Once described as ‘idiotic’, new eco-friendly, self-sustaining homes are proving its critics wrong.
Taos, United States – It’s a green architectural movement that took root in the desert of New Mexico some 40 years ago. That’s when Michael Reynolds, 69, began experimenting with building homes out of garbage and natural materials that he called “Earthships”.
“I was [called] an idiot for building out of garbage, but people are starting to realise that maybe there is something to look at here,” Reynolds told Al Jazeera. Although it hasn’t been an easy journey, Earthships are becoming a more mainstream housing option. Today, people are living in Earthships in 50 states across the US, and in at least 25 countries around the world.
Earthships are built by digging at least 1.2m below the earth’s surface, where the temperature remains stable throughout the year, thereby needing no fossil fuel-derived energy for cooling or heating. Exterior walls are made of recycled materials such as truck tyres, used bottles and spent beer cans.
Solar panels and wind turbines on the house generate enough electricity to run electrical appliances.
Earthships also harvest their own water from rain or snow, and store it in a huge tank on the roof. This water goes through a filtration system and is used for drinking and cooking.Read More
So what did you think of “The Interview?” Surely you’re not the only person on the planet without an opinion. Oh, did you take advantage of holiday doorbuster deals last month? And do you have Valentine’s Day plans yet?
Sorry to get your blood boiling in just a few lines of text, but it’s to illustrate a point: The noise is stressing us out! Time to get off the grid. Read More
Herald photo by Ian Martens Workers and volunteers help with the construction of an 1,800-square-foot earthship home, designed to be an off-grid, self-sustaining dwelling, earlier this week at a site along the Little Bow River east of Carmangay. An open house is scheduled Sunday afternoon from 1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.
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It’s an 1,800-square-foot, three-bedroom home with an unusual floor plan and a sweeping south-facing view toward the Little Bow River out of large glass windows.
Its final cost, estimated at between $350,000 and $400,000, would be comparable to a similar-sized unit in an average Canadian urban community.
But when it’s completed in a few weeks, Glen and Dawn Kinney’s soon-to-be retirement house, located about 70 kilometres from Lethbridge and 30 kilometres east of Carmangay, will basically run itself.
The home, called an earthship for its design, will maintain a consistent temperature of between 19 C and 22 C year-round, with no added heating or cooling, and have a of cost of only about $150 per year for utilities.
The back wall was constructed with more than 800 tires encased in mortar to create thermal mass, while the side walls, with a similar concept, utilized more than 12,000 beer cans. Read More
There have been several hits on a Global Model Earthship being built for a Taos family who was displaced after losing their home in Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Last year, we had 35 students and several crew members begin the tire pounding and within a week’s time were able to complete the 9 courses of the main structural tire wall. The Bilal family has been in Taos since that time and have been the focus of our local humanitarian effort.
Since last spring, Earthship Biotecture has donated time and labor working with our interns, Academy students and various high school groups towards enclosing and eventually finishing the Bilal family’s Earthship. Several groups have worked with us over the year to pack out the back tire wall creating more support and preparing for the roof to go on. Read More