earthships

Solar, wind, hydro and other non-fossil sources of electricity.
2007blueprius   100 W

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earthships

Post by 2007blueprius » Jan 03 2014 9:47pm

how about all the sustainable concepts in one package, that would be something else.
I just recently learned about them although they have been around for 40 years, if you were aware before me show hands other wise watch https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G7h1eRiJwow , this is how I learned of them, since I have been wrapping my head around everything I can find on the matter and I am looking into building my own.

At the same time I am trying to spread the word, people need to know about this I urge every member to watch the movie and a moderator to sticky the post, unfortunately this concept is not as known as it should be and most people are not as open minded, I believe the endless sphere community is one of the most environmental conscious.

watch the movie and post your comments
My lots are in Exeter Township, while inquiring at the city hall, much to my suprise this beeing a small farmers comunity where most township empoyees are part time, first clerk I spoke to althou not a building department clerk, not only she was verry familiar with unconventional buildings, but she knew more about it than I did, further more she pointed out this has been done more than 20 years ago in the nearby town of Milan, MI by a friend of hers, whom used to organise tours at the time and showcase these princyples to people in an effort to get the word out.
I looked him up his name is Charles Tellas, property is located at 3121 Judd RdMilan, MI 48160-9537, look it up on google satelite wiew, it may not be a Mike reynolds Earthship per say, not sure, either way if anything it was more than 20 years ago it was completed but it is built in the same principle, it does not resemble the global model obviously that desingn did not exist at the time, it does have a dome type structure at one end of the house, apears to have the roof burried as well as an attached garage, check out the size of the solar pool heaters clearly seen from satelite

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Re: earthships

Post by 2007blueprius » Jan 12 2014 1:10pm

plenty of views yet no replies, bit unconventional I guess most that came across this thread don't know where to begin, let's get a conversation going

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Re: earthships

Post by friendly1uk » Jan 12 2014 5:12pm

I have read everything you have to say, and still don't know what you are on about. The video you posted is 127mins long. I gave it a few but it was going forward as fast as this thread.

Can I have my 5 mins back please lol
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Re: earthships

Post by gestalt » Jan 12 2014 6:04pm

Earth ships are way cool, really makes me wish I wasn't 3000 miles away from the couple of half acre plots my dad has unused up in the cascade mountains in Washington state. I think I might have to start spending one month a year at least up there picking away at putting one in there. The spot has timber that would need to be felled to use and it is adjacent to the skykomish river.

I myself came across the concept while researching rocket stoves of which I have built a few. One of these structures with an institutional class rocket stove complete with a heated mass bench would be such a nice combination.
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Re: earthships

Post by 2007blueprius » Jan 12 2014 6:41pm

friendly1uk wrote:I have read everything you have to say, and still don't know what you are on about. The video you posted is 127mins long. I gave it a few but it was going forward as fast as this thread.

Can I have my 5 mins back please lol
this is probl why the concept is not as well known, I came across similar replies on other forums I am active on,
I guess the big picture is too wide for most to get http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N2so9hyNWxc short version,
its about self sustainable housing that maintain 70F regardless weather it is -33 outside or 110, without any fuel, heating or airconditioning systems, it goes further, but most are not patient enough to see beyond 5 minutes or 2 paragraphs, so I'll leave it here.
I assumed most on this forum are enviromental conscious so of all people this group would be open minded, our kids are screwd, no doubt

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Re: earthships

Post by 2007blueprius » Jan 12 2014 6:49pm

gestalt wrote:Earth ships are way cool, really makes me wish I wasn't 3000 miles away from the couple of half acre plots my dad has unused up in the cascade mountains in Washington state. I think I might have to start spending one month a year at least up there picking away at putting one in there. The spot has timber that would need to be felled to use and it is adjacent to the skykomish river.

I myself came across the concept while researching rocket stoves of which I have built a few. One of these structures with an institutional class rocket stove complete with a heated mass bench would be such a nice combination.
half acre might not cut it, my 2 acre lot may not have the necessary sun exposure, it is wooded land out there, the trees to the south may shade it, I think I was looking for saw mills and masonary heaters when I found it, thing is if done right, you don't need a heater, so I dropped all that.

