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Leah Sattler
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a good freind of mine in new mexico sent me these pictures of a neat place. it is made from tires filled with dirt. super cool. IF I can ever escape my chores and visit him I want to go see this place!

 
paul wheaton
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Earth ships have been around at least 20 years.  They have a lot of really fascinating ideas.  I read the book a long time ago.  I even remember reading something about an earthship being built and discovering a seasonal spring that would run through the house.  Rather than trying to block it, they made it into an in-house feature! 

Earth ships have a lot of really, really neat upsides.  When you read the books or watch the youtube videos you can learn all about the upsides.

Upsides include: 

- internal walls with super duper thermal mass. 

- amazing design and shape - a real good design for good solar use and having a lot of light in a home.  In fact, the designs lead to more of a "home" than a "dwelling".

- I like the use to waste products although I would far prefer to use waste products that are obviously benign.

The downsides, which are much harder to find out about:

- It takes a long, long, long time to pack those tires with dirt.  And it is bone jarring hard work.  I have heard from some folks that said that if you pay for labor, the structure will be more expensive than a conventional home.

- Tire off gassing.  When this is brought up, many people discount it.  And many emphasize it.  It is a confusing space and I suspect that the truth leans in the direction of the people concerned about the off gassing.



 
Mike Oehler
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I've known several people who have built earthships and not a single one who was glad. Extreme hard work. And though I love tires beneath my car, damned if I want to breathe their off gassing. I give Michael Reynolds an A for innovation and environmental concern, but just a D for house construction.

mike oehler
 
Leah Sattler
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thats too bad! off gassing is definitly a concern but I thought that most off gassing occurs in the first few years of a products life? the reason why a used home is better than a traditional new home. would old tires off gas much? what if it was wrapped in house wrap before it was stuccoed? work is just that work.
 
paul wheaton
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Well, if you happen to be at a tire store, you can go spend a moment hanging out next to a big pile of tires that are getting thrown out.  Have a smell. 

In fact, put your nose up to your own tires and have a smell.  Especially on a warm day.

Suppose your house was made of 1500 tires.  And each tire was sort of exuding that smell, and it the tire was not outside.  Maybe for the first couple of years, the smell would be pretty trapped under the adobe/stucco/plaster.  But it will eventually find its way out.  And you aren't outside - you are inside.  There isn't nearly as much air exchange. 

 
Steve Nicolini
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I have to go with Paul and Mike on this one.  Your essentially living in a rubber house.  A giant condom, if you ask me.  And raising kids in the thing would be out of the question. 

I am all for using second hand materials, what is already there, but I can't justify the rubber thing. 

Props to Reynolds though.  I haven't done anything near as innovative.
 
Leah Sattler
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Steve Nicolini wrote:
  A giant condom, if you ask me.  


well that did it for me! lambskin only here  that rubber is irritating.
 
paul wheaton
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And raising kids in the thing would be out of the question.


Due to the contraceptive effect?

 
Steve Nicolini
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Hahaha y'all are some good folks.  I think there are numerous factors that play into kids not being raised in a giant condom.  I have chosen not to list them.
 
Nicholas Covey
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I like the idea of using the tires as a retaining wall, but I think outside is a better place for that.

As for the contraceptive effect... well as the father of 6, obviously that's a plus for me at this point 
 
Leah Sattler
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6 ?? you need a rubber house!! just kidding. ha ha ha ...get it kidding. alright, I'm pretty lame I know.
 
Gwen Lynn
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Dang it! I can't believe I missed out on this condom house conversation.

What about all the people who choose to live in condom-iniums!?!?!?   LOL! 
 
                      
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Ok, earthships made from old tires, beer bottles, and well trash is what it really is, are not so green. I being a big earthship fan will admit, but as far as off gassing, have you ever stuck your nose to a treated 2x4, a roll of carpet, or a bucket of paint. believe me not only are we ourselves off gassing, as a matter of fact i just did. but everything we produce and use is off gassing.
 
paul wheaton
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bee chicken hugelkultur trees wofati woodworking
 
Steve Nicolini
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What about rubbing walnut oil onto cutting boards and spoons and ummmmmm bows?  Is that gonna kill me? 

