When purchasing a home (or fixing up the one you have), it's easy to daydream about photovoltaic panels on the roof and a row of cisterns to collect rainwater. But in reality, the first line of defense in making your home safer and more efficient is usually less glamorous. Whether you're replacing an outdated toilet or sealing air gaps around a window, it can be overwhelming to know where to begin and what tools you need. Fortunately, there are many well-written books available that will guide you each step of the way.
Since becoming homeowners nearly 5 years ago, my husband and I have undertaken a laundry list of projects and have collected a number of resources along the way. Here are five that have been our go-to guides:
1 How-To Books from Taunton Press
Divided by subject, Taunton Press has something for every project out there. The books are easy to read with plenty of pictures and diagrams - highly recommended!
2 Home Improvement 1-2-3, Expert Advice from The Home Depot
This book is a good single-volume resource for common jobs like wiring a new light or installing tile.
3 Green Remodeling: Changing the World One Room at a Time
This book takes a more holistic approach to green remodeling and delves into the how and why as well as the how-to.
4 The Northwest Green Home Primer
This primer is geared toward homes in the Pacific Northwest, but many of the ideas are universal. Case studies show what makes it green and tips and checklists help you plan your project. This book is another good resource for thinking about the big picture when it comes to making your home more sustainable.
5 The Internet
Ok, so this isn't a physical book, but a savvy search engine can be your best friend when it comes to DIY. In addition to the "how do I..." queries, don't forget to check your local municipal websites. Many have helpful information when it comes to things like disposing toxic materials, collecting rainwater, or locations to take salvaged building supplies.
(Image: Lauren Zerbey)