Dig it Up, Live it Up - Earthship Sustainable Building

in #earthships4 years ago (edited)

The main feature of Earthships are the passive solar architecture for heating and insulation from the earth. That's why it's an earthship, it's a home/ship that has earth around a portion for insulation.

Usually, the part that gets covered with earth, or even the walls, contain either natural or recycled materials. This can range from bails of hay, used car tires, and even glass or plastic bottles and aluminum cans.

The glass bottles can also be used to make nice decorative walls:

Earthships, and other ecological architecture, are highly artistic in design modeling, a lot of the time. The glass bottles are one part of the art and creativity that gets put into ecological designs.

Earthships also use other ecological designs in the architecture, such as rain catchers, reuse of greywater, composting toilets, indoor gardening, winter gardening, solar power, wind power, rocketstove, and more. As such, Earthships also usually function "off-the-grid" with no need for electricity from outside sources.

Due to the angle of the windows to catch the sun optimally throughout the year, some designs have resulted in very hot houses in the summer. Building with windows that open is a better design model.

This way you can insulate, stay warm and grow plants, while also cool down and not killing all the plants from overheating.

Earthships have these 6 Building Design Principles:

1) Thermal/Solar Heating & Cooling

This maintains comfort in any climate, without wires or pipes, all powered by the power of the sun.

2) Solar & Wind Electricity

Live off the grid and be free from utility bills. Hook up to a battery used to store energy whenever you need extra juice.

3) Contained Sewage Treatment

The waste of all kinds, even human waste, is reused and recycled back into food production with no pollution. Water is recycled and reused in the toilets as greywater, that doesn't smell.

4) Building with Natural & Recycled Materials

Use the indigenous material around you as much as possible. Reuse and recycle other material from your local area as well. Earthships do not pollute natural aquifers.

5) Water Harvesting

Catch the water form the sky (which some municipalities with charge you with a crime for doing). Water is heated from the sun, bio-diesel, or compost heat. Earthships do not pollute natural aquifers.

6) Food Production

Grow your own food, rain or shine, summer or winter, and save money in the process. Not only that, it's healthy and grown according to your standards with a rich taste.

Mike Reynolds - Garbage Warrior

Mike, and several others, tried to bring this revolution of ecological, economical and sustainable building to New Mexico. But they faced opposition from the established way of life and the rules, codes, regulations, licenses and fees required to be allowed to build and live in a home. Mike took his battle to the courts, losing, and winning in the long. He is a pioneer is changing how we think we can live and showing us how it can be done. Mike Reynolds essentially created and founded the earliest Earthsip designs and philosophy.

Check out the documentary about his struggle here:

If you are interested in doing something like this, please make sure to do it within the existing codes, or have exceptions made by getting it checked. You could end up with authoritarian centralized drones who are fining you and threatening to tear down your house or put you in jail for trying to live in it.

The cost expectations to calculate are on average $200 per square foot. Not only is a house being built, but also the utilities that are normally not included, like electricity and water sources built in. This increases the cost.

Good luck if you plant on pursuing this, truly. I see it as a great path and future way of living that doesn't involve concrete-jungle construction of the modern city-scapes. It's more freedom at home, as a self-sustained and self-sufficient way of living. It's living more in the green nature with fresh air, clean, less pollution, etc. We can still specialize and contribute to the overall development of humanity and knowledge we share, even while living separate and off-the-grid.

[Image sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15]

[Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7]

Thank you for your time and attention! I appreciate the knowledge reaching more people. Take care. Peace.

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Follow me for more great content to come! Please also go through my older work to learn about more topics.

Author: Kris Nelson / @krnel
Contact: [email protected]
Date: 2016-11-05, 8:02am EST


Oh BOY do i LOVE Earthships!!!!
I have built my own Earthship home finally after Many years! WHilst it is one of the hardest things i ever did, it is also one of the most rewarding things i have ever done.. and we get to enjoy it for the rest of our lives with NO bills! ;-)

see my Earthship here with pics of how i made it etc..

