Mackay-Lyons Sweetapple Architects: Economyas Ethic book

The new 372-page monograph by Robert McCarter covers MacKay-Lyons Sweetapple Architects’ complete work, illustrated with photographs, plans and drawings - including projects of private homes and public spaces.

The firm won the 2017 Global Award for Sustainable Architecture. Regionalism is at the foundation of the firm’s practice – and the monograph shows how its work is reflective of a strong ethic of place, through its deep engagement with the landscape and climate of Nova Scotia and beyond. ISBN: 9780500343319, hardcover, $92.00.




The New Carbon Architecture


The New Carbon Architecture: Building to Cool the Climate published by New Society Publishers explores how biomimicry-inspired innovations in architecture and construction will pull carbon from the atmosphere, heal the climate, and produce safer, healthier, and more beautiful buildings. 8x10”, softcover, 160 pages. ISBN: 9780865718685 $29.95, plus tax. Info:



Reinventing Green Building: Why Certification Systems Aren't Working and What We Can Do About It

Reinventing Green Building by Jerry Yudelson, and engineer and LEED Fellow, is an insider’s critique of why certified green buildings are failing to provide large-scale carbon reduction.

Buildings produce 50% of the carbon emissions in the developed world. Yudelson's solutionsfeature a powerful data-driven strategy that leverages the latest cloud-based technologies to cut certification costs 90% and expand marketplace uptake to 50% of all buildings by 2025. 312 p., soft cover. Can$24.95. ISBN 978-0-86571-815-9,

New Architecture in Wood - Forms and Structures
Authors: Marc Wilhelm Lennartz, Susanne Jacob-Freitag

Review by Jim Taggart

Publisher Birkhäuser
ISBN: 978-3-0356-0454-2
Hardcover 184 pages
Price: $70.00

In the developed world at least, the design and construction of buildings is undergoing a second Renaissance. This time however, the impetus coms not from the desire to emulate the past, but from the imperative to protect the future. Wood is fast becoming the material of choice for structures of all sizes and types - chosen for its unique sustainable properties and its potential contribution to the mitigation of climate change.

Just as the ideologies and technologies of the first Renaissance spread outward from their birthplace in Italy; so those of the second Renaissance are spreading outward from Germany, Austria and Switzerland. It is here in central Europe that cross laminated timber (CLT) was first produced, and computer numerically controlled (cNC) machines were first manufactured at an architectural scale. It is appropriate therefore that a book documenting the ‘New Architecture in Wood should emanate from this region of the world.

Authors Marc Wilhelm Lennartz and Susanne Jacob-Freitag have assembled a portfolio of 24 international projects that give readers a sense of what is now possible using contemporary massive wood products and computerized manufacturing. The portfolio of projects is organized typologically, with each building carefully and comprehensively explained using a combination of 2-D and 3-D drawings, photos and text. In this way, the reader gains an understanding of how various structural solutions can be applied to buildings with differing programs and code-related constraints; and how various aspects of performance - such as fire and acoustics - can be addressed.

Some of the projects, such as Life cycle Tower (LCT) One in Dornbirn, Austria, are unmistakable icons of the wood renaissance, while others such as C13 - a residential complex in Berlin, Germany, cloak their timber elements in a contextual response. Beyond the more common residential and commercial examples, the Scheiffele-Schmiederer (SCS) warehouse in Philippsburg-Huttenheim, Germany demonstrates that modern mass timber construction can also be applied successfully and expressively to industrial structures.

In North America, where the use of mass timber products and digital fabrication techniques are still in their infancy, this book will offer inspiration to architects and engineers, and reassurance to potential clients that the ‘New Architecture in Wood’ already has a firm foundation upon which a more sustainable future can be built.

Green Parking Council launches Green Garage Certification

Green Garage Certification is the world’s only rating system defining and recognizing sustainable practices in parking structure management, programming, design, and technology.

An industry-driven, field-tested road map for high-performance new and existing parking garages, Green Garage Certification recognizes forward-thinking facilities shaping the transportation network of tomorrow.

