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From Landfill to Humble Home; The story of Earthships

Posted by Bold Apps on
From Landfill to Humble Home; The story of Earthships

Here at TORRAIN, we like to recycle. That statement is obvious -- our bags and linings are all made from recycled materials! Socially, it’s hard to miss the dire reports about our climate. With all the darkness surrounding our world, it’s so important for us to work together and do what we can.

Our TORRAIN team loves researching different topics of sustainability from the around the world. During the summer of 2018, we attended the Global Eclipse Festival in Eastern Oregon. Besides being in the path of totality for the eclipse, the permaculture plaza was one of our favorite spots to hang out. The organizers of the festival brought in so many different speakers covering a well-rounded assortment of subjects in sustainability. The most intriguing to our team, was the concept of Earthships.

Architect Michael Reynolds designed the concept of Eartships in the 1970’s. The home he set out to create had two basic first principles: 1) the homes would utilize sustainable architecture and all the materials needed could be found in the lands where the home was being built, 2) the homes would rely on natural resources for energy and be completely off the grid.

In the process of trying to receive permitting for the homes, his architectural license was revoked, but he kept pursuing the idea. The state of New Mexico finally granted him 30 acres in Taos, New Mexico to test out his idea of a fully autonomous, passive solar home.  The seed for the “The Greater World” had been planted.
Earthships are fully autonomous, passive solar structures. They are built with key needs of survival in mind:

  • Water harvesting
  • Water treatment
  • Food production
  • Solar and wind energy
  • Thermal/solar heating and cooling

The foundation of an Earthship is built by pounding gravel into used car tires. Once the tires have been pounded, they can reach up to 300 pounds. This creates a hurricane and earthquake resistant foundation for the home. The walls are then built up using either cement or adobe. Every other layer, recycled aluminum cans are used. The homes are then insulated with more compact trash! So this construct is incredibly cost efficient, as well as allows you to use trash that would most likely end up in the landfill. And beyond being cost efficient and sustainable, the functionality is of earthships is highly effective and the aesthetic can be really beautiful.

You can attend The Earthship Academy and learn to build an earthship yourself or you can utilize the academy as a traditional contract building company. There are so many ways to customize your own home using the earthship principles! The Earthship principles. They host academies all over the world. Along with offering the academy, Earthship Biotecture participates in humanitarian builds as disaster relief. They are currently helping to build a school in Puerto Rico and are looking for volunteers in January for phase three of the project if you’re interested in getting your hands dirty in this sustainable building movement. If anything, earthships give us hope in the positive evolution and potential for future generations.

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