Making Better Buildings

Making Better Buildings by Chris Magwood
Making Better Buildings by Chris Magwood

“From foundation to finish, a wealth of information is available on sustainable construction methods – entire volumes have been published on individual green and natural building techniques. But with so many different ideas to choose from, there is no single resource that allows an owner or builder to quickly and objectively compare the merits of each system for their particular project.

Making Better Buildings cuts through the hype and provides the unvarnished facts about the upsides and downsides of the most widely discussed materials and technologies. Drawing on the real-world experiences of designer/builders, this comparative guide systematically and comprehensively examines each approach in terms of:

– Cost, sourcing, labor intensity, and ease of construction
– Energy efficiency, embodied energy, and environmental impacts
– Availability/accessibility
– Viable applications and future potential.

Each chapter is rounded out by a chart which summarizes the material in a quick and accessible manner.

Whether you are an owner preparing to build a green or natural home, or a conventional contractor determined to integrate sustainable alternatives into your existing construction practices, this up-to-the minute resource will help you make the best decisions for your project, while meeting your energy, efficiency, budgetary, and site-specific needs.”

Here is what people have to say about Making Better Buildings:
“Making Better Buildings is essential reading for home builders, owner-builders, or anyone interested in hiring a contractor to build their dream green home. This book is full of useful, up-to-date, cutting edge information and is amazingly thorough and easy to read. It will help readers make the best decisions possible regarding energy efficiency, cost, durability, health, embodied energy, labour requirements and so on. Quite possibly the most valuable book ever published on green building!”
-Dan Chiras, Ph.D, director, The Evergreen Institute

“At last: clarity! There are more and more people all over the world who are discovering the joy and satisfaction of building for themselves with natural materials. Very few, however, are able to teach, communicate and inspire those around them. Of that precious few, Chris Magwood is at the top of the list; his delight and mastery of the subject hums in every page. Whether you want a broad overview or access to high-quality, practical information on specific subjects, this is the book for you.”
-Bruce King, PEng, director, Ecological Building Network

“Making Better Buildings belongs in the library of every designer or builder in the green building business and should be read by every owner planning a new home. This is not simply green building — this is the future of construction! Chris Magwood clearly describes the pros and cons of the most viable natural building techniques and places them in context to create a tool that is timeless.”
-Jeff Ruppert, PEng, publisher of The Last Straw Journal

464 pages, New Society Publishers (March 1, 2014)
About the Author
Chris Magwood has designed and built some of the most innovative, sustainable buildings in North America, including the first off-grid, straw bale home in Ontario which became a fifteen-year research project into the implementation of sustainable building materials and technologies. He created the Sustainable Building Design and Construction program at Fleming College in 2005, and together with Jen Feigin founded and directs the Endeavour Centre for Innovative Building and Living. Chris is the author of 3 previous books on sustainable building including Straw Bale Details and More Straw Bale Building.

Chris Magwood

4 thoughts on “Making Better Buildings”

  1. I looked on Amazon and found a pretty lengthy review of the book. Basically, the reviewer praises the thoroughness of the author in laying out all the various options one has for building “green” (and some not-so-green methods). He lists pros and cons and is fairly unbiased in his pointing out of faults and strengths. The book is not so much a how-to book, but it is instead a list of things that a builder or potential builder will have to do and the options on getting those things done, material and method-wise.

    I would recommend you read the review on Amazon, because I’m probably not giving as good of a summary of the review as you need/want.

  2. My wife and I are wanting to build a new home. Our last three children are not far from leaving the nest and we would like to build a low maintenance, an energy efficient home to live out our lives in. We have been slowly learning about different sustainable technologies. This book looks like it can answer many of our questions. Has anyone reviewed the book? I don’t want a book that brings more questions to the surface before the questions I want answered get answered. It that old saying “milk before meat”. Sometimes meat is served before the milk is digested and ones stomach gets upset. Any reviews out there?

    • All I know for sure is Chris Magwood is very professional. His other books are very good, and he’s been extremely successful teaching natural building in Canada.


Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.