Geoff Buddle wrote:
Those old sayings, there's usually one for each point of view, but my favourite is from Hawaii-5-0, "Just the facts, man. Just the facts."
Todd Gunter wrote:Paul Wheaton. I am currently building an earthship. I read the article you linked to and its really a jab at Earthships. Much of the problems they refer to come from older designs, and theres many modifications that have been done to change those depending on environment climate, etc.. Many people have problems with Earthships, but lots of these problems come from owner builders who do not stick to the Biotecture standards. Yeah some of the early models had, mistakes or didn't perform the greatest but over time they improved and everything since the development of the double greenhouse, that fully became popular in the global model earthship has performed incredibly well. I'm sorry you gave up on your dreams. I saw my first Earthship in 1989 when I was 16 and thought it was the coolest thing ever. Yep its a lot of work. To the OP, how did you run out of money during the tire wall building, theres almost no money required to do this? We are building a two bed global model with 1200sqft living area, and with 800sqft greenhouse hallway. Currently we are three tire courses from finishing the the main tire work. Its taken 16 months of work to get to this point, and probably will take another 3-4 years to finish the building and move in.We are in no rush, this is our dream home, and we want it to be exactly perfect and exactly to E.B. standards. Except, since we live in a slightly warmer climate than Taos we are building vertical faced windows to help control summer heat. I know earthships are not for everyone, mostly because they are the most labor intensive structure you can build, but they're damn near bomb proof, and when built properly function amazingly well for so little power.
Mat Ar wrote: I noticed that in all the earth-ships(well all the ones I saw) The "backs" of the structures are buried. If the walls are underground, how does thermal mass make any difference?(keep in mind I live in Texas and the coldest we get here is 35 degrees and that only lasts 1 night...Of course flipping that around Christmas day 2 years ago was 98 degrees) for places where heat is a main concern, why dont we just bury the entire structure and turn the roof into a giant sky-light?(concept of an underground sky scraper) I do already have a mini-aquaponics setup its only a few gold fish in an aquarium feeding some lettuce(I did it more as a filter solution than an actual attempt to raise my own food) Maybe I just dont understand the concept of an earthship and the necessity of the dirt filled tires, but to me it seems much easier to build an entire structure in a doughnut shape with the center having the green house and skylight...No? this way you can have the entire roof(minus the skylight of course) made into a solar/wind farm....Sewage might be an issue(unless you gravity feed it deeper(only 2 feet deeper) under a fenced up area with ornamental plants. Again Im a permi-virgin so all this could be a concept that would just cause all of you to laugh so hard you pee your pants(if so please be gentle on your replies)
I have never done any excavating myself but I read - a lot - and am fairly certain an underground skyscraper would take an enormous amount of engineering. A mere 20' of earth trench can collapse without warning and quickly bury anyone unfortunate enough to be in it at the time. While your idea sounds pretty good you need to consider all aspects of anything you want to build. One good reason why there are building codes.
Valerie Dawnstar wrote:Please do your due diligence, Mat.
Denise Lehtinen wrote:Unfortunately, despite being built largely out of recycled materials, Earthships are very expensive to build.
We have one that is started (we have the outer tire walls done), but are out of money to complete it.
It was really frustrating to see how slowly it was progressing while we were still trying on it.
It is also hard to imagine being happy in a home that is so far away from town ... although the nearly 10 acres and year around growing that is possible here in Florida leaves lots of possibility for Permaculture on quite a large scale.
It was hard listening to Paul's rambling podcast where he talked about needing land -- a large amount of it -- and having a hard time finding anything suitable in Missoula. It was hard not to have a flight of fancy where the wish for land and the wish for something nice to come out of the Earthship project to come together and solve both issues all at once. Finish the Earthship somehow and give Paul a showcase for his ideas in Central Florida.
It certainly is a pipe dream, and working out the legal mumbo jumbo that would go along with that is over my head. It is too much to ask, but not too much to wish to be true.
But it does touch at a spot that I've tried to forget about as the project remains on hold and my husband tries to find a buyer of it.
Sorry for the rambling post. It needs as much courage as I have to admit to these thoughts in this manner. I don't know if I will have the courage to look at the responses -- that is often tough for me to do.
It is a tough situation just now that could use funds and project manager and courage to keep on trying now that things are really tough and the dream of a real live earth-friendly home on a permacultured land seems to have been only a mirage.
Todd Gunter wrote:After 2 years of pounding tires we finished the tire wall last summer. We are currently waiting for a break from winter to move onto pouring concrete in the footings and bond beam. Once that is done, we will move forward into what will be our first real expense besides the concrete, and thats the framing for the load bearing walls and the roof. Hope you didn't give up.
Jim Gagnepain wrote:Why did you do things the hard way. We built ours out of tire bales. Had the entire structure up in a day. Not so expensive either. Great to live in:
Abe Connally wrote:I live in an "earthship type" house. No, it wasn't made by tires, I went with a less expensive route - ferrocement and CEBs. My average cost was $10/sf. We do have a greywater garden and a number of the earthship features built into the house (the house is buried into a south-facing hillside). We started small, with one room, and slowly expanded as we lived in completed portions of the house.
The house does not get hot in the summer, in fact, I've rarely seen it above 75F inside the house. We set up our eaves so that there is no direct sunlight into the house from May through August. It's regularly over 100F outside in the summer. This week, every single day has been 105F or more, yet the house is never above 75F We don't have AC, but our neighbors do. We save a lot of money on those cooling costs.
The house does not get cold in the winter, even after cloudy days. The lowest I've ever seen the house is 60F, and that was after a week of cold (0F), cloudy, and wet weather. We have a rocket mass heater that we fire up in those times, and it easily keeps the house at 70F. Typically, the lowest the house gets is 65F, even after many days of cloudy weather. The point about passive solar is to have thermal mass inside the house that heats up during the sunny days and releases the heat slowly during the cloudy days. I use considerably less fuel than any of my neighbors to heat our house.
The famous umbrella house is a passive solar design in Montana. http://www.norishouse.com/PAHS/UmbrellaHouse.html It doesn't have a problem keeping the house comfortable, even without supplemental heating.
The reusing of greywater for plants greatly reduces our water use considerably. We use composting toilets, so the only wastewater we have is greywater. We typically grow herbs (rosemary, parsley, oregano, mint, etc) and tomatoes in the greywater garden. No root crops. And it's not enough to feed us or anything, but it does give us year-round tomatoes (our current plant is a few years old). http://velacreations.com/blog/419-monster-tomato.html Rainwater is our only source of water, so making the most of every drop is extremely important.
So, while some of the article's criticisms may be applicable in some climates and conditions, it does not mean that the earthship concept (buried, thermal mass, passive solar design with indoor garden) is inherently flawed. It means that adjustments must be made to fit your local conditions and situation. Finding a situation where eathships may not perform perfectly does not mean they can't perform well in other situations.
Some alternatives to pounding tires: earthbags, ferrocement, reinforced concrete, surface bonded blocks, rapidobe, Oehler's psp, wofati, etc.