October 2008’s Spotlighted Tomes

Green Building Products: The GreenSpec Guide To Residential Building Materials

Edited by Alex Wilson and Mark Piepkorn New Society Publishers Gabriola Island, BC Canada

In a climate where “green” is a major buzzword and an important consideration in design, Green Building Products: The GreenSpec Guide to Residential Building Materials, edited by Alex Wilson and Mark Piepkorn, is a much-needed resource for builders, designers, architects and homeowners who want to take an environmentally sound approach.

This extensive guide features green information and product advice in abundance. The text covers all areas of sustainable products with descriptions and contact information for manufacturers of some 1,600 eco-friendly products and materials. Black-and-white drawings and photos of sustainable ideas and buildings are included in the book as well.

Each section begins with a short discussion addressing key environmental considerations and what to look for in a green product.

Products are then broken down into categories, such as salvaged, recycled or agricultural waste content, products that conserve natural resources and products that avoid toxic or other emissions. Some examples of the products conserving natural resources are products that reduce material use, products with exceptional durability or low maintenance requirements, certifiable wood products and rapidly renewable products. After each section explanation, a list of companies that have, produce or manufacture the specific green product is provided, while a short paragraph about the company is also supplied. Adequate space is provided at the end of most sections for readers to add their own notes.

Sections on green products include interior finish and trim, with specifics on cabinets, countertops and ceramic tile. A section on water issues is provided, with details about water-conserving dishwashers, as well as information about energy-efficiency considerations with regard to dishwashers.

Information about other appliances is also included, with a look at various companies that manufacture laundry appliances and refrigerators/freezers, among others.

A discussion about minimum energy standards versus Energy Star-certification is included, focusing specifically on refrigerators and freezers.

Bathrooms: A Sunset Design Guide

Bridget Biscotti Bradley and the editors of Sunset Books Sunset Publishing Menlo Park, CA

Meant as a resource for designers, remodelers and homeowners, Bathrooms: A Sunset Design Guide, by Bridget Biscotti Bradley and the editors of Sunset Books, covers all of the elements that form a well-designed bath. A 3-D interactive design software DVD for the PC or Mac is also included in the book.

Case studies are offered with designers discussing design challenges and tips for working with clients. Some 400 color photos illustrate the concepts discussed.

All spaces are covered, from powder rooms to large spa-like baths, with discussion about the differences and considerations related to the design of these spaces. The baths covered take inspiration from across the globe and offer various styles to consider.

All product aspects are discussed in simple terms to help create a synergy of design ideas between professional and client. Lists of product comparisons follow the sections of the book with specifics on projected prices and green issues. Information on green materials is a prevalent consideration throughout the book, and is offered in a highly accessible format.

In each section, industry professionals from across the U.S. are quoted, and every aspect of the bath is covered – from structure and products to details and hardware. An example of this is lighting, where light bulb selection and placement are discussed, among other pertinent topics.

Kitchens: A Sunset Design Guide

Karen Templer and the editors of Sunset Books Sunset Publishing Menlo Park, CA

With advice from industry professionals about everything from initial space planning to finishing touches, Kitchens: A Sunset Design Guide, by Karen Templer and the editors of Sunset Books, will help designers guide their clients to a perfect kitchen. Worksheets, product guides and case studies are provided to stimulate ideas for those embarking on a kitchen project.

Including a few before-and-after kitchen photographs, this resource book covers all areas and sizes of the kitchen space. Diagrams help illustrate key points.

Using 400 bright, full-color photos of kitchens of all sorts, this guide to creating kitchens includes an interactive DVD of basic 3-D design software to help bring the book’s ideas to life.

An example of a deluxe kitchen is provided, it shows two refrigerators, a microwave, warming drawers, a sink, range and butcher’s block countertop, all conveniently designed together in one corner of the kitchen. A second sink and prep area on the opposite side of the room creates a workspace where the homeowners can handle food preparation without feeling crowded.

Specific sections on cabinets, counters, sinks and appliances are included in the text. In the section on cabinets – materials, finishes, categories, construction and eco-friendly cabinets are all discussed. At the end of several sections, comparison lists are given, often regarding price and green issues with each product. Eco-friendly designing issues are covered throughout all areas of the kitchen as well. The last section focuses on color, lighting and accents.