Earthships: Self-Sustaining Green Homes Powered Entirely By Mother Nature

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A completely environment-friendly home is a structure that is 100% independent of any industrial process or system that comes from our civilization. While we can classify a totally grid-independent green home as very environment-friendly, we cannot treat it as 100% environment friendly because some of the home’s other systems are still dependent on a centralized source.

How do we make green homes that are 100% environment friendly? By building the entire home, from ground up, using all of the available engineering techniques, that could help it acquire all of the supplies and energy it needs from Mother Nature.

An Independent Vessel on the Planet’s Surface

The very first visages of the Earthship concept came from Michael Reynolds. He is an American architect and the founder of the company Earthship Biotecture, and the one that brought the idea of “radically sustainable living” to home construction. The basic characteristic of an Earthship is a home that is completely made using recyclable materials and important elements in nature. It creates an overall environment that is self-sustaining and constantly circulating, virtually without requiring any help or assistance from our industrial civilization.

Here are a few features commonly found on Earthships:

  • The main supporting structure is made out of earth rammed cans, tires and bottles. These are old, readily available trash items that are filled with earth. These are simple, durable, and very affordable alternative construction materials used to substitute bricks and concrete blocks.
  • The water supply of the Earthship comes from condensed and precipitated water. It is harvested using a special system that turns it into potable water, to be circulated throughout the home. Used water is sent to other systems that would purify and recycle it.
  • Electricity comes from solar and wind energy. The entire home is configured to be able maximize the utilization of these green energy sources, so the appliances and electrical systems should be optimized for maximum efficiency.
  • Other conveniences, such as temperature control and lighting, are provided using alternative options that is not based on electric energy. A notable example is the Earthship’s distinct horseshoe-shape construction that provides the maximum level of natural light possible.
  • Some Earthships even have self-sustaining food supplies. Owners can be given the option to grow their own crops inside custom-built greenhouse sections. If you are a vegetarian, then you could probably completely live off with just all the conveniences provided by the Earthship.

Because the Earthship is an engineering marvel designed to adapt to nature, each and every system poses no harm to its surroundings. The systems of this green home merely cooperate with each other to keep the entire structure functioning on its own as if it was a regular home.

To those of who might already be interested in having an Earthship, you might want to stop first for a careful consideration. There are certain construction elements in an Earthship that requires it to be built on a specific location. Of course, the engineering challenges can be overcome with a little tweaking of their basic Earthship design, but it would be best if you conduct a preliminary research first on how easy it would be to construct an Earthship in your area.

Photo credit: Some rights reserved by supercontext via Flickr.

Christian Crisostomo
About Christian Crisostomo (260 Posts)

Christian Crisostomo is just your average tech geek that loves to see man's newest and most recent technological exploits. He holds great interest in the potentials of green technology, and is enthusiastic about the continuous development of environment-friendly alternative energy.

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