New Book “Twisted Oak” Demonstrates How Sustainable Living Can Improve Your Life While Helping the Environment.
Living a sustainable lifestyle made more approachable thanks to new book.
The desire for sustainability is increasingly common in our fast-paced, consumerist culture. Who wouldn’t want to step back from the modern world and regain some independence and self-reliance? Utilities are always going up. Gas prices fluctuate. New homes are becoming more expensive while at the same time becoming more toxic with the use of cheap materials and questionable chemicals. Many people assume that it is too difficult, complicated, or expensive to live in a truly sustainable way, or that living off the grid means isolation and a lack of technology, but author Kristina Munroe thought differently. She designed and built her own self-sustaining home, demonstrating that is possible to live a “contemporary life complete with community, family, and technology while still respecting the earth and leaving smaller ecological footprints on our precious planet.”
After the death of her ex-husband left her solely responsible for her young children, Munroe moved back to her hometown of Durango, Colorado to find a home for her family. But her dream home was not a giant castle, wasting energy with excessive space, or a new mass-produced home in the suburban sprawl. She soon discovered that to get what she wanted in a home, she would have to make it herself. As an engineer, Munroe was well equipped to design a house, but a self-sustaining house was a daunting new challenge. With lots of research and support from her family, Munroe began a project that would achieve her personal goals of reducing energy consumption and waste.
“I had started down a path that I already knew I had no choice but to follow,” Munroe says of the process that seemed impossible at the beginning. The first step was finding the right people to help Munroe’s vision become reality. Teaming with a builder who shared her values of reducing ecological impact, Munroe drafted plans that used strategically placed windows, insulation, and thermal mass to regulate heating and cooling. Munroe insisted upon using recycled and repurposed materials as much as possible. “I wanted to believe that not only this home but every building has the capacity to make a contribution to the environment. Most people think of vehicles and industry as the most prevalent polluters, but our homes and buildings are significant consumers of energy and materials that cause greenhouse gases,” says Munroe. Walls were built with used tires. Colored glass bottles decorate interior spaces. The utilities were designed to be self-sufficient. Large cisterns capture snow melt and rain while solar panels provide enough electricity to run all the usual appliances. Household waste water from sinks and tubs, known as greywater, is reused to water lush indoor and outdoor gardens. Most impressively, Munroe managed to make the home stunningly beautiful and modern-feeling while incorporating these unusual features.
As with any major undertaking, things go awry, but Munroe learned from mistakes and overcame numerous obstacles to make her dream come true. She knew that the knowledge gained throughout the process would be useful for others trying to achieve similar goals, so she set out to write a book that shares her experience and inspires others to follow their dreams of sustainability.
“Twisted Oak” offers the motivational story of how Munroe’s home came to be as well as technical advice about how to live and build more sustainably, including practical tips on passive solar design, greywater, thermal mass, insulation, recycled and repurposed materials, and many more topics. Helpful color illustrations and photos are also included to show the process from design to completion. The book is a valuable resource for anyone interested in sustainable living, homebuilding, or raising a family in the modern world. The book also includes further reading recommendations for those wishing to learn more.
“Twisted Oak: A Journey to Create a Self-Sustaining Life and Home” is published by eBookit.com and is available in e-book and print formats from Amazon.com, BN.com, and other online retailers.
Author Kristina Munroe is available for interviews and presentations. Book reviewers may request a review copy of the e-book by contacting the author through her website.
Kristina Munroe P.E.
Color Paperback, 242pp
Ebook, epub;pdf; mobi
9 x 6 x .6 inches