Sunday Book Review: Off the Grid Homes

With Toronto already celebrating its first smog days, I picked up Lori Ryker's "Off the Grid Homes" with a bit of enthusiasm. Though I love the smell of progress as much as the next fellow, I have started thinking Toronto's pollution, created by coal fire and car engine, is becoming the fetid stink of the obsolete.

Unfortunately there was nothing of real help or import in this handsome volume. Most of these case studies are country mansions, which makes them rather exceptional cases. Ryker proffers no affordable solutions for the urban apartment complexes that the bulk of humanity calls home. These people as well as a billion Chinese will have to continue living on the grid until they can afford a house made from sustainable wood products.

The book is quite nice looking and leaving it upon your coffee table will inform your guests that you are an intelligent and liberal sort of person possessed by a deep concern for the environment. It is not so shallow looking as the photographic rockstar biographies you may otherwise be tempted to display.

Aesthetic considerations aside, this book left me with the distinct impression that building sustainable mansions in Montana will not solve our environmental woes. It just seems to be a rather expensive way of vanishing up one's own asshole.

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