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The Carbon-Free Home: 36 Remodeling Projects to Help Kick the Fossil-Fuel Habit Paperback – July 15, 2008


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The Carbon-Free Home: 36 Remodeling Projects to Help Kick the Fossil-Fuel Habit + Gaia's Garden: A Guide to Home-Scale Permaculture, 2nd Edition
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Chelsea Green Publishing; 1St Edition edition (July 15, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1933392622
  • ISBN-13: 978-1933392622
  • Product Dimensions: 0.7 x 8.1 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #941,826 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Publishers Weekly -
With an endearing mix of down-to-earth practical solutions and funky DIY projects, this book provides readers with much-needed information on how to renovate habits and home to move closer to a zero-carbon existence. The Hrens, respectively a carpenter and a photovoltaic installer living in Durham, N.C., give specific and technical advice, based on their own experience, on how to lower energy use within and outside the house, with 36 projects ranging from simple and inexpensive activities like sealing drafts, resetting the water heater thermostat and planting potatoes in a barrel to more heavy-duty and costly tasks such as installing a green roof or a solar hot-water heater and replacing a lawn with a permaculture garden. Some projects, such as building an outdoor cob oven--which the authors themselves describe as time-consuming with low energy savings--will be of little interest to any but devoted backyard hobbyists. Converting from a flush toilet to humanure, which involves lugging five-gallon buckets of human waste to a compost pile on a weekly basis, is even less likely to be adopted by the urban dwellers the Hrens hope to influence. But just about anyone will find something useful to do in this book, and the detailed, clear and enlightening chapter on understanding home energy use is, alone, almost worth the purchase price.



"It's hard to imagine a more comprehensive, and comprehensible, guide to making your home work for you and for the planet, inside and out. It's frugal, it's sensible, and it will help!"--Bill McKibben, author of Deep Economy and Fight Global Warming Now



"The Carbon-Free Home is a wonderfully useful guide to reducing household reliance on fossil fuels. Most of us have very little idea how many hydrocarbons we're using--until we do a personal inventory. The harsh reality is that we have all become complicit in an energy system whose future is bleak and unsustainable. It's time to bail out, and this book tells us how."--Richard Heinberg, Senior Fellow at the Post Carbon Institute and author of The Party's Over: Oil, War and the Fate of Industrial Societies



"It is now evident that we have come to the end of the first half of the Age of Oil, when the production of oil-based energy fueled an expanding economy in which consumers were encouraged to feed their appetites. In energy terms, current oil production is equivalent to 22 billion slaves working night and day, but it is a finite resource formed in the geological past and therefore subject to depletion. As every beer-drinker knows, the glass starts full and ends empty. The quicker he drinks it, the sooner it is gone. It is the same with oil. The second half of the Age of Oil, which now dawns, will be very different. The economy will have to contract in parallel with oil supply, and people will have to turn to new and more sustainable life-styles. This book is essential reading, giving a full spectrum of invaluable advice on how to adapt to the new conditions imposed by Nature. It is far from a doomsday message as it offers hope for a new, more benign age. The transition will be tough but this book explains how to plan and prepare."--Colin J. Campbell, Chairman of ASPO (Association for the Study of Peak Oil)




"While not for the timid or tool-phobic, The Carbon-Free Home is a gold mine of inspiration and information for those hands-on people with more time and energy than money, and a passion to help save the planet."--Beth Sachs, Executive Director of Vermont Energy Investment Corporation



"This is the perfect book for people who want to roll up their sleeves to save the planet. It is informative, well researched, easy to follow, and inspiring. Our future depends on each of us reducing our carbon footprint. The Carbon-Free Home is a great resource to assist in this adventure of our time."--David Gershon, author of Low Carbon Diet: A 30 Day Program to Lose 5,000 Pounds and Green Living Handbook: A 6 Step Program to Create an Environmentally Sustainable Lifestyle



"This is an excellent resource for people committed to reducing their energy consumption and carbon emissions."--Joe Loper, Vice President for Policy and Research, Alliance to Save Energy



"We all know in our hearts, but shun the thought, that one day we must kick the fossil fuel habit. Stephen and Rebekah Hren have grasped the nettle and implemented simple and ingenious do-it-yourself technologies to achieve the goal of zero-carbon living. Their book offers a rich selection of options for all who desire to reduce their carbon footprint."--John Terborgh, Director of the Duke University Center for Tropical Conservation and author of Requiem for Nature






"If you want clean fingernails along with a clean conscience, then I can't recommend this book. If you believe that industrial capitalism is systematically silencing the divine voices of the biosphere, and you feel responsible enough to do something, then read it and heed it. We can't pontificate our way out of the awful mess we have, and we can't whine our way out either. We have to design our way out, and The Carbon-Free Home explains in plain language how to start designing-out in our own crawlspaces and attics. The measures we take now for our individual independence will soon enough be required for our collective survival. Stephen and Rebekah Hren have provided a practical education for tomorrow's most essential revolutionary cadres."--Stan Goff, author of Hideous Dream and Full Spectrum Disorder



