If you’re going to invest in just one book on sustainable, low carbon building I’d strongly suggest that you make it The Environmental Design Pocketbook. Now in its second edition, this useful volume by Sofie Pelsmakers should be essential reading for architects, designers, developers, planners, students, clients and anyone else involved in the construction and operation of buildings.
Not only is the The Environmental Design Pocketbook a useful source of reference but it’s a page turner with the power to draw one in. Before long, twenty minutes have passed between exploring the impacts of a changing climate and the importance of future-proofing our buildings to the advantages and disadvantages of brick slips and an examination of combined heat and power.
Pelsmakers is a chartered architect and environmental designer with more than a decade of hands-on experience designing, building and teaching sustainable architecture. Despite the potential dryness of the subject matter, her knowledge shines through as she guides the reader to make environmentally informed decisions throughout the design process.
At almost 500 pages, the second edition builds on the vast amount of data contained in the first, bringing us up to date on recent changes to regulations and practices. It tackles everything from creating a positive urban microclimate and vegetation and noise buffering to pollutants and the indoor environment and typical mainstream materials and construction methods.
Throughout the book, excellent illustrations clarify the details while ‘key recommendations’ flag the points that require further thought; arrows point to cross references with other sections or chapters and a spanner symbol relates to building maintenance and care.
Quite simply, The Environmental Design Pocketbook is indispensable; what’s more it’s a good read – how many reference books can you say that about?
The Environmental Design Pocketbook is available from the RIBA Bookshop.