Built through the collaboration of over 200 professionals from the parking, real estate, technology and sustainability worlds, Green Garage Certification promotes a holistic approach to garage performance and sustainability and encourages the adoption of emerging smart parking and intelligent transportation tools.

Energy Assessment Guidebook Launch

Saving energy is easier than you think. And while you’re at it, you save money and help to protect the environment. Energy saving technology is improving every day. This booklet is a brief introduction to an energy assessment, or an energy audit.
In this booklet you will find tips and tricks to help save energy in your business, office, home, or other building, and how to get started on your own energy assessment.
Some of the subjects covered include:
- How Much Energy Do You Use?
- Ventilation
- Optimize HVAC
- Lights that Save Energy
- Office and Electrical Equipment
- Water Uses Energy
- Become Independent [PV and CHP]
Get a copy here

Common Threads
Weaving Community through Collaborative Eco-Art by Sharon Kallis

Disposing of unwanted natural materials, dealing with invasive species, and managing green waste can be expensive and time-consuming, or it can present a tremendous opportunity for creating collaborative eco-art. Common Threads is a unique guide to engaging community members in communal handwork for the greater good. It combines step-by-step instructions with tips for successful process and an overview of completed projects of  collaborative eco-art. $29.95,

Pools: Aquatic Architecture

10 x 10", 144 pages, Binding: Trade Cloth, ISBN: 978-1-935935-95-7, $45. Hughes Condon Marler Architects

The firm of Hughes Condon Marler Architects has been widely recognized for its design of aquatic facilities. The planning and design of recreational facilities is one of HCMA's strengths, recognized in their commission for the Vancouver Olympic Centre for the 2010 Olympic Winter Games. The book explores the evolution of contemporary design thinking for this building type and is a great source for information on pool design, from its social ambitions to construction. The book features nine different projects, many of which have been covered in SABMag.  Info:

Wood Architecture Now

8.5 x 10.8 inches, 416 pages, $59.95. Philip Jodidio/Taschen

At a time when Canadian architects and engineers are beginning to explore new applications for wood in larger and taller buildings, ‘Wood Architecture Now’ offers a portfolio of inspirational projects from around the world. They range in size from Patkau Architects’ Winnipeg skating shelters to J. Mayer H. Architects’ Metropole Parasol in Seville, Spain. This new volume gives readers a glimpse of the most exciting and dynamic new uses of wood in architecture. Info:

New technical guide covers High Performing Precast Concrete Building Enclosures: Rain Control

Building Science Corporation has released the High Performing Precast Concrete Building Enclosures: Rain Control technical guide by Dr. John Straube, Associate Professor at University of Waterloo and Principal of Building Science Corporation. The Guide reviews the requirements for high-performance enclosures as they apply to precast concrete, with special emphasis on the control of rainwater penetration.
For example, it elaborates on a barrier-drained joint system which also allows for other high-performance attributes such as excellent airtightness and high thermal resistance.


The Rise of Living Architecture

This landscape format, 150-page hard cover book, in short, makes the case for green roofs and walls. Published by the Green Roofs for Healthy Cities organization, it’s beautifully produced as a celebration of the contributions of more than 50 experts to the development of the green roof and wall industry over the past decade.
The first third of the book covers arguments for and benefits of green roofs and walls, and then continues by profiling the 50 main movers and shakers through interesting text and great photography. Details at:

Energy-efficient multi-unit wood-frame construction

The research organization FP Innovations has released its latest handbook entitled, “Guide for Designing Energy Efficient Building Enclosures for Wood-Frame Multi-Unit Residential Buildings”. The Guide is organized to take the user from an understanding of the local building code requirements for thermal performance, air tightness, and energy efficiency, through to the fundamentals of heat, air, and moisture control for highly insulated wood-frame assemblies up to six storeys. It addresses platform wood-frame construction, and includes information on thermal performance of cross-laminated timber [CLT] assemblies as well as the use of non-bearing wood-frame exterior infill walls in wood post-and-beam and concrete structures. It can be downloaded at:


