing, natural building, etc. and how they come together as a "green building system."
If you are an architect or drafter who is looking for a book with technical details and explanations about specific construction methods or materials notes do not buy this book. If you would like to learn about green building science principles as to how they relate with each division in a building then buy this book.
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63 of 65 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cost Effective & Energy Efficient Construction, June 25, 2008
Too many contractors operate on a "if it ain't broken don't fix it" and "I have been successfully doing things (the old way) for 25 years." It is difficult to get the average contractor to think and act green. Johnston & Gibson lay out and walk through the key ideas . . . in plain English with lots of excellent photographs. Every architect, county planning department, planning inspectors and utility district should have this close at hand. This provides the average person what realtors and homes for sale newspaper features don't know and don't get.

Because there is so much hyperbole, many do not know what to accept, reject, believe or move forward with. How do you speak intelligently with an architect for schools, homes, churches and business and clearly communicate what makes up a functional, sustainable, energy conserving and site appropriate structure?

Planning and Design is a whole system, not a one shot effort. This includes siting, aspect, elevation, lighting, landscaping, plumbing, materials, construction techniques, heating and cooling, interior and exterior finishes, decking, roofs and attics and basements. "Form follows function," taught in design schools, but too often ignored, permeates every thought. Collective wisdom reaches back to the Anasazi in the Southwest. This explains why you insulate under a foundation, how fly ash makes concrete stronger and takes care of an otherwise waste product requiring less Portland cement for walls and floors. Advanced framing techniques or use of Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs), alternatives to wood steel studs reduce waste and cost and increases thermal efficiency. Tubular sunpipes are shown illuminating interior space (a much superior alternative to leaky skylights).

Whether you are thinking of new construction or a retrofit, this is a key guide. As we enter "Peak Everything: Waking Up to the Century of Declines (Heinberg, 2007)," this is a guide to quality, high expectations and cost effectiveness with emphasis on sustainability and durability. When I look at a building, these are the critical thinking thoughts and questions in my head. This should be close at hand in every home construction and hardware supply store. Superbly written, well laid out, easy to find information.
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38 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Russ, May 7, 2008
Excellent book for novice and professionals! I have attended three of the largest green building training programs(nationwide) and this book brings all of that training into a single, easy to understand source. As last years President of the Homebuilders Association of SW Colorado and member of the Board of Directors for the Colorado Association of Homebuilders...I am recommending this book to all of my associates!!
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent overview! Great starting point!, June 11, 2008
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This is a excellent overview and introduction to a very complex subject. The authors do a great job of explaining "Green" concepts and how they relate to all of the processes and systems in residential construction today. It's not really a "how-to", but that couldn't fit in one book. But it does outline all of the green technologies and choices available. "Green" is kind of a moving target. This book gives you the framework you need to figure out a "Green" approach to any project and all the information you need to get started finding the most appropriate systems and technologies. It's a great starting point, very well written, practical, and not a bit preachy.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Green From The Ground Up, May 27, 2008
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One thing I especially liked about this book is it has a million photos and drawings. Very helpful. Overall, the book is comprehensive, practical and clearly written. I've read a couple other books by David Johnston, all dealing with similar subjects. Before becoming a writer, he spent several decades as a hands-on builder. He thoroughly knows his stuff and it shows. An excellent book.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Architects Approve!, March 12, 2009
Well done reference book for not only professionals but home owners as well. Our architectural/ engineering office was very impressed with the well researched information. It is presented in a clear easy way for the home owner to understand yet a great guide for professionals in the building fields.
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Good Starting Point, May 20, 2008
The information provided is pretty basic, and only covers a handful of green building products. It is a great starting point, and everyone should build foundations as stipulated by this book. I really believe that someone needs to create a series of books like this, but that are more regionally specific.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How-to-book as it should be, August 2, 2009
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I'm working as a green building consultant for a major remodel/upgrade on a 250 yr old house in NH. This book has brought a beautifully wide perspective to a very concrete process. Johnston & Gibson understand green building and more importantly they understand that the most expensive answer is not necessarily the best. They give a balanced discussion on the pros and cons on various techniques and technology. After discussing the merits of tankless water heaters and there are many, they note that a California Build Water Heater can deliver similar energy efficiency results at a fraction of the cost. I appreciate that they understand the Return on the Investment side of the equation.

It is a complete book; all the various facets of HVAC from duct trouble spots, sheet metal ducts vs flex ducts, geothermal pumps, swamp coolers to night flushing are discussed. I would recommend it to both experts and novices.

Taunton Publishing brought their exceptional understanding of how-to books to the text. It is well-designed and laid out for both readability and comprehension. The illustrations are excellent and the pictures informative.

It is nice to see this level of quality in such a cloudy and sometimes hyped subject matter. In a word: Inspirational.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Green Reference Book Better Than Most, December 31, 2008
Green From The Ground Up is one of several green home-building reference books available that present categorically organized information. Products and information are presented clearly and illustrations help the reader further understand the subject matter. What makes this reference book better than most is the authors' attempt to present information in a time-line that mimics the actual construction sequence. Having just completed building our own LEED Silver home, we found the products and systems listed to be contemporary, up to date and accurately described. We recommend this book as a reference book with two thumbs up.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Color photos and charts pack a title filled with specifics, not theory, October 12, 2008
GREEN FROM THE GROUND UP: SUSTAINABLE, HEALTHY, AND ENERGY-EFFICIENT HOME CONSTRUCTION will find its place in any builder or homeowner library. It provides an easy step-by-step course in green building packing in details for building professionals and covering the nuts and bolts of the green construction trend. The latest theories and proven methods of new and remodeled green construction habits are explained, from the basics of building to site planning, materials, and energy concerns. Color photos and charts pack a title filled with specifics, not theory.

Diane C. Donovan
California Bookwatch
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