The Most Versatile and Economical building design in the world.
The Earthship building method has been evolving for over 40 years.
Add some or all of the
- Reduce and even eliminate your utility bills.
Earthships catch water from the sky (rain & snow melt) and uses it four times. Water is heated from the sun and/or natural gas. Earthships can have city water as backup.
Earthships produce their own electricity with a prepackaged photovoltaic / wind power system. This energy is stored in batteries and supplied to your electrical outlets. Earthships can have multiple sources of power, all automated, including grid-intertie.
Earthships contain use and reuse all household sewage in indoor and outdoor treatment cells resulting in food production and landscaping with no pollution of aquifers. Toilets flush with greywater that does not smell.
Earthships maintain comfortable temperatures in any climate. The planet Earth is a thermally stabilizing mass that delivers temperature without wire or pipes. The sun is a nuclear power plant that also delivers without wires or pipes.
There are several categories of knowledge that will apply in varying levels around the world to existing shelter.
1. Temperature stabilization in the shelter
This involves three things. Thermal mass, insulation and ventilation. (see the new book "Comfort In Any Climate" for definitions of thermal mass and insulation).
Existing homes can be veneered with a variety of insulations from urethane to straw bale and then replastered. Roofs and roof cavities can have insulation added as the roof is the most important place to add insulation.
Thermal mass can be strategically added to every space in a variety of ways.
Ventilation can be set up for each room to bring air in low and out high as per natural convection without fans. In extremely hot situations, the in coming air can be taken through tubes in the ground before entering the home. This cools the air from the mass of the earth before it enters the living space.
If you live where heating is seriously needed, the solar greenhouse is a must for the entire southern sides of your home. This greenhouse can have a tremendous amount of mass in it. If you have a huge home, you may want to retrofit only certain spaces that are most often used and let the others be used more when outside temperatures are milder and heating or cooling is not required anyway.
Now when you have successfully caused your home to need very little backup heating or cooling, you have greatly reduced your energy demands Not only have you reduced the gas or electricity needed for fueling the heating and/or cooling, you have reduced the electricity for moving it with fans, blowers, timers, etc. This gets you one step closer to an economical solar/wind power system.
Water in the conventional home is dependent on electricity.
Both individual wells and community/municipal wells have pumps. These pumps use large amounts of electricity relative to the depth of the water below the surface of the earth and the distance it must travel. Water in most areas is also dependent on how long the local aquifers will last or remain unpolluted. (see Alternative Water Management Booklet)
Catch water systems can be built into conventional homes via roof catchment systems. This reduces electrical demand and places the water dependency on precipitation from the sky rather than the waning and pollution vulnerable aquifers. This also reduces the need for vulnerable and deteriorating water supply piping systems.
In the process of re-insulating your roof as per Temperature Stabilization (above), you may also reconfigure it to gently slope it south as much as possible. This makes the snow melt before it evaporates and gives you more water. You will then re-roof it with a potable material; install one of many types of cisterns and a Water Organizing Module (low energy pumps and filters) and have your own water system.
This system will admit but not be dependent upon conventional water systems.
If you need to cool your home more than heat it you may use the cistern as a heat sink by placing it inside your home.
You have now further reduced you home's requirement for electricity thus getting you still closer to being able to survive comfortably with a solar/wind power system.
Having reduced and/or eliminated some of the heaviest power demands through the steps above, you can now install a solar/wind prepackaged power module and hook it in to your conventional power system. You can set it up so the conventional power is used as back up through a "grid-intertie" system.
Further education on efficient light bulb use and refrigeration will be necessary for you to be successful.
In areas where sun is prominent, solar hot water heaters can be used in conjunction with gas demand units. This will provide the bulk of your hot water from the sun with gas used only as backup.
You have now eliminated your dependency on utility grids and will begin saving the money spent on those monthly bills. Your life will not be subject to the devastating effects of power grids.
If you add a solar greenhouse for temperature stabilization, you can install the grey water/black water systems explained in the Alternative Water Management Booklet. These systems require large planting areas and are designed to dovetail in to existing conventional sewage systems. They also reuse the water which stretches the capabilities of your catchment system.
The use of the grey water/black water systems and the solar greenhouse basically require that you grow plants. These plants may as well be food producing.
By reducing your diet to simple fruits and vegetables and increasing your home production of food you can reduce your dependency on the existing sometimes poisonous and unreliable conventional food market.
You may have noticed the inter-relatedness of all these systems. This is what the Earthship research has taught us in 30 years. We are now ready to apply it to retrofitting the world.
"self contained dwellings that will sail on the seas of tomorrow"
". . . the Earthship is probably the model of a sustainable home unrivaled in the modern world."