Chelsea Green Publishing

Masonry Heaters

Pages:352 pages
Book Art:Color photos and illustrations throughout
Size: 8 x 10 inch
Publisher:Chelsea Green Publishing
Paperback: 9781603582131
Pub. Date September 07, 2010

Masonry Heaters

Designing, Building, and Living with a Piece of the Sun

By Ken Matesz
Foreword by Albie Barden

Building & Energy

Availability: In Stock


Available Date:
September 07, 2010


Masonry Heaters is a complete guide to designing and living with one of the oldest, and yet one of the newest, heating devices. A masonry heater’s design, placement in the home, and luxurious radiant heat redefine the hearth for the modern era, turning it into a piece of the sun right inside the home. Like the feeling one gets from the sun on a spring day, the environment around a masonry heater feels fresh. The radiant heat feels better on the skin. It warms the home both gently and efficiently. In fact, the value of a masonry heater lies in its durability, quality, serviceability, dependability, and health-supporting features. And it is an investment in self-sufficiency and freedom from fossil fuels.

The book discusses different masonry heater designs, including variations extant in Europe, and explains the growth of their popularity in the United States beginning in the late 1970s. For the reader who may be familiar only with open fireplaces and metal woodstoves, Masonry Heaters will bring a new understanding and appreciation of massive heat storage and gentle-but-persistent radiant heat. Masonry heaters offer a unique comfort that is superior to that from convection heat from forced-air systems, and more personal than that offered by “radiant” floors. As Matesz demonstrates, the heat from the sun or from a masonry heater is genuine heat instead of just insulation against the loss of heat.

Those who are looking to build, add onto, or remodel a house will find comprehensive and practical advice for designing and installing a masonry heater, including detailed discussion of materials, code considerations, and many photos and illustrations. While this is not a do-it-yourself guide for building a masonry heater, it provides facts every heater builder should know. Professional contractors will find this a useful tool to consult, and homeowners considering a new method of home heating will find all they need to know about masonry heaters within these pages.


"Masonry Heaters is informational across the board, and shares common, advantageous characteristics to passive solar design. Both methods of heating rely on heat transfer by radiation rather than convection, which gives a more natural feeling while reducing drafts and noise; both utilize thermal mass, which gives greater thermal stability; and both can allow independence from energy shocks and price fluctuations. I highly recommend this book for people-in any field-who are interested in learning about the design, construction, and use of this superior system of heating."--Ken Haggard, Author of Passive Solar Architecture

"Masonry heaters provide a quiet comfort that must be experienced to be believed. In this book, Ken Matesz shares his love of masonry heaters and artfully explains how they work, how to use them to provide efficient and comfortable heat throughout the day, and what it takes to install one in your home. This is a truly delightful book."--David Bainbridge, Author of The Straw Bale House, and Passive Solar Architecture

"This book should be on the required reading list for anyone wanting to become a heater mason, or for those who are planning to install and heat with a masonry heater. Matesz has captured the true beauty and user-friendliness of these exquisite heaters, and, with ease, helps guide readers through the process of designing a beautiful, and functional "bit of sun" for their homes. I highly recommend the book, as well as masonry heaters."--Tom Stroud, Founding Member and Former President of The Masonry Heater Association

"In Masonry Heaters, a rich and wonderful book, Ken Matesz sweeps away the ashes of our ignorance about the right relationship to fire. He argues-with quiet and crystal-clear clarity-that masonry heaters are the most intelligent, gentle, efficient, environmentally friendly and sustainable, beautiful, and healthy form of heating humans have ever known. There is more knowledge and truth about masonry heaters between these two covers than has ever been published before in English."--Albie Barden, Maine Wood Heat Company

"When I travel in the Northern states of the U.S.--particularly New England, where most people depend on heating with oil--I fear for these millions of folks for whom depleting, climate-changing fossil fuels are all that stand between winter comfort on one hand, and death by freezing on the other. Masonry Heaters explores one of the most promising alternatives, and its message needs to get out far and wide, and fast."--Richard Heinberg, Senior Fellow, Post Carbon Institute and Author of The Party's Over: Oil, War and the Fate of Industrial Societies