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Re: earthships

Post by Dauntless » Jan 12 2014 10:35pm

friendly1uk wrote:Can I have my 5 mins back please
No, I don't think they're going to give you your 5 minutes, or care that they wasted it. Always the problem, they don't have to PROVE anything, they just get to insist they're "Right" and subject us to their diatribes. I guess the only appropriate response is to have a diatribe in response.
What can be asserted without proof can be dismissed without proof.
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Not sold on the waste of perfectly recyclable aluminum cans, or even the tires which could be recycled if/when the act is gotten together on that. Did you know that buried tires eventually work their way to the surface? Major problem, there's all sorts of surprising places where it's discovered that tires were buried there, all over the world, when they suddenly spring up like mushroom people. Did you know that the bacteria that live well on tires are very dangerous? The Gyre in the ocean, where the trash that's swept to sea collects, is full of awful fish disease bacteria that thrives eating plastic. As sick as the fish get, what will it do to us as we catch and eat more of it? Perhaps we'll learn about it first from people in these earthships. Usually it's a safe bet that if it's eating things that are toxic to us it'll turn out to be toxic to us.

The long video was a waste in it was just so CULTIE. Yeah yeah, supreme leader needs his hero worship, but something is supposed to be OFFERED in the story. Like how the second video touts "Organic Food production year round" without a hint of what that has to do with an Earthship. You can do that WITHOUT an Earthship, afterall. I like grapes, not sure I want to eat a hibiscus.

Then there's this issue of growing it on your toilet and shower water. That's not just dirty, there's things in it. Sewer water has a high lead content, amoung other things. They should be growing some mushrooms (Just not the kind that turns us into mushroom people) to bioremediate all the toxics being built into the system. Time to read 'Mycelium Running.' Oh, wait, I have information about the recycling of the water that wasn't offered, where did I get that? I found a newsstory with him talking about it. Look around the web and people are talking about it, a whole lot more information is available, just not what they want to tell us. Up to a half million dollars to build, etc. Definitely a rich man's toy.

I'd be a lot more optimistic about the use of materials such as plasticrete, papercrete, etc. Maybe he could learn about PROPER water processing. But I'm only interested in PROOF, not ungrounded insistence.

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Re: earthships

Post by 2007blueprius » Jan 13 2014 3:08am

try to look past the tires and the cans, that's just a small part of the story, it mostly about geothermal concepts and solar gain to an extreme that there is no need for a furnace, there are other way of building but if tires get you there I am all for it there have been extensive studies on that.

look at the off grid electrical, and solar hot watter collectors, the food production is a bit extreme too, and these days most peolple think theys food grows in supermarkets so I can see how that can be a bit tough to swallow.

the area my lots are, the water tables are fudged due to local gravel gravel pitts, people truck their watter in, rain watter colection does not seem as such a bad ideea.

as for the price tags sure if you are going to have someone build it for you they will charge you up the nose, they do that with any construction, difference is a normal home also has utilities bills and no renewable sources, at the end of the day if that is the way one choses to go about it you'll still come up ahead, it's just like those ebikes they are pretty expensive for what they are we own them anyway.

that is where the tires come in, it is just a method of building a rammed earth wall, it can be done the industrial way with forms and power tools I have considered it, but you have to bring in a contractor from miles away as likely there are none local, the tires enable anybody to do it, as they are plentifull and all they are is forms for rammed earth which can be left in place. there have been studies on the matter and we can debate it to no end, but if they get me through the winter without lage amounts of natural gas, might not be such a bad idea, I have spent lots of time outdoors hunting I don't know how those critters do it but you and I are not met to get through winter unassisted, with several layers on some days I could bearly last a few hours, I realise my whole existance is dependant on the system to work, that opens a whole nother discussion

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Re: earthships

Post by Zenid » Jan 19 2014 10:52am

I'd love to be part of a community like that, but British weather is too crappy for us to survive well on solar. I did once think of buying a place with a river running through the land so I could do a small hydro project, but, well, land with rivers is expensive over here, lol. I like the idea though, and it's important to think about sustainability and energy self-sufficiency. Problem is, too, I'm highly urbanised and wouldn't be able to survive without my 54Mbps fibre connection and the 24-hour megastore just 10 minutes away...
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Re: earthships

Post by Matthijs » Jan 19 2014 12:36pm

I love earthships and have read a lot about them. I even visited one. It is in use as a coffee house in Holland. Also watch the movie Garbage Warrior. I like the ones in the UK and Scotland. It proves the concept works everywhere.



