TRUE SUSTAINABILITY IN A COMFORTABLE AND ELEGANT FORM
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 many sustainable solutions proposed until now have fit that description. Earthships, however, offer all of the comforts of modern homes and more.
Warmth & Shelter
The most brilliant piece of engineering in the Earthship is it’s ability to maintain comfortable temperatures year round. Even in the Atlantic Canadian climate that ranges from freezing cold to blistering hot, Earthships constantly hover around 22° Celsius (70° Fahrenheit).
This phenomenon results from solar heat absorbed and stored by ‘thermal mass’. The thermal mass acts as a heat sink, releasing or absorbing heat it when the interior cools and heats up, respectively.The Earthship’s thermal mass comes from its structure of tires filled with dirt and the surrounding berm. The large greenhouse windows at the front of the house 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 virtually 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?
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 almost everyone — from the least privileged to the most worldly.
Made of recycled and salvaged 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 sexy.
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.