Earthships are a housing solution first developed by Mike Reynolds in the 1970s who has been developing the system ever since. Alternative materials are not used in the building of earthships but obey nature design principles and utilise waste materials in their design.
Mike Reynolds started by looking at what we as a society waste and started seeing what could be reintegrated back into houses after they had served their intended use, predominately reusing car tyres, bottles and cans as the base building blocks of the homes.
Earthships are a autonomous passive off-the-grid house design where all processes are taken care of inside the house from food production to water collection and treatment.
The main walls are constructed from discarded car tyres pounded with earth. Successive courses of tyres are slightly set back from the course below to create a very strong, reclining wall which is back-filled with earth for further support. A south-facing greenhouse grow room works as a temperature regulator, whilst light that hits the back tyre walls is stored as thermal mass.
Extra light is often bought in through the use of discarded bottle walls which earthships have developed to be a design feature in most houses and through massive south facing windows which allow the suns head .
The roofs of earthships are normally used for rain water collection and as such need to be made out of propanal. Earthships collect water and treat water inside the house having separate grey water and blackwater filtration systems within the house. Photovoltaic cells have always been a pivotal focus for electricity generation but recently earthships have been developing vertical wind turbines for electricity generation.
There are a few earthship design that have been developed over time here is a list of a few of them with information about advantages and disadvantages
The global is the earthship design for the commerial client to match convential housing. This house features more square rooms to make funishing them easier. The have full system to make them completely off grid but they are expensive to build and cannot be built by everyone.
The hut design is a very simple design with no system, its a circle of tyres with a double rebar roof, this stucture is perfect for earthquake zones as the structure is very strong and the roof will only crack and not cave in hurting people. They are also well suited to hotter climates but need to be insulated properly all the way round.
the simple survival model is earthships latest design combing the simplicity of the hut with the global. The simple survival uses the most basic of system, using a bucket flush toilet and film solar panels.
Earthship design principles
Computer walkthough of an earthship
How to layout an earthhsip
Simple survival earthship
Garbage warrior documentary
Earthship On Bob the builder
Earthship Hotwater system runthough