Earthships have evolved over the last thirty years from the pioneering work of Michael Reynolds and the residents of the 3 Earthship communities in Taos, New Mexico. Earthships are autonomous buildings designed to reduce our impact on the planet and increase our connection to it by: Using the suns energy and the thermal mass of their walls for heating and cooling Generating their own electricity from the sun Harvesting their own water from rain Dealing directly with their own waste Using discarded tyres and other wastes for wall construction Using materials with low embodied carbon Being buildable by most people at relatively low cost
Shot over three years in the USA, India and Mexico, Garbage Warrior is a feature- length documentary film by Oliver Hodge telling the epic story of maverick architect Michael Reynolds, his crew of renegade house builders from New Mexico, and their fight to introduce radically different ways of living. A snapshot of contemporary geo-politics and an inspirational tale of triumph over bureaucracy, Garbage Warrior is above all an intimate portrait of an extraordinary individual and his dream of changing the world.
‘We need to evolve self-sufficient living units that are their own systems. These units must energise themselves, heat and cool themselves, grow food and deal with their own waste. We are now in need of EARTHSHIPS - independent vessels - to sail on the seas of tomorrow’ Mike Reynolds Earthship Creator Taos, New Mexico
Definitions Earthship n. 1. passive solar home made of natural and recycled materials 2. thermal mass construction for temperature stabilization. 3. renewable energy & integrated water systems make the Earthship an off-grid home with little to no utility bills. Biotecture n. 1. the profession of designing buildings and environments with consideration for their sustainability. 2. A combination of biology and architecture
Earthship Biotecture, based in Taos, NM, USA is a global company offering proven, totally sustainable designs, construction drawings & details, products, educational materials, lectures / presentations, consultation & guidance toward getting people in sustainable housing. From single family to colony / community / city complexes.
June 8-10 July 27-29 August 24-26 September 28-30
Water: Earthships catch water from the sky (rain & snow melt) and uses it four times. Water is heated from the sun and/or natural gas. Earthships can have city water as backup.Water Electricity: Earthships produce their own electricity with a prepackaged photovoltaic / wind power system. This energy is stored in batteries and supplied to your electrical outlets. Earthships can have multiple sources of power, all automated, including grid-intertie.Electricity Sewage: Earthships contain use and reuse all household sewage in indoor and outdoor treatment cells resulting in food production and landscaping with no pollution of aquifers. Toilets flush with greywater that does not smell.Sewage Comfort: Earthships maintain comfortable temperatures in any climate. The planet Earth is a thermally stabilizing mass that delivers temperature without wire or pipes. The sun is a nuclear power plant that also delivers without wires or pipes.Comfort
Your first consideration is the site. Your site should face south to take advantage of the sun. You must also consider the climate of your area.
This house is being build in Hawaii where there is a great deal of humidity and the lava rock rich soil also holds moisture. In order to make the house as termite proof as possible, wh have pounded a stem wall to receive the greenhouse frame in the front of the hut.
In this image you can see an individual pounding the dirt into the side of the tire. The process takes somewhere around 15 minutes to half an hour per tire.
The number of tires necessary for the building depends on the size of the building and whether or you are building it partially into a hill or not. When you are finished with a tire you start the next tire by placing it next to the first one and then packing it full the same way. The tires are laid like bricks.
A metal dome goes on top of the tires. It is covered with chicken wire. After the chicken wire has been tied in place then the structure is covered with burlap bags that have been run through a cement mixer with cement. They are applied like paper machete. This is then coated with plaster.
Insulation will go between the dome and the frame ceiling.
A Skylight is Being Installed in the Top. Note the Gutter that is being built our of a can wall. It will catch rain water and direct it to a cistern for other uses.
Operable vent windows located on the front face and operable skylights at the back of the room are opened allowing natural ventilation. To increase ventilation, the number of vent windows can be increased, and the height of the skylight box can be raised to create a stronger draw. This natural ventilation system ensures that indoor air is healthy.
The second main building component in an Earthship is the aluminum cans. The cans are used to build the internal, non-structural walls.
People often ask if you need to drink a lot of beer to build an Earthship. The answer is no but it sure helps. A can wall is layered with cans and then concrete and then another layer of cans. You can also see how the tabs of the cans all point to the outside. This is done whenever possible due to the tab acting as a lathe for the adobe plaster to hold onto.
The guttering could have been constructed out of plastic water bottles, etc. It will have cement coating it and then plaster/stucco.
The Earthship Greenhouse is the one of the greatest things about the Earthship. It allows the home to remain warm all winter long. Our house has not gotten below 60 degrees for the past two winters even though the outside temperature has been as low as -5 degrees Fahrenheit.
Bottles are cut in half and then two are taped together to form bottle bricks. They are then laid in rows and cemented together. It is important to use “two-fingers” of cement in order to have strength to the wall. Bottles work like stained glass windows and allow light in.
This is the master bathroom. The bathtub in the background is shaped to fit your body which is real nice.
This is our Kitchen and living U. It is the biggest U in the house at 18' X 26'. The kitchen cabinetry is made out of Aspen and the cabinet doors are made out of Cedar wood. In the background you can see the stove pipe for our wood burning stove. We had to put some type of backup heat in so that we met the building codes. We only need to use the wood stove a couple of times per year and that is more for ambience than heating. The refrigerator on the right side is the worlds most efficient, a Sun Frost. It uses DC power so that it can work off of the (solar powered) batteries directly and not the inverter.
