Earthship in Zwolle, Overijssel, The Netherlands. Image: RockerStocker Shutterstock
An earthship (means ship earth in Spanish, a term coined by the architect Michael Reynolds ) is a type of house made with natural or recycled materials. Originally designed by the Earthship Biotecture of Taos company in New Mexico, they are generally made to function autonomously and are generally constructed of earth-filled tires, using thermal mass to naturally regulate interior temperature.
10 reasons to live in an Earthship (Self-sufficient Home):
- Sustainable does not mean primitive.
- Free food.
- Fantastic water recycling system.
- A warm haven.
- Clean energy.
- Easy to build
- Made with recycled materials.
- Think different.
Earthships are normally self-sufficient homes, minimizing the use of energy and fossil fuels. They are built to use available local resources, and especially solar energy. Thus, the windows facing the sun in the walls seek light and heat, they are usually shaped like a horseshoe to maximize natural light and to gain sun during the winter months.
Earthship in New Mexico. Image: Traveler70 Shutterstock
The dense interior walls provide thermal mass that regulates and isolates the interior temperature from the exterior. The internal walls are usually made in panel structures of recycled cans. They are attached with stucco. Roofs are insulated – often with earth or adobe – to gain energy efficiency.
Why live in an Earthship?
1. Sustainable does not mean primitive.
When people hear about sustainable, they usually imagine primitive houses with no amenities. Earthships, however, offer all the comforts of modern homes and more.
2. Free food.
Each Earthship is equipped with one or two greenhouses that are grown throughout the year, regardless of the weather. This means that you can feed only on the plants that grow indoors. You can also choose to build a fish pond and / or chicken coop on your Earthship, to have a constant source of meat and eggs.
Greenhouse in Earthship, New Mexico. Image: Takako Picture Lab Shutterstock
3. Fantastic water recycling system.
Even in the most arid climate it can provide enough water for daily use through only rain-harvest system. The entire roof of the Earthship channels rainwater into a cistern, from where it is pumped to sinks and showers when needed. The “gray water” is pumped into the greenhouse to water the plants. After being purified by the plants, the water is pumped to the WC for use. After being purged, the ‘black water’ is pumped into the outdoor garden to provide nutrients for the inedible plants.
4. A warm haven.
It is its capable of maintaining a comfortable temperature throughout the year. Even in times of extreme heat or cold, Earthships maintains a constant temperature of 22º C.
5. Clean energy.
The photovoltaic solar panels on the roofs and wind turbines provide your Earthship all the energy you need. As long as you do not waste energy, you will never lack with this system.
With all your basic needs covered and no bills every month, you are free! You don’t have to work a job you hate just to survive. So you can spend your time doing what you love, and improving the world around you.
Imagine if everyone was able to focus on doing extraordinary things instead of just doing enough to survive. Imagine if at least 10% of the world could do it. What would change?
7. Easy to build.
At a recently held Earthship conference in Toronto, Canada, a forty-year-old married couple shared their experience of how they built a 3-story Earthship on their own in 3 months. They had never built anything before in their lives and were able to build an Earthship with just the printed blueprints. They did not have any help, nor did they use expensive equipment to make the job easier.
If a man and a woman can do this in 3 months, anyone can do it.
Earthships are much cheaper than conventional houses. The most basic Earthships cost about $7000, the most basic, and up to $70,000 the most expensive, depending on your needs.
With these options, Earthships can meet the needs of everyone.
9. Made with recycled materials.
Much of the materials used to build the Earthships are recycled and recycled. For starters, the structure is built with used tires. Tires are in landfills in every country in the world. There are places where they will even pay you to take the tires.
The walls (above the tires) are built by placing plastic and glass bottles.
10. Think different.
The most powerful weapon of the Earthships is to force people to think differently about how we live. If you can build and live in sustainable housing, what else can we change? What else can be simpler, cheaper and better at the same time?
It is time for us to change some things that we consider normal.