Building from the ground up? These books on constructing green homes are for you

Two dear friends just moved down to Florida, much to the chagrin of my husband, who has been a Jersey boy all his life. For now, they're in a condo, but eventually they plan to build.

Two dear friends just moved down to Florida, much to the chagrin of my husband, who has been a Jersey boy all his life. For now, they're in a condo, but eventually they plan to build. So this blog's for them.

There are two different builders out right now touting their approaches to building green tech homes. The first, which made me think of my friends in Florida in the warm sunny weather, is outlined at a site called www.solarhouseproject.com. The goal of the collaborators (who include an expert in Victorian homes, which is my passion) was to construct a passive solar house (in upstate New York no less) that could be run using 70 percent less energy than a traditional home.

Here's the fruits of their labors. Not too bad, eh?

kosmersolarhouse.jpg

The site offers an incredibly detailed description of the design choices made by this family and what they mean in terms of energy. I really would recommend it for anyone thinking of building.

The second set of tips is offered in a book called Building with Awareness: The Construction of a Hybrid Home. The house featured in the guide and the accompanying DVD also hinges the use of solar energy and a most unusual building material (at least for me): straw bales. The house featured here is in the desert in New Mexico.

So, my Florida friends, have at it. There must be enough sun where you are to take advantage of some of these tips.