Earthship, my dream home!

Written by Shannon Laliberte

Topics: Climate

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I moved here to the Bay Area four and half years ago from Albuquerque, New Mexico. While the Bay Area is lovely and an amazing place to be, I miss the desert terribly. The thing I miss the most is the fact that ‘Burque boasts an average of 300 days of sunshine per year and the fact that New Mexico is one of the main hubs of communities of Earthships.

Kirst's Earthship

Earthships are made of recycled materials (including tires, glass bottles, aluminum cans and myriad other reclaimed materials), built into the side of a hill with a south facing wall of windows. The homes are usually “u” shaped, with the tires rammed full of earth serving as the main support structure for the walls. The houses utilize grey/black water systems, a main cistern, interior gardens, solar/thermal dynamic that heat and cool the houses naturally, solar and wind power allowing folks to live “off the grid.” One of the coolest things about these homes is that they are not a luxury that can only be enjoyed by the wealthy – these homes are comparatively affordable by their very nature, relying heavily on recyclables and principles of sustainability.

I particularly enjoy the informative blog by a woman named Kirsten who has built her own Earthship, but also works with Biotecture to bring Earthships to the rest of the globe. Biotecture is a pretty impressive organization, in that one of their initiatives was to bring Earthship biotecture knowledge to climate ravaged places like South East Asia after the tsunami and New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. Because of the severe devastation, coupled with the lack of assistance from inept government agencies, Biotecture brought to both places not only affordable alternatives for rebuilding, but offered communities the opportunity to recycle the vast amounts of trash strewn throughout the areas for building living structures.

One day, my dream is to move back to the desert and build a home that not only fulfills my personal dreams, but serves to protect and preserve this beautiful planet.

15 Comments For This Post I'd Love to Hear Yours!

  1. Mark says:

    It’s in the wrong place. Unless the inhabitant spends all of their time there, the commute for work, school, groceries etc would far outweigh any energy or greenhouse emmissions benefit from even the ‘greenest’ house. We need to change the paradigm from the outdated ‘back to the land’ concept and towards the more efficient ‘back to the city’ concept. Green homes are not enough. We need green cities!

  2. Shannon Laliberte says:

    Mark, while I appreciate your comments, I have to clarify something. My post never suggested the naive proposition of “going back to the land.” Rather, I see earthships as FORWARD thinking about how to build homes in the future. And frankly, again, while your comments are appreciated and I agree with the concept of revitalizing urban areas, I’m irritated that solutions put forward are constantly encountering this “either or” paradigm. Or the concept of “what you came up with is not ENOUGH!” Neither one of those modes of thinking is productive or lend themselves to thriving social movements. It takes multiple, diverse approaches to have an effective movement for real change.

    I think that revitalizing urban areas AND supporting progressive, alternative housing structures is the only way to make sure our fight for the future is as inclusive and imaginatively expansive as possible!

  3. Luke says:

    I could see living in an Earthship relatively near to a grocery store etc. and telecommuting to work via long-range wifi or satellite.

  4. Eric Wrinkle says:

    I would give my left nut to live in the middle of the New Mexican desert in a earthship. Screw the grocery store, screw the city, screw the monthly utility bills, screw the over priced housing in gang infested cities, screw the endless traffic jams, screw a world that thinks people should work their balls off so they can buy their toilet paper across the street.

  5. Arielle says:

    Yeah Earthship!

  6. Roy says:

    Earthship is a symbol of the innate desire to obtain simplicity, and create a lifestlye of appreciation for the earth. Earthship has much to contribute to the way we look at our planet, each other, and society in general. It is not so much a question of living in a rural area, or an urban area. Earthship is a life perspective that allows us to value the earth and our lives more; to not waste what we have, and to not take more than we give. Earthship is more than just a house, it is a concept, that if widespread will do the world no harm; and perhaps cause people to think outside of themselves, which seems hard for many
    Americans to do.

  7. I will be moveing to new mexico in 6 mo to 1 year i plan on building a earthship home,will you be able to help with the plans?

  8. John McPhaul says:

    8.17.07

    Hello! My name is John. I saw a special on Earthship, I would like to know the cost in building a E.H. I would appreciate any information you could offer.

    John McPhaul
    Detroit, MI

  9. David N. Chini says:

    Are there a listing for Earthship homes for sale? If there is where do I find it?

    David N. Chini
    St. Petersburg, FL.

  10. Shannon Laliberte says:

    To answer David, John and Bill’s questions about building Earthships, I would have to refer to the skill, expertise and talents of the Biotecture website: http://www.earthshipbiotecture.com/.

    I am in love with Earthships and dream one day of building one with my partner, but for now he is doing the in-depth research on the building and systems, not me. I am learning from him and from reading the Biotecture site and other sites I can find on Earthships on Google. May I suggest you start cruising the web? It’s probably your best bet for the most in-depth and up to date info on these amazing structures! Good luck!

  11. Paige says:

    I’m so with you, Eric Wrinkle.
    Anyone have any money they want to buy land with and create an earthship community/nature sanctuary in Northern KY or Southern IN?

  12. Saw says:

    actually…that http://www.earthshipbiotecture.com never worked on my computer none of the buttons are active or whatever u wanna call it… try http://www.earthship.net and YES eric wrinkle…u are my hero!.. and so is every1 else who has built an earthship and MADE A WEBSITE on how and mistakes they have made http://www.earthpower1.com/ is a good example of F**k ups that cost them more but their house is AWSOME now lol..also ive looked around to alternatives of ramming tires with dirt…3wheel barrels per tire…isnt my idea of fun nor is it work that id even wanna do if i was being PAID..there is “tire bales” and ud only have to use like 54 tire bales opposed to the approx 1000 rammed tires in the packaged earthship 2 bed 1 bath. http://www.touchtheearthranch.com/tirebales.htm only thing i dont like about all the researching i have done for the tire bales is…none of them have the water catchment system thing…i plan on building my home on the rocky mountains…im not about to drill thousands of feet to find an under ground water supply u can kiss my big white ass….i am not even close to being done looking…im considering going to the internship because it seems better than the seminar because u are there for more than a day…and u ram tires and ask ur self why in the hell ur there when u could be doing something else…then its the determining factor of are/do u want build this amazing contraption beautiful biotecture of a home?……i even looked at cheap labor…i am big on shitty pay…so if u paid guys 15-20/hr to ram tires or 100/a day and u got a crew of 15…and it takes u 50 some days…thats 75,000!!!!!!!!! omg i better suck it up and ram them tires my self!

  13. Just Me says:

    I love the concept of earthships but what about for rainy climates like NW Washington?

  14. nina machado says:

    I think what many people are having a tough time grasping is that the era of the 9 to 5 jobs are almost over. I think the trend of working/schooling online will be rthe new norm. Between that and off the grid technology from satellite and wind power becoming more accessible, the need for a city commute, or to be within close proximity of s town (while still may be desired) would no longer be necessary.

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