The Book Stall 
Living Homes

Living Homes 
Thomas J. Elpel's Field Guide to Integrated Design and Construction
by Thomas J. Elpel 
HOPS Press, 2001 

Build it yourself. 

Dreams of owning an energy efficient and ecologically sensitive home that's attractive and comfortable need not depend on lottery winnings. But making those dreams a reality without a lot of cash will require the sort of careful planning detailed in Thomas Elpel's guide to design and construction. 

Elpel's advice is based largely on his family's own experience building an attractive stone-and-timber passive solar home in Montana on an annual household income of less than $12,000. What they've learned is shared in this continuously updated guide, now in its fourth edition, and through their Hollowtop Outdoor Primitive School (HOPS). 

"Building our own home was the equivalent of a college education for us," Elpel points out. "Our house was our diploma, built and paid for. We had few marketable skills when we started, but many skills by the time we finished." 

While Elpel's book offers "nuts and bolts" information and advise useful at almost any stage of building or remodeling, it is primarily a planning guide for new construction. Careful consideration is given to the location, layout, water supply, heating and air quality of the "house of your dreams." 

Elpel said he was afraid of putting too much information in his guide and intimidating new homebuilders. "I hope that is not the case. Keep in mind that design and construction work does not have to be perfect. You just have to do the best you can." 

Back to the Book Stall
Living Homes takes you through the planning process to design an energy and resource efficient home that won't break the bank.  
Thermal Mass: How to Capture, Store and Release Heat

Building a House on Limited Means 

Also by Thomas J. Elpel  
Participating in Nature: Thomas J. Elpel's Field Guide to Primitive Living Skills 
Botany in a Day: Thomas J. Elpel's Herbal Field Guide to Plant Families 
Direct Pointing to Real Wealth: Thomas J. Elpel's Field Guide to Money 

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