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PreFab Green
 
 

PreFab Green [Kindle Edition]

Cathy Remick , Michelle Kaufmann
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

Print List Price: £17.99
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Product Description

Product Description

IN PREFAB GREEN, architect Michelle Kaufmann shares her vision of creating thoughtful, sustainable design for everyone. Her firm, Michelle Kaufmann Designs, blends sustainable home layouts, eco-friendly materials, and low-energy options to create a "prepackaged" green solution to home design. Kaufmann tells about five eco-principles that are present in every design her firm creates-smart design, eco-materials, energy efficiency, water conservation, and healthy environment-and how each work together to create homes that make a difference.

Synopsis

In "Prefab Green", architect Michelle Kaufmann shares her vision of creating thoughtful, sustainable design for everyone. Her firm, Michelle Kaufmann Designs (mkDesigns), blends sustainable home layouts, eco-friendly materials, and low-energy options to create a 'prepackaged' green solution to home design. Kaufmann tells about five eco-principles that are present in every design her firm creates-smart design, eco-materials, energy efficiency, water conservation, and healthy environment - and how each work together to create homes that make a difference.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 8984 KB
  • Print Length: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Gibbs Smith (6 Jan 2009)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0035NMEBC
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #154,743 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspiring 27 April 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
if you have an interest in what can be achieved with prefab this book is for you. Excellent designs and detailed explanations of why these houses work. Inspiring!
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Amazon.com: 4.3 out of 5 stars  18 reviews
63 of 70 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars One of the most important ideas to emerge for the 21st Century 14 April 2010
By Adam L. Gruen - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Kaufmann & Remick's *prefab green* is a near-perfect example of its genre. You just have to be able to recognize the genre and manage your expectations of it. As a former corporate historian, I've seen enough of these works to know them. It's half marketing brochure, half serious analytic/academic work making a point, but not quite either. Thus, the voice and style switches back and forth in the narrative. When the author uses "we" and "our", it's a marketing brochure. When she glides into third person, it becomes more tutorial. Once you get used to it, you can appreciate Kaufmann for what she is: architect businesswoman, with a heart of gold and a slew of powerpoint slides and Remick's stunning photographs.

If you're going to write a book titled *prefab green*, basically you have three challenges. The first is to explain what is *green* construction, the second is to explain what is *prefab* construction, and the third is to explain why you suddenly decided to combine the chocolate and the peanut butter. What bias needs to be overcome, that the title of this book should be immediately and refreshingly shocking, a "whoa!" moment whether you are an architect or not? In short: can prefab be "green"? Heck yes, it can. Now go and read the book to find out how. Or take the shortcut and follow this review for a minute.

Kaufmann iterates five basic principles of ecological design: 1) Smart design; 2)Use of eco-materials; 3) energy efficiency; 4) water conservation; and 5)healthy environment. The first third of the book, once you get past the historical narrative that has the feel of a sales brochure run amok, explains the eleven elements of smart design, the nine aspects of eco-materials, six aspects of energy efficiency, three considerations of water conservation, and four aspects of healthy environment. This is great stuff for any layman or even a student of architecture. Among sustainability experts in the real estate field, it might be a little bit ho-hum -- they probably have read something like it about a hundred times before.

Only when she has outlined the eco-principles, can Kaufmann then turn to the heart of the matter: not just green design, but green construction of that green design. It's not only what you build, but also how you build it. There are many arguments in favor of prefabrication, but not all of them are green. She explains both. Several key "green" insights: less waste in materials because you can do precision cutting with specialized tools; higher quality control with reliable, known contractors, so again less waste; less fuel used to transport total mass to site; less fuel used to transport total labor to site; possibly less damage to the construction site itself. Prefab also has some obvious time and quality advantages over "stick-built" construction but I refuse to go there on the grounds that I have no desire to step into the middle of a gigantic pie-fight among industry associations advocating one rice bowl or the other.

I do buy the argument that prefab is greener than conventional construction methods. Maybe I'm gullible, maybe I want to believe and therefore take many assertions on faith. One does occasionally hunger for some significant academic and/or industry analysis, some raw statistical meat, to back up many of the assertions in this book. However, having interviewed hundreds of engineers and businessmen in the advanced technology & materials world, I intuitively know that the claim of "less waste" rings true. Fortunes can be made or lost over the ability to squeeze just a few extra sails from a canvas, let's put it that way, if only you know how to cut the cloth the right way. Besides, it might be a case of build them, and the academic studies will come. Do what you know is right; later the dissertations will flow.

