Materials

The Great Wall of Ushuaia

Robert Hirsch

In February of this year, following the one month Academy build of the Earthship (Nave Tierra) in Ushuaia, the municipality of Ushuaia requested that Earthship Biotecture organize a small crew to stay on and construct a giant tire retaining wall (muro de contencion) at the swimming complex at Andorra, a suburb of the city. The wall was needed to stabilize a 100 meter long embankment beside a high dirt road paralleling the sports facility. Mike planned out the base and batter (3″) for the tire work, and I (USA), Kimi Grum (Argentina) and Andressa Malaga (Brazil) had 1 week to organize the tools, tires and people. Guillermo Worman, from the municipality, was the go-to guy for all our needs. He was essential at keeping the project running on schedule. So with the 3 of us from EB and about 10 academy students, a few friends of students and 15 or so hired local workers we built The Great Wall of Ushuaia. Read More

Live Stream: Omega’s Where We Go From Here Weekend Conference

earthship events

Conference Live Stream, Plus a Keynote by President Bill Clinton: 10/05/2013 10/06/2013

FREE Live Stream: Omega’s Where We Go From Here weekend conference.

You’ll hear keynote addresses from top leaders in sustainability—Jeremy Rifkin, Majora Carter, David W. Orr, Janine Benyus, Paul Hawken, Rob Hopkins, Michael E. Reynolds, Bob Berkebile, and President Bill Clinton. There will also be plenty of conversation and a panel discussion between selected speakers. Read More

Turn Old Into New and Improved at the Seattle Mini Maker Faire!

Posted on June 5, 2013 by

Ever think about productive ways we can use (or save!) the earth’s resources? Wood, water, soil, or even what you may consider to be “junk?” Believe it or not, this “junk” can be used to make some pretty sustainable (and fun!) items, such as alternative housing or even model transportation! If you ever need new ideas about what to do with your old stuff, the Seattle Mini Maker Faire will provide you with endless inventive ideas!

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Simple Survival Concept and Rationale

A few years back we all drove big cars.  Those were the days of the big Lincolns and Chryslers, and Cadillacs.  Even the Chevys and the Fords were big.  They were made with thick metal and they were heavy and big.   When the energy crunches began, and fuel prices started to rise a few brave companies put out compact cars.  They were ridiculed at first.  They were called “toys” and “unsafe”.  The first models of compact cars were loosing issues in terms of profits but they illustrated that you can still get there in a smaller car… and get there a lot cheaper.  The fuel prices never stopped going up.  Sure they would take a dive here and there but the over all graph on fuel prices was up.  So it is now with housing. Housing has been big and inefficient for a long time.  Energy shortages and dwindling natural resources are making us look at smaller, more planet dynamic housing.  The Earthship Simple Survival Concept is our answer to this issue.

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Earthship experience: 8 weeks, 650 tires, thousands of pop cans

Tucked into a bluff above the Yellowstone River, an architect known as the “Garbage Warrior” built a home with walls made from cast-off tires and empty soda cans.

The home’s south face, an angled wall of glass, rises over a greenhouse bathed in sunlight reflected off the snow-covered hills east of Miles City. Its other three sides are sunk into the hillside. 

Last summer, a work crew and volunteers rammed dirt into tires to create 650 steel-belted “bricks,” which were stacked in rows, nine tires high.

Empty soda pop cans and beer bottles cemented side by side and covered with adobe mud became the interior walls of the eco-friendly home built by longtime Miles City residents Scott Elder and Karla Lund.

montana miles city1

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Sustainable homes for Earth

Looking like something Tolkein’s hobbits would reside in, the quirky Earthship homes are in fact some of the greenest kinds of abodes around.

Welcome to bizarro world. Looking like a larger version of a house that one of Tolkein’s hobbits would reside in, Earthships are in fact one of the greenest kinds of houses around.

They’re the brainchild of sustainable architect Mike Reynolds, founder of the Earthship Biotecture company. Designed as a type of passive solar house, Earthships are made primarily of natural materials such as rammed-earth combined with recycled materials, tyres, bottles and cans.

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Sweden to Import Garbage as Trash Supplies Run Dry

As other nations throughout the world struggle to cut the amount of waste piling up in their landfills and marring the landscape, Sweden is facing an entirely different sort of challenge — they’ve run out of trash. Now they’re forced to import some more.

Swedes, you see, are among the planet’s least wasteful people, on average recycling around 96 percent of the garbage they produce. And with what’s left, they’ve found a way to use, having implemented a world-class waste-to-energy incineration program capable of providing electricity sufficient to power hundreds of thousands of homes.

But their hyper-efficiency has led to a unique problem: a trash shortage that could threaten the energy production capacity.

So, what is Sweden to do? Well, according to Swedish officials, the notoriously tidy nation will begin importing garbage from their neighbor Norway — about 80,000 tons of it annually, in fact, to fulfill their energy needs.

Perhaps the best part of all is that, in solving their problem, Swedes actually stand to profit from this endeavor; the Norwegians are going to pay them to take their waste, proving quite succinctly that one nation’s trash can truly be another’s treasure trove.

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10 Reasons Why EarthShips Are F!#%ing Awesome

Earthships are 100% sustainable homes that are both cheap to build and awesome to live in. They offer amenities like no other sustainable building style you have come across. For the reasons that follow, I believe Earthships can actually change the world. See for yourself!

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Taos County agreement could supply earthship tires, save taxpayer expense

const tire work2Colin Jenkinson says he and his fellow crew members have become pretty adept at scavenging used tires for building walls on Earthships. For years, crews would scour shops or backyards looking for tires, and haul them to the Earthship community west of the Río Grande Gorge.

A pending agreement with Taos County could make getting used tires much easier, while at the same time saving taxpayers the cost of getting rid of them.

The county has proposed a contract under which the Solid Waste Department would take used tires from its collection sites and deliver them directly to the Earthship community. The goal is to reduce tipping fees at the regional landfill, and cut the time and cost of having to slit and bale tires.

“It’s ideal,” says architect Mike Reynolds, creator of the Earthship concept and founder of Earthship Biotecture.

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Resources for Earth building in Australia

I have been doing alot of research and networking recently to look at the Earth building industry in Australia and inspect the industry to see where and how Earthships will fit into the marketplace.  As a town planner and graduate of the Academy I am trying to find myself a living developing Earthship consultation, training, information sessions, workshops and providing the planning process for projects across this big and diverse climate.

As you may or may not have found out there are no completed permitted global model Earthships in Australia that demonstrate the entire range and capacity of the Earthships seen in Taos and in other parts of the world.  It is archaic and makes me ill (even as a town planner) at the amount of regulations there are to prevent us from moving towards what is really a conscious choice, not a half-thought out and cheap short-cut.  Regulations are there to protect society and standardise it.  I understand this, but are they now becoming a tool for bureacrats to use to wave the red flag infront of change and efficiency.  If someone wants to collect rainwater to use for non-drinking purposes, what has it got to do with regulators.. I mean seriously?  nanny state we are.

So aside from that little rant I thought Id post up some of the resources I have been collecting which may be useful to others as we go down the road together towards ultimate (not tokenistic) sustainability.

Note some of these are not only Australian-situation relevant.. I have been looking far and wide at examples others are doing and dealing with in their countries for comparison and inspiration.  As Mike Reynolds says, when life throws you lemons, make lemonade.. hence we are going to have to be ‘creative’ to get these amazing structures up and running in this country. Read More