I was fascinated by this entire process as I caught a show on the building of an Earthship home on DIY Network last night. It's remarkable in what they accomplish, and the process is absolutely mesmerizing.
An Earthship is a type of passive solar house made of natural and recycled materials (such as earth-filled tires), designed and marketed by Earthship Biotecture of Taos, New Mexico. The term is a registered trademark of Michael Reynolds.
Earthships are primarily designed to work as autonomous buildings using thermal mass construction and natural cross ventilation assisted by thermal draught (Stack effect) to regulate indoor temperature.
Earthships are generally off-the-grid homes, minimizing their reliance on public utilities and fossil fuels. Earthships are built to utilize the available local resources, especially energy from the sun. For example, windows on sun-facing walls admit lighting and heating, and the buildings are often horseshoe-shaped to maximize natural light and solar-gain during winter months.
The thick, dense outer walls provide thermal mass that naturally regulates the interior temperature during both cold and hot outside temperatures.
Internal, non-load-bearing walls are often made of a honeycomb of recycled cans joined by concrete and are referred to as tin can walls. These walls are usually thickly plastered with adobe. Tin can walls can also be used on top of the tire walls ("can and concrete bond beams") as an alternative to wooden shoes.
An alternative to these concrete bond beams are wooden bond beams with wooden shoes. The wooden shoes are made using wooden shimming blocks (of 6x6x8' dimensions) placed on top of the wooden bond beam (the latter is basically just 2 layers of 2x12 lumber bolted on concrete anchors (poured blocks of concrete located inside the top tyres). Some rebars are used to "nail" the wooden shoes to the wooden bond beam.
The tire walls are additionally strengthened by using concrete in the tires on the ends (called "concrete half blocks"). The roof is made using trusses or vigas (wooden support beams) which rest on the wooden shoes (or tin can walls) placed on the wooden (or concrete) bond beams. The roof as well as the north, east and west facing walls of an Earthship are also heavily insulated to prevent heat loss.
The Earthship was designed as a structure that would be free of the constraints of centralized utilities, on which most modern shelters rely. Earthships must be able to create their own utilities, and to utilize readily available sustainable materials. In order to be entirely self-sufficient, the Earthship needs to be able to handle the three systems of water, electricity, and climate.
If you see a show coming up on this, I highly recommend it. You'll find yourself engrossed as well.
#earthship #biotececture #offgrid #offgridliving #passivesolarheating #recycledmaterial #crossventilation #construction #selfsufficient
Earthship Biotecture A 2011 Overview
― Alan Moore, V for Vendetta
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