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The Ecological House, © 1981, 226 pages, 109 illustrations

The Ecological House is a practical and philosophical tour de force, a thought-provoking and possibly lifesaving book, with a multitude of new, imaginative, and environmentally sound solutions to the diverse and interrelated problems of housing. This lively, topical, and often poetic book, dramatically illustrated with over 100 exquisite drawings prepared by the author, will substantially enhance your quality of domestic living —from locating a house most advantageously on its site, to designing its interior spaces most efficiently, to enclosing its spaces with the most economical and durable materials, to minimizing the energy that would keep you comfortable year-round. Here is everything you ever wanted to know about the house you may dream of having at an affordable cost in these environmentally challenging times.

 

SELECTED PASSAGES

… A house should be as much as a habitat to man as the den is to the fox and the nest is to the sparrow.

 

… Suppose you built a two-car garage onto your house. Forget about putting any autos or other possessions in it. Then you heat or cool the space to the same temperature as the rest of the building all year long. Pretty wasteful, eh? You'd never do that in your house, would you? Yet in most houses throughout the country, owners are doing exactly this right now. For if you added up all these dwelling's wasted spaces —their useless corners, unused crannies, long hallways, excess doorways, seas of circulation around islands of furniture, two-floor tall volumes, cavernous attics containing little more than air, and full basements in which reside little more than spiders and mildew— the volumes in each would probably add up to a size bigger than a two-car garage.

 

… A scavenging attitude toward weaving the most available materials at hand into shelter may strike some as undignified; but remember, scavengers are among the most successful creatures on earth: that it is not the mighty dinosaur or mastodon who has survived through the Ages, but the foraging buzzard and shark. To these creatures carrion is commodity. Recently ecologists have realized the importance of these activities and given them the politer name of recycling. Its practice not only removes litter that clutters our landscapes, but reduces the damage that similar industrial products may inflict on the environment. Thus recycling swings a double-edged sword against the Tyrants of Pollution.