The human need for shelter represents one of our most fundamental demands for a multitude of resources, and has achieved a practically infinite variety of forms over the millennia. Our approaches to the challenges of development have usually brought great demands for resources--often far beyond any level of sustainability. Efficiency in resource use is hugely important, and reducing negative side effects is critical for both our own health and the health of the planet.
But all the green technologies in the world won't get us close to sustainability if we don't also carefully examine and assess what we consider our actual building needs to be. How much space is appropriate? How much is enough? There is a point at which technical questions must be superceded by practical and ethical ones.
John Taylor's Just Enough House tackles those questions by helping determine how much house is enough for our needs given today's climate constraints and the desire to reduce our overall ecological footprint on the world. This book is a practical and down-to-earth guide for anyone contemplating building, buying, or renovating a home. It takes into account the increasing cost of energy for overbuilt "conventional" homes, and the countertrend of building smaller, smarter houses that are elegant and functional yet respond to the desire of people to live in a less wasteful way. The book should be required reading for designers, green architects, and owner-builders.
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John S. Taylor is an architectural designer and artist living in New Hampshire. His work incorporates passive solar ideas and many other practical concepts. He is the founder and director of Children's Design Project, a design-related interdisciplinary educational program for K-12 students and teachers. His Web site is www.johntaylor.com.
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