Earthships certainly do not look like traditional houses from the east coast, nor do they function in the same way. They are quirky, extremely labor intensive, produce a measurable amount of waste during the building phase and require maintenance that the traditional home owner is not used to performing.
Why then would I be so crazy as to drive all the way across the country, quit my job, and learn about these structures? Simply put, an Earthship is a financial investment into my future. An Earthship is a house that keeps on giving, a living breathing self sustaining home. An Earthship performs several functions automatically, which traditional homes do not. Most important to me is the Earthship’s ability to self regulate the temperature without the use of a furnace and air conditioning unit. A house that maintains the interior temperature around 70 degrees in the heat of summer and more importantly the bitter cold of the winter without oil, propane, kerosene, electricity, and/or fire simply equals dollar bills in your pocket! This feature alone has me sold on these houses. Of course, there must be a prohibitive price tag associated with these houses, otherwise wouldn’t everyone have one? Earthships actually cost no more to build than a traditional house around $250/sq. ft if you have the Earthship Biotecture company build it. If you are determined to do everything yourself like I am it is significantly less.
What is so special about an Earthship? Besides the passive heating and cooling, Earthships are made out of TONS of FREE recycled/up-cycled and naturally occurring materials. As I said earlier, Earthships eat up hours and hours of human labor, which is where the cost rises to equal that of a traditional house. Still, is it not worth building a house that doesn’t cost you anything to heat and cool all year round compared to a traditional house which you can micromanage and spend thousands of dollars to do?
Here is what Earthships do for you.
1. Harvest rain water – Filtered 5 times, pressurized and heated. Reused 5 times throughout the house. Sinks/Showers -> indoor green house planter -> Toilets -> outdoor landscaping.
2. Harvest solar energy for electricity – Solar panels on the south facing roof coupled with a battery pack give you clean and free electricity all year round.
3. Harvest solar energy for hot water – It does what it says
4. Harvest solar energy for heating and cooling – Maintains an indoor temperature of around 70 all year round through thermal mass and thermal convection. (the earth’s constant ground temperature of 58 helps with this process)
5. Grows fruit and vegetables – Indoor from your grey water (showers, bathroom sinks, washing machine, dishwasher) Outdoor is a bit more decorative since you are growing with shit water.
6. Saves you unimaginable amounts of money – No electric bill, no heating bill, no water bill and reduced grocery bill.
Now time for some Earthship pictures!