From: Maddie Perlman-Gabel, ENN
Published August 28, 2012 08:46 PM

Book Review: Eco House Book

What makes a house eco friendly? Is it the materials the house is made of and furnished with, or how efficiently the house uses and maintains energy and other resources? Can any house have eco-friendly features added at any time, or only if considerations are made at the time the house is built? These are some of the questions answered, and illustrated, in Terence Conran's most recent book "Eco House Book".


"Eco House Book" is an excellent modern eco themed coffee-table book. Though it's cover is simple, the book includes beautiful photography that highlight the use of design for living a more eco friendly lifestyle. The book covers many topics addressing home design and maintenance, including pros and cons of different building and furnishing materials, reducing energy and water consumption, alternative energy and water resources, designing and maximizing outdoor spaces, building and home conversions, waste reduction methods, and eco friendly cleaning strategies. The book also includes a section of house "case studies" of model homes in eco-efficiency and a whole section of useful contacts for building or renovating an eco friendly home.

"Eco House Book" emphasizes the importance of planning ahead while designing/or renovating a eco-friendly house. Though some of the approaches are easy, like installing a system to monitor your CO2 emissions, using efficient window treatments, implementing re-use and recycling strategies, and changing the layout of furniture based on the season, most of the strategies require serious renovations and cost. The strategy I found most compelling was the use of natural light as means of climate control and reducing energy usage.Conran demonstrates this concept through the usage of bright photographs and architectural drawings.

"Eco House Book" is the first of Terrance Conran's books dedicated solely to eco friendly design (other books by Terrance Conran include the Essential House Book and Ultimate House Book). For those of you who find the name Terrence Conran familiar, that is because he is a famous British entrepreneur specializing in modern design. Knighted in 1983, Conran is known for his architectural firm, household goods stores, restaurant chains, and books highlighting modern design.

I recommend “Eco House Book" to anyone looking to renovate their home or anyone looking for a coffee table book that combines design and education. The book is full of beautiful photos while at the same also being chalk full of information. I found the book well organized and easy to read, making it a great resource. The only downsides to the book is that Conran is a British designer, so a lot of the resources mentioned in the book are European, though there are quite a few from the United States. Also, if you are not a fan of sparse design and modern architecture you will probably not find the book visually pleasing.

Reducing you carbon footprint starts in your home. By becoming more energy efficient, your household can save 1.5 tons of CO2 a year. "Eco House Book" serves as a first step to that change.

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