Earthships: Eco Friendly, low Impact Homes built using sustainable / Recycled Materials

Posted: February 14, 2015 in Design, DIY Gardening / Home Projects, Low environmental Impact, Sustainable Construction
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Earth ships and Permaculture …

I came across the concept of the earthship about two years ago when doing research into Solar Air Heaters, I can’t help but keep thinking that the inventor (Michael Reynolds) of earthship’s is a permie himself, well, at least he has the right mind frame for it and his work goes very well Hand-in-Hand with Permaculture and it’s core principles.

In as few words as possible, Earth ship’s are houses built by the owners and / or volunteers such as WOOFer types from recycled materials with the aim in being a very durable construction that has an extremely low impact and is self sustainable in energy and climate control etc. ie: It is a total Off-Grid home.

Earth ship’s are able to:

  • Suck up the daylight sun, and store it internally for heat (Climate Control),
  • Provide it’s own power through mounted solar panels and wind turbine/s,
  • Harvest rainwater from the roof and store in a large tank at the back of the structure,
  • Completely recycle used water from bathrooms / toilet/s & the kitchen area,
  • Front glass panels act as a greenhouse and the area/s in front of the structure are in fact – indoor growing areas for fruit and vegetables,
  • Provide Cool air when needed in warmer months (Climate control),
  • Best of all: Prevent the need for the ongoing common practices in construction which are very damaging to the earth in general – reusing and recycling materials which are considered rubbish.

Earth ship Design Concept Example #1

Earth ship Design Concept Example #2 ( Desert / Arid Land )

As you can grasp based on the two photo’s above, the houses will face the direction of the sun based on location and Hemisphere. The large front window panels let in as much sunlight as possible to build up the heat mass in the rear walls of the structure (Earth Rammed Tires) and are probably one of the top expenses in the whole construction!

Earth Ship Cross Section Diagram and Components including Grey water & Black water systems

The concept of the Earth ship design/s have been around for around four decades now and have been evolving since! They are appearing in countries all over the world from South East Asia, to Africa, South Americas, Europe, Northern America etc!

I think the main deciding factor or motivation people have in building these is knowing they won’t be needing a mailbox for all the bills we usually get monthly for water and other utilities!! 😉

Today whilst looking for a good, quick Earth ship house tour video, I stumbled upon a great New Project the people at Earthship.com are working on in the Philippines in response to the huge devastating Typhoons they had a while ago. This time they have just reshaped the design to be able to withstand typhoon winds and storms! Once enough Filipinos can be educated in the design and construction of these, they should be able to replicate them around as much as possible (Hopefully!) Take a look at the video here:

Below we have a 6 minute video with the original ”architect” of Earth Ships – it’s a TV show short but a great overall view on what earth ships are and the basics of their design principles:

From the above to what they started out as below:

One of the first Earth Ships in the early days (Date Unknown)

One of the first Earth Ships in the early days (Date Unknown)

And Finally, (if you have scrolled this far? …..) the main Documentary to watch called: Garbage Warrior, the history and current events of earth ship design and concept, Enjoy:

To conclude, here are some more images to entice you to want to build one AS BADLY AS I DO!………….

Earth Ship bottle wall under construction

Complete, Fully Operating Earth Ship Home

Earth Ship complete with bottle walls

The ”Greenhouse” section of the Earth Ship Indoor Food Garden

Earth ship Open To Public Viewing

Bananas Growing In Your Kitchen? Can Be Done In An Earth Ship!

Earth Ship: Hows about your Living Room INSIDE YOUR FOOD GARDEN ? ! ? ! Now That’s Permaculture!

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  1. […] For more on eco homes such as Earthships, click Here. […]

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