Earthships: Too Alien to Occupy? *Video* – LivingMini®

EarthShip_2I was talking with my new friend Jim (see Jim in the Save the Bay video) and he was telling me about Earthships. Now, I had no idea what he was talking about (typical), so I decided to do a little research and here’s what I found.

How Earthships are Built

Earthships are dwellings mainly built with natural and recycled materials (used tires, cans) and are passive solar, meaning they are built to utilize the energy of the sun. They are generally horse-shoe shaped and south-facing to maximize sun exposure.

Earthships are mainly constructed of earth-filled tires and a honeycomb of recycled cans which provides a thermal mass to help regulate indoor temperature. They also usually have their own natural ventilation system and the roof is made of earth or adobe for added energy efficiency.

How Earthships Work

Earthships are generally off-grid homes, and carbon neutral: requiring no municipal utilities or fossil fuels and no water from aquifers. Hence the idea of a ship – an entity that is entirely self functioning.

You’ve got to check out this rad video because:

  • •  These people are crazy crunchy
  • •  It shows how an Earthship is built

{youtube} SEg74ZMP4tM |650|400{/youtube}

Green Design Principles

EarthShip_3Earthships use these green building design principles:

  • •  Electricity: From the sun and wind
  • •  Water: From rain and snow melt, used four times
  • •  Sewage: Treated on site in botanical planters
  • •  Heating and Cooling: From the sun and the earth
  • •  Food: Grown inside and outside

I’m down with the whole build green / use recycled materials bit, but the Earthship movement is slightly funky. I mean, they have a Greater World Earthship Community, near Taos, New Mexico, which is dedicated to:

  • • Reducing the economic and institutional barriers between people and sustainable housing. (OK)
  • • Reversing the overall negative effects that conventional housing has on the planet. (Sort of extreme)
  • • Creating less stressful existence for people in an effort to reduce the stress that they in turn place on the planet and each other. (Hmmmm…I dunno)
  • • Interfacing economics and ecology in a way that immediately and tangibly affects current pressing problems with existing life styles. (What does this means?)
  • • Providing a direction for those who want to live in harmony with their environment. (Whoo hoo!)

Haiti_EarthshipHaiti Disaster Relief

In general, a little touchy-feeling for me. But then again, they did raise funds to go to Haiti to build a model earthquake resistant and hurricane resistant home out of garbage.

They’re supposedly going back this month (October 2010) to equip the building with utilities. The idea is to help local Haitians (still living in tent camps) learn how to replicate Earthships so they can rebuild their communities. Kinda cool.

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This entry was posted on Thursday, October 21st, 2010 and is filed under Home.

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