Monday, July 17, 2017

An Earthship Overview

Earthships were first heard of in the 1970’s when Michael Reynolds, an architect, decided to design a home that would do three particular things:

  1. It would be constructed of sustainable materials, recycled materials or materials that came from the local area where the home was being built.
  2. All of its energy sources would be natural, leaving it completely off the grid.
  3. It would be possible for someone with no knowledge of construction to build one.

They are constructed primarily of tires filled with rammed earth and usually built in a U-shape. This method came about since it’s hard to construct ninety-degree angles with tires. Each tire holds an average of an entire wheelbarrow load of dirt, which is put inside the tire, and then rammed into place with a sledgehammer. As such, each tire weighs about three hundred pounds. It’s one of the most secure structures at this point.

Earthship Water
The roof construction is usually based on wooden trusses and heavily insulated so little to no heat will be lost. Water is collected from the roof the local environment, from rain and condensation for example. Normally collected into a cistern, it is used for all water necessities except toilet flushing. That is accomplished by greywater that has been recycled throughout the home.

Earthship Power
Power for these homes comes from both solar and wind sources and then inverted into electricity for use in the home. Batteries are stored in special rooms built just for that purpose and collect the power harvested. This electricity is used for just about anything in the home. However, the Earthship is neither heated nor cooled using electricity.

Earthship Food Production
Part of the home is known as the “Earthship wetlands”. These planters make use of the greywater from sinks, showers and other household uses to grow fresh fruits and vegetables to help feed the family throughout the winter. There is no better way to get organic food you can trust, and have it fresh when others cannot.

Earthship Toilets
All of the sewage from an Earthship is treated and composted for other uses. Whether it is for fertilizer or landscaping, it is treated so that no pollution is created. They are also treated in a way that completely removes the “smell” often associated with the subject.

Earthship Benefits
In addition to growing food in the greenhouse planters that utilize greywater, you can also add other food amenities. For instance, you can install a fish pond and grow your own preference of fish to eat, or you could add a chicken coop for all the eggs and meat you might need.

There’s no self-sufficiency quite like that acquired by living in an Earthship. You will have no monthly bills, you don’t have to work for survival and you are literally making the world a better place by reducing your carbon footprint. Between the natural power options, the extraordinary water recycling abilities and the composting sewage treatment facility, you are creating little to no pollution at all.

Earthships really couldn’t be easier to build. Many people have built them with up to three levels in as little as three months time. Furthermore, there was no hired help nor were there any expensive pieces of specialty equipment used. And there’s no home that’s any cheaper to build. The most basic Earthship, known as the Simple Survival Model, costs about $7,000. But even the most sensational models top out at about $70,000.

Probably the best part about an Earthship is the fact that it causes us to think about the world we live in. Not only are Earthships a model in green living, it can even give back to the environment for cheap, simple, hearty living.

It might be time to think about our own Earthship!