Check It Out: Find books to learn more about green living

Green living is a growing trend in house building, remodeling and as a general lifestyle choice. Making ecologically-minded choices in the construction of a new house, remodeling an existing home using alternate building material, and choosing more environmentally-friendly energy sources are the focus of this article. To learn more about this shift in construction and how it can be incorporated into your home, visit the Newport Beach Public Library and check out some of the newest titles on these subjects.

For the novice information-seeker, check out "Green Building & Remodeling for Dummies" by Eric Corey Freed to develop a better sense of what green building is all about. This book will help you identify green materials, find contractors that cater more to this style of building, develop a budget, use construction methods that apply best to this form of building and how to avoid costly mistakes.

For advice to home buyers in the market for purchasing a home that's already been constructed, have a look at either "Choosing Green" by Jerry Yudelson or "Your Eco-Friendly Home" by Sid Davis. Both books are full of information on questions to ask home builders, which rating systems to trust, how to find appropriate homes on the market, how to locate and secure funding, tax incentives, action-planning and more.

For more hands-on information on how to practice green building habits, check out "Be a Successful Green Builder" by R. Dodger Woodson, "Building Green" by Clarke Snell, or "Building Today's Green Home" by Art Smith. These books focus on how to choose more environmentally-friendly materials, utilizing sustainable options, choosing the right kind of locale, design elements, insulation and technique, choice of HVAC (heating, ventilation, air conditioning) options, leveling/grading for natural sustainability, and even more advanced information for those already in construction and how to incorporate green ideas into your business plan.

Remodeling and refinishing ideas are also available in a couple of other books available at the library. Try "Green Restorations" by Aaron Lubeck, a contractor, or "The Sustainable Home" by Cathy Strongman. These books focus more on design and preservation. You will find detailed information and ideas on everything from windows and crawl spaces to electrical systems and heating.

"The Sustainable Home" also adds a great many full color illustrations, showcasing, room-by-room, ideas put into practice. It is a great resource for the visually-minded builder.

For the more extreme, check out "The Complete Guide to Alternate Home Building Materials and Methods" by Jon Nunan, which contains more exotic advice on using sod, compressed earth, plaster, straw, beer cans, bottles, cordwood and other low cost materials including adobe, straw bales — even tires! Another resource-minded title is "Renewable Energies for Your Home" by Russel Gehrke. This book presents information on energy saving, the use of biomass fuels, such as biodiesel, ethanol, used fryer oil, and wood, the use of wind turbines, solar lighting/heating/water heating, and even building a solar heat collector. It has everything you'll need to survive the zombie apocalypse.

For these, and many other titles on green building and living, visit the Newport Beach Public Library online at

CHECK IT OUT is written by the staff of the Newport Beach Public Library. For more information on the Central Library or any of the branches, please contact the Newport Beach Public Library at (949) 717-3800, option 2.

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