Prepping, homesteading and living the simple, green, independent life.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Green Building and Remodeling for Dummies: Book Review

I love the Dummies series of books.  They're quick reads packed with info that's presented in a clear and organized way.
Plus I love the fact that most of them are available in Kindle versions for much less than the paper version.
With the popularity of the Dummies books though, there are often many versions on various topics which makes it hard to decide where to start.  For example, when I wanted to read up on energy efficiency and self-sufficiency for the home I literally couldn't decide where to start.  There was Solar Power for Dummies, Wind Energy for Dummies etc.  There are even editions that put 3 or 4 books into one.  With all these choices I decided to go with a generalized book that touched on a number of topics so I picked "Green Building and Remodeling for Dummies".
Unfortunately it wasn't the book for me.  Not that it was a bad book, it just didn't focus on the topics I was interested in.  I was looking for info on how to build an energy efficient home, whereas this book focused on environmentally friendly building materials.  For example, aluminum siding may be recyclable and greener, however it doesn't offer any energy efficiency benefits.
I also found that the book was repetitive.  In the first few chapters it explained global warming and the importance of lowering CO2 but in what seemed like every chapter there was another paragraph on global warming (tip: if you write a book with "Green" in the title, your readers have probably already heard of global warming).
As another example, the author kept focusing on VOC fumes (Volatile Organic Compounds) which may be an important topic, but you don't have to remind me every second page.
For my taste the book also dealt too much with non-mainstream building materials like straw bale and adobe.  Straw bale homes may be cool but the added difficulty and costs of building one (finding contractors familiar with it, complying with building codes etc.) makes it unlikely that many people would build them. 
I would have rathered more info on more mainstream energy efficient options like engineered boards or Insulated Concrete Forms, which in my opinion were barely covered.
Green Building and Remodeling for Dummies: a good book to learn the proper distance to keep your clock radio away from your head to avoid elecro-magnetic waves, but not much practical info on building an energy efficient home.

No comments:

Post a Comment