Earthship designs are constantly evolving because they are decentralized and many are built each year. This allows for constant evolution. We have many models in our history which all played their part in our on going evolution. We have presented here our favorite models which have very pragmatic reasons for being favorites.
Climate, budget and your individual needs play a big part in determining which Earthship prototype is right for you.
The Custom Earthship
A custom Earthship is the most expensive and time consuming approach. These are possible in any climate and can include any and all of our various inventions and ideas over the years. They can be built and will function in any climate. Money is the only barrier in this scenario. Many people want a custom Earthship but their budgets says otherwise.
Design is the first step in a custom Earthship. This phase can cost $10,000 or more. Construction drawings are next and depending on the size and degree of customization, these drawings can cost from $15,000 to $50,000. Construction itself would start at around $250 per square foot and go up from there. Custom buildings take much more time in every phase and time is money. There is no limit to what can be done in a custom Earthship, however, we can hardly make them perform any better than our common models as they are designed for performance. So... a custom Earthship is worth it if you want what you want.
The Phoenix Custom Earthship
Global Model Earthship
Our most universal model for the developed world is the Global Model. It can be modified for almost any climate and comes in many sizes. It can also come in custom sizes. It has been built enough times that it has become a well oiled machine both in terms of performance and production. It costs around $225 per sf. The construction drawings range from $5,000 to $10,000 depending on size. Most models can be built by our crew in one month anywhere in the world. In this scenario you must add travel and accommodations for our crew. Of course our drawings are aimed at owner builders doing this themselves as well. This can cut costs by close to 40%.
The Most Versatile and Economical building design in the world.Developed over 40 years around the world by Earthship Biotecture.
Earthship Biotecture Designs
Designed to meet Standard Building Codes.
Earthships can be built in any part of the world, in any climate and still provide you with what you need to survive, with 'modern' amenities, if desired.
This building method is called Biotecture and is based on the work of principal architect, Michael Reynolds.
Earthships provide security in economically unsecure times.
Earthships cost about the same as a conventional home, but a conventional home does not come with all the electricity and water you will use. A conventional home is bad for the planet, is not strong and uses materials that require a lot of fossil fuels to manufacture and get to your building site.
We can customize any floor plan for the Global model, we have versions with garages and other options as well.
This can make the drawings cost a few thousand more but does not necessarily increase the build cost.
In the case of tropical environments we prefer one and two story round models because a solar face is not necessarily needed for heating. We use the round shapes because they are efficient and more hurricane resistant and the tropics are known for hurricanes. These buildings costs are comparable to the Global model both in terms of building and drawings. They take a similar length of time to build as well. They come in all sizes and again the drawings are aimed at owner builders participating.
Below is a tropical plan example.
Simple Survival Models
The minimal budget applications first of all require a no building permit situation. We are mapping what we call “pockets of freedom” all over the USA and the world where an owner/builder can construct their own home with no regulations. Believe it or not, there are many such places all over the world.
We have developed these models for climates with four seasons as well as for tropical areas. The tropics models would be a bit cheaper because you do not have to deal with freezing and this allows for a lot of indoor-outdoor spaces that cost much less than spaces that must be protected by an entirely enclosed environment.
These buildings have been designed for bare essential levels of living as a beginning to your home. The idea is to get in one for very little money and then add more to it as you can afford the expenses. We have built these models in many places and they are quite livable. Our crew is envious of people we have built these for because in addition to being very delightful buildings, they leave the owner with no debt and an easy, burden free life.
These models are the way of the future. They take the systems and size and details down to a minimum but they perform as well as any Earthship. They use methods that never wear out and cost a fraction of the code monitored buildings and systems. For example, they use both bucket flush toilets and bucket showers. Believe it or not, these both can be presented in a very pleasant way. I have personally become a fan of the bucket flush toilet and the bucket shower due to the experience, the cost and the lack of maintenance.
Drawings are $2,000 to $5,000 and can be negotiated.
Building cost can range from $50,000 to $100,000 if you have us build it. If you build it yourself (and it is aimed at this) you can expect to pay half of that or less. This is a home. A living module that can be replicated and will take care of you.
Customization of any kind on these models quickly brings the cost right back up. The following is a floor plan of the tropical model with outdoor spaces and the generic four seasons model with a double greenhouse. Both with bucket shower and bucket flush toilet.
Four Season Survival Model
The EVE Project
(Earthship Village Ecologies)
Throughout the last forty years Earthship Biotecture has been working toward developing a fully sustainable prototype home that has a zero carbon footprint on the planet. We arrived at this in the early 2000’s and are still perfecting and refining it. We have a building prototype that harvests its own electricity and water; contains and treats its own sewage; and heats and cools itself without fuel and produces a significant amount of food.
The building is built from 45% recycled materials... thus starting the construction of the building with a negative carbon footprint. Discarded materials take the place of new materials that require energy to produce. Also, once used, discarded materials, would have taken energy to dispose of. There is no energy required to reuse existing materials. This further contributes to a negative carbon foot print at the birth of the building.
read more at earthship.com/earthship-village-ecologies
Escape from Economy
In late 2008 and early 2009 the economic crisis on the earth has become so significant that it, however shallow, has begun to overshadow even the climate crisis. The EVE project will address the economy of people living in harmony with the planet and with each other but much more independent of the global economy and thus not near as dependent on it. This village will aim to finance itself. We already make buildings that make their own power, harvest their own water and heat and cool themselves so there will be no utility or infrastructure expense. We’re building with 45% recycled materials so that eliminates some of the cost of new materials. We, Earthship Biotecture, have a growing number of interns coming to learn the methods of Biotecture living. We will use this small army to launch the EVE project. This will result in very affordable housing for these people. The interns that work on EVE will live at EVE. They will be eating food from the planters of the buildings they live in. They will be using water from the sky here. They will be using electricity from the sun and wind. They will be using the toilets here and taking showers and making the plants grow from their waste water. It will be a self-contained system based on the six design principles of the Earthship concept. It will address the issues people need for sustenance. What we are trying to do here is illustrate that the sustenance of people (shelter, water, energy, sewage, food and comfort) should not be subject to an economy.
