So, I get it. If you are like I used to be, you hear “sustainable living” or “off-the-grid” and you
picture a community of people living together without the comforts of ‘modern day’ amenities.
What if I told you that there is a type of home that’s cheap to build, cheap to maintain, a home
that provides all the free food you could ever ask for (and free energy source as well), would you
believe it exists?
Undoubtedly, there are feelings that come up when we hear such claims. Scepticism, doubt?
but also curiosity, right?
Such a home exists. And it all started in a small community in New Mexico.
“An Earthship is a type of passive solar house that is made of both natural and recycled
materials (such as earth-filled tires), designed and marketed by Earthship Biotecture of Taos,
New Mexico. The term is a registered trademark of Michael Reynolds, founder of
Earthship homes offer all the amenities of a modern home, and then some.
Take a look for yourself. Here are 10 Reasons We Are Building An EarthShip Home:
(Courtesy of EarthShip)
1) Sustainable does not mean primitive
When people hear about sustainable, off-the-grid living, they usually picture primitive homes
divorced from the comforts of the 21st century. And rightfully so, as most sustainable solutions
proposed until now have fit that description. Earthships, however, offer all of the comforts of modern
homes and more. I’ll let these pictures do the talking…
2) Free Food
Each Earthship is outfitted with one or two greenhouses that grow crops year-round, no matter
the climate. This means you can feed yourself with only the plants growing inside of your house.
You can also choose to build a fish pond and/or chicken coop into your Earthship for a constant
source of meat and eggs.
3) Brilliant Water Recycling
Even the most arid of climates can provide enough water for daily use through only a rain-
harvesting system. The entire roof of the Earthship funnels rain water to a cistern, which then
pumps it to sinks and showers when required. That used ‘grey water’ is then pumped into the
greenhouse to water the plants. After being cleaned by the plants, the water is pumped up into
the bathrooms for use in the toilets. After being flushed, the now ‘black water’ is pumped to the
exterior garden to give nutrients to non-edible plants.
4) Warmth & Shelter
The most brilliant piece of engineering in the Earthship is their ability to sustain comfortable
temperatures year round. Even in freezing cold or blistering hot climates, Earthships constantly
hover around 70° Fahrenheight (22° Celsius).
This phenomenon results from the solar heat being absorbed and stored by ‘thermal mass’ — or
tires filled with dirt, which make up the structure of the Earthship. The thermal mass acts as a
heat sink, releasing or absorbing heat when the interior cools and heats up, respectively.
The large greenhouse windows at the front of the house always face south to allow the sun to heat
up the thermal mass throughout the daytime.
Solar panels on the roof and optional wind turbines provide the Earthship with all of the power it
needs. As long as you’re not greedily chewing through electricity like a typical first-world human,
you’ll never be short of power.
With all of your basic needs provided for and NO bills each month, you’re free! You don’t have
to work a job you hate just to survive. So you can focus your time on doing what you love, and
bettering the world around you.
Imagine if the entire world was able to focus on doing extraordinary things instead of just making
enough to get by. Imagine if even 10% of the world could do this. What would change?
7) Easy to build
At a recent Earthship conference in Toronto, Canada, a married couple in their forties shared about
how they built a 3-story Earthship by themselves in 3 months. They had never built anything before
in their lives and were able to build an Earthship with only the printed plans. They did not hire any
help, nor did they use expensive equipment to make the job easier.
If one man and one woman can do this in 3 months, anyone can do it.
Earthships are exorbitantly cheaper than conventional houses. The most basic Earthships cost as
little as $7000 (The Simple Survival model) with the most glamorous models costing $70,000 and
up, depending on how flashy you want to be with your decorating.
With these cost options, Earthships can fit the needs of everyone.
9) Made of recycled materials
Much of the materials used to build Earthships are recycled. For starters, the structure is built with
used tires filled with dirt:
If there’s one thing we’re not short of on Earth, it’s used tires! There are tire dumps like the one
pictured here in every country in the world. There are even places that will pay you by the tire
to take them away.
The walls (above the tires) are created by placing plastic and glass bottles in concrete. When the
Earthship team was in Haiti after the earthquake, they employed local kids to both clean up the
streets and provide all of the bottles required for building their Earthship. Plus, they look pretty
10) Think Different
The most powerful thing Earthships do is force people to think differently about how we live.
If housing can be this awesome, and be beneficial to the environment, then what else can we
change? What else can become more simple, cheaper and better at the same time?
It’s time for us to re-think much of what we consider normal.
Latest posts by Margaux (see all)
- Living in the Tropics, The scary Trade off. (Warning, graphic Scorpion content) - September 3, 2015
- The Day that Changed Everything - August 25, 2015
- 3 Unbelievable Experiences In Less Than 19 Days (video) - August 15, 2015
- How to Detox From Conventional Antiperspirants And Deodorants. 10 Steps. - August 14, 2015
- I can’t believe this tastes so good. New Recipe! - August 14, 2015