Wow! Amazing! Congratulations! Amazing view as well. Why did you choose India? Why did you choose that location on the mountain? Are there higher mountains behind for water runoff collection? Great job!

Thank you! Well i originally got the earthship bug back in 2001 when i lived in Brighton, UK. I initiated the first UK project with a bunch of people all very passionate and we built Earthship Brighton. Then after many years of travelling and life's winding paths.. several countries.. and a lot of dreaming.. I finally decided to build my Earthship in India.. I think India probably chose me, or i was here in some previous lives.. All i can say is that this is one country that just all makes sense to me..

Where we live its also basically on the edge of a mountain in SOuth India.. The location is pretty stunning really, miles from anywhere and surrounded by nature, trees, streams and all those lovely things! Being off grid here is actually the ONLY option! lol.

We are very lucky with water here.. We have a few springs high up above us that we use.. it has loads of head and so high pressure without any need of pumps and power.. I do have a big 50,000 litre rain water harvested tank underground but so far i havent had to use it.

its all a Long story really! I have spent SO many years now teaching, building, and trying to get the word out to people. SLowly some traction is coming but it is slow.

My dream is to co-create and build a small Earthship community somewhere.. I think when done well it can be a great way to live ..

Sweet, thanks for the info. It's a great setup and view, awesome!

Where do you want to build an earthship community if not where you are? You're going to move??? lol

thats SUCH a good question~ actually i dont really know ;-)
and i still have some fundraising to do before i really need to know..
Im pretty open .. it could be anywhere in Europe, or even India.. or who know's where!

where i am didnt really work out as a community. It would have been nice and was always my hope for where I am.. but that was not meant to be! Still i learned a heck of lot about building and working out here.. i self built this Earthship with zero experience and loads of volunteers and a few semi skilled locals... and, it worked!

No community because people don't have the money to do it? Or they don't see the point?

yes! the first one! ive met and taught hundreds if not more people who would LOVE to do this if it werent for money and .. courage!

I have seen this everywhere and so my plan is to use co-creation and a very smart plan to create home for people with almost no buy in. They also wont own this as the land and property would be held in a not for profit trust. That way it prevents people buying and selling etc.. It would really be aimed at people who do want to get out of this system but just need to be a part of a group doing the same..

I managed to self build on my own, but it was too hard.. its a common theme! Doing these things as a harmonious group really makes all the difference. WHen ive done it like that the magic starts to happen. I had carpenters form UK coming to help me in India turning up with a suitcase full of tools.. ready to work for weeks on end for no pay.. It can really be an amazing thing when done with the right purpose and greater good kind of attitude.

I guess that would need to be in a less costly place, unlike the Western world? To build so many...

This common sense approach should have been used all along. How many decades have we wasted and only now begin to return to.

Yes indeed. I tried to make a sustainable earthship dug-in reciprocal build with someone years ago, but it didn't work out: Reciprocal Roof Structure (Building How-to Tutorial)


Love this. Thank you for the Documentary recommendation. :)

Great intro to earthships. I love the designs folks are coming up with. Pounding tires is incredibly labor intensive, as are a lot of the other methods. But the results and up-sourcing materials certainly make it worth considering.

yup! its true it Is labour intensive.. but actually its way quicker than just about anything else except Earthbag.. and after building 4 Earthships i can say its amazing fun when done in a large group of people with the right attidude.. AMAZING times ive had with people ramming tyres! ;-)


Loving this extensive post!! Found you on Team Steamit FB--it's working, brought me to you. Nice job! UPvoting and following.

I like their shapes, styles and colors :)

I found that source a couple years ago... I plan to build a modified version myself someday. Hopefully ww3 resistant. Top earthship and bunker under.

Nice earthship post. they truly are impressive homes.

You know what?! This is one of my favorite posts ever.
Completely and Absolutely Resteemed.

love the stairs and colourful visual!
that's a good sustainable construction! it's just one of permaculture keys.. well I would use rocks or something like instead of tires! following up and steeming!!

Hi nice post , I've been watching earthships and tinyhouse and the whole green movement getting bigger. Thanks for sharing. Btw the youtube video is not working.

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