Can anyone provide general dimensions for Earthship planning? I know Earthships can get wild, but I'm interested in more conventional layouts.
I'm especially interested in:
- Thickness of walls that separate rooms. How thick are the walls once the tires and coverings are in place? I've seen designs with thick tire walls between rooms and skinny walls between rooms, when is one recommended over the other?
- Thickness of walls that separate rooms from the greenhouse.
- How wide is the greenhouse hallways, how wide is the greenhousegarden bed?
- How deep are the rooms, how wide are the interior garden beds?
Any other general dimensions I should be aware of when making idea sketches? I'm at a roughly 47-deg latitude.
started looking at earth ships years ago. Decided to do it more conventionally. Not using tires as they will continue to outgas and I wanted to not deal with anything that would mess with my environment. So with that in mind.. doing my walls with Rock.. Why rock? I have access to massive amounts living here in the mountains. As to your question.. you have the thickness of the tire wall then add 4 to 6 inches per side as needed.. interior walls are thicker as they get coated on both sides.. exterior only on the inside. Why 4 inches? you generally will be making what turns into a cob wall with straw as a binder. Think of this the way you would of a plaster wall. This becomes the scratch coat. Then you will need to add a finish coat on top to get your finished look.. top coat without the can and such that you would use as fillers in the low spots in the tires.
As to thickness of interior walls. if you build with wood you will get a thin wall if you build with small tires you will get a smaller thickness if you build with what you use for the back and side walls. you will obviously end up with much thicker walls up to 2 - 3 thick. This is a nice place to think about timber frame walls as the are thin and beautiful in their own right.
The wall for the green house is likely to end up being 6 inch wall as it is glass and operable glass walls. Consider tempered plate glass as it is more resistant to breaking. A good choice is glass that is standard dimension. eg sliding glass door inserts as they are easily available and will keep your cost from going ape doody crazy. Any time you go with custom your price will double or more. Do not get anything special like low e or argon filled. You really are looking for glass that will allow for transmission of IR rays to add heat to your back wall as this is what helps to temper your space for passive heating in the winter. . I would also suggest not going with exterior glass wall that is sloped. They tend to leak , They will over heat the space and kill your plants. Note that the majority of green houses actually do have walls that are vertical and the plants grow.. Meanwhile during the summer they still are well vented to keep from over heating. I would suggest an over hang. Two things do happen in Taos where they build these experimental buildings. Huge swing in day and night temperatures and of course There is little water.
My last comment and another reason I chose to go a more conventional route.. eg cement and not tires. I can pass code easily. Do not under estimate this and do not under estimate the huge amount of work needed to pound tires. Think chain gain hard work only without the chain other than the one that will be around your neck with pounding tires for many many months 9 hours a day
There have been a number of design progressions over the years. You can get help with layout & design questions by visiting http://earthship.com/I-Want-One/ . In general, e-ship design is like any other solar designed building . . . built along an east-west axis and facing the winter sun.
The original design is based around U-shaped rooms that are all interconnected. An average sized tire is about 30” wide . . . so with plaster covering maxes out at 34-36” wide depending on actual tire size, thickness of plaster, etc. Another style of E-ship is one large room with other materials used to sub-divide rooms (wood framed, cob, bottle & can walls, etc.)
U-type construction will generally provide more thermal mass than other designs, but also involve more labor to construct. Aluminum can or bottle walls are 5-6” thick. Wood framing is whatever you choose 4” or greater. Design for depth of rooms is related to latitude (low winter sun angle) . . . this is covered in the books. Typical room depth might be 20-24’ maximum.
Linear greenhouse planters are typically 24-30” deep (single reach). Greenhouse walkways could be 24-36” wide.
One often overlooked design question is ‘how sunny is my building site in the winter?’ The birthplace of earthships (Taos, NM) has like much of the US southwest, abundant winter sunshine. Here the thermal mass can be recharged on a daily basis, so it makes sense to have a greater square footage of glazing than other areas of the country that have long, cloudy winters like the upper midwest and northeast. Where are you located? In more cloudy areas, it is good to prioritize insulating strategies and have an effective back-up heating plan. The idea that earthships don't require some form of back-up heating in mostly false.
I would also suggest not going with exterior glass wall that is sloped. They tend to leak , They will over heat the space and kill your plants. Note that the majority of green houses actually do have walls that are vertical and the plants grow.. Meanwhile during the summer they still are well vented to keep from over heating. I would suggest an over hang.
I am at 47.25 degrees north and I find that vertical glass is just right with just enough overhang for a good gutter. The low sun angle in the winter penetrates all the way back and the high summer sun angle is reflected mostly in front of the house so something like corn will get sun from both sides. Morning sun is usually welcome all year long but more will enter with the south-east angle in the winter. Evening sun is a problem in the summer so having trees or a structure to the west is advantageous. Earth bags from a construction standpoint are probably better than tires but if tires are used I think cutting out the sidewall on one side putting a barier in the bottom and turning the cut sidewall over and placing it on the bottom would make the filling so much easier it would negate the time spent cutting them.