The Human-Powered Home: Choosing Muscles Over Motors
By Tamara Dean, 272 pages
"What if I could harness this energy?" An unusual question for anyone putting in a long stint on a treadmill perhaps, yet human power is a very old, practical, and empowering alternative to fossil fuels. Replacing motors with muscles can be considered a political act - an act of self-sufficiency that gains you independence.
The Human-Powered Home discusses the science and history of human power and examines the common elements of human-powered devices. It offers plans for making specific devices, grouped by area of use, and features dozens of individuals who share technical details and photos of their inventions. This book is a one-of-a-kind compendium of human-powered devices gathered from a unique collection of experts. Enthusiasts point to the advantages of human power:
- Portable and available on-demand
- Close connection to the process or product offers more control
- Improved health and fitness
- The satisfaction of being able to make do with what is available
For those who want to apply their own ingenuity, or for those who have never heard of human-powered machines, this book is an excellent reference. For those who are beginning to understand the importance of a life of reduced dependency on fossil fuels, this book could be a catalyst for change.
"The Human-Powered Home is a level-headed book which focuses on informing and entertaining. There is no utopian hyperbole, just useful facts and anecdotes that provide the foundation necessary to take appropriate action. Dean has produced an accessible primer for novices in the area of people power as well as a book that is thorough enough to benefit even experienced tinkerers."
- Joel Gillespie, Momentum Magazine
"Tamara Dean, author of The Human Powered Home, doesn't want anyone to get the wrong idea. Creating one's own power is not an easy undertaking. But it can be very energizing. The bicycle is the real hero in the book. There are photos and descriptions of dozens of jury-rigged devices, built to do everything from wash clothes to make soap to power laptops. While it's a thorough guide for confident do-it-yourselfers, the book also details how pedal and treadle power can make life-changing differences globally."
- Marsha Walton, Mother Nature Network
About the Author
Tamara Dean is a technical and environmental writer who lives in Wisconsin, where she and her partner David human-power their grain mill, coffee grinder, and assorted electrical gadgets.
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