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Earthships (trademarked) are tiring (consider earth bags instead)  RSS feed

 
Christopher Steen
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Christopher Steen
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Earthbag vs rammed tires -- The difference in these EMUs (earthen masonry units):

EB walls built 10x quicker than tires.

Tamping EB is upright ergonomic for back.
Packing sidewalls of tires with a sledge destroys vertebrae.

10,000 bags haul in the pickup bed of a 4 banger and store away neatly. 100 tires fill a full size flatbed trailer each trip to the landfill. They don't store nicely. More money spent on gas hauling tires than buying 10 cent bags. Reusing waste tires and misprint bags are equally sustainable.

There is plenty of thermal mass in EB. There is a ton of fill and backhoe costs in an earthship.

Plaster packout on the recesses on a bag wall is half of a tire wall.

Popping conduit and pipe through a bag wall is easier than strawbale. Popping through a tire wall is as bad as a concrete wall.

Earthship corners require 3 tire turns. Earthbags can make sharp or sweeping turns, and being more flexible of a material, lend nicely to arches, domes, within reason also vaults.

Rpg would destroy an earthbag wall but may protect you. A missile would destroy a rammed tire wall but may protect you. Earthship wins that one.
 
Christopher Steen
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As an earthbag advocate, I'd rather have a tire wall than a bag wall. I Just don't want to build it. But if you do, consider mechanizing construction . Front end loader filling tires, and big compressor driving a pneumatic tamper or two.
 
M Ferguson
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Location: Nottingham/Derby, UK
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Unless you have a large team of people then tire walls look like way too time consuming to put up

Look how fast 2 people are able to put up an earthbag course:

http://www.treebased.com/blog/jake-vs-the-earthship-part-7-filling-earthbags
 
Sean Renoylds
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Can you berm bags like an earth ship, ie staggered slightly towards the berm?

Do they need to be plastered before berming?

Those are my huge questions, ideally I'd love to have an earth ship styled home but done with bags, if switching the tires out for bags is logical, I imagine laying 100ft tubes is a lot easier than pounding tires
 
Roberto pokachinni
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While I definitely agree that an Earthship is a lot of work (on the project that I was on, we used a hydraulic press for ramming the inner parts... the sledge only finished the tires and still it was pretty intensive labor), I doubt that the Earthbag is as powerfully engineered a structure.  And it doesn't take a RPG to figure into it.     That said, I do think that Earthbags are worth looking into, especially when compared to the labor and transport costs involved in Earthships.  Unless you have a large flat deck trailer and truck to haul them, there is a large expense to haul the tires, and that's just the start of it.  Unless you have a dedicated team of volunteers (as is the case with most Earthship Academy builds), the labor cost is quite high.  I do have to disagree about the bags and tires being equally sustainable, but the Earthbag structures themselves are more sustainable, especially when you consider all the concrete needed to make filler 'tires' to deal with corners or end walls.  When one considers the massive volume of tires basically degrading to toxins in landfill type sites, however,  and to think that we really should be thinking of ways to use them... these could and should be utilized in one way or another... and made inert, by encapsulating them...  I'd say that it would be much better for the planet to make some use of them, then mislabeled bags... so I think that's not really accurate. 

But are small individual Earthships made of Tires the answer?  .............Probably not.

............. Not the way I see it anyway.   If the system was in place that made this happen in a way that was easier on the environment (putting the tires on a train (strapped with cables on lumber cars maybe), and taking them, to build something like part of a University campus... or an cooperative apartment complex where the people who were buying into the co-op could partake in the build's labor... and ways were found to greatly minimize concrete use... perhaps with waste steel (which is priced so low right now, it's actually not worth hauling to recycle it)?... then perhaps it might be better to build the Earthships. 

As it is, your thread has a great deal of accuracy.   Earthships are a ton of work, there is too much concrete, the tires take a lot of energy to transport,  and because the tires are best (unfortunately) all of exact uniform sizing for ease of construction, one has to be very selective when getting them, or deal with tons of tires that are never used.  Not super awesome in many ways... for smaller projects and maybe alternatives should be found.       
 
Eddie Conna
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Location: Los Angeles for now, Maybe Idaho soon...
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Sean Renoylds wrote:Can you berm bags like an earth ship, ie staggered slightly towards the berm?

Do they need to be plastered before berming?

Those are my huge questions, ideally I'd love to have an earth ship styled home but done with bags, if switching the tires out for bags is logical, I imagine laying 100ft tubes is a lot easier than pounding tires


From what I've seen, yes, they can be buried/ bermed, etc.

They should be plastered so they are smooth, then covered with a waterproof membrane, and drainage pipes should be installed around the permitter so any water that does soak down, will get picked up by the drainage, and then sent out. 

Earhtbags are better for doing round structures, which are structurally far more sound than any square building would ever be.

Check out calearth.org  They have a LOT of info there, but are a bit pricey.  I found earth bags and earth bag tubing for less than half of what Calearth charges for their stuff. 

 
M Ferguson
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Location: Nottingham/Derby, UK
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Eddie Conna wrote:

Check out calearth.org  They have a LOT of info there, but are a bit pricey.  I found earth bags and earth bag tubing for less than half of what Calearth charges for their stuff. 



...And also this site:
earthbagbuilding.com/
In the youtube link I pasted initially you will see a guy building an earthship out of earthbags. He has bermed the external walls just as would be done in a tirewall earthship, however there is no batter. Instead I was really impressed by the clever way that a membrane is used to bind the earthbag courses into each layer of backfill. This makes the whole thing monolithic and very strong, no need for buttresses.

I also heard on a youtube video that 8% of CO2 emissions are from manufacturing cement. Not sure if it's true. Earthship Biotecture have been criticised for using cement by some
 
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