I was just watching a great documentary titled Dennis Weaver’s Earthship which motivated me to do a little more research. The inventor/architect of the Earthship concept is Michael Reynolds who has been refining the design since the ‘70s.
The houses are built out of recycled tyres, aluminium cans, and bottles. The tyre walls are held together with compacted dirt, rendered with a coating of adobe made from sand, clay and straw. In some designs there are strawbale walls as well, depending on availability of local materials.
There are no external utilities connected to these houses. They collect their own water, are powered by renewable energy (solar PV and wind), and are passively heated and cooled. The water is reused three times. First as potable water captured from the roof, then as grey water to water the indoor garden beds, and then reused for flushing toilets. The black water is processed via a septic tank and a reed bed system.
Pretty cool, and Kim says I can build a mini one in the pool area. I think she might have been joking!
Please enjoy the documentary, however I apologise for the quality. It runs for 27 minutes and was made in 1990. The part about global warming was very interesting. It mentioned that we only have 10 years to save the environment. I guess we ran out of time!
Just imagine a whole community based on earthships. Well there is such a place called the Greater World community in Taos, New Mexico. That would be worth the trip. For more information have a look at Earthships on Wikipedia.
Michael Reynolds is also in a recent documentary titled “Garbage Warrior”. I believe it is out on DVD very soon. Here is a trailer for it.
It looks really cool. Earthships are a practical solution to the crisis that now confronts us. Maybe if we had have listened to Dennis Weaver 19 years ago, we might all be living in Earthships. Now that has to be better than our current building codes, and uses up all the crap we currently throw into landfill. What a wonderful way to preserve the environment for future generations.
bayside gardener says
Thanks for posting the Earthship clips. Wow, Denis Weaver must have made more money out of acting that I thought!!! What a place. It reminds me of happy holidays at Mallacoota staying at “Adobe”. Lots of recycle materials there, handbuilt, solid mudbrick. Beautiful. Brings out the old hippy in me!!
Gav, this is exactly the type of house that I would like to build. Being coverered and or buried it would be good in bushfire prone areas as well.
That was just fascinating. 1 lightbulb equals 10,000 gallons of crude oil!
The home is a Mc Mansion but yet it was so simple and easy to build. Im really keen to find out more about this sort of home in Australia and whether it is possible to build one here. Its affordable, why wouldn’t you want to build a home like that? It makes perfect sense doesn’t it?