Best Practices in Sustainable Building Design
By Shahin Vassigh, Ebru Özer and Thomas Spiegelhalter

This book and DVD make an interactive learning environment composed of seven content areas: building form, envelopes, structures, climate control systems, renewable energy, lighting, and landscape design. Each of these content areas is subdivided into learning modules introducing the subject matter and investigating best practices for climate responsive and ecologically sustainable building design and construction. The DVD will help visualize and engage with concepts that may otherwise be too ambiguous or difficult to comprehend in a book format. The interdisciplinary nature of the book, and its excellent graphics make it a great learning or reference tool. Features include:

  • - interactive capabilities of state-of-the-art computing technology including hypertext functionality, animations, and open information referencing
  • - well detailed, realistic, 3-D computer-generated models and interactive animations
  • - combines a traditional textbook format with multimedia graphics and interactive animations

$79.95 Us direct price when purchased on publisher’s web site Info:
J. Ross Publishing, Inc., hardcover, 258 pages, colour illustrations, ISBN 978-1-60427-068-6.

Towards Zero Energy Architecture – New Solar Design
By Mary Guzowski

This book explores cuttingedge practices and ideas of solar architecture through 10 projects, houses and non-residential, selected from different parts of the world. Several of the projects are pilot studies that show ways of doing more with less without compromising design integrity. In fact, beautiful architecture is at the forefront of the book, making it a pleasing visual read while also giving a better understanding of incorporating the sun [and wind] into the next generation of sustainable design. The author, Mary Guzowski, is an associate professor in the School of Architecture at the University of Minnesota where she teaches and researches daylighting, solar architecture and ecological design. Laurence king Publishing, paperback, 206 pages, ISBN 978-1-78067-026-3, $29.95Us. or amazon Canada.

Building Systems Integration For enhanced environmental performance

Shahin Vassign and Jason R. Chandler, professors in the Department of Architecture at the Florida International University state some big, ominous numbers in the preamble of their very visually-rich book. For example: the building sector consumes over 49% of all energy produced in the US, 77% of all electricity produced in the US goes to just operate buildings, construction consumes three billion tons of raw materials annually, not to mention the high embodied energy they contain.
They believe architects, as the primary designers of the built environment, have the central role in reducing these numbers through sustainable building that integrates design, engineering and construction. The book thus documents numerous examples of buildings from around the world that  demonstrate a recent trend in architectural practice that combines design and engineering disciplines to create responsible and sustainable buildings.

The authors show buildings that, in their view, demonstrate three principles:
• that high-performance, sustainably-designed buildings can be architecturally beautiful,
• that improved building performance can be achieved with architecture that engages the site, climate, and orientation, and
• that sustainability, quality design and integrated practice are connected.
The description of each building covers location, climate and use. But this is a show, not a tell book. Drawings for each project include wall sections and axonometric drawings showing the complete assembly of wall sections, or exploded views that highlight innovations in integrated building. The selected buildings are organized in three sections that demonstrate the integration of systems: Structure and Envelope, Envelope and Mechanical, and Structure, Envelope and Mechanical.
The book is carefully compiled, interesting, instructive, and a visual treat.

J.Ross Publishing, 155 pages, 8-1/4 X 11-1/4 inches, ISBN 978-1-60427-015-0, US$89.95 or from the publisher’s web site for US$79.95; hardcover; 954-727-9333

