Your Green Home, A Guide to Planning a Healthy Envrironmentally Friendly New Home, by Alex Wilson, is a great intro to green building.

I had to read it for my National Sustainable Building Advisor Program and i make it recommended reading for all employees and interns at our Brooklyn green building company Eco Brooklyn.

Alex Wilson is a long time green writer and has been involved in many green organizations over the years. He is currently the Executive Editor of, one of the best green building web sites out there.

His combination of good writing skills and extensive green building experience makes for a great green building writer.

The book is very well laid out from green building history and philosophy to the details of how to build a green home. The book won’t show you how to actually build the home but it will explain the many considerations you need to think about during the construction of a green home.

The chapters in the book cover the following:

* Finding the right designer and builder
* Deciding where to build
* Understanding building systems
* Energy-efficient building design
* Renewable energy systems
* Selection of products and materials
* Indoor environmental quality
* Water efficiency
* Reducing construction waste
* Environmental landscaping and plantings
* Costs of green building
* Living in a green home

The book is mostly for detached homes, which he correctly points out isn’t as green as an attached one, but his target audience is mainstream beginner greenies.

This isn’t to say the book is boring for green professionals. Alex is very good at explaining things simply while keeping it meaty. After reading this book a green pro will have a much better holistic idea of green. Alex basically fills in all the gaps of basic green construction and because we all evolve differently we all have gaps.

Another good thing about the book for green pros is that you’ll get good tools for explaining green to others. Lets face it, who hasn’t drawn a blank when somebody puts you on the spot and says, “So what is green building?”

Is it a laundry list of things like solar, gray water, recycled materials, insulation? Is it a social philosophy of making the world better? Is it the opposite of non-green building? Is it anti-consumerism? Is it buying only green products? Is is LEED certification (no)? Is it all of the above equally or are some more important?

Alex gives a good framework for all this stuff and helps organize it.

The tenets in the book can easily be applied to Brooklyn brownstones. It could even be applied to a New York apartment. This is one of the great aspects of the book: it is holistic and inclusive while still staying focused. That is the real genius of green building after all.