A Brief History of Earthships

For over four decades the systems that go into what we call Earthships have been evolving.  The progression of this evolution began with at least two decades spent learning enough to make these systems work...period. We spent many years advancing the various aspects of Earthships and learning how to make them work in a reliable and user friendly way.  Although we are always pushing to advance the systems involved in making Earthships, we finally came to a point where we achieved a harmony between the various  elements to create a sustainable home using recycled materials,  that generated its own water and electricity, conserved and reused water creatively, generated it’s own food and heated and cooled itself in a passive manner.  


    The Systems Involved in the Earthship Evolution:

        A structure built from largely recycled materials
        Heating and cooling
        Electrical system
        Water harvest system
        Contained on site sewage treatment system
        Food production

At the point when all of the systems came together in a cohesive way to create a home we realized that they were more expensive than a conventional home. The people who would be interested in buying an Earthship over a conventional home were those who wanted the security of independent utilities no matter what the cost and those seeking an environmentally friendly living option.  Most people, however, would be forced by economics to choose the cheaper, less secure, environmentally hazardous, conventional direction.  

history canon
Canon, an early experiement on the path to achieving the Earthship model.

Right after we overcame the huge challenge of learning enough to make these “earth machines” work for people and the Earth, we had to simplify and streamline them into something that could compete economically with the price of conventional approaches to housing.  No matter how significant the fact that these buildings put people and their relationship to the earth in a very secure situation for the future, most people would still choose a conventional home because it was still easier to obtain in terms of financial cost.  

We then spent another decade on this simplification and streamlining until finally in the early 2000’s, we arrived.  We had developed a fully independent home that provided shelter, utilities and food, that could be built with recycled materials found anywhere in the world and costs much the same as a conventional home.  We could then present our case: the Earthship costs next to nothing to operate while the conventional home for the same price costs a significant amount to operate, not to mention the questionable future availability and viability of the resources required to operate a conventional home.  We had arrived!  

The satisfaction was unfortunately short lived.  The economic housing crisis of 2007 hit and we realized a very significant fact: conventional housing itself was far too expensive all over the developed world for the majority of the population to afford.  Many people in many countries lost their conventional homes and they were in crisis.  

During our developmental period we presented many models of Earthships for the various financial strata but we observed that the majority of the people of Earth could not afford any of the available housing.  We had arrived only to find out that we needed to keep on going.  We were faced with a new challenge.  We needed to simplify even more and develop a sustainable home that was more affordable than conventional homes.  We have to find secure sustenance for people that is not subject to the monster called the economy.  We have to make this sustainable vessel, the Earthship, render the existing system insignificant.







About Earthship Biotecture

Earthship construction drawings are designed to meet standard building code requirements so you can get a permit no matter where you are. Earthship Biotecture is beyond LEED Architecture. Earthships are green buildings that meet standard building codes. EarthshipBiotecture is based on the work of principal architect, Michael Reynolds. (see: media resume)

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