Carrot City - Creating Places for Urban Agriculture


Appealing to both design professionals and individuals curious about current ideas for growing food in close proximity to the point of consumption, Carrot City: Creating Places for Urban Agriculture, presents 40 projects created by designers from around the world that explore innovative approaches to making space for urban food production.
Known as the ‘locavore movement’, this concept is growing exponentially as chefs, educators, and architects emphasize the benefits of growing food at home or in community gardens for health and as a means of reducing our carbon footprint.
Written by Mark Gorgolewski, and June Komisar, both of the Department of Architectural Science at Ryerson University, and by Joe Nasr, an independent scholar, the book’s collection of ideas promotes sustainable and healthy food production, and suggests dozens of ways to reintroduce urban agriculture to our cities.
With many colour photographs, drawings and plans, it provides actionable examples of how to integrate local crops into dense urban neighbourhoods for citizens accustomed to their food arriving from hundreds or thousands of miles away. Even the simplest forms of local production offer enormous potential to better the food supply for the inhabitants of urban spaces by enhancing nutritional value, flavour, and freshness.
Focusing on the increasing need and desire to grow food within city limits as transportation costs rise, urban populations grow, and citizens become more attuned to nutrition, Carrot City explores the contributions of architecture, landscape design, and urban design to the increasingly important movement of urban agriculture, and empowers the reader to make small changes immediately.
The Monacelli Press, 240 pages, 8-1/4 X 10-5/8 inches, ISBN 978-158093-311-7, $60.00, Hardcover


 Toward a Culture of Wood Architecture

Canada is a forest nation with a tradition of building with wood. That tradition is being constantly applied and re-invented as new design ideas come to the fore, new technologies and products are introduced, and as the inherent sustainable qualities of wood are starting take on importance.
Written over several years by architect [and SABMag editor] Jim Taggart, FRAIC, the new book, Toward a Culture of Wood Architecture, reviews our wood building heritage, moves into a helpful discussion of how building codes have regarded wood construction and what lies in store in light of technology and new product introductions, and then offers a pleasing journey through recent wood buildings under the themes of aboriginal and regional influences. The chapter on climate change neatly summarizes the role of wood in carbon storage and embodied energy.
 Taggart says that the impetus for the book came from his 2005 interview with Austrian professor and renowned timber engineer Julius Natterer who spoke about constructive environmentalism as the relationship between wood use, sustainable forest management, and the mitigation of climate change. Taggart devotes a chapter to it to express the concept to the reader in actual, and exciting, building examples.
The book concludes with Taggart’s Back to the Future views of where wood construction is going as material and building life cycle assessment becomes a major factor in building design, and as wood buildings reach skyward with the advent of cross-laminated timber [CLT] construction – a term that may well become very familiar.
That Taggart is foremost an architect shows in the buildings he has selected for the book, and in the inclusion of interesting and relevant drawings. Many of the photographs are as beautiful as the buildings. Taggart has thought a lot about his subject over several years, and his writing is thoughtful and authoritative. This book does justice to our forest nation, and to our past and future in wood architecture.
 144 pages soft cover, $39.95, ISBN 978-0-9739122-7-2. Abacus Editions and Janam Publications. Order or call 1-800-520-6281, x301

Renewable Energy for Residential Heating and Cooling Policy Handbook

Heating and cooling represent significant energy loads around the world, with the associated high level of carbon emissions. Many countries have commitments in place to derive an increasing proportion of the energy they use for heating and cooling from renewable sources; some are seeing greater success than others in moving towards these targets. This best practices handbook from the International Energy Agency’s Renewable Energy Technology Deployment (RETD) Implementing Agreement provides energy policymakers and professionals in the renewable energy industry with a practical, easy to use guide and toolkit to the most effective policy options for deploying renewable energy for heating and cooling in the residential sector.
Published with IEA-RETD ISBN 9781849712781 Kristin M. Seyboth, Senior Scientist, IPCC WG III Technical Support Unit, Germany

What We See, Advancing the Observations of Jane Jacobs

Edited by Stephen A. Goldsmith & Lynn Elizabeth, New Village Press and the Centre for the Living City, Oakland, Ca 2010.

