Lowimpact.org provides practical, down-to-earth books stuffed with great information and written by subject specialists we know and trust. So far all of our authors have taught for us on Lowimpact.org courses so we have seen them in action too. You’ll love them! Our books are sold via our partner, the Centre for Alternative Technology (CAT).
The loveliest Loo tells of a girl’s unexpected discovery of a different kind of toilet, a compost toilet… and one with a surprise! The Loveliest Loo will make you laugh as you ponder the most basic elements of life and how we regard them. A charming story about a beautifully simple way to conserve our natural resources. The striking black and white images are designed to be coloured using pencils. A unique colouring book of interest to all ages, five and above. Mandy Burton is an artist who is passionate about ecology, education and growing food. 48 pages, £5.95. Buy from our partner, the Centre for Alternative Technology.
A small-scale gasifier can provide electricity and motive power on demand using garden prunings and wood scraps. The technology, based on the principles of charcoal production, flourished 100 years ago until oil became cheap. Energy engineer Dr Andrew Rollinson explores the science, history, and potential of small-scale gasifiers, and provides instructions on how to operate one successfully. With dwindling fossil fuel reserves, increased energy prices, climate change and mountains of waste, this book provides a helping hand. It will be relevant to those who want to assess whether the technology is right for them, but also serves as a guide for the gasifier operator, explaining what can go wrong, why, and how to achieve long-term success. Full colour, 170 pages, £12.95. Buy from our partner, the Centre for Alternative Technology.
From growing trees, through felling them, to selecting the right wood for the tasks you have in mind, Andy Reynolds brings a lifetime of experience in forestry, carpentry and innovative thinking to timber for building. He explains how to efficiently convert low value local round wood to high value sawn material and get the best out of your equipment, before outlining different drying methods and taking you on to preparing the timber for your particular project. Extensively illustrated with the author’s own photographs, timber for building provides a unique resource. Here’s the author giving a video run-through of the book. 180 pages, £11.95. Buy from our partner, the Centre for Alternative Technology.
Knit 1 Bike 1 is the light-hearted story of a woolly cycle journey around Scotland. Textile artist Janet Renouf-Miller cycled over 800 miles on her Brompton folding bicycle, connecting with people, telling their stories and giving workshops all over Scotland. The book is the story of her adventures and the people she met. Janet commemorated the journey not only by writing this book but by knitting and crocheting what she saw. She made woolly versions of everything from the Glenfinnan Viaduct (made famous by J K Rowling’s Harry Potter books), to her bicycle, worms and a sponge cake. There are many pictures in the book, both of Janet’s adventures and of the things that Janet crocheted or knitted. Full colour, 184 pages, £12.95. Buy from our partner, the Centre for Alternative Technology.
Back in our cave-dwelling days, food smoking was used to preserve food and then our ancestors discovered just how great it makes food taste. Turan T. Turan has been a passionate smoker of food for many years, teaches courses all around UK and now crystallises his knowledge in Food Smoking: a Practical Guide. Within its covers he explains the basics of cold and hot smoking; delves into the principles of combustion and explains brining and dry salt curing. He also outlines how to source wood for smoking and provides plans for building a cold smoker and smoke generators. 192 pages, £11.95. Buy from our partner, the Centre for Alternative Technology.
The author has been generating his own electricity from wind and sun for several decades. In both edition one and two of Wind and Solar Electricity he shared his knowledge and experiences so that readers could do the same. Dramatic developments in technology and improved equipment availability in the last few years have meant that a third edition was thought appropriate, with new chapters, drawings, schematics, and photographs. The hands-on approach is retained in this edition, with lots of practical tips, as well as advice on using second-hand components where feasible. He provides practical advice on all aspects of building and maintaining a low-cost, low-carbon home-generation system. This book accompanies an online course – details in resources. Full colour, 204 pages, £13.95.
