There is often a barrier between the peoples of the world and an affordable carbon-zero/sustainable-living circumstance. The web of rules, codes and regulations that were developed for the safety and welfare of the people enforce this barrier. But many of these regulations have become obsolete and inapplicable, as the earth and its populations have changed in recent years. In effect, humanity has been riding a horse for many decades, and now we have arrived at a vast sea and are beginning to realize that the horse is not appropriate to continue our journey. We need a boat. The existing regulatory forces push us into trying to make a horse that floats or a boat that looks like a horse. Neither is the correct solution. We need to abandon the concept of horse and think boat – affordable boat. Conventional living concepts, codes and regulations do not even address this new circumstance. The Earthship Village Ecologies (EVE) project is an effort to respond to the situation at hand.
After years of lobbying, in 2007 the Sustainable Development Testing Sites Act (SDTSA) was passed in New Mexico. Just as special racetracks are used to test automotive safely outside the public highway system, this piece of legislation allows testing of housing and living methods in a day-to-day living circumstance, with real people. The EVE project, via the SDTSA, is a testing place for housing and living methods outside the confines of an outdated regulatory system.
Pockets of Freedom
Location is a critical factor in the whole process of establishing an Earthship. We have seen the permit process cause people a lot of time and expense. In retrospect, I would tell people who run up against this to choose some other place else to live. The permit officials can water down concepts to the point of making them 50% as efficient. For example, we had a man come in from Pima County, Ariz. It took him three years and several redraws, and required a cost of three times the price of what the original drawings called for. Eventually, when he did get it, the building was so watered down it wouldn’t work as well.
The regulatory process was meant to protect people. Often what it actually does is inhibit innovation and evolution. Another example: There was a man who came to northern New Mexico from Crockett, Texas and said he wanted an Earthship home. He chose the Global model. Four months later he walked in the door of his Earthship. That is the difference that location can make. Earthships can work in any climate, so the weather is not that much of a factor. It is whether you have enforced restrictive codes that make the difference.
This entry was posted by Green Fire Times on September 1, 2011 at 10:49 am.