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Building Your Own Home – Tips, Techniques and Thoughts for the Owner-Builder is a detailed and valuable resource for anyone contemplating building a home, especially those who wish to make their home energy efficient, comfortable and “sustainable”. The book covers a vast array of topics, beginning with planning and fundamental design and construction issues, and discussing every aspect of building from the gate to the guttering. The book convincingly advocates integrating cheap and convenient sustainable technology into every home for greater economy and self-sufficiency in difficult times. Most importantly, it provides clear instructions and practical tips on how to go about “doing it yourself”.
Twenty three referenced chapters – illustrated with more than sixty annotated photographs and diagrams – contain comprehensive and reliable building and design knowledge. This is mostly applicable to any home-building project. Insulation, design and proportion, size and layout, construction methods, Passive Solar Design, rainwater harvesting, tropical design, plumbing, sustainable heating, cooling, hot water, cooking and alternative energy – are just some of the topics covered. Dedicated chapters detail techniques for building with adobe and steel.
The author gives straightforward, practical advice in an entertaining manner, peppered with anecdotes, quotes, philosophical musings and relevant data and facts to arm the owner-builder with information for every stage of an owner-builder project.
The veteran of a “tumultuous 3 year” home building project (“before completing the project, I had been separated, divorced, remarried, and had welcomed the arrival of a new-born son, in that order!”) Carl A Harte is not afraid to share his experiences so that others can learn from his mistakes. The book offers invaluable insights and suggests practical, sensible techniques which can help a first-time owner-builder steer clear of the pitfalls of home building, and make the experience rewarding, efficient and economical.

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