Building a Natural House - Book List

If you have ever dreamed of building a natural house whether you want to live totally off-grid or simply build an earth-friendly garden room there is a lot to consider when building a natural house. To help you on your journey I've compiled a list of useful text which should be a good start for any novice into the world of building a sustainable home. 


Designing & Constructing A Natural Build


The Natural Building Companion: A Comprehensive Guide to Integrative Design and Construction

If you're only going to purchase one book about Natural Building, this one would be it. This book is a real treasure of useful building information and goes right down into the nitty-gritty details. There are many other books about how to do the individual components of doing a natural build but few which go into how to fit all the processes together from timber framing to building with straw bales, plasters, siding options and a wealth of other considerations when building a sustainable construction. 

eco building book about strawbales cover image

More Straw Bale Building: A Complete Guide to Designing and Building with Straw 

This book is the updated version of the Best Selling Straw Bale Buildings - It is a comprehensive guide to the entire process of building a straw bale home or structure, it covers everything from choosing which bales to use to building regulations, designing your building and more. This is a must for anyone with an interest in green building! As it is easy to pick up and engaging to throughout, even when it does get a bit technical. The only real downside to this book is that some of the photography used is a little lacklustre, but overall this doesn't detract from the usefulness of the book.

a book cover about how to build an eco friendly house

Building Green: A Complete How-To Guide to Alternative Building Methods Earth Plaster * Straw Bale * Cordwood * Cob * Living Roofs

A clear and easy to follow book for both beginners and the more experienced builders, this thick and beautifully illustrated book won't disappoint.  The two authors share a wealth of building experience and a range of viewpoints on all the pros and cons of the full spectrum of sustainable building materials. Taking you from concept and design right through to completion this deep dive into all manner of green building really is a pleasure to read. 

what is hempcrete book cover

The Hempcrete Book: Designing and Building with Hemp-Lime 

The Hempcrete Book is an incredibly detailed and practical manual for self-builders. It explains how to source and mix hempcrete and how to use it in new builds and restoration. This beautiful full-colour book covers construction techniques, potential pitfalls and excellent  resources. Hempcrete is a magical building material with frankly unbelievable properties - and it's super quick and fun to build with. It's made from lime and the stalk from the hemp plant (a waste product from hemp fibre growing) and can be used for walls, floors, and even roof insulation - I told you Magical!  The Hempcrete Book is a valuable tool for any eco-builder.

Powering, Heating & Plumbing your Eco Build

Book about how to create a passive house - eco design
Buy The Book Here

The Passivhaus Handbook: A practical guide to constructing and retrofitting buildings for ultra-low-energy performance 

Passivhaus focuses on creating a building that has ultra-low energy consumption in the most cost-effective manner. It is written in a way that is easy to understand for someone new to the subject. The book covers all the issues and considerations you should be aware of when aiming to build an energy-efficient home. Though it probably doesn't provide enough technical detail to be a stand-alone manual, it does provide enough for someone new to Passivhaus design to gain a good understanding as each chapter is colour coded and is broken down into easy to understand parts. a very interesting, informative and worthwhile read.

diy solar power for eco builds
Purchase The Book Here

Solar & 12 Volt Power for beginners: off grid power for everyone

This book is designed to make an absolute beginner capable of off-grid power; it covers the most basic understanding of electricity and circuits with simple and easy explanations, free from technical jargon and benefits from masses of diagrams, photographs and explanations. This is a quickfire place I'd recommend anyone without electrical knowledge to start their journey. 

Heat Pumps for the Home

Increasingly in recent years, heat pumps have emerged as a promising new form of technology with a relatively low environmental impact, this book explores their uses, their pitfalls and how to make them work in your sustainable home. This clearly written book doesn't require a wealth of scientific knowledge to be applicable around your build and through its rich photography will engage any reader.

how to filter grey water from a natural house
Buy 1  And Buy 2

Water Storage & Create an Oasis with Greywater

Both written by Ant Ludwig these are the pair of books you really should be reading if you want to know how to do anything sustainable with water. These are the water bibles of the eco build world, answering the vast majority of questions you have about how to preserve, and recycle one of our most precious resources. 

Buy The Bog Book Here

Essential Composting Toilets: A Guide to Options, Design, Installation, and Use

Nobody would ever say this was the sexiest of topics when it comes to eco builds but composting toilets, unfortunately, do make a lot of sense as we're constantly trying to preserve and save water but then flushing it away with our waste. It just isn't logical, is it? Well, this book is the perfect introduction to composting toilets from how they work to all the various kinds you can have, and what to do with your compost... I can't say I'm convinced but if you're looking into building an eco house this one deserves a place on the list. ICK! 

Finishing a Natural House


Clay and Lime Renders, Plasters and Paints: A how-to guide to using natural finishes

This easy to follow guide is the perfect DIY handbook to follow through all aspects of using natural finishes, with beautiful photographs of techniques and examples from the UK and abroad. This book is an in-depth guide to the selection, mixing and application of lime and clay based plasters, renders, paints and washes - though it cannot teach the joy of working with this gorgeous material. 


Eco-House Manual: A Guide to Making Environmental Friendly Improvements

This fab little manual covers every you could think of for finishing off your home from heating and electrical systems through to building materials and outdoor space. From how to recycle rainwater to finding the most eco-friendly flooring. With up-to-date information about emerging renewable sources of power (and tried and true methods), along with step-by-step projects for the home and garden, this will be an invaluable resource for all homeowners not just those with eco builds.

book list for someone wanting to build a natural home
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Interior Design blogging from a Country girl in the city. Trying to learn all I can about interior design, social media and making the best of this life.
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