If you know your history, you probably have seen or read about Native American pueblo dwellings, which were the preferred shelter of the first settlers of this country. Today, there’s a very interesting “modern” version of it called the “Earthship.” As the term suggests, it is a kind of rammed-earth house invented and trademarked by Michael Reynolds, the owner and founder of an upstart tech company called Earthship Biotecture.
The idea behind the invention of the earthship is to create a dwelling out of stuff that normally is not used in modern construction. To be exact, it is an eco-friendly structure that uses discarded tires, mud, plaster, adobe, and stucco. One of the greatest things about an earthship home is that it is naturally a passive solar building or structure. Hence, the primary reason why anyone would want to live in it is to be remarkably energy efficient.
Although the invented is patented, it’s no surprise that there now is so many different iterations of the earthship. In general, they are built with emphasis on south-facing walls made of glass, with some designers incorporating a greenhouse in this particular portion of the home. What happens is that during the winter season, the sun is expected to rise at a low angle in the sky, which means sunlight penetrates the windows, effectively heating the heavy walls. The same walls act as a thermal mass for control temperature inside. In times when the temperature inside drops below the temperature on the walls, they naturally emit heat to warm the house. Now that’s amazing, right?
Furthermore, earthship homes usually have windows and skylights intended for better ventilation in the summer. As such, owners expect that there is a fairly stable temperature all year long. If you plan on buying one, you should know that it is possible to heat your earthship using the sun entirely, although woodstoves are also a popular backup in case of unfavourable weather.
Know that earthship homes are completely unique in a way that they are a hundred percent sustainable. Adding to that benefit is the fact that they are relatively affordable to build since there is no need to buy modern building materials. It is true that there are other sustainable building concepts, too, but not a single one of them offers amenities in an earthship, and we all have Michael Reynolds to thank for that. Although there are a lot of tweaks to his original idea, the concept remains the same. Interestingly, Reynolds wanted to build something with a U-shape that kicked off the movement of the entire building. He wanted it to completely rely on natural energy, the use of indigenous materials for building, carried a sustainable architecture, and could be built by anyone without engineering, construction, or architectural skills.
It’s easy to distinguish an earthship home to the rest since most if not all of them showcase a horseshoe-shape, the idea of which is to maximize the amount of natural light and heat that comes in during winter. For those who are familiar with this concept, they know for a fact that the biggest draw is the earthship home’s ability to sustain comfortable levels of temperature inside it for the entire year, which in turn allows the homeowner to save a lot of money on heating and cooling costs. But aside from that, it also represents mankind’s conscience in terms of preserving the planet. The use of indigenous materials and the structure’s sustainability means there is a substantial reduction in the use of building materials. Likewise, the ability to control temperature inside means there no longer is a heavy reliance on energy and fossil fuel just to sustain comfort.