There is so much about this guy and his projects. The good news is that they are finally winning the building code battles. Oh and of course they ran up against the utility companies too. They hate houses that do not use power. So these are not houses for the faint of heart.
Earthships – Eco-Friendly Houses for the Future (Now?) Part I
Just think — a house made of discarded garbage; used tires rammed with earth, soda bottle walls. And the cost to heat? $40 per month in the ‘dead of winter’.
The brainchild of architect Michael Reynolds, earthships are truly the homes for the future.
An Earthship is a type of rammed-earth house, sort of a modern version of a Native American pueblo dwelling. It is a utopian type of passive solar home made of natural and recycled materials such as earth-filled tires. The home is “bermed,” meaning that dirt is gently placed, from ground to roof line, on the northern, eastern, and western sides of the home. The berm is about 15-20 feet deep. They’re much more than houses — they provides shelter, heating, cooling, power, water and sewage. In these very tough economic times, there are people in America living very comfortably with a zero, yes, zero utility bill. They live in Earthships, beautiful homes made out of recycled tires and bottles, built completely off the grid.
Architect Michael Reynolds
The Earthship, as it exists today, began to take shape in the 1970s. Mike Reynolds, founder of Earthship Biotecture, a company that specializes in designing and building Earthships, wanted to create a home that would be sustainable, rely on natural energy sources and be economically feasible for the average person with no specialized construction skills to be able to create.
Doesn’t hurt to have a certain level of skills and can do spirit.
A Pictorial History
My name is Stuart Simmons and I built an Earthship home near Durango, Colorado. I decided to make the photo journey of my experience available to the public because there wasn’t much available in the WWW Land about alternative structures and there is quite a bit of interest in building alternatively. I used to live in the Bay Area, but due to the Rat Race and several other factors, I decided to move to Durango where I found my piece of Heaven. The pictorial history of Earthship Landing on the Internet is an ongoing process. I will start off by putting the pictures on the web as I believe this is what people mostly want to see, but over time I will add a lot more text to the pages of my experience of building the home and what it’s like to live in a house made of tires. The way I am going to set up the pages is like a book. each page will have one or two pictures two help keep it small for downloading. I am going to start at the beginning and go through the history of building the Earthship. At the end of the book I will also show some other peoples Earthships and how they have built them differently. Let’s get on with it . I would love to hear from you once you have seen these pages. If you know of another link which you think should be included in these pages, then please let me know its URL and I will include it. If you know of other styles of alternative houses, please let me know and I will include them as well. You can E-mail me at Info@Earthships.com
I mean you have got to admire people like this. Why wasn’t I born that cool?
The Earthship concept is the brainchild of Michael Reynolds, who has written several books on the topic. Near Taos New Mexico, where he has his Earthship Biotecture business, are whole communities of earthships. The basic earthship design incorporates substantially bermed, passive solar architecture. The primary retaining walls are constructed with used tires, filled with earth and stacked up like bricks. The interior surface of the tires is then plastered with adobe or cement so the tires don’t normally show. Mike has also pioneered the use of empty aluminum cans mortared into lightweight, curvable walls. Earthships often employ many ecological concepts, such as water catchment from the roof, reuse of greywater, composting toilets, indoor gardening, etc.
While some of the work of building is simple to do, it also tends to be very labor intensive. Furthermore, the wood framing required is not simple. Some of the earlier designs tend to overheat, especially in the summer, because of the slanted glass to the south. I have seen some truly elegant earthships, along with some that are pretty funky. Engineered plans are available that seem to please building inspectors, as these have been built in many localities.
Here is a 5 minute radio interview with Kelly Hart talking about Earthships:
Please go to the above site and listen to the radio interview…we may yet survive.