In West Philadelphia, organizers use tires and earth to create an ambitious and energy-passive home
At a glance, the open-air lot at the corner of 41st and Lancaster appears to be littered with garbage—tires piled up in the northwest corner, mounds of dirt and cement mixed in with empty bottles and cans. But these familiar objects are not strewn about randomly; they have been intentionally collected to build the first urban Earthship. When it’s completed, it could be the most sustainable building in Philadelphia.
An Earthship is a passive solar house made from both natural and recycled materials (such as earth-filled tires), which makes it much more affordable to build than a conventional home. The design is the brainchild of New Mexico based iconoclast architect Michael Reynolds. Five years ago, Philadelphia resident Rashida Ali-Campbell watched Garbage Warrior, a documentary about Reynolds, and her life was changed. “Explosions went off in my head,” Ali-Campbell says. “Why haven’t we seen that here already?” Read More
There’s a vacant lot at 675 N. 41st Street in West Philadelphia that’s about to become something Philadelphia has never seen before–an Earthship.
When Thomas L. Miller, the owner of a vacant lot in West Philadelphia, heard a woman on the radio talking about her plan to build an “Earthship” in August of 2013, he was quick to call the radio station and donate his lot to her. The woman was Rashida Ali-Campbell, founder of Yeadon-based nonprofit LoveLovingLove, Inc. Read More
A Bicentennial Town Square Event featuring Jonah Reynolds and Bridgette Meinhold
Beyond Conventional Dwellings: What Sustainable Options Exist for Challenged Communities?
May 23, 2013
Event Price: Free
Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University (Formally: Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia)
1900 Benjamin Franklin Parkway
Topic: How are Earthships Relevant to Philadelphia?
Garbage Warrior Screening in Philadelphia followed by discussion with Jonah Reynolds.
May 24, 7pm-10pm [$10]
Discounted and side street parking available.
Ethical Humanist Society of Philadelphia – http://www.phillyethics.org/
1906 Rittenhouse Square
Philadelphia, PA 19103
Renegade architect Michael Reynolds and his green disciples have devoted their time to advancing the art of “Earthship Biotecture” – passive, solar, off-the-grid, sustainable housing. Earthship n. 1. passive solar home made of natural and recycled materials 2. thermal mass construction for temperature stabilization. 3. renewable energy & integrated water systems make the Earthship an off-grid home with little to no utility bills. Biotecture n. 1. the profession of designing buildings and environments with consideration for their sustainability. 2. A combination of biology and architecture.
Mike’s son and pioneering member of the Taos Earthship Community – has been building earthships since the age of twelve – started the production of bio diesel within the community from waste cooking oil. Many local companies now run their vehicles on the fuel. Jonah has worked on many global projects including the tsunami project.
see also: How are Earthship Relevant to Philadelphia? by Jonah Reynolds
Earthships are one of the key factors to help Philadelphia become the leading city in the world for sustainable living. An example for the world to follow.
Earthships represent total independence from anything. From electrical grids going down, from water not working, from giant storms, from freezing weather. Earthships will withstand any natural disaster when conventional architecture and infrastructure is destroyed. The people will still have power, water, sewage and warmth when giant storms hit.
How would you like to live in a house with no electric bills, no air conditioning, no heating units and still be perfectly comfortable in the coldest winter or the hottest summer? If you answered yes then the house you want to live in is an Earthship (http://www.earthship.com/). Earthships are radically sustainable buildings made with recycled materials.
On February 9, 2013, Bonzai Homesteads in collaboration with Village of Arts & Humanities (http://www.villagearts.org/) and PhillyEarth (http://phillyearth.org) will be presenting a workshop to teach you the very basics of building your own. What we’re going to show you is innovative, and certainly is different… It takes a problem and makes it an asset.
All details and sign up info at the Facebook event:
A dozen or so volunteers gathered Monday morning on a small muddy plot at the Silver Lake Nature Center in Bristol Township, pounding sledgehammers into old tires.
The tires were laid on their sides in a rough U-shape. The pounding officially began Saturday; by Monday afternoon, the volunteers were well into the second of what will be nine layers of tires.
Volunteers dropped heaping shovelfuls of dirt into each tire. The sledgehammers followed, packing the soil deep into the tires, effectively turning each one into a 300-pound building block.
By DANNY ADLER Staff writer
A new structure at Silver Lake Nature Center in Bristol Township will be built with recycled products. It will heat and cool itself. It will gather its own water.
And nature center officials are stoked.
Not only will the new Watershed Education Building, or WEB, teach visitors about the local watershed, it will serve as a tool to educate people about sustainable living, said Lorraine Skala, the nature center’s education director and assistant naturalist.
Its walls will be made of used tires filled with soil, and then surrounded by a grass berm. The water in the building will come from rain water that is filtered and reused, Skala said. Also, the building will feature solar panels, which are being donated.