on 16 March 2009
I was looking for something about the practicalities of making an older house greener rather than glossy eye candy and was also hoping that this would be more up-to-date than Edward Harland's book as technology's moving on so fast.
This is very idiosyncratic a lot of it is about Paul Hymers' personal taste rather than ecology; leather's never going to be an eco-friendly floor covering given the huge amount of pollution produced by tanneries (and I'm not even a vegetarian).
The thing that is most annoying is his blithe endorsement of greed; he starts off by recommending opening up bigger windows on the basis that 'An eco-friendly home is a home blessed with light.' Going on to devote the whole of the first chapter to how you can have more, better lighting and lots more fancy light fittings than you might have now; he even suggests solar garden lighting. Huh? Since when have we needed garden lighting? And by my calculations, more windows = more lost heat.
He certainly doesn't address any of the issues around under-occupancy and whilst he doesn't like stuff that's designed to break down that's really as far as he goes with consumerism. The section on sanitaryware is a good example of just how shallow this books is; it suggests that you might choose to buy an antique bathtub for restoration and mentions the environmental costs of re-enamelling, it doesn't think to mention that you can also get a perfectly good bathtub from a skip somewhere near you at zero environmental cost if you're not such a fashion victim.
on 20 June 2011
The book is fine but I think the graphics were designed by a five year old, the front cover wouldnt sell it to anybody. The book covers a whole tranche of topics, I was particularly interested in the whole house ventilation which was dealt with with a fair amount of detail. Some topics are outdated and the illustrations are all black and white.