Global warming, ozone depletion, and acid rain are distressing buzzwords of our day. Our overdependence on fossil fuels for virtually all energy needs and our overuse of other resources have come with serious side effects. Nowhere is this reality more apparent than in our homes. In Off the Grid Homes, architect Lori Ryker addresses these issues in a straightforward and understandable way. We are pouring thousands of dollars into running our homes each year, which, in addition to depleting our pocketbooks, wreaks havoc on the environment. Ryker, however, describes a win-win solution. It is possible to harness the power of the environment by utilizing clean-energy generators, such as photovoltaic panels, wind turbines, solar water heaters, and geothermal systems, to conserve precious resources and save money. Houses can be completely or partially off the grid-that is, homes can be entirely self-sustaining or they can be tied to municipal energy sources while still employing resource-conserving technologies. Ryker explores the value of case studies in understanding new alternative-energy technologies. She profiles three completed leading sustainable case study projects to lay the groundwork for body of the book, which presents six contemporary architectural projects that integrate alternative technologies for generating and conserving energy. Each project explores how the owner's desire to contribute to a more sustainable culture is brought to bear on the design and execution of the home. Diagrams and clear explanations of technologies and their appropriate applications help the reader understand how the technologies work and how they may best be used in their own homes.
At once groundbreaking and responsible, the ideas presented in this book will hopefully someday become commonplace and ubiquitous, for then we will be living in inspiring and beautiful homes in a pollutant-free, healthy, and thriving environment. Lori Ryker grew up in Texas and has lived and worked in a variety of locations, including Boston, New York City, Portland, and Basel, Switzerland. She now resides in Livingston, Montana, where she is the executive director of Artemis Institute; teaches at Montana State University's School of Architecture; and is a partner, along with Brett W. Nave, of Ryker/Nave Design. Their work has been published in The House You Build and Western Interiors and Design. Ryker holds a Master of Architecture from Harvard Graduate School of Design and a PhD from Texas A&M University. She is the author of Mockbee Coker: Thought and Process and Off the Grid: Modern Home + Alternative Energy.show more