tire poundedEach year, nearly 300 million tires are disposed of in the U.S. alone. The EPA estimates that markets exist for approximately 80 percent of those tires, leaving an estimated 60 million scrap tires to be stockpiled or landfilled.

Luckily, the market for scrap tires continues to increase. Whether used as fuel, ground and recycled into new products, retreaded or used in civil engineering projects, their rate of recycling and reuse continues to climb.

One such method of reuse is beginning to gain popularity among eco-friendly builders: building with tires.

Rammed-Earth Construction

As the name suggests, the primary material used in rammed-earth construction is, well, compacted earth. We’ve used sand, clay and other compacted soils for centuries in building, from Jericho, the oldest recorded city in history, to the modern day architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright.

Rammed-earth homes are designed to maximize energy-efficiency, remaining relatively warm in winter months and cool in summer months.

Their dense design is ideal for thermal mass storage and their orientation is meant to capture lower winter sun rays and block more direct summer rays.

Recycled automotive tires filled with compacted earth form what are called rammed-earth bricks and are used in place of traditional wood framing. Soil is tightly packed into the frame of the tire, with a cardboard sheet placed across the base. A typical 2,000 square-foot home uses 1,000 scrap tires on average.

Small gaps in the frames, due to the tires being round, are filled with recycled materials, typically aluminum cans or bottles and adobe.

Tire Work Images: http://earthship.com/tire-walls-images

A Tire Building Code

A Building Code for bearing and retaining walls made from earth rammed tires.

In Earthship Volume I, we presented a method of building living modules from discarded automobile tires rammed with earth. Over the thirty years of research &?development, we have come to the determination that this method far exceeds any other known building technique with regard to thermal, structural, environmental and availability aspects.

The Earthship Volumes are aimed at making this concept physically available to owner builders. If the methods put forth in these books are followed, the result is a very “substantial living module.” However, if the concept is used but not executed competently with appropriate respect for and understanding the nature of the material, an unsafe building can be the result. This is true of any building technique. This is why we have building inspectors. These building inspectors have a code (the Uniform Building Code – UBC) to follow. This code provides criteria for an inspector to relate to in determining whether a particular building technique is being executed safely or not. The purpose of this building code for bearing and retaining walls made from earth-rammed tires is to provide that same kind of criteria for an inspector to relate to in determining whether a tire building is being executed safely or not. Any building technique can be executed in a competent manner or an incompetent manner. Tire bearing walls and peripheral details are no exception. This code is aimed at both the inspector and the builders as a clear simple presentation of tire construction standards (“Do’s and Don’ts)?that must be followed to insure a successful, safe, comfortable building. It is our hope that various states will adopt this code as they move into the era of the use of automobile tire casings for the construction of buildings here in the beginning of the 21st century.

read more at http://earthship.com/tire-building-code