The Earthship concept is the brainchild of Michael Reynolds, who has written several books on the topic. Near Taos New Mexico, where he has his Earthship Biotecture business, are whole communities of earthships. The basic Earthship design incorporates substantially bermed, passive solar architecture. The primary retaining walls are constructed with used tires, filled with earth and stacked up like bricks. The interior surface of the tires is then plastered with adobe or cement so the tires don't normally show. Mike has also pioneered the use of empty aluminum cans mortared into lightweight, curvable walls. Earthships often employ many ecological concepts, such as water catchment from the roof, reuse of greywater, composting toilets, indoor gardening, etc.
While some of the work of building is simple to do, it also tends to be very labor intensive. Furthermore, the wood framing required is not simple. Some of the earlier designs tend to overheat, especially in the summer, because of the slanted glass to the south. I have seen some truly elegant earthships, along with some that are pretty funky. Engineered plans are available that seem to please building inspectors, as these have been built in many localities.
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This one story Santa Fe Style ranch home has an attached two car garage and is based upon 24 inch wide straw bale (or adobe) construction on a concrete block foundation & concrete spread footings with crawl spaces and a partial basement. Though not designed as a passive solar house, it is designed for primarily hot weather climates. Natural interior plaster and natural exterior stucco are recommended. The interior square footage of the house portion is 2,336 square feet, measured on the inside of walls. In addition, the garage has 20 x 22 ft. clear inside dimensions. This home was originally designed for the main entrance to face east so that the kitchen is southeast for ‘ayurvedic' benefits – the plan also works well with the garage on the north side or by ‘flipping' the plan with the bedrooms on the south.
Floor Plan for 2-Bedroom Model
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