"This book is a joy! Ken Matesz guides us on a clear path through the woods to getting an heirloom masonry heater, and offers invaluable information on why we should want to traverse it. Readers will learn about many more things than just masonry heaters along the journey, however, including how their house works (or should work), and how to have their own radiating energy source at its center—including exactly what it takes to get their masonry heater designed, built, and burning. Not to mention some wonderful stories of the people who have made masonry heaters a part of their lives! May the sun shine on this book."--Timothy Seaton, President, The Alliance of Masonry Heater and Oven Professionals


Ken Matesz

Ken Matesz first learned about masonry heaters in the early 1980s, built his first one in the early 1990s, and opened the Masonry Heater Store, LLC after the turn of the new century. Matesz's first solo heater project in 1994, a Finnish-style heater in his own home, gave his family heating energy independence. Now, with his new book, Masonry Heaters, he hopes to show many others how they can achieve the same freedom and a better standard of living using this simple but elegant way of heating. He lives in Swanton, Ohio.


Masonry Heater's Website


The Natural Building Companion

The Natural Building Companion

By Jacob Deva Racusin and Ace McArleton

Natural buildings not only bring satisfaction to their makers and joy to their occupants, they also leave the gentlest footprint on the environment. In this complete reference to natural building philosophy, design, and technique, Jacob Deva Racusin and Ace McArleton walk builders through planning and construction, offering step-by-step instructions on:

  • siting and site analysis
  • choosing materials
  • integrating basic structural considerations into a design
  • strategies for heating/cooling efficiency and moisture management
  • planning for acoustics
  • developing an integrative design
  • navigating budgeting, code compliance, and project management
  • creating the foundation, wall system, roof, and floors
  • selecting and making plasters and paints
  • evaluating options for mechanical and utility systems
  • protecting against fire and insects
  • integrating structures within landscape, climate, and human communities

...and more

Applicable to building in climates that are cold and wet, hot and dry, or somewhere in-between, The Natural Building Companion provides the tools necessary to understand basic principles of building science, including structural and thermal engineering, and hydrodynamics. This guide offers thorough, up-to-date, and advanced installation details and performance characteristics of straw-bale, straw-clay, woodchip-clay, and cellulose wall systems, as well as earthen and stone wall systems and a variety of framing, roofing, flooring, mechanical system, and finishing options. This fully-illustrated volume informs professionals making the transition from conventional building, homeowners embarking on their own construction, or green builders who want comprehensive guidance on natural-building options. A State-of-the-Art Resource for Natural Builders The Natural Building Companion is a part of The Yestermorrow Design/Build Library and includes an instructional DVD.

Available in: Paperback

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The Natural Building Companion

Jacob Deva Racusin, Ace McArleton

Paperback $59.95

Lean Logic

Lean Logic

By David Fleming

Lean Logic is David Fleming’s masterpiece, the product of more than thirty years’ work and a testament to the creative brilliance of one of Britain’s most important intellectuals.

A dictionary unlike any other, it leads readers through Fleming’s stimulating exploration of fields as diverse as culture, history, science, art, logic, ethics, myth, economics, and anthropology, being made up of four hundred and seventy-two engaging essay-entries covering topics such as Boredom, Community, Debt, Growth, Harmless Lunatics, Land, Lean Thinking, Nanotechnology, Play, Religion, Spirit, Trust, and Utopia.

The threads running through every entry are Fleming’s deft and original analysis of how our present market-based economy is destroying the very foundations—ecological, economic, and cultural— on which it depends, and his core focus: a compelling, grounded vision for a cohesive society that might weather the consequences. A society that provides a satisfying, culturally-rich context for lives well lived, in an economy not reliant on the impossible promise of eternal economic growth. A society worth living in. Worth fighting for. Worth contributing to.

