Say Hello to Earthships!

Eco living, Dec 31, 2011

earthship biotecture overview

Is this not the COOLEST house you have ever seen?!  The best part - it's made out of trash.  Old tires, beer bottles, you name it.   Earth ships date back to the 1970s and there is a whole community of them in Taos, New Mexico.  They are completely off-grid, meaning no fossil fuels, no gas bills, and you can live anywhere.  A friend introduced these to me back in June (thank you!).  I have since watched a documentary about the architect - Michael Reynolds - called Garbage Warrior.

The crux of earthships is biotecture - sustainable architecture built on the idea of using what nature has already given us without abusing it.  The foundation of these homes is simple - tires, old soda cans and beer bottles filled with dirt as insulation.  Rain water is caught and re-used four times.  Sewage is treated onsite and reused through treatment cells.  Homes come with their own heating and cooling systems, partially through creative design tricks (such as merely facing south to catch the strongest rays, or angling windows).   Best of all, these homes can survive in any climate.


The documentary Garbage Warriors tracks the earthship community's battle with the local planning department.  These homes are a work in progress and it is not easy to thwart the "norm" - especially when that involves changing the entire notion of living on a grid system.  The idea is catching on, however, especially in the post "Inconvenient Truth" decade.  There was even a story in a local New York paper a few weeks back about a couple building an earth ship.  They did make it through the local planning department - albeit after having to answer a lot of questions!

Earthships are great because they can be largely DIY and built cheaply.

g2 oview 2

The Taos headquarters offers training programs throughout the year and there are seminars in a number of cities globally.  See here for more information. There are also great Youtube videos at this EarthShips channel. Happy building!

Bella CateBella Cate is a graduate student in Boston, MA studying public policy, the Middle East, and environmental issues. When not hitting the books or blogging, she loves to spend time with her husband and little Sheltie dog - especially when they hit the trail together! She also spends a lot of time practicing yoga. Bella Cate loves writing for yourKloset! She blogs about environmental issues, health, travel, and a little philosophy.
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