What Are Earthships?
An Earthship is a type of passive Earth Friendly house that is made of both natural and recycled materials (such as earth-filled tires, Cans, etc.), designed and marketed by Earthship Biotecture of Taos, New Mexico. The term Earthships is a trademark of Michael Reynolds, founder of Earthship Biotecture.
Earthships are constructed to use available natural resources, especially energy from the sun. Earthships are designed to use thermal mass construction and natural cross ventilation, assisted by thermal drought, to regulate indoor temperature.
For over 40 whole years, the Earthship family has been evolving! This progress of evolution started with 20 years of spent learning. So what did they learn? They learned about how to make these systems work. After that they spent many years advancing and evolving the multiple different aspects of Earthships, and learning how to make these systems work in a reliable, user friendly way, and Earth friendly way! They always are pushing to advance the various systems involved in making Earthships. After years and more years they finally came to a point of harmony between the multiple elements to create a sustainable home, which is made out of recycled materials! That house generates its own water and electricity, it reuses water creatively, and it generates its own food and cools itself in a friendly manner. Best of all it is Earth friendly!
However at the point all these various systems came together in a smart cohesive way to create an efficient house they realized that this house was more expensive than a normal conventional house. The only people who would be interested in buying an expensive Earthship house over a convention home were those who wanted the security of independent utilities no matter what the cost and those seeking an environmentally friendly living option. Sadly most people, however would be forced by economics to choose a much cheaper, less secure, environment hazardous, convection direction.
Right after they overcame this huge challenge of learning how to make these Earth friendly homes work for the people and the Earth, they had to simplify and make them into something that could compete economically with the price of conventional approaches to housing. No matter how significant the fact that these buildings put people and their relationship to the Earth in a very secure situation for the future most people would still choose a conventional home because it was still easier to obtain in terms of financial cost.
They then spent there next 10 years on simplifying and hosting these homes until the early 2000’s. They had developed a fully functional independent home in which it provides shelter, utilities, food and much more! That house was built with recycled materials found anywhere in the world! Now these houses cost the same of a normal conventional home! The Earthship cost next to nothing to operate while the conventional home costs a lot of money to operate! Not to mention normal homes harm the environment, and it is made by fossils fuels! The Earthship has arrived!
Earthships are designed to catch and use water from the local environment without bringing in water from a centralized source. Water used in an Earthship is harvested from rain, snow, and condensation. As water collects on the roof, it is channeled through a silt-catching device and into a cistern. The cisterns are positioned so they gravity-feed a water organization module (WOM) that filters out bacteria and contaminants and makes it suitable for drinking. The WOM consists of filters and a DC-pump that are screwed into a panel. Water is then pushed into a conventional pressure tank to create common household water pressure.
Water collected in this fashion is used for every household activity except flushing toilets. The water used for flushing toilets is what is known as grey-water and has been used at least once already. Typically it is filtered waste-water from sinks and showers.
Earthships are designed to collect and store their own energy from a variety of sources. The majority of electrical energy is harvested from the sun and wind. Photo voltaic panels and wind turbines located on or near the Earthship generate DC energy that is then stored in several types of deep-cycle batteries. The space in which the batteries are kept is usually a special, purpose-built room placed on the roof. Additional energy, if required, can be obtained from gasoline-powered generators or by integrating with the city grid.
In an Earthship, a Power Organizing Module is used to take stored energy from batteries and invert it for AC use. The Power Organizing Module is a prefabricated system provided by Earthship Biotecture that is simply attached to a wall on the interior of the Earthship and wired in a conventional manner. It includes the necessary equipment such as circuit breakers and converters. The energy run through the Power Organizing Module can be used to run any house-hold appliance including washing machines, computers, kitchen appliances, print machines, and vacuums. Ideally, none of the electrical energy in an Earthship is used for heating or cooling