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Small Eco Houses: Living Green in Style Paperback – November 2, 2010

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Cristina Paredes Benítez has degrees in fine arts and in information science. She is an editor specializing in illustrated books and she has collaborated with several publishers and photo agencies.

Àlex Sánchez Vidiella earned a degree in art history, specializing in contemporary art, baroque art, and entertainment art (cinema), from the University of Barcelona. He has worked as an art history teacher and as an editor and graphic editor for various publishing houses specializing in art, architecture, geographic atlases, and scientific encyclopedia. He is currently a writer and editor, working mostly on books on architecture.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 420 pages
  • Publisher: Universe (November 2, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0789320959
  • ISBN-13: 978-0789320957
  • Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 1.3 x 8.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #34,616 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

81 of 85 people found the following review helpful By Carol Stee on February 14, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Forty-two houses are profiled in this book, ranging in size from 6.5 sq. m./ 70 sq. ft. to 294 sq. m./3,165 sq. ft. More than half the houses are over 120 sq. m./1,300 sq. ft., so they aren't necessarily small. They are architect designed in the minimalist style, mostly boxes with flat roofs, but a few dare to step out of the box with gabled or shed or v-shaped roofs. There are houses for every budget, from low cost prefabs to luxurious, custom built houses.

Each profile gives an almost too brief description of the house followed by icons with reasons why it is an eco house, floor plans and/or elevations, and color pictures of the interiors and exteriors with views of breathtakingly beautiful landscapes. Here are a few examples of the variety of houses in this book:

The Joshua Tree house is a gabled roof prefab, on wheels for transport, with two bedrooms and a long, skinny bathroom with a toilet and sink on each end and a shower in the middle, all in a tiny 36 sq. m./387.5 sq. ft. space.

The Float houses are low cost prefabs in New Orleans for people who lost their homes during Hurricane Katrina. They are narrow, shot gun houses that resemble mobile homes but they have unusual design innovations. They are built to withstand another hurricane and are on a chassis that will float like a raft during a flood. The roof is v-shaped with a groove to capture rain water.

The Casa Pulmo house is a two story house with an outdoor wheelchair ramp connecting the levels.

Half of the house in Geres, Portugal, featured on the cover, juts out over a cliff. It has a low environmental impact because part of it hovers in mid air!

There are houses in Norway and Iceland specially designed to withstand a sub-arctic winter. The landscapes had no trees and little vegetation.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Sharon on May 7, 2011
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This is a good "ideas" book for visual concepts of a finished house and floor plans, but there are only short details on the eco features for each house. I have added it to the library next to books with more technical detail on eco ideas and implementation - they will complement each other.
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36 of 41 people found the following review helpful By Mr. Williams on November 19, 2010
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Enjoyed this book with some great plans and small size houses. Well done book. Many good photos and liked how showed floor plans of each house.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Ligero on February 10, 2011
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Although it is most photos (which I very much like) it was very well focused into details and features pointing, it provided details on particular items or design ideas.

Excellent book one of the best so far!

Love Cristina Paredes B.'s editing intervention.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By RW Cook on November 24, 2013
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I was really looking forward to this book. The small house concept really intrigues me. But as others have mentioned, half of this book is houses over 1500 sq ft. Some of the houses are not houses at all, but 800 or 100 sq ft additions. I would have also liked to see more pictures of the design detail that addresses small house challenges such as storage. There are very few closets shown or explained.

In all I enjoyed the first half of the book.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Dr. James Berryhill on February 13, 2013
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We should all live in such style and harmony with our surroundings, great photos but a little light on the actual details.
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful By masimone on November 4, 2012
Format: Paperback
Cute little book with some nice photos, but it's far more about stylish dwellings masquerading as green buildings. If you are looking for serious new ideas about sustainability, keep shopping.

With captions promoting things like:
- the use of wood for insulation
- concrete providing an impermeable surface
- re-usable materials such as sheets of titanium
- double glazed windows,
the text can be laughable at times.

The best I can say about the book's theme is that it promotes living in smaller spaces, which is paramount to reducing our negative environmental footprint. However, I would argue that most of the houses in this book use more than an average amount of energy and resources to achieve what is only an average house at best in terms of lifetime environmental impact. For the most part this book is another case of greenwashing to an uneducated public.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Nanu Nanu on December 13, 2011
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Has excellent photography emphasizing structural/finish details. Sadly lacks info on interior heating, primary heat source justification, etc. Only a few homes gave some details on it's primary heat source. That's somewhat of a let down since all the homes in this book are so diverse, yet intent on achieving the same goal.
Overall, I'm still glad I bought it.
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