5 Great Books on Green, Sustainable Homes & Living

The world is moving into a green phase. With so much destruction already done to the environment due to corporate growth, green homes could be the life-saver of mankind. Have you ever thought of having an eco-friendly home, but just could not land the right information? Well, here are five books that could help you make the much needed change towards a better home.

1. Musings of an Energy Nerd: Toward an Energy-Efficient Home – This book has been compiled from blog posts by an energy nerd. Martin Holladay has been running a blog that specializes in energy solutions, and this book is a compilation of some of the best posts that he wrote on “Musings of an Energy Nerd” a blog that has offered insightful means of building eco-friendly homes. The book sells for about $17 paperback. In the book, Martin Holladay talks about how green energy can be harnessed not only for environmental conservation, but also to ensure sustainability. You will also love how he demystifies some of the wide-spread beliefs about green energy. The book is succinct and
delivers on the promise of energy efficiency.

2. The Upcycle: Beyond Sustainability–Designing for Abundance – Just to show you how impactful this book is, Bill Clinton did its Foreword. The book was written by two ecological homes experts, Michael Braungart and William McDonough. These two gurus wrote the book with a desire to improve the environment rather than protect it. This is a new dimension of looking at the whole environmental pollution issue, because to protect simply means to retain its current form, but to improve is to make it better. Being that most human activities are against the environment, this book offers new solutions that gears human activities at improving the environment. This book is the follow-up to another thought-provoking book on recycling by the same authors titled cradle to cradle.

3. Toward a Zero Energy Home: A Complete Guide to Energy Self-Sufficiency at Home This book is one of the most effective guides to green home and living. Unlike most books that talks about large scale involvement in energy conservation, this book teaches you how you can make smart energy choices at home irrespective of the size of your living space. It teaches a lot about renewable energy use at home and also properly choosing the right energy efficient air conditioner.

4. TheGreened HouseEffect: Renovating YourHome with a DeepEnergy Retrofit – This book authored by Jeff Wilson talks about ways to make current homes energy efficient. In this book you will learn about deepenergy retrofit. He explains why the idea of doing complete home makeovers for the sake of energy will not be sustainable in the near future. He proceeds to show some of the few tweaks you can make to make your home energy efficient. His idea makes economic sense.

5. The Homeowner’s Energy Handbook: Your Guide to Getting off the Grid – Everyone dreams of relying on their own energy sources and getting off the grid. In this book, Paul Scheckel offers you many ways to turn your home into a bubbling haven of energy that will cut your costs and save your immediate environment. This book also, gives you ways to monitor the processes around your home so that you spend less energy from the grid if you can’t unplug entirely.

Best Lawn Mower For Your Money

If you are looking for a lawn mower, there are some important things to consider. Do you want a gas mower which tends to have more power but is louder, an electric mower with its cord and longer extension cord to worry about, or a battery-operated version in which you may have issues with battery life and battery degrading?

If you are new to reviewing lawn mowers, the amps are the measurement of the power which you will get from your mower if they are electric, cc’s if they are gas. The measurement in inches is your cutting surface, and ideally, you’d like this to be larger, so you have to make less passes back and forth. You have to decide if mulching, bagging, and having a choice in the cutting height are important for you.

GreenWorks Corded 12 Amp 20-Inch Lawn Mower

Specs

  • Electric (corded) mower.
  • 20 inch cutting surface.
  • Options: side discharge lawn clippings, mulches into lawn, collects in rear bagging attachment.
  • 7 position cutting height adjustment.
  • Dimensions 26.9” H x 18” W to 21” W x 16.1” D. It is 18” H when handle is fully collapsed.
  • Weight 56 pounds.
  • Assembly Required: no tools needed.

Pros

  • Rust resistant.
  • 4 Year limited warranty
  • Greenworks customer service team has answered every question regarding parts or technical supply.
  • Large rear wheel makes movement easier.

Cons

  • Not self-propelled
  • Requires the purchase of an extension cord.

Bottom Line

This is a light weight entry-level electric model lawn mower that is currently on sale, with a regular price closer to the prices of the other lawn mowers in the review. This lawn mower has a larger cutting surface than the battery operated lawn mower and wins in warranty. It tops customer
service over the Poulan version. It may lack slightly with power, but it shouldn’t be noticeable for a lawn that is city sized.

Poulan Pro 961320098 PR550N21RH3 Briggs

Specs

  • Gas mower.
  • 21 inch cutting surface.
  • Options: side discharge lawn clippings, mulches into lawn, collects in rear bagging attachment.
  • 7 position cutting height adjustment.
  • Dimensions 35” H x 24.2” W to x17.8” D.
  • Weight 69 pounds.
  • Assembly Required.

Pros

  • Large rear wheel makes movement easier.
  • Lightweight gas mower.
  • Easy pull start.

Cons

  • Not self-propelled.
  • Oil cap comes dislodged if you hit anything with the mower.
  • Collection bag doesn’t fully fit and requires some adjustments.
  • Hard to get service on your warranty if needed.

The Bottom Line

There are many customer service complaints about the engine cracking or just blowing and problems getting service on warranty or getting customer service period from Poulan. They are scarce on Amazons forums and nowhere near the customer’s complaints or do they address customers who already had issues going through the proper channels. This is an entry level gas model that is best described by the manufacturer as not the model “if you’re really looking for power, you might want to move up” when answering a question about horsepower of the engine.

Ryobi 16 inch 40-Volt Lithium-Ion Cordless Battery Push Lawn Mower

Specs

  • Battery Mower
  • 16 inch cutting surface.
  • Rust resistant
  • Options: mulches into lawn, collects in rear bagging attachment.
  • Height adjustment from inch to 2 inch.
  • Weight 40 pounds.
  • 5 year limited warranty
  • Assembly Required.

Pros

  • Works with Ryobi 40 Volt lithium-ion batteries.
  • Tool-free adjustment.
  • Single-lever height adjustment.
  • Foldable handle.
  • Easy quiet start.

Cons

  • Comes without battery or charger.
  • Small cutting deck
  • A battery and charger will cost an additional $99 and $60, respectively.

The Bottom Line

While this is the quieter starting mower, it is only 16 inches of cutting area which means that every 5 passes you need to add one more than if you had a 20 inch mower. The cost of ownership becomes expensive out of the gate because you need to buy a battery and charger unless you are already invested in Ryobi products. It has a great limited warranty of 5 years.

Conclusion

The best of the three mowers for the money is the GreenWorks Corded 12 Amp 20-Inch Lawn Mower because it has more features, better perceived customer support, and able to do the job it is intended. You need to factor in the cost of a good exterior rated extension cord to the cost of owning the lawn mower, but for the price it beats the others.