“. . . the Earthship is the epitome of sustainable design and construction. No part of sustainable living has been ignored in this ingenious building.”
In an update to a story we first brought you back in November 2012, Dirt Merchant Farms, which sells organic foods like fresh farm eggs, meats and vegetables in Stagecoach, has continued to build what are known as “Earthships” on their property.
An earthship is a self-sustaining building made out of recyclable materials, like tires and glass bottles.
He says they’re more durable than traditional homes made out of wood.
“Most stick-based buildings take a lot of time to build,” Alexander said. “They take a lot of money to buy. They’re around $200,000 for your mortgage nowadays, depending on what type of building you want, and you end up taking most of your time fixing the building as it’s going. Whereas, my earthship, as I build it, it’s created with mostly concrete, plaster, metal and things like that.”
On Sunday, I got to take a tour of the different earthships he’s building. Since first talking to him last November, he’s been working on two storage buildings, a greenhouse and a shelter for his pigs.
“Different farms are coming out that are using the different earthship technologies to help keep the temperature for our buildings, and help keep our greenhouses warm,” Alexander said. “Whereas, we don’t have to use fossil fuels, or woods or coals.”
One of the techniques he’s using to control the temperature inside an earthship used as a storage space is building dirt mounds around the structure.
“It’s packed around all sides, except for the south-facing side with dirt,” he said. “So, you use the earth berm to keep the building cool and warm, depending on what you want and what season.”
One of the storage spaces is set to be completed in the next several weeks.
Alexander says his neighbors have responded well to the construction of these earthships. Some, like the Litsingers, have also stepped in and helped.
“He won’t need anything to back up heat or cool,” said Marcia Litsinger. “It’s going to be perfect. Even his own water system will basically be within the earthship. I love it.”
“When he finishes it, it’s going to be great for him, for the environment, and for Lyon County, so that we can show that we are more progressive than we have been in the past,” said Steve Litsinger.
Alexander wants to show that anybody can make their home out of the recyclable materials, and help the environment in the future.
After receiving hundreds of tires from many northern Nevadans since November 2012, he says he now needs any used building materials like old doors, sheet metal and fencing. He also needs about 2,000 uncrushed cans.
If you’d like to help or have questions about his earthships, you can find Dirt Merchant Farms on Facebook. You can also e-mail them at email@example.com or call them at (775) 450-8218.
Written by Adam Varahachaikol
Earthships aren’t designed to take families out of this world to explore other galaxies. But they are taking off on this planet and will soon land in Colorado Springs.
The Colorado Solar Village is seeking the greenest of the green to form a community of some of the most sustainable homes in existence, Earthships included. The goal, according to developer Dave Hatch, is for the roughly 65-home community to be fully self-reliant for energy.
Hatch is so sold on the idea, he’s offering a free electric car to the first eight buyers to commit.
“Our goal, really, is to bring sustainable housing to everyone in an affordable way,” Hatch said recently.
For now, the 400-acre village is an empty plot of land on France- ville Coal Mine Road, east of Colorado Springs, but Hatch said he hopes construction will begin in spring. No one has closed on any property yet, but Hatch is confident the idea will catch on.
“I am sure there are 65 people in this county who think this is a pretty neat thing,” he said. “I’m sure of it.”
Hatch said lots are ready for construction, and he plans to put up at least one model home in the spring.
He expects interest will pick up quickly from there.
Lot sizes range from 5 to 40 acres, starting at $50,000. Home sizes ranging from 800 to 3,000 square feet are expected to cost $200,000 to $600,000, on top of the land purchase. Plans must go through an architectural review before construction.
The project was originally planned as an Earthship-exclusive community, similar to the Earthship village in Taos, N.M., which boasts self-reliant homes partially made with recycled materials such as brightly colored glass bottles that play artistic and structural roles.
But Hatch broadened the types of homes that will be available, an attempt to appeal to more people. So in addition to Earthships, the solar village will include GEOS-designed homes – more conventional-looking but equally solar-reliant – straw-bale and cob design adobe and stucco homes, and other green creations.
There will be another big difference between the Taos community and the one near Colorado Springs. In Taos, Earthships produce their own electricity and harvest rainwater that’s cleaned and recycled for conventional water use, watering indoor and outdoor plants, and flushing toilets.
El Paso County has strict regulations on harvesting rainwater, however, so prospective villagers shouldn’t expect to be self-reliant for H2O.
But as long as water conservation is a prime focus of the development, it will be an asset to the area, said Steve Saint, sustainability coordinator for the Green Cities Coalition.
