kimchi & kraut

Passive House + Zero Net Energy + Permaculture Yard



Masanobu Fukuoka, author of: The One Straw Revolution. Along with Sepp Holzer, he independently pioneered many of the ideas and techniques that define permaculture. Author photo: Larry Korn.


Green Building Advisor  Martin Holladay’s Musings of an Energy Nerd.  Spartan and Hannah’s super energy-efficient build.

Potwine Passive House  GO Logic Passive House project from owner’s POV.

Four Thick Walls  Deep energy retrofit project in Oak Park, a suburb of Chicago, Illinois.

Edgewater Haus  Passive House project. A lot of information on planning and choosing materials – their struggles with choosing windows is definitely worth reading.

Modern in Minnesota  Cool house project – a lot of interesting design details.

Matt Risinger  Austin, TX based builder — a lot of useful green building info.

Bleu Nest  Passive House blog by builder.

Vermont Passive  Passive House building principles from homeowner’s POV.

Life of an Architect  Building process from an architect’s POV — definitely worth reading.



Green Building / Architecture / Design:

Sarah Susanka  The Not So Big House

Julie Torres Moskovitz  The Greenest Home: Superinsulated and Passive House Design

Sheri Koones  Prefabulous + Almost Off the Grid

Janet Cotterell  The Passivhaus Handbook

Christopher Alexander, Sara Ishikawa, Murray Silverstein  A Pattern Language

Kevin McCloud  43 Principles of Home

Alain de Botton  The Architecture of Happiness

Matthew Frederick  101 Things I Learned in Architecture School

Cristina Paredes Benitez  Small ECO Houses: Living Green in Style

Leonard Koren  Wabi-Sabi: for Artists, Designers, Poets & Philosophers

Andrew Juniper  Wabi Sabi: The Japanese Art of Impermanence


Permaculture / Landscaping:

Masanobu Fukuoka  The One Straw Revolution

Toby Hemenway  Gaia’s Garden: A Guide to Home-scale Permaculture

Sepp Holzer  Permaculture: A Practical Guide to Small-Scale, Integrative Farming and Gardening

Edward O. Wilson  Biophilia

Peter Bane  The Permaculture Handbook

Will Allen  The Good Food Revolution: Growing Healthy Food, People and Communities

Eric Toensmeier  Paradise Lot

Jessi Bloom, Dave Boehnlein  Practical Permaculture

Ann Ralph  Grow a Little Fruit Tree

Paul Stamets  Mycelium Running: How Mushrooms Can Help Save the World

B.C. Wolverton  How to Grow Fresh Air: 50 Houseplants that Purify Your Home or Office

John Greenlee  The American Meadow Garden  (lots of info and beautiful photos throughout)

Lew French  Stone By Design (includes many photos of his intricate, amazing work)

Dan Snow  In the Company of Stone (more beautiful examples of stone in the landscape)

Art Ludwig  Create an Oasis with Greywater

Brad Lancaster  Rainwater Harvesting

Robert Kourik  Drip Irrigation: For Every Landscape and All Climates


WEBSITES  Great research tool, but watch out — information overload!  When you start reading about “green” building, two names, both with BSC, keep popping up over and over: Joseph Lstiburek and John Straube. Great research tool.  Greenguard Certification. Independent third party (part of UL) testing organization that researches product claims regarding “green” status.  A lot of interesting green building info.  Great info, always interesting articles, more wide-ranging than just construction.  Green building info.  Located in Iowa.  475 High Performance Building Supply. Passive House oriented supplies (many European in origin).  Energy-efficient building materials and info; for consumers, a sister company to 475 High Performance Building Supply.  (low/No VOC paints and finishes)  GO Logic. Design/Build firm located in Maine. Lots of useful info, and their projects are always interesting.  Passive House-Green builder in Seattle/Portland area. Lots of useful info and fantastic videos — indispensable for DIYers tackling a Passive House-level new build.  From their website: “We are committed to catalyzing the trans­formation toward communities that are socially just, culturally rich and ecologically restorative. Com­posed of leading green building experts and thought-leaders, the Institute is premised on the belief that providing a compelling vision for the future is a fundamental requirement for reconciling humanity’s relationship with the natural world….”  Plenty of info, regardless of experience with permaculture principles. Great learning tool. Useful forums to share, or just read about, problems/solutions.  Really interesting permaculture projects from around the world. Great videos.   They are based in Illinois. I did a phone consultation with husband and wife team Bill & Becky Wilson — extremely nice people, and definitely worth it.



Fine Homebuilding

Journal of Light Construction

Mother Earth News



This Old House (PBS)

Rehab Addict (HGTV)

Grand Designs. UK, Channel 4 program that follows the progress of unique builds from start to finish — sometimes shows up on YouTube — always interesting, many of them “green” builds. It has Australian and New Zealand spin-offs that are equally good.

Growing a Greener World  (PBS)

The Victory Garden (PBS)

P. Allen Smith’s Garden Home (PBS)

Wisconsin Foodie (PBS)


BUYING PLANTS ONLINE  Great selection of organic seeds and veggie transplants.  Peaceful Valley Farm Supply — wide variety of products, seeds, plants, and even fruit and nut trees.  Wide selection of ornamental ground covers, flowers, shrubs, and even some trees.  Western/Southwestern US selection of plants. I’ve had good luck with many of them in the Chicago suburbs as long as they’re at least Zone 5 rated. Their Agastache (Hummingbird Mint) varieties are perfect for attracting pollinators, but especially hummingbirds!  Employee-owned company supplying seeds, plants, and tools.  Seed Savers Exchange. Wide selection of heirloom seeds — you can share with small growers all over the US. Great info on site. Based in Decorah, Iowa — definitely worth a visit to check out their facilities, but also the downtown area and surrounding area has a lot to offer in terms of shopping and outdoor activities, including great parks and forest preserves.  Supplier of Midwest natives.  Large selection of organic seeds and seedlings.  Swan Island Dahlias. Large selection of beautiful dahlias — they’re a little fussy, but well worth the effort — hard to beat for size and color, and they make great, long-lasting cut flowers.