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The Solar Home (How-To Guides) Paperback – February 1, 1994

2.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Series: How-To Guides
  • Paperback: 2 pages
  • Publisher: Stackpole Books; 1st edition (February 1, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0811724468
  • ISBN-13: 978-0811724463
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 2.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,004,310 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback
As a compliment to other books on the subject this one would suffice to add some detail, but I certainly am glad it's not the only book on solar home building I own. The material seems to be presented from a limited, but technical, scope of understanding. Although some technical and accurate information has found it's way into the pages of this book, I have found it on all levels to be missing what ever mysterious combination of qualities makes a good user friendly how to book. From my reading of other books on the subject what fresh material and/or thought this book brings to the subject seems to be either contrary or obsolete. The methodology in this book seems particularly biased to a very limited way of covering the concerns of anyone interested in passive solar homes. Again this book could potentially supplement a reasonible collection, but I'm glad it's not my only book on the subject, and I'm certainly glad that it wasn't my first book on the subject! I'm not saying that this book is all wrong, but I find it to be far from alright! If you haven't bought a book on this subject yet, keep looking...I reccomend THE PASSIVE SOLAR HOUSE by James Kachadorian instead, it is more complete and more in touch!
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Format: Paperback
I am a first-time DIY owner-builder, presently in the early planning stages of my house project. I picked this book up at Borders as my first book on homebuilding, and was glad that I did. It was a quick and easy read, and its friendly, informal, confident style makes the first-time homebuilder feel that perhaps doing it yourself is not so daunting a task after all. The book contains enough detailed explanations and drawings to give one a feel for what kind of work is involved in all the various stages of a typical passive solar homebuilding project, while remaining brief enough as to not be too intimidating. However, I agree with the previous reviewer that this is only a snapshot of one particlular way of building an energy-efficient house, and many alternatives are not covered, for example, alternative insulating wall materials such as straw bales or SIPS board. Also, the book is biased towards construction in far-north climates and does not extensively address the needs of warmer regions where keeping the house cool may often be a bigger concern than keeping it warm. Also, the authors seem overly obsessed with putting up completely airtight vapor barriers on their interior wall surfaces; they themselves describe high interior humidity problems that they had as a result. And personally, I would not want to live inside an airtight plastic bubble! It is my understanding from talking to architect friends that you want water vapor to be able to get out of your house, while preventing moisture from coming in, via selective membrane type sheathing materials such as Tyvek. Other sources I've read (e.g. straw bale books) seem to agree that it is possible for a wall to allow water vapor to pass through relatively freely while still retaining a good insulation value. But, aside from those qualifications, I found this book to be a reasonably good, gentle introduction to what's involved in DIY passive solar homebuilding, at least for wood-frame homes of a certain typical style.
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