“Most of the folks in the Green Cities Coalition feel like we really need to address water and food and have a huge effort to shift our dependence on water and food from the outside area to the area itself,” he said.
Since the development is small compared with the total number of homes in El Paso County, the overall impact on energy use will be small, said Kevin Gilford, assistant sustainability director at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs. But the village can still serve as an example for greener living.
“The greater impact will be longer term, and that will be that people will realize that there’s another way to build homes,” he said.
Residents of the new village will have to pay a fee for a homeowners association, but Hatch said he is not yet sure what that fee will be.
Roads in the village won’t be paved, and if residents so demand, there could be community gardens and greenhouses, free range chicken and beekeeping facilities, a community barn, an electric car-sharing program and a community house where people can make meals together or hold classes.
That could be key to making it a truly sustainable community, Saint said.
“There needs to be a cultural design as well, so you get not only an eco-village with self-reliant structure, but you also get people who want to build a community together (of people) who want to trade, have potlucks, build chicken coops,” Saint said. “Cultural design would be really important because if it’s just a real estate deal and people are just buying in and selling when the market’s better, that’s not going to work.”
Hatch, who lives in Boulder, said he plans to move to the village once his daughter graduates from high school. He hopes the community will have an educational environment instead of being just another development. He doubts he’d be quite so enthused if he were putting up McMansions, he said.
“Yeah, I’m a businessman,” Hatch said. “But I really get excited about the educational aspect of it.”
Contact Kassondra Cloos: 636-0362
Twitter: @Kassondra Cloos
Today is a another good day in the realm of Earthship Food Production.
We woke up to 2 inches of snow today, with outside temperatures around 35 degrees F, this morning.
I picked the first Earthship grown Papaya, looking out the front face of our office, at the earth berms of the Survival Pods in front of us, covered in a light dusting of snow. In my hand I held the first succulent, sweet smelling papaya, that I had grown from seed in our office at Earthship Headquarters, on the Greater World Community, Taos, New Mexico. […]
spring Academy update from the job site – building a one bedroom global model in the Greater World Community
first courses of tires, Q&A with Phil, cooling tubes, thermal wrap
earthship spring academy week 2 – systems classes, tire pounding cont., thermal wrap, cisterns/plumbing, subfloors, prepping for concrete footing, moving dirt.
Denver Earthship Workshop with Michael Reynolds
“Sustainable Autonomy for Everyone – S.A.F.E.”March 22, 23, 24, 2013 at Green Spaces in Denver, ColoradoMichael Reynolds, Internationally Acclaimed Earthship Creator Leads Workshop.tickets at http://earthship.com/colorado
download this poster: jpg | pdf
The Miles City Earthship built for Scott Elder and Karla Lund is not the only one in Eastern Montana.
Next door, artists Tucker and Glenna Bolton, are building one themselves.
The couple has already spent two summers working on its construction and hope to have half the house ready to occupy this winter as they continue working on the rest.
North of Big Timber, on 64 acres with a killer view of several mountain ranges, Monte Koch has hired an Earthship crew to build his home.
Led by Earthship pioneer Michael Reynolds, a crew spent two weeks working on Koch’s home last fall, building the rear tire wall and shaping the terrain around it.
Next September, the group will return for about a month to complete the shell. Koch will work with local contractors to finish the interior.
Koch, 48, was raised in Billings and graduated from the University of Montana. Although he works with commercial real estate in Dallas, Texas, he has always planned to eventually return to Montana.
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.
The Earthship crew has recently begun a new build in its headquarters’ home state. The clients are working to begin a new life living off the grid by building a 1-bedroom global model Earthship in a small rural town outside of Albuquerque called Estancia. Crewmembers have been called down for different stages in the building process for periods of time spanning 1-4 weeks at a time. There have been two separate monthly groups of interns with representation from all over the United States and other countries such as New Zealand, Brazil, Mexico, Canada and the Czech Republic. This build is scheduled for two months for completion, September-October 2012.
For the past 6 weeks, Tim and I traveled around the West between Utah, Nevada, and California. I am now writing this from Washington, where I study at The Evergreen State College, and Tim is still at the build site. We are originally from Southern California, a place whose natural beauty made it easy to fall in love with nature. Our shared interests in sustainability, Seasteading, permaculture, and “off-the-grid” lifestyles lead us to discover Earthship Biotecture. When we found out about the opportunity to help build an Earthship in New Mexico, we jumped on it.