Monday, February 9, 2009

What the Heck is an Earthship?

Imagine living in a home with no utility bills. Imagine living in a home that stays 70 degrees year-round in the harshest climates using no electric air conditioning and no heating other than the sun. Imagine living in a home that can provide all the water your family needs in a locality that produces 7-8 inches of rain water per year.

Imagine picking ripe bananas and oranges year-round from trees that grow inside your home in climates that get as cold as 35 degrees below zero (keep in mind that you are using no electric or gas heating at all, even during the coldest part of winter).

This isn't science fiction. It's a reality all across the world in earthships.

Karina and I are seriously considering building an earthship. Earthships are completely self-sufficient homes built almost entirely from recycled materials including discarded tires, cans, and bottles.

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.

Michael Reynolds is the architect that pioneered them. There's an excellent movie about him called "Garbage Warrior." I invite you to watch it, but just to warn you, there is a lot of language in it from hippie construction worker-types.

You can also find a bunch of great videos here.

Considering the major trends, such as rising oil and energy prices, it only makes sense that we actively seek more sustainable forms of living. And it doesn't get any better than earthships.

What do you think? Are you ready to get off the grid?


dianebryant said...

Can I just tell you how excited I am to hear you have a blog???? I read all of them! I could not believe the kids. They have grown up so much since I've seen them. What a beautiful little family. (But I don't think I am ready to buy one of those houses. Don't be mad.)

Stephen Palmer said...

You don't buy them -- you have to build them. If THAT doesn't sell you... ;-)

singin'mama said...

I've been telling Rob for years I want a house that can do all those things. I'm not sure I like the looks of the ones in the pictures though. I'm a little aesthetically picky. Oh, and I'm sure Rob would LOVE to build one.

Stephen Palmer said...

Yeah, I don't like the looks of many of them either. They look like Hobbit homes. But check out these designs.

They're really perfecting the method and design. It used to be a bunch of hippies doing their hippie thing; it's becoming increasingly more legitimate and mainstream.