"The Carbon-Free Home confronts the hard truth about reducing our carbon impact on the world. The Hrens share their broad experience to give us all the head start we need to move towards a sustainable lifestyle. If you're willing to do the work, this book will inspire you to squeeze every molecule out of your carbon budget."--Paul Scheckel, author of The Home Energy Diet






"The Hren's book provides an meaningful pathway to a carbon-free lifestyle--including everything from the latest in high-tech equipment to homemade solutions that will satisfy the earthiest of back-to-landers."--Michael Welch, Redwood Alliance



"Stephen and Rebekah's The Carbon-Free Home is a remarkable book. It's thorough, well researched, and a delight to read. Its many practical solutions offer hope for individual action in the face of daunting environmental crisis. Reading it made me want to go home and get started on projects for our house."--Lyle Estill, author of Small is Possible: Life in a Local Economy

About the Author

Stephen and Rebekah Hren live in Durham, North Carolina, where they are both actively involved with renewable energy, natural building, and edible urban gardening.  Rebekah works with Honey Electric Solar, Inc. as a professional designer/installer of photovoltaic systems and domestic solar hot water systems. She is a NABCEP-certified solar photovoltaic installer, licensed electrical contractor, and ISPQ-certified solar instructor for Solar Energy International.  Stephen is a professional restoration carpenter, focusing on antebellum houses. He teaches natural building classes and workshops at the local community college, and in any spare time works with Bountiful Backyards, an edible landscaping cooperative. They are the authors of The Carbon-Free Home.


More About the Author

Stephen and Rebekah Hren live in Durham, North Carolina, where they are both actively involved with renewable energy, natural building, and edible urban gardening. Rebekah works with Honey electric solar, Inc. as a professional designer/installer of photovoltaic systems and domestic solar hot water systems. She teaches photovoltaic installation classes around the country for Solar Energy International. Stephen is a professional restoration carpenter, focusing on antebellum houses. He teaches sustainable building classes with SEI, and is actively involved in establishing a new food cooperative for Durham. For the past ten years they lived in a passive and active solar off-grid cob house they constructed together, but recently gave up the country life to move to Durham. They are currently renovating a conventional 1930s inner-city home to be fossil fuel free and documenting the process. The project includes rainwater catchment, a green roof, edible urban gardening and of course solar power -- passive, PV, and solar thermal!

Customer Reviews

A good place to start if you're interested in alternative energy sources.
russ martin
We've been wanting to make some changes in our life to reduce our carbon footprint and have read a number of books/suggestions along those lines.
between these days
Definitely a good buy, especially for those of us who don't happen to live on the West Coast but still want to be really green!
A. Wilson

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Nanny Nature on August 11, 2008
Format: Paperback
The Carbon Free home is one of the most useful guides I have ever seen to greening your old white elephant. They give practical advice to city dwellers on how to retrofit your home to make it much less of an energy hog and perhaps even carbon free. There are three dozen realistic DIY projects and hundreds of usable tips and suggestions.
Nanny Nature gives this book four paws and a tail.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A. Wilson on December 4, 2008
Format: Paperback
I have an extensive collection of books written about renewable energy and natural building and was getting desperate to find some experts that lived in the part of the country and in the same climate as me and I finally found them!
The book is a terrific source of new ideas and source references. Definitely a good buy, especially for those of us who don't happen to live on the West Coast but still want to be really green!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By DONALD BLOUNT on February 21, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The text of this book has proved to be interesting reading. but the charts interspaced throughout were difficult to read. It appears as though the original art work was done in color, but its contrast was lost to a great extent, by the gray scale used in the printing process.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By between these days on February 5, 2009
Format: Paperback
We've been wanting to make some changes in our life to reduce our carbon footprint and have read a number of books/suggestions along those lines. Unfortunately most of the suggestions have been out of reach of our limited budget. This book was such a great surprise which left me thinking - "Finally, a book for the rest of us!"
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Andi on November 13, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I came to this book from an article in Ode Magazine and the article showed that the authors have great personalities, but that does not come through in the book for me.

If you, like my family, don't want to live out in the middle of nowhere, this is a great book for "greening" an existing home.

Definitely goes beyond "buy different light bulbs" and that is refreshing.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By M. Bua on September 7, 2008
Format: Paperback
Great guide for both the the greenest of green and those who just want to take a few steps to cut their utility bills. The part of book which deals with why the authors decided to leave their hand built cob round house in the woods for the urban living is particularly interesting.
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By Frances W. Conover on July 6, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Pretty good...never thought of...
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