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Earthship: Self-sufficient and sustainable living in recycling home

Thursday, 1 March 2012 - 05:30 pm (CET/MEZ) Berlin | Author/Destination:
Category/Kategorie: General, House of the Month

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Earthship Zwolle © Erik Wannee

Earthship Zwolle © Erik Wannee

An earthship is a type of passive solar house made of natural and recycled materials. Designed and marketed by Earthship Biotecture of Taos, New Mexico, the homes are primarily constructed to work as autonomous buildings and are generally made of earth-filled tires, using thermal mass construction to naturally regulate indoor temperature. They also usually have their own special natural ventilation system. Earthships are generally Off-the-grid homes, minimizing their reliance on public utilities and fossil fuels. Earthships are built to utilize the available local resources, especially energy from the sun. For example, windows on sun-facing walls admit lighting and heating, and the buildings are often horseshoe-shaped to maximize natural light and solar-gain during winter months. The thick, dense inner walls provide thermal mass that naturally regulates the interior temperature during both cold and hot outside temperatures.

Internal, non-load-bearing walls are often made of a honeycomb of recycled cans joined by concrete and are referred to as tin can walls. These walls are usually thickly plastered with stucco.

The roof of an Earthship is heavily insulated – often with two layers of four inch poly-iso insulation – for energy efficiency.

The Earthship, as it exists today, began to take shape in the 1970s. Mike Reynolds, founder of Earthship Biotecture, a company that specializes in designing and building Earthships, wanted to create a home that would do three things; first, it would be sustainable architecture, using material indigenous to the entire planet as well as recycled materials wherever possible. Second, the homes would rely on natural energy sources and be independent from the “grid”, therefore being less susceptible to natural disasters and free from the electrical and water lines that Reynolds considered unsightly and wasteful. Finally, it would be economically feasible for the average person with no specialized construction skills to be able to create.

Vaulted Earthship entrance © Amzi Smith Rainwater harvesting system © Fred the Oyster Earthship Phoenix, Arizona, USA © earthship.net Earthship water system © KVDP Convection concepts within an Earthship © Amzi Smith Earthship Zwolle © Erik Wannee
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Convection concepts within an Earthship © Amzi Smith
Eventually, Reynolds’ vision took the form of the common U-shaped earth-filled tire homes seen today. As a concept, the Earthship was not limited to tires – any dense material with a potential for thermal mass, such as concrete, adobe, dirtbags, or stone could theoretically be used to create a building similar to an Earthship. However, the earth-rammed tire is part of the definition of an Earthship.

Unlike other materials, rammed-earth tires are more accessible to the average person. Scrap tires are ubiquitous around the world and easy to come by; there are an estimated 2 billion tires throughout the United States. As of 1996, as many as 253 million scrap tires were being generated each year in the United States, with 70% being reclaimed by the scrap tire market (leaving perhaps 75 million scrap tires available for reuse as whole tires). In addition to the availability of scrap tires, the method by which they are converted into usable “bricks”, the ramming of the earth, is simple and affordable.

Read more on earthship.com and Wikipedia Earthship. Learn more about the use of photos. To inform you about latest news most of the city, town or tourism websites offer a newsletter service and/or operate Facebook pages/Twitter accounts. In addition more and more destinations, tourist organizations and cultural institutions offer Apps for your Smart Phone or Tablet, to provide you with a mobile tourist guide (Smart Traveler App by U.S. Department of State - Weather report by weather.com - Global Passport Power Rank - Travel Risk Map - Democracy Index - GDP according to IMF, UN, and World Bank - Global Competitiveness Report - Corruption Perceptions Index - Press Freedom Index - World Justice Project - Rule of Law Index - UN Human Development Index - Global Peace Index - Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index). If you have a suggestion, critique, review or comment to this blog entry, we are looking forward to receive your e-mail at comment@wingsch.net. Please name the headline of the blog post to which your e-mail refers to in the subject line.


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