I say that this book is 'near-perfect' because it does have its flaws. First of all, despite the excellent overall editing of Christine Rosen, Kelly Melia-Teevan and the publishing editor Hollie Keith, they might have gone over the manuscript one more time to get rid of the repetitious nature of some of it. Either someone slipped in too many powerpoint bullets, or else Kaufmann insisted on overbuilding some of her paragraphs to come up to code. Particularly jarring are sections such as the one that states, "The following numbers are ones you may have heard before but they certainly bear repeating..." (p.48) Well, yes. The reason we have heard them before is that they were listed on page 35. I didn't skip over a single sentence in this book, I swear it!

To focus on the other flaws would be churlish, because the book is what it is, basically the kind of thing that a thoughtful company might come out with to showcase what it considers to be a very important subject. You want that in a business, somebody to be proud of what they do. The book would make a lovely gift to former and prospective clients. On that note, the second half of the book is stunning, laden with beautiful photographs. To use a cliche, this is a welcome addition to any coffee table. More than that, it reminds me of the hardcover books that one might find accompanying a museum exhibit, sold tastefully at the museum bookstore. It's a keeper.

Which raises the question of audience. Who is this book trying to reach and what is it trying to accomplish? I don't get the feeling that it was merely an ego-boost. Nor do I get the feeling that it is purely a marketing tool. So the final slim section of the book is an important one, essentially: what's next for Kaufmann and the prefab green industry? Here, she reveals an objective (p.158): "...in terms of sustainability, multifamily housing has single-family homes beat. Multifamily communities are more energy efficient, use less land, and are often more pedestrian-friendly..."

What? A whole book about prefab green single family homes, and *now* you tell me the sustainable action is in multifamily domiciles? Actually that's probably true, but immediately I was struck by my own vision, of which nary a peep is heard in this book. So here it is, my idea free of charge. Sustainable base housing. "People want lower energy bills and lower water bills, and they want a healthy environment for their families," writes Kaufmann (p.161) Well, so does the military. Yes, I know. War and peace, they never seem to mix well. But trust me, if there is one movement that has legs in the U.S. in the 21st century, it is the U.S. military interested in making its infrastructure more sustainable. The advantage to selling to the U.S. government is, you don't have to make the same case 400,000 times to 400,000 different clients. I could see prefab green making a lot of sense to the blue and olive drab. Especially if you can lower their utility bills.
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Color photos pack a book filled with delightful ideas for making the most of the basic prefab concept 19 July 2009
By Midwest Book Review - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
PREFAB GREEN offers a fresh new look at the prefab home concept, comes from the architectural perception that modular homes can be customized and modernized to become sustainable, low-energy options, and provides a gorgeous vision for creating such designs, based on the author's architectural firm and experience. Color photos pack a book filled with delightful ideas for making the most of the basic prefab concept, making this a pick for both architectural libraries and collections catering to homeowners.
19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful presentation of my favorite Prefab! 17 April 2009
By R. Ordoyo - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This book displays the principles and design sensibilities of M Kaufmann. It is also a wonderful spread of works and existing homes, of which I can only wish to live in too in the future. I love the Breezehouse and the homes shown here makes me feel closer to my dream home!
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars inspiring, beautiful book with enough technical information to really learn about green, low-cost, high style homes 4 Mar 2011
By J. Justice - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Michael Kaufman specializes in low-cost, factory built, low energy use homes with modern decadently beautiful architecture. She explains her philosophy and principles in this book, with plenty of beautiful (and informative) pictures to illustrate her point. It makes a useful reference or coffee table book. My wife and I constantly flip back to it as we talk about what we are looking for in a home- which helps us establish a common language and goal set before we go look at houses already built or meet at a recycled site talk to an architect.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Idea Book 5 Mar 2011
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I am preparing to build an energy efficient pre-fab home in the near future and found this book very helpful. It's not as much a how-to book as say "Your Engineered House" but it is also more than just a coffee table picture book. There are a lot of good concepts and design principles that one can use when thinking about how to design his or her home. For instance, I found the concept of indoor/outdoor connection as a way to expand living space while keeping building and utility costs low a practical concept on many levels including not the least of which is the improved quality of the space. The only reason I didn't give the book a 5 star rating is that it does get a bit repetative and egocentric in places. I found myself skim-reading it and stopping to review more carefully when my interest was peaked, which was often.
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