Earthship Homes Sustainable Living

Earthship Homes Sustainable Living

Earthship Homes use approximately 45 per cent recycled materials. Old tyres, glass bottles and drinks cans are all essential construction materials. Michael Reynolds the inventor and owner of Earthships Biotecture describes the buildings as vessels. “These vessels encounter the phenomena of the earth, to provide sustenance for people.” These vessels do everything for themselves, producing all the electricity, collecting all its drinking water and taking care of all wastewater.

 

 

Construction prices may vary from $110 per square foot to $1.5 million bunkers. An Earthship vessel requires a lot of labour and dedication to the Earthship ethos. Everything from collecting all the necessary materials available locally to pounding the tyres for the vessel frame. Typically, a tyre used in an Earthship home is packed with 136kg (300lb) of earth.

Garbage Warriors

Earthship vessels are self-sustaining homes constructed from reclaimed materials.

Earthship homes are unique because they do not require utility grids, water and sewage pipelines. Therefore, giving the vessel owner physically independence. Each vessel gets everything its inhabitants need from nature. Sun, rain, gravity, wind, condensation, convection all come together to create a living breathing habitat that takes care of its occupants. 

Michael Reynolds says the six essential things that humanity needs are water, electricity, comfortable shelter, sewage treatment, garbage and food. The Earthship proposes to provide all these things at no additional cost to its inhabitants.

Variable Designs

Over the past 30 years, the design of the Earthship Homes varied considerably. From Mexico to Malawi, India, Canada and the Philippines. It appears the Earthships homes work best in warm climates. Colder climates require additional heating sources to keep the home temperature regulated during the winter months.


Before the construction phase, it is recommended you consider energy modelling to predict the particular energy performance of your vessel. Modelling software look at a variety of things including insulation thicknesses, they can account for sun angles and micro climates. Thus, informing you whether your interior climate and temperatures are appropriate for an Earthship Home.

Earthship Visitor Center near Taos, New Mexico. Image: R0Ng | (CC BY-ND 2.0) | Flickr
Earthship
The hobbit like earthship homes. Image: Jenny Parkins | (CC BY-SA 2.0) | Flickr

Adaptations to Consider

Critics of these homes argue about the door and window design, room placement, lack of separation of the house from the greenhouse. As well as, the abundance of underground insects in the home and leaking roofs are design problems. Furthermore, another major concern is the off-gassing of the tyres, which could potentially expose vessel occupants to volatile chemicals and heavy metal.  The thermal mass is attributed to the thick earth berm and packed earth walls, not the tyres.

 

Alternative adaptations include an aquaponics household system for water purification and greywater harvesting. Hydroponics is ideal in the greenhouse for leaf vegetables. Solar panels and solar water heaters are recommended. Biogas would be ideal for food waste, other organic non-food waste should be composted. Additionally, vermiculture would work well for toilets.

 

Presently, there are various ways to upgrade the Earthship design with modern sustainable technologies. However, the installation and improvements mentioned do not necessarily save money but they do reduce grid dependency.

earthship

Above is a video of fabulous Taso, New Mexico Earthship.

Below is a video of the Groundhouse an Earthship vessel constructed in Brittany, France.

Feature Image:

earthship homes
Earthship Biotecture, Taos, New Mexico. Image: Warren LeMay | Flickr

Share:

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on linkedin

Leave a Reply

Share:

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on linkedin

Pages of interest

You Might Also Like

plastic alternative red algae

Plastic Alternative – Marinatex

MarinaTex is an alternative to plastic film.  It is made from agar from red algae and proteins from fish processing waste.  MarinaTex is stronger than

precious plastic universe - brick wall

Precious Plastic Universe

Precious Plastic Universe (Precious Plastic version 4) launched on Tuesday 7th January 2020. At Viable AlternativEnergy, we’ve been waiting anxiously for this new update since

Rice straw

Rice Straw – Waste to Packaging

Rice straw is a by-product of rice production. Globally, over 800 million tons of this straw is produced per year. With intensive rice farming models,

reuse N95

Reuse N95 Respirators Safely?

Is it possible to reuse N95 masks without a reduction of the respirator’s effectiveness? Terminology In this article when I mention reuse, I am using

O-Wind Dandelion

O-Wind Turbine

The O-Wind multidirectional turbine spins on a single axis but can harness gusts coming from any direction. The turbine mechanical motion makes use of Bernoulli’s principle. It

precious plastic

Precious Plastic

Precious Plastic is an open source platform that shares their findings on how to solve plastic pollution. This project was created by Dave Hakkens from

Mouldable glue Sugru

Mouldable Glue – Sugru

Sugru is a tool that helps to strengthen the reuse step of the European waste hierarchy.  The five steps are “Prevention, Reuse, Recycle, Recovery and

You Might Also Like