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


Reinventing Fire

Reinventing Fire

By Amory Lovins

Oil and coal have built our civilization, created our wealth, and enriched the lives of billions. Yet, their rising costs to our security, economy, health, and environment now outweigh their benefits. Moreover, that long-awaited energy tipping point—where alternatives work better than oil and coal and compete purely on cost—is no longer decades in the future. It is here and now. And it is the fulcrum of economic transformation.

A global clean-energy race has emerged with astounding speed. The ability to operate without fossil fuels will define winners and losers in business—and among nations.

In Reinventing Fire, Amory Lovins and Rocky Mountain Institute offer a new vision to revitalize business models, end-run Washington gridlock, and win the clean-energy race—not forced by public policy but led by business for enduring profit. This groundbreaking roadmap reveals market-based solutions across the transportation, building, industry, and electricity sectors. It highlights pathways and competitive strategies for a 158%-bigger 2050 U.S. economy that needs no oil, no coal, no nuclear energy, one-third less natural gas, and no new inventions.

This transition would cost $5 trillion less than business-as-usual—without counting fossil fuels’ huge hidden costs. It requires no new federal taxes, subsidies, mandates, or laws. The policy innovations needed to unlock and speed it need no Act of Congress.

Whether you care most about profits and jobs, national security, health, or environmental stewardship, Reinventing Fire charts a pragmatic course that makes sense and makes money. With clarity and mastery, Lovins and RMI point out the astounding opportunities for enterprise to create the new energy era.

Drawing praise President Bill Clinton, former National Security Advisor Robert McFarlane, and a host of others, Reinventing Fire has piqued the interest of world leaders, business leaders, and political strategists.

The paperback will carry a new preface detailing the response from China and beyond.

Available in: Paperback

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The Solar House

The Solar House

By Daniel D. Chiras

Passive solar heating and passive cooling—approaches known as natural conditioning—provide comfort throughout the year by reducing, or eliminating, the need for fossil fuel. Yet while heat from sunlight and ventilation from breezes is free for the taking, few modern architects or builders really understand the principles involved.

Now Dan Chiras, author of the popular book The Natural House, brings those principles up to date for a new generation of solar enthusiasts.

The techniques required to heat and cool a building passively have been used for thousands of years. Early societies such as the Native American Anasazis and the ancient Greeks perfected designs that effectively exploited these natural processes. The Greeks considered anyone who didn't use passive solar to heat a home to be a barbarian!

In the United States, passive solar architecture experienced a major resurgence of interest in the 1970s in response to crippling oil embargoes. With grand enthusiasm but with scant knowledge (and sometimes little common sense), architects and builders created a wide variety of solar homes. Some worked pretty well, but looked more like laboratories than houses. Others performed poorly, overheating in the summer because of excessive or misplaced windows and skylights, and growing chilly in the colder months because of insufficient thermal mass and insulation and poor siting.

In The Solar House, Dan Chiras sets the record straight on the vast potential for passive heating and cooling. Acknowledging the good intentions of misguided solar designers in the past, he highlights certain egregious—and entirely avoidable—errors. More importantly, Chiras explains in methodical detail how today's home builders can succeed with solar designs.

Now that energy efficiency measures including higher levels of insulation and multi-layered glazing have become standard, it is easier than ever before to create a comfortable and affordable passive solar house that will provide year-round comfort in any climate.

Moreover, since modern building materials and airtight construction methods sometimes result in air-quality and even toxicity problems, Chiras explains state-of-the-art ventilation and filtering techniques that complement the ancient solar strategies of thermal mass and daylighting. Chiras also explains the new diagnostic aids available in printed worksheet or software formats, allowing readers to generate their own design schemes.

Available in: Paperback

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The Solar House

Daniel D. Chiras

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The Slate Roof Bible

The Slate Roof Bible

By Joseph C. Jenkins

Joseph Jenkins climbed on his first slate roof in 1968, authored the first edition of The Slate Roof Bible in 1997, and published the second edition in 2003. Both editions received national awards. Now, a dozen years later, Jenkins is still very active in the slate roofing industry. The third edition of the book reflects more than a decade of additional experience being passed on to the reader by the man who is arguably the foremost expert on slate roofs in the United States today.

The third edition, hardbound, completely updates and expands the material in the second edition, with more emphasis on the craft of slate roof installation. Expanded sections include slate siding, eyebrow dormers, turrets, soldering, flashings, international slate, American slate history, slating styles, installation and repair tips, and trade secrets. Dozens of new color photographs have been added, as well as step-by-step illustrations and line drawings.

This book is sure to become a classic. It belongs on the shelf of every architect, roofer, slate roof owner, architectural consultant, history buff, and anyone in the roofing industry.

Available in: Hardcover

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The Complete Yurt Handbook

The Complete Yurt Handbook

By Paul King

The yurt or ger is a low-impact structure that causes no permanent damage to the land on which it is pitched. It is easy to erect and can be taken down in an hour. It is cool in summer and, with a stove, warm in winter. For centuries, people throughout central Asia have made yurts their homes. Robust and versatile, the yurt has evolved into the ultimate portable dwelling.

Yurts are perfect for offices, summer houses, meditation spaces, spare rooms, or just beautifully satisfying spaces to be in! Join the thousands of North Americans who are discovering the many virtues of the yurt.

Part One of the book delves into the history of the yurt and the principles behind its construction, and explores modern life in a Mongolian ger and the culture and etiquette of ger living.

Part Two gives fully illustrated and detailed instructions on how to make several of the most popular types of yurt, including the "weekend yurt." With a few common wood-working tools, even an absolute beginner could build the frame for this simple, elegant structure.

Available in: Paperback

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