Outer space – the expanse that exists beyond the Earth’s atmosphere. Though it may seem like an empty void, space is the abode within which all things exist. One thing it has taught us is that life has no limits when it comes to creativity. The International Space Station sends space shuttles into space for exploration purposes for long periods of time. These vessels house astronauts from around the globe and consistently demonstrate sustainable initiatives during voyages, due to limited resources over a long period of time. Ever wonder what it would be like to live like an astronaut down here on Earth? Introducing – Earthships!
US architect and founder of Earthship Biotecture, Michael Reynolds, demonstrated his outward thinking in the 1980’s by creating a building concept that is 100% sustainable and environmentally friendly. The Earthship has a unique U-shaped design that has the ability to utilize local resources. These off the grid, passive-solar houses are self-sustaining and require no outside resources such as water, electricity, or gas (Day Creek, 2014). Earthships are built out of natural and recyclable materials. The core of the home is made out of earth packed tires, glass bottles, and tin cans. The home design is coined the “stack-effect” and uses natural ventilation to keep internal temperatures regulated while temperatures fluctuate outdoors. While the Earthship is in use, leftover gray water is used to operate the plumbing within the home. The sewage is used for indoor food production and outdoor in treatment cells for landscaping (CNN, 2015).
Earthships allow homeowners to reduce their carbon footprints and close consumerism loops by simply using a unique approach compared to other structures around the world. Being in the waste diversion sector, Loraas prides individuals on “thinking out of this world”. Here are four reasons why we think Earthships are an interesting choice for the future:
- They are energy efficient. Earthships create thermal mass naturally due to their design. They have the ability to cool and heat the home during all seasons.
- Earthships are self-sustainable. These homes are designed to take advantage of local natural resources. Passive solar radiation is collected via the Earthship’s U-shaped design and orientation and used to heat water and grow food. Rainwater is collected in underground cisterns.
- They have simplistic architecture. The unique design of the Earthships makes them simple and easy to build. They are labour intensive, however, only the basic carpentry, plumbing, and electric skills are required.
- They use simple building materials. Earthships use a large variety of natural and recyclable materials. For the most part, these homes use building materials most other companies see as waste products that would otherwise end up in the landfill. For example not only are tires easy to get, some places will pay you to take them away!
Want to learn more about Earthships? Curious if there are any in Canada? Visit Michael’s company website Earthship Global at Earthship Biotecture for the latest news about Earthships around the world, view more amazing photographs from the website, and more!