Good for developed or developing countries, the wind pump described in this book can pump rainwater, greywater, river, pond or well water for irrigation, aerate a fish pond, run a water feature or even be a bird scarer. The turbine is 700mm diameter, and the head plus rotor weighs less than 4kg. In a light-to-moderate wind, it should pump 1000 litres per day, with a head of 3-5 metres. If you have engineering skills and kit, you can fabricate nearly all of the system yourself; if you get all the parts manufactured, it’s not much more complicated than DIY flatpack furniture. 100 pages, £11.95. Buy from our partner, the Centre for Alternative Technology.
This book teaches you to identify, grow and harvest medicinal plants. It shows you how to make a range of simple medicines including ointments, salves, syrups, oils, compresses, infusions and decoctions. There are sections on body systems, explaining which herbs are useful for a range of ailments, and detailed herb monographs. This second edition has been revised to take account of recent changes in UK legislation. Sorrell is a highly-qualified, leading expert in natural health with over 15 years experience, who teaches all levels, from beginner to postgraduate. 176 pages, £11.95. Buy from our partner, the Centre for Alternative Technology.
Compost toilets reduce water usage, prevent pollution and produce fertiliser from a waste product. Built properly they can be attractive, family friendly and low maintenance. This DIY guide contains everything you need to know about building a compost toilet, plus proprietary models, decomposition, pathogens and hygiene, use and maintenance, environmental benefits, troubleshooting and further resources. A well-designed composting toilet system is at the pinnacle of sustainable sewage treatment. 126 pages, £11.95. Buy from our partner, the Centre for Alternative Technology.
Particularly applicable to domestic dwellings in the UK, although the principles described are widely adopted throughout the developed world. Lee has over 10 years of experience in consulting, training and installation work, field trials, technical research and developmental thinking in the solar thermal industry. He combines this with a passionate personal commitment to making the best use of the earth’s most abundant energy resource. This book provides a comprehensive introduction to every aspect of solar hot water, including relevant equipment, components, system design and installation and even how to build your own panels. 270 pages, £12.95. Buy from our partner, the Centre for Alternative Technology.
‘A veritable encyclopedia of spinning know-how, this book has the beginner in mind, but experienced spinners will find plenty of helpful new tips. Janet is an experienced teacher – her comprehensive instructions allow new spinners to get started with the minimum of equipment and give those who have a wheel already a full understanding of its operation. The chapter on ‘other fibres’ offers a wealth of information about fibres as diverse as yak and SeaCell, as well as information on the preparation and spinning of silk. With its wealth of information and encouraging approach, I would highly recommend this book to any spinner’ Review, Spin-Off Magazine. 224 pages, £12.95. Buy from our partner, the Centre for Alternative Technology.
The author, Maxine Clarke grew up in Jamaica and as a child was taught to make soaps by her grandmother. ‘Make Your Own Natural Soaps’ is intended for beginners, includes both hot and cold process soap making, with careful step-by-step instructions. There are extensive bar, liquid and cream soap recipes, full details of the equipment needed to make a start and a re-batching chapter just in case anything goes wrong! And for anyone interested in turning their new skills to profit there is information on the legislation and regulations you need to comply with to be able to sell soap. 166 pages, £11.95. Buy from our partner, the Centre for Alternative Technology.
This book covers everything you need to know about wood heating, from planning a system, choosing, sizing, installing & making a stove, obtaining & storing firewood, and cooking with wood, to heating your water with a back boiler. It includes chainsaw use, basic forestry, health & safety, chimneys, pellet and woodchip stoves, and how to light a fire and keep it going. This edition has been expanded to reflect improvements in appliances, developments in the type and availability of wood-based fuels and the author’s own recent experience of installing and using an automated biomass system. 166 pages, £11.95. Buy from our partner, the Centre for Alternative Technology.
There are many books available on using essential oils – now there is one on how to make your own. Making your own essential oils can be a fascinating hobby, or for the professional aromatherapist, a way of ensuring that your products are fresh, unadulterated and organic. This book also describes how to make creams, lotions, balms, gels, tinctures and other skin-care products from the essential oils and distillate waters you have produced. 212 pages, £11.95. Buy from our partner, the Centre for Alternative Technology.