The only problem is you have to find a "Pocket of Freedom" to get one build or build your own. In Holland there is way to much red tape to get it done. :( That means I probably have to move to a place where an eathship is allowed to be build.

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Re: earthships

Post by Zenid » Jan 19 2014 12:48pm

Dauntless wrote:Did you know that buried tires eventually work their way to the surface? Major problem, there's all sorts of surprising places where it's discovered that tires were buried there, all over the world, when they suddenly spring up like mushroom people. Did you know that the bacteria that live well on tires are very dangerous?
Except you're talking about tyre dumps; these guys have just sealed theirs into big plastered walls. As I understand it (and I would think the architects would have considered this too), there isn't any off-gassing from the tires as long as sunlight and air cannot break the tire down. In earthships the tires are hard packed inside a wall so no light and very little air ever reach the tires, therefore eliminating the chances off-gassing.
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Re: earthships

Post by 2007blueprius » Jan 20 2014 12:09am

I think I am in one of those pockets of freedom, sort of, I have been bugging my building inspector, and he's been sending me allover the place to get clearance on some concerns he had, Department of Environmental Quality is all for it, actually they give out grants 50 % of the cost, like zenid mentioned those environmental concerns regarding tires are towards people stockpiling them to no end, not actually using them, they have done artificial turfs out of tires and thou in open air and plenty of sunlight did not prove to be an environmental concern, I believe the off gassing is more related to new rubber/vulcanization.

long story short, the building inspector is all for it, rather intrigued to see if it works, thing is in Michigan residential under 3500 sf an architects seal is not required, being it is not conventional construction I need them, and they are not cheap, besides, I downloaded some floor plans to get some measurements and the lot I want to build on is not wide enough, it would fit but I end up with about 50 feet of front yard starnig at a wall of brush on the lot to the south, it is not tall enough to shade the house now, but if a few years later it gets above 27 feet it will. by the time trees get to 40 feet they would completely shade the house.

I have a larger lot but I like this one better, besides that is all thick forest and it will probably take me 3 years to clear enough to build, I am trying to do this on my own, without borrowing a small fortune.

So I have been drawing for the past few days, I read a pole building book, a neighbor gave me a while back, it's how I came across earthsips looking at sawmills on you tube, so the idea now is to build a hybrid, good old fashioned pole barn construction, straight forward no sealed drawings needed, I drew it much in the same concept, may not work as well and I am not even getting into the planters, solar and rainwater catchment yet, thou I left room for all of that for future improvements, I am also eliminating the 36 foot mound to the north of the building that will gain 36 feet of front yard moving the house back, tires honestly never been much of a fan just liked the benefit of building this way, instead I am looking at insulated Rammed earth wall, Syrewall I think its a trademark, there is a builder in BC, Canada done some cool buildings this way http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0RnJZq9rbL8 pretty cool stuff.
almoast done with drawings, I'll post some pics when done, is there an architect on this forum? don't hurt to ask.

as far as getting away from the city, supermarkets and all that, I wont miss them, my grandparents were self sufficient, I know enough and that is part of the project and motivation too, granted I am not looking to get back to the stone age, you can still get satellite internet everywhere, and these plots ate about 30 minutes out of town, takes me the same time to work.

I am a major DIYer, the goal this year is to get the county permits, make sure the land perks, finish clearing the lot get a old tractor with a loader and backhoe and level the site, if I make it this far by fall I'll be happy, won't get to dig a hole till next spring so I got time to think about it

George

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Re: earthships

Post by Dauntless » Jan 20 2014 12:54am

What I've seen of this looks like they "Seal" the tires in dirt. If there is any plaster between them and water, plaster lets water through, water damage is a serious problem with plaster. Same with stucco. Tires deteriorate without the sun, as does everything, water causes tire degradation, DIRT causes tire degradation. Chemical degradation occurs if you keep them in a vacuum. Tires made from atrificial rubber are created by mixing gases that then create a solid. Out gassing is THE way a tire deteriorates.

The EPA calls the information on the dangers of tires 'Incomplete.' Meaning they don't even know HOW BAD yet. One thing there is no question about is that "Tire Gardens" have dangerous things leached into the soil: Arsenic, aluminum, cadmium, chromium, manganese, mercury, lead, sulfur and zinc. How far from the house are these hibiscus flowers they're eating being grown? I'm sure they have no snail problem in their gardens, but have they asked themselves why? Whether it's fish or nightcrawlers living in tire contaiminated enviroments, they suffer lesions and precancerous conditions, as well as reproductive problems.

How bad will this sound when the information is 'Complete?' How will they get it out of the ground?
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Re: earthships

Post by 2007blueprius » Jan 20 2014 4:08pm

I get it tires are problematic to say the least, I can't coment on any specifics because I honestly haven't looked into it much, but that was the whole point for starting a thread, I honestly don't know exactly what they make synthetic ruber out of, I know the original was vulcanised latex, a tree extract treated with sulfur, not sure what they have been doing in my area but the watter tables are contaminated with sulfur, people dont even bother drilling a well any more just about everybody has their own storage tank some truck it in themselves some have it delivered.

some of this building out of garbage kindof turned me off too but like I mentioned before it's not all about the tires, what intrigued me to it is the concept in itself, there are other ways to build, and there are several houses build this way, various designs earth bermed and most do not need any aditional heating in the winter, that in itself turned me onto building something like this,

further more, the rain watter collection, again that can be debated, apart from the obvious, leafes and moskitoes, to sift out, a neighbour pointed out that rainwater is somewhat contaminated from all the smog in the air, well so are the underground tables, let's not even get starter on the rivers, bottom line a lot of this is caused by unnecessary burn of fuel, if housing would maintain say 50 F without fuel, that would be huge, the one I curently live in will have burst pipes in 8 hours if I turn the heat off, and michigan winters are not that bad.

the gray watter planters, even the people behind those earthships in some video I watched mentioned something that it is not a good Idea to have various visitors living in the house, that is how pathogens spread, if my shower watter poisons those plants, guess what, I allready have it, so that really does not concern me much, plants are natures way of cleaning up, most of us have a pot with something in it, even my wife has some fake ones, its something in our nature we are not supposed to be this far apart from nature yet in a short time we drifted apart, they now have energy drinks, pretty soon you'll be fed a pill that last you a month, I'm not ok with that, to some extent I want to get back to my roots, I used to think a log cabin with a wood burner would be great, and it would,

all I am saying take some good from what we have learned so far, renewables, good, fosil very bad, I got an ebike, a prius with a plugin kit, the house is next.
plus our food, it does not grow in supermarkets, trust me on that I work at a distribution center, and grow a garden behind my garage, guess why?
sure we buy stuff because we are too bussy working all the time, I remember as a kid, the older women tended to a garden and the excess we would can in the fall, we had no supermarkets or fresh produce through the winter, butcher a pig for christmas, lamb for easter some birds in between, how much fuel and polution has been created to feed you today, consider that,

I own Semi trucks and refrigerated trailers, 5mpg, and 1 gal/ hour idiling, there is a reason why I am so disgusted with all of this, I am the guy that brings your food to your table, and you have no Idea what kind of damge I am causing to your kids, and I am a little guy, I am responsible for burning enough for half dozens of my future generations, that is why what I do with my own life is more geared towards tree hugging, and I know different too, I mentioned before I grew up between 2 worlds, there is some good about this modern age like us discussing this allthou we are so far apart, but some not so good.

and at the end of the day, whatever you are doing for a living, is that all you are capable of really, you have to depend on me to bring you food, another to get you watter, anothe to keep you warm, etc, you cant and wont do that for yourself? what if I Quit, or better yet get shut down, 1 truck burns through 100galons a day easy, I have spent milions in fuel, and only had 3 truck at one time, $500 every day 5 days a week each truck,

anywho, I shall find some time to finish my drawings and see about posting them. no tires, not burried, no planters, no solar, thou the structure is drawn in this concept with room for such as future improvements,

the point here is, I am trying to make a diference and support myself and mine without running the old iron anymore, I'm sure there will be 3 dumbasses fighting to take my place when I shut down but that is on them I don't want to do it anymore than I have to.

George

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Re: earthships

Post by 2007blueprius » Jan 20 2014 9:45pm

here's a real question?
I have been trying to understand why the low pitch roofs, almoast flat, if any of you's looked into it mbased on the measurements, the lowest winter sun barely hits the floor, never up the back wall, for a house built arround solat heating I would have thought to match the roof pitch to the dec 21st sun at noon so the whole hose would be fully lit, walls and all, that is actually how I drew mine.
the angle is only 24 degrees, pretty standard, but the peak on a one slant done this way ends up to be in the order of 20 feet, give or take,

I have looked at many examples of passive solar design, they all claim that the house is built arround the concept, yet all it is a large south window, the earthships come close but the light never hits the back wall, maybe because they are made of tires and putting them under a large magnifiing glass is a bad idea?, maybe they are trying to keep a low profile heas raises, but with thermal mass air should not be much of a concern, air is a good insulator actually, drafts may be an issue.

anywho that is what I am scratching my head with at the moment

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Re: earthships

Post by 2007blueprius » Jan 24 2014 2:37pm

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side view N->S
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floor plan east half
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floor plan west half
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partilal front wiew unfinnished east side
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I've been bussy, gave up on the tires and the bottles, never been a big fan just liked the concept, so I came up with a hybrid structure good old polebarn framework holding up the roof, Rammed earth walls and floor, done a lot of reading on both and radiant heat floors, watterproofing and insolation for basements and slabs, and so far this is what I got

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Re: earthships

Post by veloman » Jan 25 2014 5:06am

Thanks for posting this. I watched the entire documentary. Love the idea of housing that doesn't require a 30 yr mortgage or 20kwh/day to operate.

I'm trying to find similar projects in my area, but not much. Came across some sustainable housing, but target starting prices are $190,000. That's considered 'affordable' here. lol

My idea is something like those $10,000 tiny houses. Maybe build an earthship in my backyard for all my workshop/space needs. Appease the regulators with an approved tiny house up front.
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Re: earthships

Post by 2007blueprius » Jan 25 2014 5:30pm

In austin this would be so much simpler and my drawings wont do you any good, they are geared more towards the frigid northern winters, scratch all the insulation, a plain ol 4 inch concrete slab vould do for you , plain rammed earth walls, and you'd want a much shalower roof , you would not even need the poles, I went for it just so I can get thet odd ceiling angle to soak up all the winter solstice sun, in your area summer cooling loads are more of a concern, a somple walk out basement with no house on top and all glass to the south will do well.

I started a conversation on a more apropriate forum and I have been getting lots of feedback and help with the design you can folow up on it here: http://www.greenbuildingtalk.com/Forums ... fault.aspx

george

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Re: earthships

Post by IBScootn » Jan 28 2014 10:27am

George,

Thanks for this thread. I enjoyed the link: http://www.greenbuildingtalk.com/Forums ... fault.aspx

A couple times you mentioned treating the earthen floors. I assume you have Earthship vol III which states the four coats of boiled linseed oil and mineral spirits, but wanted a more durable surface than that provides. I read how some laid carpet down over the floor to make the cold winter floor a little more tolerable.

The whole earthship idea sounds interesting in theory but a lot of work. I was wondering if a simplier solution would be to buy some sea-going shipping containers (some architects are building homes with these), partially burying them and then cover with dirt.

Let us know how your project finally turns out.
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Re: earthships

Post by wineboyrider » Jan 28 2014 10:54am

Adobe homes are almost earthships and my parents live in dirt house with 24" dirt walls and the house is super easy to cool in summer, not so much in winter.
ES IS SAVED! THANK YOU JUSTIN.

