GreenSense for the Home

GreenSense for the Home

SKU# 071295

Rating the real payoff from 50 green home projects

Eric Corey Freed & Kevin Daum


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  • Product # 071295
  • Type Paperback
  • ISBN 978-1-60085-155-1
  • Published Date 2010
  • Dimensions 6 3/4 x 9 1/2
  • Pages 288
  • Photos 200 full-color photographs
  • Drawings and 50 drawings
WINNER: 2011 Outstanding Book Award from the American Society of Journalists and Authors.

When does a green home project make financial sense? The authors of this book provide the answer to this and other questions relating to the cost (and relative value) of environmentally friendly home improvements. Eric Corey Freed and Kevin Daum are experts, respectively, in green building and in financing custom homes. In this information-packed book, they walk readers through 50 green home projects and break them down according to the positive impact they have on the environment, as well as the impact they may have (both positive and negative) on the reader's wallet.

They evaluate a wide array of projects, including insulating pipes, weatherizing doors and windows, composting and recycling trash, installing a solar hot water heater, installing green countertops, upgrading appliances, building with reclaimed materials, and installing radiant heat. This unique perspective on going green is a reference that green-leaning homeowners simply cannot do without.

About the Author
Eric Corey Freed is principal of organicARCHITECT, an architecture and consulting firm in San Francisco, with 15 years of experience in green building. He writes a syndicated column at and lectures on the subject at more than 40 conferences a year. He is the author of Green Building & Remodeling for Dummies. An expert on financing custom homes, Kevin Daum is the author of Building Your Own Home for Dummies, named the #1 custom home resource guide by the Wall Street Journal.
Table of Contents
16 green home projects you can do today

Change your light bulbs
Help your toilet use less water 
Help your shower use less water 
Install occupancy sensors 
Install smart strips and kill switches 
Install a programmable thermostat 
Insulate your water heater 
Insulate your pipes 
Seal your ducting 
Use healthy paints 
Weatherize windows and doors 
Install solar pool heating 
Plant native species and skip the sprinklers 
Buy a water filter instead of bottled water 
Install a clothesline 
Recycle and compost your trash 

21 green home projects you can do tomorrow

Add solar power 
Install micro-hydropower 
Bring in natural daylighting 
Replace your windows 
Install a whole-house fan 
Insulate your walls and attic 
Upgrade your appliances 
Upgrade your fireplace
Heat only the water you use 
Install a solar hot water heater 
Install a cool roof 
Pick a green countertop 
Cover walls with healthy finishes 
Install healthy wall coverings 
Replace vinyl with linoleum flooring 
Install cork, palm wood, or bamboo flooring 
Install natural carpeting 
Use formaldehyde-free wood for cabinetry 
Build a composite material deck 
Harvest your rainwater 
Disassemble, don't demolish 

13 green home projects you can do when building new

Reclaim your water, gray and hot 
Substitute fly ash for cement in concrete 
Incorporate advanced framing techniques 
Build with reclaimed materials 
Build with recycled drywall 
Build with certified wood 
Build with engineered lumber 
Build with structural insulated panels (SIPs) 
Build with insulating concrete forms (ICFs) 
Install radiant heat 
Integrate your energy systems 
Install a green roof 
Utilize passive solar design 

If we all believe saving the planet is critical, then rating green home projects from a practical point of view might seem counterproductive. In a perfect world, we would do everything possible to save the planet and not have to pick and choose among worthwhile projects. Unfortunately, greening a home gets expensive, and good intentions can go by the wayside when the time comes to pull out the wallet. And while some projects may be worth making financial sacrifice, most of us haven't had access to the information necessary to assess the true affordability of green improvements until now.

Green$ense for the Home provides in-depth analysis on 50 green home projects from two experts with quite different perspectives. Eric represents the Greenies of the world. As the nation's leading green architect, he is in the pantheon of environmental do-gooders for his "always do the green thing" approach to home design. Eric shows why a project is good for a home and the environment. He explains how to accomplish the project and gives you valuable expert advice and resources for getting it done right.

On the other side, Kevin represents the hard reality of practicality and affordability. He examines how much a project will cost or save in plain dollars and cents, and also assesses practical pitfalls for each project. After financing more than 1,000 custom homes, Kevin has seen mistakes galore where green aims went horribly wrong. Kevin is a strong green supporter, but he provides perspective about what is affordable and desirable in the housing market.

The good news is that there are many green home projects that can be accomplished with minimal cash investment. And many will actually pay you back -- and keep putting money in your piggy bank each and every day. Together, we give you a realistic, balanced view of the pros and cons of each project so you can make green choices that best serve your planet, your wallet, and your lifestyle. For example, if Eric were to tell you about all the green reasons why you should use recycled toilet paper to save old-growth forests, Kevin would let you know that even though you could save $0.50 per 100 sq. ft. by buying earth-friendly TP, he and many others are not going there until it is made squeezably soft!

All of the projects in this book are here because they will improve your home and help our environment. We identify the global benefits for each project, but our main goal is to provide you with a way of figuring out the projects that will work for you financially, while providing practical advice on how to best implement them. Whether you are building a custom home from scratch, remodeling an existing home, or adding a small green improvement, analyzing the resultant cost, savings, and value added is of paramount importance when making the decision whether to take on a green project, and we put all that key information in your hands.

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