Review by Gloria Venczel
What We See is a reference book for those trying to comprehend the dynamics of cities that pulse with social and economic transactions in an inter-related web akin to natural ecosystems. Through Jacobs’ cat- eyed glasses, contemporary urban designers, architects, planners, politicians, academics, scientists and activists offer their perspectives on city building.
In her analysis of cities, Jacobs was an early proponent of systems or web thinking, a conceptual hallmark of sustainability. In her chapter “Jane Jacobs: Environmentalist Preservationist”, Roberta Brandes Gratz unequivocally states: “Web thinking is the core of what Jacobs is about.” She posits that Jacobs early on understood that everything is connected and interdependent, especially in the urban setting. For Jacobs’  cities, the economy and nature were in a symbiotic relationship and could not be analyzed in isolation.
As an example, Brandes Gratz points to the advent of electric and hybrid cars. While the technology, examined in isolation does reduce pollution at the source, it does not address the broader negative consequences of urban sprawl or the impact on the community fabric.
In his chapter, “Jane Jacobs: The Toronto Experience”,  former mayor David Crombie eloquently restates Jacob’s observations on the civilizing role of the sidewalk, “The public realm is the glue that holds the city together and the bedrock upon which it builds its prosperity, its communities and its social peace.” These are roles that will only grow in importance as we adjust to the many changes brought on by climate change.
Jacobs was a pioneer in understanding the organized chaos of cities, presaging the sustainability movement by 30 years. When silo thinking was the norm, she found patterns connecting the social, environmental and economic realms. Long after her death, Jacobs’ legacy will continue in the creative adaptation of her principles by the current generation of innovators.
 This is a must read, preferably with fellow urbanists.   

Gloria Venczel, BES, BArch, MRAIC, MCIP, now in private practice, is the former development planner/urban designer for the City of North Vancouver, BC

 ZUGUNRUHE – Quiet Revolution Underway to Heal the Planet

New Book explores our personal connection to the environment.

Ecotone Publishing has released ZUGUNRUHE – The Inner Migration to Profound Environmental Change, authored by internationally acclaimed green design visionary Jason F. McLennan. Just prior to periods of great migration, certain species display agitation and restlessness - a phenomenon referred to by scientists as ‘zugunruhe’. McLennan identifies a similar pattern emerging among people yearning for a sustainable future. This book is intended as a catalyst for anyone interested in exploring a deeper, more meaningful connection to the environmental movement. Profound, personal and practical, McLennan’s narrative reminds us that individual efforts ripple outward and can lead to revolutionary change for the betterment of people and the planet. ZUGUNRUHE – The Inner Migration to Profound Environmental Change, [ISBN 978-0-9749033-2-3] available online and at architecture and building bookstores throughout North America. Foreword by renowned natural sciences writer, and author of Biomimicry, Janine Benyus.
For more information, excerpts or to order the book, visit


The Long Emergency

By James Howard Kunstler

From the window of my office, I see Ontario’s Highway 400, six lanes of speeding cars busy going somewhere to do something. ‘Whistle While You Work’’ – that cheerful refrain from Disney’s ‘Snow White’ runs through my head. It all seems so natural; them in their climate-controlled cars, me in my climate-controlled office working away on multi-million dollar projects.

But there’s something terribly wrong about the entire picture. Our western, 21st century lifestyle is on a direct collision course with disaster if the status quo is not radically altered. If you weren’t aware of this before, you certainly will be after reading The Long Emergency. James Howard Kunstler will change your perspective, on pretty much everything.
Kunstler’s acerbic wit shines both an informative and chilling light on all aspects of our social, economic, geopolitical, cultural and energy paradigms. If you were never a fan of the suburbs or multi-national corporations you will definitely find your views reflected here.  

Kunstler points an accusing finger at the suburban project, as “the greatest misappropriation of resources in history”. In fact, prior to the book’s publication, he actually predicted the collapse of the global financial markets, citing the hallucination of wealth that suburbs created, perverted further via unsound lending practices.
By tying together the consequences of our current paradigms, he predicts what he calls the ‘Long Emergency’ whose provenance is – or was - the peak oil event. What is coming is a period of even greater uncertainty, exacerbated by climate change and our debased, gossamer economy.  According to Kunstler, we can expect our world to shrink substantially and our lifestyles to diminish exponentially.