This picture is our planter box where we can grow our veggies year round.
These buildings produce their own electricity with a prepackaged photovoltaic power system. This power unit is a pre-designed, pre-built "components"called the Power Organizing Module (POM). It can be installed and hooked up to by any electrician. Pre-designing reduces the need for specialists, therefore lowering the cost. The basic POM unit works with 120 Watt solar panels which can be pole mounted or attached to the front of building. The 8 volt - 6 B/220 Amp. 2.5 K or 4K inverter can be expanded to 8 or more 120W panels and 16- 20 batteries. The Earthship power system can be expanded to accommodate larger families and can be supplemented with wind turbines where applicable.
All built-in lighting is 12V DC using super-efficient light bulbs. The pumps for the water system are 12V DC, and the most power consumptive appliance, the refrigerator, is a super insulated 12V upright or chest type fridge. The oven is gas because an electric oven is a burden to a photovoltaic system. With the power inverter, most other conventional appliances and tools can be used on this system.
The buildings collect their own water from a unique metal roof, silt catch and cistern system and treat their own sewage through greenhouse technology that allows contained flush toilets. Like the "designed down“ power system, the water system in this building reduces the overall water requirements of its inhabitants. Data and calculations that determine how much water a conventional home uses should not be used in determining how much water the occupants will need because this building will use each gallon of water four times. Catch water systems elicit low water consumption and go hand-in-hand with gray water and black water treatment systems that cleanse and reuse water.
The structure is designed with a coated roof and gutter system that transports rain and snow melt to the ends of the building passing through a funnel which filters large debris and directs the water into two cisterns. These cisterns have the capacity to store 5,000 gallons of water each (more cistern storage may be added as necessary). The cisterns are buried in the earth barmy maintaining stable temperature and away from sunlight therefore reducing the growth of algae.
Pumps Water caught on the roof and stored in the cistern flows with gravity pressure to the water organizing module (WOM). The WOM is pre-designed component consisting of four filters (one for drinking water), a 12V pump and pressure gauge. As the water passes through this unit it is filtered and pumped to a pressure tank for household use. From there it is distributed as cold water to the kitchen and bathroom.
Solar Hot Water Water is passively heated in a solar water heater mounted on the roof. This unit works in conjunction with an on-demand gas heater which only uses gas when the water from the solar heater drops below a certain temperature. The hot water is then distributed accordingly.
Grey Water The gray water treatment planter is a lined, contained indoor planter that receives the once-used water from sinks, tubs and washing machines. This water passes through a grease and particle filter to remove large debris so as not to clog up the treatment system.
After this filter, the water is taken through a long pathway of pit run pumice to create natural cleaning similar to a mountain stream running and tumbling through rocks and gravel. Also, a certain type of bacteria actually houses itself in the "caverns"of the pumice. This bacteria attacks the bacteria in the gray water. This pathway of pumice is placed in the bottom of a planter designed to hold water.
The planter is designed with baffles to create the longest possible travel distance through the pumice. Above the pumice, the planter is filled with sand and topsoil to accommodate the plants. The plant roots bring oxygen down into the water. This combination of travel through pumice and oxygenation by plant roots cleanses the water to the point where it looks and smells clean. It is not clean enough to drink, but it is clean enough to be used for growing plants both inside and out, as well as to flush your toilet.
Another function of these containment and treatment planters is that the plant roots will suck up a large part of the water. This is called transpiration. The planter is designed to allow maximum travel of the water, and at the same time provide enough plants to absorb most of the water. The more "jungle", the more water will be absorbed by the plants. Twenty square feet of planter per plumbing fixture is recommended as a minimum size.
Grey Water Toilet At the end of the planter, the treated gray water is stored and ready to be used to flush the toilet, eliminating the need to use fresh drinking water to flush the toilet. The toilet is the third use of the water. After the toilet is flushed, this "black water" sewage is sent out to the outdoor contained black water treatment system.
Solar Septic System The black water leaves the building and passes through the solar septic tank which accelerates the anaerobic process by heating the waste with solar energy. The solids break down and are later washed through with the liquid waste. The liquid waste then enters the fully lined bed and travels through layers of gravel, pumice, soil and roots where it is absorbed by plants and cleaned.
Foods can be grown year round, decreasing your purchasing needs. It is naturally water on the exterior of the home through the solar septic system.
Dennis Weaver’s Earthship...a one-of-a kind, energy efficient, luxury home featured on Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous, Home and Garden TV, the Discovery Channel, and PBS. Its 10,000 sq. ft. have been custom designed, handcrafted and furnished in Southwestern elegance, with incredible decorative detail.
Earthship Biotecture Internship Program The Earthship Internship program is open to anyone with an interest in sustainability and a willingness to work hard. People of all ages and backgrounds are encouraged to apply. Interns work full time on Earthship construction sites learning building concepts and techniques through hands-on experience. We will offer 6 internship sessions and will accept up to 6 interns per session. Each session will last for one month. Internships are unpaid positions. Upon completion of the session, interns will either attend or receive a certificate to attend a three-day long Earthship Seminar.