The Natural House: A Complete Guide to Healthy, Energy-Efficient, Environmental Homes

The Natural House is a tour of the construction, costs, and pros and cons of fourteen natural building methods. Straw Bale, Rammed Earth, Cob, Cordwood, Adobe, Earthbags, Papercrete, Earthships…whatever the method, the common goal is to create a house that is economical, energy efficient, nontoxic, soothing to the soul, kind to the environment, and pleasing to behold. This comprehensive sourcebook offers in-depth information that will guide your search for the perfect sustainable dream home. It is a must for home builders, contractors, and architects.

Author Dan Chiras shows how you can gain energy independence and reduce your environmental impact through passive solar heating and cooling techniques, solar electricity, wind power, and micro-hydropower. He also explains safe, economical ways to obtain clean drinking water and treat wastewater, and discusses affordable green products.

While he’s an unabashed advocate of natural building techniques, Chiras takes care not to romanticize and to alert readers to avoidable pitfalls. His detailed, practical, and ecologically sound advice can save tens of thousands of dollars, whether you are buying, building, or renovating a natural home.

  • Jody Palm "bookgoddess" says:

    The Primer on Natural Building If you’re interested in building a natural home (cob, rammed earth, straw-bale, earthship, whatever), this is your primer. The author has done his homework and presents the description, pros/cons and pitfalls of each type of construction. He is very honest about just how “do-it-yourself” each type can be, and how much it will cost you. He also covers passive and active solar design, natural water capture and other alternative technologies to go with your natural home. This is an excellent overview on all these subjects.

  • Rebecca Henn "scholar-in-waiting" says:

    Good Introduction Being an architect already, I found that the book was an excellent introduction, even for me, to the various alternative building techniques emerging. It gave the author’s honest opinion about many of the techniques, which was very appreciated. Don’t expect it to be a precise how-to guide for any of the methods. It is an excellent overview, though, that can help you evaluate which building techniques you would like to explore further. The references at the end are vast and helpful.