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The Green Life: Book Roundup Wednesday: Green DIY Projects

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April 20, 2011

Book Roundup Wednesday: Green DIY Projects

Environmental Books Every Wednesday, we review a selection of new and upcoming books addressing a specific aspect of environmentalism. Today we're recommending books about DIY projects to green your home and garden.

The Profitable Green Hobby Farm: How to Build a Sustainable Local Foods Business (by Sarah Beth Aubrey, $20, Wiley, 2010): Sure, greening your home will benefit the planet and lessen your impact, but who's to say it can't benefit your wallet too? Aubrey makes a strong case for why small-scale and local food ventures are good for communities and the environment. She shows how you can make the products of your home garden part of the growing green market. Her book includes strategies for creating cooperatives, marketing, and changing your family's lifestyle, plus a comprehensive list of resources to get you started.

Planet Home: Concious Choices for Cleaning and Greening the World You Care About Most (by Jeffrey Hollender, $20, Clarkson/Potter Publishers, 2010): What is a conscious home? That's the question answered by Hollender, the co-founder of green-cleaning company Seventh Generation. Going room by  room, including basements, nurseries, and home offices, Hollender tells you the habits, products, and materials that you can eliminate or improve to green your most immediate living spaces. If you're not ready for a DIY project as ambitious as solarization, this book can deftly guide you through a more manageable green home overhaul.

Attracting Native Pollinators: Protecting North America's Bees and Butterflies (by the Xerces Society, $30, Storey Publishing, 2011): This how-to guide will help you create a win-win situation for your garden as well as local flora and fauna. By planting native flowering species for butterflies, wasps, and other pollinators, you can improve your garden's beauty and health, plus help reverse the trend of destroying pollinators' habitats. Filled with color pictures and host plant recommendations for a variety of pollinator species, this book is a great choice for a garden enthusiast who wants a garden that's green both in color and in practice. 

Convert Your Home to Solar Energy (by Everett M. Barber, Jr. and Joseph R. Provey, $25, Taunton Press, 2010): Still waiting for the government to get behind solar-energy projects? With this book, you can stop waiting and start implementing a sustainable solution in your own home. The authors, experts with decades of experience, guide you through technical aspects such as passive vs. active heating, converting sunlight to electricity, and putting rebates and tax incentives to use. Plus, they cover the whole process of a solar-implementation project from planning and installing to operating and maintaining a system for the long term.

Green Lighting: How Energy-Efficient Lighting Can Save You Energy and Money and Reduce Your Carbon Footprint (by Brian Clark Howard, William J. Brinsky, and Seth Leitman, $25, McGraw Hill, 2010): A simple way to green your home's lighting may be to not flick the "on" switch as often, but if you're ready to do something more proactive, this book, unwieldy subtitle notwithstanding, shows you how. The authors detail the pros and cons of all kinds of green-lighting options including LED, CFL, incandescent, halogen, and solar. They also provide step-by-step instruction to create a lighting plan that'll save money and improve your home's quality of light.

--Rosie Spinks

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