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Behind the Earthship: A Self-Sustainable Home

Earthship, New Mexico

Why (not) to Build an Earthship Home?

Earthship is a trademark building concept, devised by an American architect Michael Reynolds. Earthship is a sort of self-sustainable home, which is intended to stay off-the-grid and keep the environment clean. The main feature of this concept is that an Earthship home should be built only from natural and recycled materials, mostly rammed earth and tyres.

An Earthship home usually has an unusual form, since the shape of it is determined by the terrain and the idea of the builder.

Into the wild

People who decide to build such a home usually want to escape from the urban civilization as we know it. This escapism is reflected in their off-the-grid approach, which basically means that they do not want to be attached to any electric system and to live an individual and independent life. Also, Earthship supporters have a highly developed ecological awareness and they also want to contribute to measures for saving this planet from further ruin and pollution.

These are some incentives that make one start thinking about going for such an option for everyday living. When it comes to that everyday living in an Earthship home, there are some great things about it, but there are also some tricky ones, which might push even green people away from it.

Energy-saving system

The main advantage considering Earthship is its energy-saving nature. It does not require any cables or wiring. This building depends purely on already used materials and natural sources that its creator(s) can find and get to the building site. Neither is water taken from regular water supply system, nor is waste flushed into the sewage system.

Water is either collected in tanks when it rains and purified to have hygienically clean drinking water or people just dig a well and get water from it. Also, nothing is thrown away until it is used and reused to the maximum level. For instance, grey water is used for flushing the toilet. Clean water is too precious to be used for that purpose.

Energy is saved through the thermal mass concept. Walls in an Earthship home play a major role in reducing energy losses. They are usually made of earth or clay and tyres filed with earth, providing a high insulation level. It is a great way of reusing tires for an ecology-friendly purpose. Not too many Eartship homes are built around the globe, but the concept and movement are gaining larger support and people build Earthship home even Down Under.

Difficulties and disadvantages

Since Earthship is still a one-man miracle, it is not easy to get a building permit for such a home. It is even more difficult if you want to build such an unconventional home in an urban area. The Earthship sewage system cannot be incorporated into an already existing town sewage system. Moreover, the sole process of building such a home lasts for a longer period of time.

Also, you need people who are willing to help you, because regular brick-layers neither know nor want to bother with such a building method.

To round off such a demanding project, you need a strong will and determination. However, living in nature and with nature is worth doing it.

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 Ariel Bellamy, the author of this article, is a lively green mind, explorer of new ideas and a scribbler that looks for significance in words well written. She thinks it’s awesome to put ordinary things to unordinary use, like using tyres to build up a wall and make a livable space. Meet her on @BellamyAriel

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