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A Golden Thread: 2500 Years of Solar Architecture and Technology Hardcover – June, 1980

4.9 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews

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From the Publisher

This product is not a traditionally bound book. Many ProQuest UMI products are black-and-white reproductions of original publications produced through the Books On Demand ® program. Alternately, this product may be a photocopy of a dissertation or it may be a collection reproduced on microfiche or microfilm if it is intended for library purchase. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 289 pages
  • Publisher: Cheshire Books; 1st edition (June 1980)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0442240058
  • ISBN-13: 978-0442240059
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 7.4 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #152,357 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I found this in a used bookstore while I was on the road throughout California installing solar drinking water distillers that a bitter, old curmugeon and I built. He was apparently wrecked emotionally by the fact that no one was interested in solar thermal technology in the eighties. I was fascinated by the fact that, as we worked and philosophized, we caught the play-by-play of the Gulf War on television. An American Solar Energy Society editorial lamented that US foreign aid to Israel was building "California Ranch Style" homes on the West Bank complete with solar water heaters while California refused to even subsidize research let alone tax incentives for such energy conservation measures which is what wrecked the American solar thermal industry.
Long before glass, construction was perfected that offered comfortable housing based upon proper site orientation and architectural principles apparently long since forgotten.
Photos of early Los Angeles with Day & Night brand solar + natural gas water heaters on roof after roof.
This is a book for honest to goodness leaders to ponder and then roll up their sleeves and start changing the world.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a wonderful book. This book is a must for anyone interested in solar energy. It places the art (and science) in a historical perspective and traces its development through relatively modern times. It also makes it clear why there is not more solar energy utilized in our present society.

I found a passive solar home for sale. I made an offer and lost out to another buyer. But that started me doing a lot of research. Our library had a lot of books that were written in response to the "energy crisis" in the 70's as well as a number that were strongly influenced by the counter culture and those wanting to drop their dependance on an economy based on a large central based system of power suppliers.

I read almost all the books they had. This book was among them. It is the one book I would most want. It is not a "how to" book. It was a look at things that showed that there was really nothing new under the sun. Simple put solar energy and energy conservation flourished when traditional energy was high or even not available and sunlight was plentiful.

The fastest way to get everybody to become reinterested in solar energy: Let energy prices quadruple. The higher energy prices get, the easier it becomes to justify the technology.

Final note: the deal the other buyer had for the house fell through and we were able to buy it. Of course it was in Michigan and one of the books I read was a case study of solar homes in Michigan. It noted what I was to find out - passive solar homes in a place that is overcast most of the winter do not perform that well. It was still a great house and had wood heat and because of the passive part of the design the house was full of light all day long. And it was extremely well insulated. Our monthly energy bill was never more than $30. When the sun did shine we could let the fire go out and the house would stay around 65-70F, with nothing but the sun.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
We've grown so addicted to plentiful and cheap energy that we've forgotten what we know about energy conservation and alternate sources of energy. This book reminds us. We were going to build an envelope house in 1982. This book convinced me to build a super insulated house instead (works better and is less expensive). We build and sold two of them in '83, and they worked perfect. This is a delightful history full of good ideas that will work today and tomorrow. Now in 2008, as I contemplate retirement, I will reread the book and build myself a super insulated retirement house soon. (Note that a super insulated house is a specific design, not just more insulation.) This book is a gem.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This was recommended reading in my solar energy engineering class. The teacher talked highly about it. This is a wonderful book. This book is a must for anyone interested in solar energy. It places the need of solar into a historical perspective and traces its development through relatively modern times. It also makes it clear why there is not more solar energy utilized in our present society.

A must have for those who are in any sort of engineering field.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I work in medium scale property development and have a strong interest in sustainable technologies and architecture. Although I had searched many times, I had never found a comprehensive, informative and highly readable book on the history and practical uses of solar architecture and technologies until I read `A Golden Thread' last week.

This book is so well researched and is literally a "soup to nuts" description of solar architecture and technology over the ages. I received it on a Wednesday afternoon and had read the entire book in under 24 hours. It was jam-packed with useful background information and practical applications, and I simply could not put it down.

Its writing goes into the right amount of depth to enable readers to be able to build on the experience of others before them rather than just `reinventing the same wheel',

For example, Perlin and Butti write about how the Greeks and the Romans used crushed rock and rubble to store heat in the floors of their rooms. They then describe how Dr. George Löf of the University of Colorado used a crushed rock heat storage system in a slightly different way in the 1940's to improve the performance of his experimental solar heating system. I recently heard that the thermal solar power generation company Ausra is now also experimenting with crushed rock heat storage systems for its solar thermal power plants and may be taking out patents on these. This book really brings these vital issues to the fore, puts them back into our consciousnesses and allows us to truly build on the wisdom of the past as well as of the present.

The energy issues facing the world today have a strong resonance with those of the 1970's and early 1980's, the time from when this book was written.
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