Earthships are a very cool concept. You typically take the advantages of modern tools, sweat equity, and garbage. Mix them all up with a pinch of dirt, and what do you have? A house!
There are several companies that have been at the forefront of earthship building and have been leaders in the movement, but they build these things for lots of money. I don’t have that kind of money to buy one from them.
An earthship is a building that uses leftovers and garbage for structure and typically uses alternative energy to power them, although a few have been tied to the grid. Concepts that are commonplace is using tires packed with dirt for the main framework, using bottles or lighting, using cans to be imperfect surface area to allow cementing of the walls around the tires, and using old metal from trash to build a metal shingled roof.
A huge advantage of earthships is in the dirt. They typically keep the same temperature window whether in summer or winter because they are built almost like they are buried. The two or so feet of dirt acts like an awesome insulation. Many people that have them have reported utility bills of a few hundred bucks a year. This is a typical reduction of over $4000 a year based on my own math.
A recent concept that I have thought (but I am sure I am not the only one) about with earthships, is to build them and instead of adding a finished exterior wall, build the dirt up on them to basically create a hill around the earthship, which simulates and underground earthen structure. This house will always stay around 67 degrees ALL YEAR ROUND. You can actually have things growing around or on your house!
Using typical solar heating methods, alternative electrical components, and a gravity fed water system (which the gravity has pump assist, when desired) with these earthen structures just furthers your comfort and self-sustainability. If built properly, these structures are also suspected to last longer than ANY modern day building will.
Earthships are also known to be pretty much bullet proof. No joke, they can actually take a bullet and a tornado… and still be just fine. I still need to look into the design of windows in an earthship built sub-terrain.
If we couple the idea of an earthship to a property that we build up with a high-ground pond and a swale system and have our perimeters built out of hugelkulture beds, we have an insane setup for a bug out location. There is just one problem with a location built like this… I would want to move in permanently, so I no longer have a bug out location!
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