The first book in the Earthship Volume Trilogy written by Michael Reynolds. In Earthship Volume 1: Build Your Own, he describes earthships, the theories behind them, the need for them and why they work. He then dives into the details of how to actually build one.
IMAGINE...living in a home that cost you nothing to heat or cool IMAGINE...building this house yourself IMAGINE...growing your own vegetables year round in this home IMAGINE...no utility bills IMAGINE...easily available "limitless natural resources" to build this type of home IMAGINE...a more earth friendly civilization IMAGINE...EARTHSHIPS
An Earthship is a structure that is self-sufficient. It is a building that provides it’s own heat, cooling, water, electricity and sewage treatment. In addition it is built with reused or otherwise environmentally sensitive materials, that are relatively cheap, readily available, and easy to use. Used automobile tires meet all of these criteria and make the basic building block for an Earthship.
Yes, a sweeping claim but just check it out if you are interested in living in harmony with the earth. Imagine living in a home you built yourself of materials all in overabundance in the states. Imagine never having to pay another utility bill! This book has it all baby! I’d like to build the world an earthship. A revolutionary idea for our screwy times. BUY IT READ IT GET IT DO IT!!!
The author first describes the idea of a self-contained “earthship” — a home that provides for it’s own power, sewage, food and water needs. He then talks about the structure, the ideas behind it, and why it works. The rest of the book is all about how to actually build one. Don’t pass this up, once you get the idea in your head, you’ll want to build one of your own!
I went to Taos and toured some of the “Earth Ship” houses, and they were wonderful. I bought the books there and read them cover to cover (on the way home). These books are full of good, practical, information. If you have access to old tires, empty cans, clay mud, you could build your own house. I haven’t done a house yet, but I’ve done some other interesting projects using these principles.
We are attempting to build a home with this style in Maine. It has its pros and cons just like all other types of construction. There are some issues with costs of these houses and the fact that they may cost more because of some different issues. See how it is for you. Our other choice is cordwood. The building process seems somewhat inexpensive but there is much labor involved and this is not for the weak person. If you hire one of the companies to build, it will be $185 per square foot. Yikes! If you can build it yourself, you could probably build it cheap enough and have an earth-friendly home. There are step-by-step instructions in all 3 books so make sure you get all 3 and decide for yourself. Great books!
Michael Reynolds discovered how Nature store heat energy and had experimented it over decades in real housing applications.
When I read his clean explanation about thermal mass, it instantly made everything so clearly how to build off-grid house.
Enough amount of material which has good thermal characteristics, i.e. soil or natural rock, works as heat energy storage.
Reynolds suggests at 4 ft to 5 ft depth from the ground, the average temperature is between 25 to 27 Celsius degrees year round. And utilizing the heat energy Earth provides indeed reduces fuel or energy consumption to maintain ambient temperature inside the building. Then he explains how to determine water table, how to maximize solar energy in visible light spectrum on the following chapters.
Using old tires as container of buck soil is cheap, alternative method of achieving thermal mass. Earthbag or other technology are alternative option to do the same thing IMHO.
It's feasible and definitely help out people who want to have better life if they can afford easy-to-build, low cost, environmental friendly house. And the house provides own power even food year round. Considering the fact that conventional house requires huge amount of fuel cost that exceeds the construction cost within two or three decades, off-grid house is real solution.
Combining Permaculture with off-grid house is something most people hardly conceive nowadays. Suppose you have a house that provides electric power, don't cost external fuel, and organic, fresh food year round, you will have freedom in true sense.