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Earthship Homes: Passive Solar Home Elements
Earthship homes are simply homes that are constructed completely out of natural and recycled materials. Though more than one company offers these homes, Earthship Biotecture is credited as being the first Earthship: How to Build Your Own, Vol. 1
. The majority of earthship homes are placed off the grid, as they are not reliant on the use of public utilities nor fossil fuels. There are a number of interesting elements that work to make these homes comfortable to live in without the need to negatively impact the environment.
One of the main materials used in construction is scrap tires. Once packed with dirt these tires become bricks of sorts and work to create a solid and stable base for the home. Rammed earth tires are able to bear the load of a great amount of weight and are resistant to fire. A great example of this is the case of a 1996 New Mexico fire that destroyed many conventional homes. An Earthship home in the same area sustained much less damage than the standard homes.
Earthship homes are designed to collect and process water naturally. Collected water is filtered and rendered drinkable. A pump is used to create pressure and deliver water throughout the home. This system is not used for grey water which can be used to water plants, or black water which is for toilets. Composting toilets may still be opted for. However, many modern Earthship owners choose to make use of a solar powered septic tank.
Solar Panels or wind turbines are used to produce electricity. In most cases, these produce more than enough electricity for the home. However, generators may be used to supplement supplies, with the option to be connected to the grid still a possibility. Electricity for heating and cooling is generally not needed. The special design allows the sun to provide heat during the winter months, yet the sun exposure can be minimized during the summer months in order to keep the home cool.
The Earthship Biotecture website provides lots of detailed information about these homes and how they function. “Radically sustainable” is a term used to describe Earthship homes. This term is quite accurate, as the design elements address all possible needs in a completely sustainable manner. The company does offer construction drawings which meet building code requirements. The cost of construction drawings ranges from $5,000 to $8,000. These can be purchased online.
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Date: July 16, 2012 at 2:42 pm- by Leslie Miller- Posted in Real Estate & Homes and tagged earthship, earthship biotecture, earthship homes, sustainable homes- Comment(s): 0