Natural Building Techniques – New Book

Tom Wooley has recently published a new book entitled, Natural Building Techniques. This comprehensive book will be of interest to self-builders, home owners, architects, builders, housing developers and specifiers as well as environmentalists, eco builders and campaigners who want to reduce the impact of construction on the planet.

Natural materials are being used more frequently in building construction. They offer a wide range of techniques and solutions, not just for cabins in the countryside but housing, schools and public buildings in cities. As the need to respond to climate change becomes a serious requirement for all building projects, natural materials, many of which are bio-based and renewable, are low embodied energy and so help to reduce carbon emissions. They also contain negligible synthetic, plastic, chemical and hazardous components, reducing pollution in manufacture and providing a healthier indoor environment with lower emissions. Natural materials can be robust, non-flammable and providing energy efficiency, thermal mass and humidity controlling characteristics that are not available from conventional materials.

Topics covered include:

  • Why natural materials are important and how they can be used
  • Building with earth, timber, lime, masonry, straw, hemp and hempcrete and paints.
  • The use of natural materials in renovating buildings
  • A guide to current suppliers and manufacturers of natural, recycled and other materials.
  • An explanation of the issues that may arise when using natural materials
  • Retrofit and energy efficiency using natural insulation

Tom Woolley is an architect, educator and builder who has campaigned for the wider use of green and low impact building materials since editing the Green Building Digest and Handbook in the 1990s. He has also spent much of his career working with tenants ‘associations, community groups, eco-housing groups, co-operatives and campaigners against bad housing conditions including survivors of the Grenfell disaster and victims of botched retrofit schemes. Having taught in London, Glasgow, Hull, Belfast and around the world, he helped to establish the sustainable architecture Masters course at the Centre for Alternative Technology in Wales where he is a visiting professor. Working with Rachel Bevan Architects, he has helped to establish hempcrete construction as well as using wood, straw and earth materials as a self-builder. Tom Is currently chair of the UK Clean Air Steering Committee and a consultant to ECOS, the Environmental Coalition on Standards. His books (with others) include the Green Building Handbook, Natural Building, Hemp Lime Construction, Low Impact Building, Building Materials, Health and Indoor Air quality and Thermal Insulation Materials. He lives in County Down in Northern Ireland.