Harvest our farts for biodiesel?

Are condoms made of rubber?  Or just latex?
 
Leah Sattler
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Tomas wrote:
but everything we produce and use is off gassing.


although most of us avoid the paint, carpet, treated wood thing even the natural products we use "off gas". I'm afraid he is right.  The oils in rot resistant wood work because they are toxic to the organisms that tend decay wood. I would suspect they aren't that great for us either. stick your nose on a cedar plank or a planting of mint. those odors are by no means proven any safer than  those of paint or modern treated wood. if you have a wood burning stove or like to grill out you are one step away from a pack of cigarettes. wear deodorant? cologne (blech). hair gel. like to burn incense or candles or have potpourri or flowers in the house? have a cedar closet or chest? wood paneling or flooring (that nice "wood smell" is chemicals in the air) insulation in your house? leather? furniture? is your clothing 100% undyed cotton? has your computer suficiently aired out (a bad offender) avoid what you can and deal with what you are comfortable with. everybody draws the line in a different place.

danger danger everywhere!!!
 
 
Steve Nicolini
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Sounds like that person Leah is speaking of would have to live naked in a sterile bubble.  Don't forget smelling your own farts too Leah!

Has there ever been an occurrence of earth ship caused sickness or death? 
 
Leah Sattler
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oh no! we need a special fart recovery system. closed system... plant beans...heat your house...or sterile bubble.

although maybe tires aren't the best it still is fun to think about what you could build a house out of.
 
Steve Nicolini
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Yeah it is.  What other materials to build a house out of?  Glass bottles?  Umm, giant boulders?  Hay?  I got it, mix sand and tree sap... one metric shit ton of tree sap. 

 
                        
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I read somewhere that tires don't off-gas unless they are exposed to UV radiation?  Hence no problem for using them inside walls?
 
Joel Hollingsworth
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Steve Nicolini wrote:
What about rubbing walnut oil onto cutting boards and spoons and ummmmmm bows?  Is that gonna kill me? 

Harvest our farts for biodiesel?

Are condoms made of rubber?  Or just latex?


If you're allergic to walnuts, it might kill you, yes.  It has never harmed me, though.

And you're right: the outgassing from walnut oil as it cures is materially the same vapor that comes off of linseed oil and tung oil and other drying oils.

"Rubber" and "latex" are used more or less interchangeably by most people.  Ficus elastica (rubber tree) sap is something like milk, with little oily bits suspended in a bulk of watery liquid.  When the oily particles are a polymer, the technical term for this suspension is "latex," and this particular sap can be processed to make nearly-pure polyisoprene, which is the usual raw material for tires, condoms, pencil erasers, Macintosh raincoats...

There are condoms made of synthetic polyisoprene, and of polyurethane, which don't irritate people who have become allergic to ficus elastica.  These tend not to have been a latex (an aqueous suspension) at any point in their processing.  They can also been made from animal sources, as Leah mentioned. 

"Acrylic" paint is a latex of polyacrylonitrile-family polymers; it is fully synthetic and is not polyisoprene, or any related sort of rubber.  But it goes through a similar process as rubber tree sap, of tiny spheres of polymer merging into an insoluble mass as water is removed.
 
Kathleen Sanderson
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Cheese wrote:
I read somewhere that tires don't off-gas unless they are exposed to UV radiation?  Hence no problem for using them inside walls?


I don't see how that can be true, because I have a problem just walking into a store that sells tires -- the smell gives me an instant headache.  I'm pretty sure those tires have gone from factory to truck to warehouse to truck to store, and haven't spent any time out in the sun. 

Kathleen
 
Gwen Lynn
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This is a little off topic, but we are talking about smells. We got a new car in August. People always comment about the new car smell. I have never liked that smell, not in 1977 or 1995 or 2009. Makes me a little woozy. We also have a 1979 Ford Thunderbird. 30 years old and it's starting to get the old car smell. It smells way better than the new car, fortunately it was a one owner car before we got it and they didn't smoke.

I think I'd try building something out of tires if I had the right situation. You could start with a storage shed. Lawnmowers are stinky anyways. If it had the right location (shaded) it might not be so bad. Definitely a lot of heavy lifting though.
 
