Increasingly, individuals and families are taking a leap in the right direction and hopping on board the renewable energy ship. Thanks to Michael Reynolds, anyone can settle down in their very own sustainable ship – the Earthship.
What is an Earthship?
The Earthship Biotecture is the name of the design and construction company founded by Michael Reynolds, which began in Taos, New Mexico in the United States. Earthships have been around for over 40 years and are constantly being improved and transformed to meet housing needs around the globe.
The homes are built from local and natural materials and recyclable products, such as car tyres filled with earth to create walls. Many different models and customised design options are offered in order to meet your unique practical and design needs.
Construction costs are roughly the same as those of traditional homes, but Earthships have the added bonus of meeting all electricity and water needs, and do not require fossil fuels during construction. Earthships are not connected to the grid or the sewage system.
Solar and wind sources provide electricity for Earthships. To heat and cool homes, passive solar heating is used, where thermal mass keep houses cool during summer and warm in winter. Water is primarily heated by the sun, and is heated by natural gas as a backup when needed.
Water that comes from rain or snow is recirculated multiple times in an Earthship. The water is captured from the roof and filtered to be used for washing or bathing. It is then stored in planters to grow produce and plants without polluting the underground aquifers. This gray water is then used as toilet water, and filtered once again.
Ready to Set Sail?
If time permits, Earthships can be built by the owners, as construction requires only basic plumbing, electrical, and carpentry skills. The construction of an Earthship requires the purchase of the desired construction drawings.
An academy is offered in New Mexico where students follow intensive training about design techniques and construction methods that will assist them when building their own Earthships. Homes can also be built by trained Earthship construction teams.
Construction plans depend on the location, in order for Earthships to adapt to varying climates. Since Earthships are self-sufficient and do not require access to the grid, they can be built in isolated locations if desired.
Check out Earthship located in Brighton to see a model that has been built in the UK.
Sustainable home designs are becoming more and more popular, and the Earthship is just one of the many incredible models available in the sustainable home market.