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Buying books might not be the greenest things you can do (unless you’re reading them online or on that new handy Kindle), but sometimes a good design book can’t be passed up.

I received a few bookstore gift certificates this Christmas. Rather than load up on the latest fiction releases, which I can just get from the library or trade for from friends, I thought I’d look into some green design-minded books — ones that can both share new ideas but also dress up my coffee table. I love leafing through photo-filled books or design magazines on lazy Sundays. They help inspire visitors and help me subtly brag about my impeccable taste (if I may say so myself).

Some goods ones I’m looking into:

Sustainable Living: 25 International Examples
by Dominique Gauzin-Muller
This definitely looks like an aspirational collection. Full of photos, this book spotlights 25 eco-friendly homes from 18 countries around the world — some in rural settings, others in urban areas, which is a nice mix to show how green can apply to wherever you are.

ecoDesign: the Sourcebook
by Alastair Fuad-Luke
I’ve seen this one on lots of best-of green design lists. While it is a few years old now (published in 2006), it covers the basics for greening up the different parts of your home and choosing smarter design.

The Green House: New Directions in Sustainable Architecture
by Alanna Stang
Domino‘s review wins me over and sums it up well: “a well-designed book about well-designed homes.” Published in 2005, this book spotlights 35 homes in 15 countries with lush photos, drawings and info on their “greenness.”

And, of course, if you’re looking to see green dream homes regularly, Natural Home Magazine features unusual and more-typical eco-friendly homes in every issue. HGTV’s sister site Ecologue has a few of their favorites too.

Does anyone else have recommendations? What is your favorite design book?

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