Leah Sattler
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I found this great article explaining why in most earth ship type situations, off gassing is not thought to be an issue. exposed tires are a potential problem.

http://www.earthship.net/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=21&Itemid=74
 
Karla Arnold
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Old post I know.....but I did enjoy reading it..

Paul and Mike

what do you think about using earth bags instead of tires? Would it be as strong as the tires? I do love the earthship concept, but tires do stink.. they say if you cover them they do not and an earthship did go though a wild fire and the tires did not burn because of the covering on them.

KJ
 
Kristal Cravener
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paul wheaton wrote:Earth ships have been around at least 20 years.  They have a lot of really fascinating ideas.  I read the book a long time ago.  I even remember reading something about an earthship being built and discovering a seasonal spring that would run through the house.  Rather than trying to block it, they made it into an in-house feature! 

Earth ships have a lot of really, really neat upsides.  When you read the books or watch the youtube videos you can learn all about the upsides.

Upsides include: 

- internal walls with super duper thermal mass. 

- amazing design and shape - a real good design for good solar use and having a lot of light in a home.  In fact, the designs lead to more of a "home" than a "dwelling".

- I like the use to waste products although I would far prefer to use waste products that are obviously benign.

The downsides, which are much harder to find out about:

- It takes a long, long, long time to pack those tires with dirt.  And it is bone jarring hard work.   I have heard from some folks that said that if you pay for labor, the structure will be more expensive than a conventional home.

- Tire off gassing.  When this is brought up, many people discount it.  And many emphasize it.  It is a confusing space and I suspect that the truth leans in the direction of the people concerned about the off gassing.





I agree about the offgassing. Both sides have points to consider. While it would be really awesome to pull something out of the waste stream, especially something that does not degrade or break down for such a long, long time, of course I don't want to use something that could be dangerous to myself or others at the same time. On that same note though, there are people who have build and lived in these homes for a few decades now and haven't reported any issues. So it is either a lack of an issue or a lack of reports.... I think the offgassing- is it or is it not an issue- is definitely something that I would like to see an experiment done on to prove one way or the other (hopefully, beyond a doubt). I'm not sure how or even what one would use to go about detecting tire offgassing...? I mean we have detectors for smoke, carbon monoxide and radon, etc. would it be crazy or even possible to make a detector for the potential offgassing?
http://earthship.com/offgassing
From the earthship website, an excerpt from the New Mexico Evironmental Department. Worth a read, in my opinion.


I think another one of the downsides I've read an article about or watched a video on YouTube about is the moisture problem, especially in winter. I haven't seen the earthship site dealing with this issue or mentioning it. As someone who lives in a cold, wet climate (PA), this is a big deal to consider for me as the potential results from water, flood and ice damage, may very well render this concept less useful than hoped for.

https://youtu.be/I-lwkKlfmXE


While I love the concept of the earthship design and the systems, etc... I feel like the tire pounding labor involved alone would be beyond my ability to do start to finish on my own. I have seen many failed projects online that drive the point home to either have a plan in place and work on a single "U" at a time or arrange to have help, a lot of help, lol. Although in fairness, a number of the projects seem to have 'bitten off' more than they could chew all at once and then running out of money, rather than working in stages and leaving themselves wiggle room physically and financially.

I was curious if any of the folks involved with building them have tried out a climate battery system to possibly help with the moisture? In The Forest Garden Greenhouse, Jerome Osentowski's use of the climate battery and other more recent (the past couple years) projects people have been building with annualized geosolar, air to ground heat transfer, subterranean heating and cooling, earth tubes networks/matrices, what ever name you want to call it.... it seems to me to be an interesting technology. If applied to the earthship concept, I'm curious if it would resolve the moisture issue and/or even keep the thermal mass warmer or charged longer....?

At any rate, there are certainly less laborious building methods and many, many options.
 
Something must be done about this. Let's start by reading this tiny ad:
Video of all the permaculture design course and appropriate technology course (about 177 hours)
https://permies.com/wiki/65386/paul-wheaton/digital-market/Video-PDC-ATC-hours-HD
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