Whether or not the predictions come to pass in every detail is a side issue. The framework is already in place, and without an unprecedented paradigm shift we are all in for a bumpy ride.The paperback edition of the book is adorned with one reviewer’s assertion that,“This is a frightening and important book.” It has changed my life, and I hope it changes yours.

Review by Steve Dearlove

Symphony of Structure - The work of Fast + Epp


Janam Publications, publisher of SABMag and SAB Homes, has jointly published Symphony of Structure with the firm of Fast + Epp structural engineers to display some of the most creative structural engineering practiced in Canada over the 25-year history of the firm.
The book covers 25 projects using short, descriptive text, numerous colour photos, and drawings of the most significant details.  Fast + Epp regularly works with prominent architects such as Bing Thom and Peter Busby, and is acknowledged informally as contributing to the architectural profession. In fact, it was invited to exhibit its work alongside that of eminent Canadian architects in the 2008 ‘Vancouverism’ exhibition at Canada House in London, England.
From the point of view of green building, the firm favours exposed structure with limited finishes and hybrid constructions of wood, concrete and steel that maximize the qualities of each. Written by SABMag editor Jim Taggart, FRAIC, Symphony of Structure is an exciting presentation of the firm’s award-winning work and a strong reference for structural design fully merged with architecture. 112 pages, soft cover,  ISBN 978-0-9739122-6-5 $24.95 plus taxes and shipping.

Order at, or call 1-800-520-6281, x304

Design with Microclimate - The Secret to Comfortable Outdoor Space


Design with Microclimate by University of Guelph Landscape Architecture Professor Robert D. Brown describes the effects that climate has on outdoor spaces while providing practical tools that can be used in everyday design practice. He provides guidelines that lead designers through the complexity of climate data, precedents, site assessment, microclimate modification, communication and evaluation. The book strikes a nice balance of technical information, anecdotes, examples and illustrations, and Brown’s emphasis throughout is on creating microclimates that attend to the well being of people, animals and plants. 192 pages, soft cover $30US; cloth cover $60US,  ISBN 978-1-59726-740-3. Island Press.

Order at

 Dry Run - Preventing the Next Urban Water Crisis


Dry Run by engineer Jerry Yudelson, a leading authority on green building and sustainable development, shows the best ways to manage scarce water resources through interviews with more than 25 water researchers and industry experts. Examining the linkages between water, energy use, urban development and climate change, the book demonstrates best practices for achieving “net zero” water use in the built environment including:
• Water conservation strategies for buildings
• Rainwater harvesting
• Greywater reuse and water reclamation systems
• Water efficiency retrofits
• Onsite sewage treatment
• New water reuse and supply technologies
304 pages soft cover $24.95,  ISBN 978-0-86571-670-4. New Society Publishers.

Order at


Integrated Design - MITHUN


It is becoming widely accepted that integrated design goes hand-in-hand with successful sustainable design. Ecotone Publishing’s new book, Integrated Design – MITHUN, by David R. Macaulay, chronicles the practice, principles and projects of Seattle and San Francisco-based Mithun, a leading firm and advocate for sustainable design and urbanism.

Bert Gregory, FAIA, Mithun’s president and CEO, says that through the book his firm is “… opening our doors to fellow designers and the public to reveal first-hand details of our integrated design process, and sharing our knowledge in order to expand the possibilities for education and collaboration.”

Filled with beautiful photography and compelling case studies, this book packs a good helping of inspiration that takes nothing away from its education value. ISBN: 978-0-9749033-9-2, 260 pages, US$46.95. Info: 

Integrated Design- San Francisco Federal Building



This compact, 88-page softcover book takes a different approach in examining the application of integrated design to the acclaimed San Francisco Federal Building from the perspective of the client: the US General Services Administration, the architect: Morphosis, and the engineer: Arup. The narrative of the book, published by the School of Architecture and Planning at the University at Buffalo [State University of New York], is well supported with photos, plan, section and construction drawing details, and charts, but does force the reader to persevere through small, difficult-to-read type. Nevertheless, the reader will find the book informative and thorough. ISBN: 978-0-9771057-5-5, 716-829-3485