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Want to reduce your footprint? Build an Earthship! (31 Photos)
Have you ever heard of an Earthship? Neither have we, but it’s the next phase in creating sustainable housing. And it’s pretty cool!
We know, this is the image you had of an Earthship when you first heard of it, right? Us too, but in reality, it’s much cooler.
An Earthship is about building a home that uses passive solar power and is made of natural and recycled materials (such as cans and earth filled tires) as building materials. It’s called as such because it’s an enclosed, independent vessel; self reliant, like a spaceship.
They’re designed to be off the grid, and don’t rely on public utilities or fossil fuels, but are self-sustaining. It revolves around 6 key concepts:
1) On-site electricity production;
2) Turning rainwater into drinking water;
3) On-site wastewater treatment;
4) Passive heating and cooling;
5) Food production;
6) Using readily available materials
This concept was pioneered by Michael Reynolds of
Earthship Biotecture, and it’s a pretty neat concept.
This is Glen Kinney and his son Duncan, and this is their Earthship, built on the prairies outside of Vulcan, Alberta. Glen is a retired oil and gas worker, and this is his retirement home for himself and his wife. While you’d think that this is an odd place to retire to, it’s got everything else he needs; running water, toilets that flush, heating and cooling, and oh yeah, satellite tv and internet.
Duncan shared the construction of the home on his
With the crew from Earthship Biotecture giving them a hand, they started this project in the summer of 2014.
The walls were constructed of over 800 recycled tires and 12,000 cans encased in mortar.
The rest of the framing was done with sustainable wood.
They put in massive cisterns to collect rainwater. All told, it’s about 26,000 litres of water that their system can contain.
You can see how the building materials were situated and slowly covered with mortar and plaster.
Has a very Tattooine vibe, don’t you think?
Here’s a diagram of the exterior that was shared on Duncan’s blog. The south facing windows and solar panels heat the home and charge the batteries to provide electricity. The majority of the structure is buried in the earth for insulation. They’ve also got roof vents and earth tubes to cool the house in the summer.
As well, they recycle their grey water (water, after being used in sinks and showers) to water the vegetables in their greenhouse. Yep; they grow their own food too.
You can see in the interior layout above. It’s pretty spacious and roomy, with the greenhouse across the front for their vegetables, and the rooms cozily nested in the earth.
And here it is complete. With all the help and volunteers, it took only 5 weeks to build, and got a lot of attention from the media, especially the
But we bet you’re wondering what it’s like in the winter? Pretty cozy.
They’ve got a wood burning stove for heat when needed, and with with the large southern windows and the passage between the front of the house (where the greenhouse is) and the living space working as an air warming zone, the house remains at a balmy 20 degrees, no matter how cold outside.
As you can see the greenhouse is pretty cozy.
Isn’t that just a breathtaking landscape?
The passive solar panels do a lot of the work keeping the place running, but from time to time the weather gets dismal enough that they’ve run low on power, and have a back-up propane generator.
But once a sunny day comes, they’re able to charge up their batteries and get back to status quo. They’ve admitted that they could have built a better electrical infrastructure with more batteries and solar panels, but this suits their needs. They point is reduction and sustainability.
Really feels like you’re away from it all, doesn’t it?
Inside, you can’t even tell you’re in an Earthship made of tires and cans. The kitchen is modern and roomy.
Bathroom looks like a suburban bathroom.
And all 3 bedrooms are spacious.
And when the sun hits the greenhouse; wow.
Wonder if they’re on AirBnB?
Earthship Biotecture & Green Energy Futures