Build a home and live for free!
Earthship proves that it is possible to build and live in a home that is unique inside and out. Earthship are taking recycled materials to a new level by creating gorgeous homes that are earth-friendly and sustainable. The building method behind Earthships is called Biotecture, which is based on the work of principal architect Michael Reynolds. What makes this innovative new building method stand out is that Earthships can effectively be built globally, in any climate, providing anyone with what they need to live and survive - naturally!
For thousands and thousands of years, housing was built from found materials such as rock, earth, reeds and logs. Today, there are mountains of by-products of our civilization that are already made and delivered to all areas. These are the natural resources of the modern humanity.
An Earthship must make use of these materials via techniques available to the common person. Materials and the techniques for using them must be accessible to the common person in terms of price and skill required to use them. The less energy required to turn a found object into a usable building material the better. This concept is also called embodied-energy.
In keeping with the design and performance requirements of a Earthship Biotecture, the nature of the building materials for an Earthship must have certain characteristics established. These characteristics must align with, rather than deteriorate, the environment of the planet. Many conventional materials satisfy one or two of these characteristics but no conventional materials satisfies all of them. Therefore, we must 'invent' or 'create' a new material or building block for the primary structure of the Earthship.
Aluminum can, glass and plastic bottles are a great, simple way to build interior, non-structural walls. Aluminum can walls actually make very strong walls. These materials are combined with a cement-matrix that is very strong and very easy to build. Bottles can create beautiful coloured walls that light shines through.
The major building materials for an earthships must require little or no manufactured energy to fashion into use. This keeps them easily available to common people and at the same time would allow the large scale production of Earthships to maintain a relatively low impact on the planet.
Since there are so many of us, if we are to survive without literally consuming the planet, everything we use must be chosen with consideration to the impact of large scale application. We must explore building materials and methods that are not dependent on manufactured energy and that have the potential to contribute to the general well-being of the planet rather than exploit it.
Materials are found all over the planet. Shipping materials for long distances is not sustainable and uses excessive amounts of energy.
In order for the Earthship to be easily accessible to the common person and to maintain a low impact on the planetary energy situation, a "building block" found all over the globe would be required.
We have built out of wood for centuries. Wood is organic and biodegradable. It goes away. So we have developed various poisonous chemical products to paint on it and make it last. This, plus the fact that wood is light and porous, makes it a very unsatisfactory building material. This is not to mention the fact that trees are our source of oxygen.
For building housing that will last without chemicals, we should look around for materials that have durability as an inherent quality rather than trying to paint on durability. Wood is definitely a good material for cabinet doors and ceilings where mass is not a factor and where it protected so it will not rot, but the basic massive structure of buildings should be a natural resource that is inherently massive and durable by its own nature.
If the materials for easily obtainable housing are to be truly accessibly to the common person they must, by their very nature, be easy to learn how to assemble. The nature of the materials for building an earthship must allow for assembling skills to be learned and mastered in a matter of hours, not year. These skills must be basic enough that specific talent is not required to learn them.
Low tech use/application: some systems of building today are simple if one has the appropriate high-tech expensive energy dependent device or equipment. This, of course, limits the application of these methods to the professionals who have invested in the technology to enable them to use such methods. Because of the expense and energy required to get set up for these systems the common person is left totally dependent on those professionals for accessibility to these particular housing systems. Therefore the common person must go through the medium of money (bank loans, interest approvals, etc.) to gain access to a housing system that usually dictates performance and appearance.
Earthship technology is the technology of natural phenomenon like the physics of the sun, the earth and people themselves.