The economy is a game. This game should be about nonessential things (motorcycles, computers, televisions). A person feeding their family, staying alive, having shelter, those elements should not be subject to an economy. We should have truly sustainable villages that provide a life independent of the economy and what better way to create them than to have a building prototype that doesn’t need any utilities, produces food, is made of recycled materials and is easy enough to build that unskilled people can do it. The whole EVE concept embodies an education that can be shared around the world. People can come for short or long periods of time, live incredibly cheap in terms of a rent payment and everything else is provided. They can eat here, they can drink here, they will have all of the basic essentials of life here. We’ll have flat screen televisions and high speed internet which are essential to some. We will have so much of what people need here that they won’t have to take trips in to town as often. We will be providing in our own "insignificant economy" the things that people need in a green and sustainable way.
As the years went by in the development of the Earthship concept, and more and more global problems were presented by the media, we kept incorporating solutions to these problems into the Earthship concept. This is how we developed the six design principles. Now there is another problem which has become the sole highway on which all of life is delivered, it is called the economy. We are taking a left turn off of this eroding highway and carving a path out into the mesa and beyond. We are calling this path E.V.E..
Global Model for a Good Virus
I am hoping that we can do this in multiple formats throughout the world and that it will make such a statement that global regions such as; Australia, Asia, Europe and the Americas will look at this possibility... neighboring, sustainable, independent villages that constitute a town or a city.
It’s not about making anybody rich. It is not about tax dollars. It’s about the sustenance of people. If governments all over the world subsidized these methods of people taking care of themselves in carbon zero village formats instead of subsidizing wars over resources; then we walk out of jeopardy and into a long lasting peace on earth. Currently, since survival depends on economy, we have people all over the world who are starving, don’t have enough water, have no shelter and live in constant stress and misery. This effects the global ambiance. Now it’s even happening in the US. Homelessness is more severe than ever. There are tent cities. Desperate people, like any one of us, who used to have a life. Then all of the sudden they lost their jobs and their mortgage and consequently their life.
Life should not float on an economy. Life should have its own wings.
E.V.E. can provide those wings to all people.
So every step of this EVE project is about learning to live without dependence on any other systems; political, economic or utility. The village is the system. It can be replicated and grouped with other similar villages to become a town. This can happen on a larger scale with many villages becoming a city. Then it can happen on a country or a global scale but it starts with sustainable villages that provide for themselves via the Earthship concepts that have already proven themselves to be able to stand alone. E.V.E. is a petri dish for the development of a good virus.
We are talking about eliminating the stress of living, on the people and on the planet. If countries make their first priority providing people with the knowledge of how to provide for themselves in a village model, then the people's livelihoods will not be subject to the ups and downs of an economy. All the thinking and energy goes towards evolving the village toward the care of people and planet. The Native Americans taught their children how to survive on the Earth. The E.V.E. project will present to people the knowledge of how to survive in a situation that does not depend on the economy, politics or fossil fuels.
Reduction of CO2 Footprint:
Another issue that is coming in to play in conventional building is freight; the shipping of materials from China to the US or from Taiwan to the US or even Oregon to New Mexico is being viewed as an energy waste and a negative CO2 impact. We should be building with materials that are all from within one hundred miles of the place they are used regardless of whether they are manufactured materials or recycled materials.
The same is true for food. It is ridiculous to buy food grown thousands of miles away, even hundreds of miles away. That is again, an energy waste and a CO2 impact. We can grow everything in the Earthship homes that you can grow anywhere in any tropical climate. That eliminates freight. E.V.E. will eliminate the giant carbon footprint of a banana from South America or a building product from across the country. We will harvest all kinds of food from E.V.E. and building products from the near by town of Taos, New Mexico. You take our EVE grown banana and put it right next to a grocery store banana that came from South America and you have a giant carbon footprint on one banana and no carbon footprint on the other. The same is true of a building product. The village produces what it needs and maybe trades with other villages near by. The strength is in the independence from centralized utilities and food production. There will be an inherent "insignificant economy" that is woven in to the natural phenomena that already exist on the Earth.
So the E.V.E. project is about all of these things, power, water, sewage, food, recycled materials and the resulting insignificant economy. The EVE project is a way to live that is more like what I would call direct living, direct soft impact living. It puts people in a position that they can relate to the economy as if it were a swimming pool that they can dive into for a swim if they want to, but when they want to get out, their life is out of the swimming pool and remote from it and not dependent on it. Swimming in the economy is a game, it’s a recreation, it should not be the thing between us and life. That is a big part of what the EVE project is all about, evolution beyond economics made possible through a living vessel that provides all of the essentials and has no carbon foot print.
E.V.E. ... this cluster of twenty-five people living on two acres will be a seething, intense hive of human activity that will be on display to some extent. It’s not going to be luxurious, but it will be magnetic in terms of pulling in energy from congruent quadrants of logical thinking. “Live simply so that others may simply live.” The less you have, the less you have to lose.