Just think how much energy is consumed and how much waste is produced by every house on the planet. It’s all because traditional modern housing lacks sustainability and relies on public utilities and fossil fuels. However, with the growing awareness of the environmental issues, more and more people stick to ecologically friendly housing alternatives, which don’t harm the environment but also allow for off-the-grid living.
A small community in Taos, New Mexico, lives completely off the grid thanks to an amazing concept of a self-sustainable house, known as Earthship. All Earthships are based on three main ideas – sustainable architecture, green energy and the possibility to be built by someone who doesn’t have advanced construction skills. When architect Michael Reynolds came up with the concept of Earthship in the 1970’s, his main goal was to develop a structure that mimics natural processes and makes most of the surrounding environment, instead of exhausting natural resources.
All Earthships are built using only natural and recycled materials. The walls are made from trash, such as old tires, beer cans and bottles, mixed with concrete. According to Reynolds, these materials are easy to find anywhere on the planet and they are perfect when it comes to holding the temperature, thus providing natural isolation. The design of the construction also aims to allow for natural ventilation.
The electric power and heating are provided through renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind energy. As a result, an Earthship is completely self-sustainable and allows you to live off the grid, minimizing your reliance on public utilities.
“An Earthship is the name we have given a building or vessel that we use to live on this planet that is absolutely independent of all public and municipal utilities,” Reynolds told CNN.
Earthships produce minimal waste thanks to an advanced water treatment system, so wastewater, including sewage, is used for gardening, toilet flushing and landscaping.
“We get the water from the sky—rain and snowfall—and we use it four times. So, in the end, no water ever leaves the premises that came from the sky,” Reynolds said in an interview with Democracy Now.
The concept has become popular across the USA and Europe, and now similar self-sufficient home projects are developed all over the world. One day, we may actually see a whole Earthship city as the first district of Earthships is currently being built in the Netherlands.
With such an impressive level of sustainability and self-sufficiency, it’s no surprise that local governments don’t favor Earthships, saying the buildings don’t meet the requirements and regulations. Which government wants people to live independent of the public services after all? In fact, Reynolds even lost his architecture license 13 years ago as a result of his battle with the officials. But even despite these obstacles, hundreds of people worldwide live in Earthships and the concept is constantly getting more and more attention and popularity.
Check out this video to learn more about Earthships: