– 27th February 2015

My latest musings, as finally spring arrives, blossom abounds, and at last can enjoy warmer weather/ longer days and evenings.

I’ve been thinking about my house, and especially the shortcomings, as in lack of a bathroom/ toilet (indoor or outdoor), how cold it gets inside during the winter in the daytime (when the wood-burner isn’t lit), especially given all this free solar energy going begging, plus the thousands of gallons of rainwater that could be harvested from the roof if there were storage. My first idea was to glass in the porch, which would add a layer of insulation and heat-storage, while at the same time make going to the toilet at least a dry and less of a wind-chill-factor experience when the rain is coming in horizontally. Then perhaps add an extra room and install tanks for rainwater collection. But the longer I spent doing the drawings the harder it got to reconcile the cost and damage to the garden which is now well established. Plus I also would like somewhere now for visitors/ volunteers to stay. So gradually the idea of building a new house has evolved. At the moment it’s no more than a pipedream, the harsh reality is I still don’t even have the income to buy food, but I want to believe things will change for the better eventually, and when that happens be ready to finish what we originally dreamed about, to create as perfect and self-sufficient a home as possible. My inspiration for this change of heart has been the earthship. Where it is possible to build for a substantially lower cost by incorporating all the free resources of El Pocito (soil/ rock/ water) along with recycling local waste (car tyres/ plastic bottles/ and whatever else can be found nearby). And at the same time incorporate as many other sustainable features as possible.

Fine so far. Except when I started searching the internet for all the necessary up-to-date technical information/ contacts/ and practical examples, what did I find? Absolutely nothing. Google seems to have deliberately blocked out all the independent blogs and sites, leaving just political CO2 related to sustainability, businesses hawking dubious green products, and a mere handful of organisations claiming to represent what I am looking for but blocking access by the requirement of a membership fee.

Crazy, but true.

So if you know anyone who has experience of earthship design and build, and would be prepared to share that knowledge, for free, please get in touch. I will in turn reproduce it on this site.

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2 comments
  1. Sunny said:

    Hi Phil, those plans sound great! Enjoy the spring energies; may you attract everything you need and have fun with the new projects.

  2. Hello! I am in Canada and currently designing our earthship with my husband. I’m sure you know but Michael Reynolds is the originial architect for this type of home. The main website is Earthship Biotecture. There is also a great channel on Youtube where a guy has posted LOADS of videos showing step-by-step how he built an earthship. Search Off Grid Build. My husband is referring to this all the time.
    Also, I wanted to mention that this type of home may not necessairly cost a lot less then building a conventional home but this depends on if you plan to go through building permits plus access to materials, the overall size etc. You may be better off with your climate too ( a lot different to Canada) but I wouldn’t want you to set your hopes high and get let down.
    There’s another website for Manitoba Earthship which includes a cost breakdown.. to give you an idea. but again – that’s very cold Canada and the size is probbably a lot bigger then what you may go for. Anyway, hope that helps! good luck!

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