The beauty of the dictionary format is that it allows Fleming to draw connections without detracting from his in-depth exploration of each topic. Each entry carries intriguing links to other entries, inviting the enchanted reader to break free of the imposed order of a conventional book, starting where she will and following the links in the order of her choosing. In combination with Fleming’s refreshing writing style and good-natured humor, it also creates a book perfectly suited to dipping in and out.

The decades Fleming spent honing his life's work are evident in the lightness and mastery with which Lean Logic draws on an incredible wealth of cultural and historical learning—from Whitman to Whitefield, Dickens to Daly, Kropotkin to Kafka, Keats to Kuhn, Oakeshott to Ostrom, Jung to Jensen, Machiavelli to Mumford, Mauss to Mandelbrot, Leopold to Lakatos, Polanyi to Putnam, Nietzsche to Næss, Keynes to Kumar, Scruton to Shiva, Thoreau to Toynbee, Rabelais to Rogers, Shakespeare to Schumacher, Locke to Lovelock, Homer to Homer-Dixon—in demonstrating that many of the principles it commends have a track-record of success long pre-dating our current society.

Fleming acknowledges, with honesty, the challenges ahead, but rather than inducing despair, Lean Logic is rare in its ability to inspire optimism in the creativity and intelligence of humans to nurse our ecology back to health; to rediscover the importance of place and play, of reciprocity and resilience, and of community and culture.

Lean Logic is a comfort in disorientating times. A book to keep at your side. A dictionary of empowerment.

Available in: Hardcover

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The Hand-Sculpted House

The Hand-Sculpted House

By Ianto Evans and Michael G. Smith and Linda Smiley

Are you ready for the Cob Cottage? This is a building method so old and so simple that it has been all but forgotten in the rush to synthetics. A cob cottage,cobb, however, might be the ultimate expression of ecological design, a structure so attuned to its surroundings that its creators refer to it as "an ecstatic house."

The authors build a house the way others create a natural garden. They use the oldest, most available materials imaginable--earth, clay, sand, straw, and water--and blend them to redefine the future (and past) of building. Cob (the word comes from an Old English root, meaning "lump") is a mixture of non-toxic, recyclable, and often free materials. Building with cob requires no forms, no cement, and no machinery of any kind. Builders actually sculpt their structures by hand.

Building with earth is nothing new to America; the oldest structures on the continent were built with adobe bricks. Adobe, however, has been geographically limited to the Southwest. The limits of cob are defined only by the builder's imagination.
Cob offers answers regarding our role in Nature, family and society, about why we feel the ways that we do, about what's missing in our lives. Cob comes as a revelation, a key to a saner world.

Cob has been a traditional building process for millennia in Europe, even in rainy and windy climates like the British Isles, where many cob buildings still serve as family homes after hundreds of years. The technique is newly arrived to the Americas, and, as with so many social trends, the early adopters are in the Pacific Northwest.

Cob houses (or cottages, since they are always efficiently small by American construction standards) are not only compatible with their surroundings, they ARE their surroundings, literally rising up from the earth. They are full of light, energy-efficient, and cozy, with curved walls and built-in, whimsical touches. They are delightful. They are ecstatic.

Available in: Paperback

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The Hand-Sculpted House

Ianto Evans, Michael G. Smith, Linda Smiley, Deanne Bednar

Paperback $35.00

Climate Change

Climate Change

By Jon Clift and Amanda Cuthbert

You know that the ice caps are melting, the seasons are changing, sea levels are rising, storms are on the increase, but what can you do about it? Plenty!

This book puts the power back into your hands in the face of the doom and gloom of climate change. You don’t have to wait for someone else to sort it out; rather than worry and feel helpless, you can get up and do something.

Climate Change: Simple Things You Can Do to Make a Difference is packed with ideas for action, from simple everyday things that cost nothing to bigger projects that involve more time and money. For example:

Get on your bike • Buy local food • Turn off your TV • Insulate your attic • Recycle and compost • Take the train • Turn down the heat • Install solar panels

Do your part and protect the planet for today and tomorrow.

Available in: Paperback

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Climate Change

Amanda Cuthbert, Jon Clift

Paperback $7.95