Permaculture and Earthships – Are Two Peas in a Pod. Earthships – The Off-Grid, living, Eco Friendly Home and Permaculture, both encourage working with nature as oppose to against her, closed loop systems, growing food onsite, collecting water and using it to its full potential. We hope to build one of our own some day.
So An Earthship is not a ship but a home. A ship can be someone’s home who is at sea but consider this – not to get to philosophical, Earthships are Home-ships, built out of earth into the earth – So Earthship is the perfect name and this home will stand the test of time “travel” and be apart of the earth as a living organism, connected to earth to provide for her and its inhabitants. An Earthship is a house build out of TRASH. We are not talking cardboard forts or makeshift tents here, we are talking full on 4 bedroom 1000+ sqft homes built out of old tires, cans and glass bottles, it can grow its own food and has an own off grid Water system and is completely sustainable if not rejuvenating to the environment for reason we will get into.
This house was designed and created by Architect Wizard Michael Reynolds. He is the Man! We have had the pleasure of hearing him speak in Denver for an Earthship talk and presentation. I am not going to get into all the back history of Earthships, If you want more information goto youtube and search for GARBAGE WARRIOR – the documentary of Mike Reynolds Battle to Build Earthships and get the approval to build eco-friendly test homes. Or Earthship Solutions – a look inside building Earthships. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QEzbOMvrlIA> Reynolds believes we need to be testing and challenging the ways we build homes in order to reach our full potential as a living species. If you compare our selves to other living species on this planet we are the only one’s with an open looped system. We need to close the loop and connect with our mother nature to save her and ultimately ourselves.
Essentially, an Earthiship is built pounding thousands of tires as the main infrastructure for the home. The most efficient earthships are built in U shaped with a certain depth to each one depending on the climate the house is being built. There has been other designs to accommodate for other builds and climates. In Malawi for instance Earthship Biotechture Crew has been here twice Earthship crew went to this very remote community in Malawi with a group of volunteers to build an Earthship Community Center; an 8 room building made out of tires, cans and bottles that is resistant to natural disasters, catches and stores rainwater, and provides the community with much needed shelter and space for a bank, a womens’ center, a library, toilets and showers. <http://www.biotectureplanetearth.com/projects/malawi-africa>
They have a lot of cool projects they are involved in Biotecture Planet Earth and they are a registered as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Click Here to Donate! <http://www.biotectureplanetearth.com/donate> They are currently accepting donations for the Puerto Rico Disaster Relief Project. This project is fully funded through donations and volunteer participation fees. The more donations we receive, the further we will be able to take the construction of the building.
An Earthship site is picked based off passive solar principles and the angle of the winter and summer sun to optimize thermal mass, solar potential and growing potential. The Tires are each 100s of lbs by the time they are done being pounded on by a sledge hammer and filled with dirt and each tire becomes an energy storage that heats/cools the home depending on the temperature outside once the house is completed.
There can definitely be mods to the angle of the windows depending on location of the home and overall goals of the build and wanted growing needs in the front green house. As the tires are being pounded the plumbing is considered and put in place as the house is resurrected. Plus, the water tanks are buried behind the house and the long tubes are placed in ground to help with ventilation/cooing as the walls go up. Once the Tires are completed , the plaster cement over the top to seal up the tires and give a final look. Then comes the fun part of can/Glass bottle walls to separate the rooms from the front green house area. The recycling of glass bottles and tires as building materials keeps mores shit out of the landfills and the benefits of using these materials are amazing when it comes to living off grid with thermal mass and passive solar heating/cooling principles. And bonus the glass bottles look like unique stain glass when the sun shines though the greenhouse.
So The plumbing is the coolest part – The eathship catches and stores its own water. Filters it for first time use; re-uses that water to water the from green house-garden; reuses the garden water to flush the toilet and reuses the black water / toilet water in to the leech field in the front lawn space. Don’t worry none of this is seen and the the leech field does it’s magic with the plants filtering and using the water as a great fertilizer for optimal growth. None of these plants would be edibles. The plumbing allows for the awesome green house to exist and each earthship Owner can choose how they will plant out their mini food forest. Imagine a banana tree growing in Colorado because your green house constantly stays in a tropical type climate.
To learn more about Earthships and If you want to go visit and stay on an Earthship, you don’t have to travel far. Back in the 70s, Mike Reynolds and the Greater World was established and several earthships were built. They have a tour you can go on an thehttps://www.earthshipglobal.com website and discover all the cool things they are doing around the world. Even book a night stay on an earthship and or set up a tour!
Some other ways to employ earthship techniques:
For instance, bedsides traveling and staying on an earthship, which was epic!! And if you have the time, go do it yourself, you won’t regret it. Our other 2 experiences happened in our own Colorado backyard. Our first hands on experience was helping a friend build a duck coop in boulder with a circle -tire foundation and glass bottle walls . It was a fun experience learning how to make glass-brick-bottles out of cutting up old beer bottles with a wet-saw. The tires were essentially pounded out when we had arrived , we saw a demonstration, but our job Now was to make glass brick bottles and help form the dome with bent rebar and old chicken wire plus working with a concrete mix to make the can/glass bottle side walls. The trick was waiting to let each bottle layer dry before starting the next one. The top of the dome was finished off with laying cardboard on top so the cement could fall through the chicken wire into the coop and making it the right thickness so it would crack or be to heavy when it dried.
Our other Experience was in 2014 helping build a green house Earthship geodesic dome in Denver for a community garden project. Check out this cool video that Polish Ambassador did for the second day of the project for his Pushing thought the pavement” tour where he invites concert goes to show up for a community project after one of his concerts the previous day – what a cool idea – Party with a Purpose: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=coqCrU3GZ58
Also do some community research:
You may have a Green community to connect with in your area that knows and teaches about Earthships, permaculture, renewable energy systems, etc. and projects happening around you.
Have a Booming Day!