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Re: earthships

Post by 2007blueprius » Jan 28 2014 12:24pm

I have not bought any books but I was aware of linseed oil, it's what they make linoleum out of, I had some experience in my days with some light weight cement mix we used to do it in the bathrooms of fancy houses, with a bit of lime it's much water proof, that is what I was considering, not sure about the carpet the idea is to have the dirt which colects the heat, so for a finish teracotta tiles or ceramics would work better, I have been doing lots of reading lately turns out under slab insulation is a must and enough of it will make those floors feel warmer , you know now that I think about it my grandparents hose was much like an earthship it only had south windows and a leanto on the north as a pantry, they did not call it such but it was a buffer, granted plain adobe walls no high teck styrofoam but they had the right ideea all along

lets see if this works http://www.sunearthtools.com/dp/tools/pos_sun.php this is a site I like and these are the coordinates where I would like to build 42.0849106, -83.4797538, I also have this lot but much thicker woods lots more to clear and a trailer ysrd for a sunset view bigger lot thou 42.0851574, -83.538757

as for the work part consider a 30 year mortgage on a regular house which you will refinance at some point and after 45 years of paying for your house you have to pull a reverse mortcage to pay your heating bill, building something like this does not look like a lot of work anymore. part of the reason I am looking at Rammed Earth walls I allready have a large compressor, did not feel like pounding all those tires and it seems like a bad idea in michigan not to have a slab and insulation underneath it

george

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Re: earthships

Post by IBScootn » Jan 28 2014 1:33pm

George,

A friend has the three volumes on building the structure. Vol III covers finishing touches on the interior and info on how to improve on the original design. He also has the forth volume detailing the water, energy, waste systems. You seemed concerned with lighting the back wall; seemed they learned to use dark wall colors towards the front of the room (heat absorption), but white walls in the back to reflect light. Gave a move usable interior.

We have earth ships in Ridgeway, CO. The most famous by actor, Dennis Weaver, who built a 8500sqft earthship. Just a little over the top.

You can rent a studio earthship at $145/night in NM to try out the concept. Seems people had problems keeping the earthships warm during the winter because they vented the structure too much. The reading suggested only way to retain the thermal mass heat was to seal them up during the day and let them become stuffy/stale, then when returning home, vent them a little to freshen the air, then seal it back up.

Good luck,
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Re: earthships

Post by IBScootn » Jan 28 2014 2:22pm

George,

If you haven't already, check out permies.com and the rocket stove mass heater. Maybe a way to keep the earthship warmer in the winter on the cheap. Just add a fan on the exhaust port; use it to draw air thru the system until the fire gets started; reduces smoke coming inside.

I think no matter what you come up with it will be better than the standard conventional home. Even my 3700sqft conventional home is much better than most of my neighbors, because my numerous large windows face the south. So it can be 19degF outside (like today) and the sun easily heats my house to 64degF all on its own. Few cloudy days in Colorado and strong solar energy are a real plus.
Motorcycles:
ZEV T7100, 84V, 60AH, 65+mph; Mods: TNC throttle, windshield, Cycle Analyst , Cell Log , and custom charger
Kymco GT300i - for long rides through the Rocky Mountains
Big EV Grin. :)

2007blueprius   100 W

100 W
Posts: 258
Joined: Jun 17 2013 11:27am

Re: earthships

Post by 2007blueprius » Jan 28 2014 3:39pm

I am trying to stay away from any combustion at the moment, preferably my roof will be flat and clean free of any vents, even the drain vent I was considering pulling it through the back wall tather than the roof, I read a lot about earthships and there is a video on youtube about Denis weavers build back in hte 70'S also a newer one called Earthship mansion, I think it is the same house.

Also many people have confirmed what you just did, the original design works in NM and maybe southern colorado where extreme colds are more so due to altitude, winter days are not that bad there, in michigan is more a prolonged cold, hence I am looking on doubleing the south glass wall in hight, even Michel Reynolds did that once and ended up melting a type writer, he speaks of it in the Garbage warrior video

IBScootn   100 W

100 W
Posts: 212
Joined: Jan 30 2012 11:47pm
Location: Colorado, USA

Re: earthships

Post by IBScootn » Jan 28 2014 3:59pm

Yes I watched those videos too. Great stuff. My friend worked on an earthship for a week.

In Denver, the avg annual temp is 50degF so not much more than yours. Too bad it's not 60degF.
Motorcycles:
ZEV T7100, 84V, 60AH, 65+mph; Mods: TNC throttle, windshield, Cycle Analyst , Cell Log , and custom charger
Kymco GT300i - for long rides through the Rocky Mountains
Big EV Grin. :)

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