Earthship Community

Anything to do with environmental building projects.
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Boots
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Post: #38695 Boots
Sat Oct 28, 2006 1:42 pm

http://www.earthshipbiotecture.com/greater_world.html

For those who like filling bags with earth... think there were a few spud fans who might like this.
"Don't worry about the world coming to an end today. It's already tomorrow in Australia." - Charles Schultz

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Post: #38708 the.fee.fairy
Sat Oct 28, 2006 3:02 pm

i want one i want one i want one!!!

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Post: #38709 caithnesscrofter
Sat Oct 28, 2006 3:36 pm

I have always been quite impressed with the Earthship concept. Attended the Earthship International Summit in Brighton two years ago and after alot of thought... I just cannot get my head around the aesthetics of Earthships. You are limited to the shape of the tyre walls and they seem to also use alot of cement for the interior which I would like to keep well away from. And pounding tyres is back breaking! In Scotlands Earthship... they have used a waterproof membrane around the walls because of dampness and I wonder if this defeats the purpose of it. Bring in tyres to reuse but, then buy very expensive plasticy waterproof membrane to case the tyre walls in? There's got to be a better way?!? I have since turned my thinking to cob which is alot cheaper and easier on the body to build. But, would definately like to incorporate alot of the autonomous systems of the Earthship concept such as the passive solar design, indoor greywater, indoor water cistern & a compost toilet with a turf roof instead of the type Mike Reynolds suggests. Although, he suggests this roof type for the desert which is understandable as you need every little raindrop you can catch... whereas I would have far too much rain to know what to do with and could do with the turf soaking up a good percentage of this. There are people up in Skerray on the north coast of Scotland building a cool hybrid of Earthship/strawbale. they used to have a website up about it.. and it is there off and on.. must be renovating the site? http://www.skerray.net

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Post: #38715 Muddypause
Sat Oct 28, 2006 7:45 pm

You're not kidding about ramming tyres full of earth being back breaking. I've been involved in two builds where the foundations and retaining walls were rammed earth tyres, in each case the Brighton Earthship crew were supervising that bit. The rest of the buildings were strawbales, but in one, at least, the interface between tyres and bales was not a very happy one.

Also, I can't help feeling there is something anti-karmic about living inside a pile of tyres, that were primarily intended to go tear-arsing around the place, being polluting, smelly and noisy. I feel sure that on quiet nights you would be able to hear the echo of sub-bass woofers pounding away, and exhaust magaphones screaming.

I suppose you are not going to be able to avoid using plastics and stuff in a building. And even with the best of intentions, concrete can be damn useful stuff. I prefer to think about what is appropriate.

I keep meaning to visit the Brighton Earthship - they have open days or some such for visitors. Maybe we should organise a SS-ish day out there.
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Post: #38726 Martin
Sat Oct 28, 2006 11:21 pm

can't see what's wrong with pure strawbale building - I certainly wouldn't want to live in close proximity to all those leeching chemicals from tyres! :roll:
http://solarwind.org.uk - a small company in Sussex sourcing, supplying, and fitting alternative energy products.
Amateurs encouraged - very keen prices and friendly helpful service!

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Boots
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Post: #38738 Boots
Sun Oct 29, 2006 4:31 am

Sufficiency is about using available resources. Is straw an available resource, or is using it placing a strain on existing resources? Here in Aus, hay and straw diminishes to a point where farmers are frantic for feed during the year.

Earthships utilise a bagging technique too (which does not appear to be available in the above community development plan) whereby gravels, waste products and soil fill tubes or sacks used previously for stock feeds, seeds etc. There is also a company somewhere who recycles these bags into long tubes for laying - but the idea of filling the long tubes is not so appealing to me.

For one who literally has 100's of these bags that are only ever re-used at birthing time in small quantities, that is a real available building option for us.

The small town nearby (with a population of about 400 people) also buries on average 100 tyres a month. Our roads are rubbish and most families here own tractors, m/bikes, mowers, trailers and various machinary. That excess, makes tyres a viable building option here. Wish I could find pics of the horse round yard made of tyres braced on their sides and unfilled. It's an excellent job.

Choice is always individual. When it comes down to available resources those choices can be limited somewhat by the individual environments. If its not available, its not an enviro-friendly option, and no amount of fanciful force can make it viable.

I like strawbale, and its been used here very effectively, but the truth is - in a drought ridden country - its a bit of a stretch... especially if you know how hard it is to keep the feed up to stock when conditions turn. There's a part of me, that sees it as a waste of a different form, I guess.
"Don't worry about the world coming to an end today. It's already tomorrow in Australia." - Charles Schultz

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Post: #38866 the.fee.fairy
Mon Oct 30, 2006 4:53 pm

i agree with you boots.

I've been looking into the viability of Earthships for a while. The tyres are kept within cement or adobe walls, and so their chemical leaching is unlikely to affect the occupants of the house. They are also used tyres, and so a lot of the leaching and dusting has already happened.

It takes approximately 7000+ tyres to make a small earthship. That's 7000 tyres that are being used in a constructive way, and not buried where the chemicals poolute the water courses, or burned so the chemicals pollute the skies.

I have written to the local council's planning offices, and to the local developers with details of earthships being a viable option for building for the low-income homes that seem to be sprining up everywhere near here. No answer yet though.

Strawbale is a good option, and it does look attractive, but there is the growing problem. The straw has to be grown, using water and valuable soil-space. If you are to grow straw purely for building, how much land are you taking away?

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Post: #38872 Martin
Mon Oct 30, 2006 5:31 pm

well I suppose you could use the waste products from straw bale production for something like making bread, beer or whisky, or to feed your animals! :roll:
You've probably not noticed - the countryside is littered with farms doing bog all except grow weeds - they call it "set aside" - crops like this could help "get it working again". and usefully offset damaging imports :wink:
http://solarwind.org.uk - a small company in Sussex sourcing, supplying, and fitting alternative energy products.

Amateurs encouraged - very keen prices and friendly helpful service!

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Post: #38906 caithnesscrofter
Mon Oct 30, 2006 7:34 pm

in Scotland.. in Perthshire and maybe other areas they are baling them up in big tyre bales and using them under new road surfaces and the council also uses these bales for landscaping and retaining walls.. stuff like that. thought this was quite good!

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Post: #49468 Karen_Grace
Thu Feb 22, 2007 6:31 pm

I like the Earthships, but doesn't rubber degrade and crumble over time? Would this make any difference to the safety of the building, or is the rubber just there as a support for the concrete while it is setting?
Karen

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Post: #49516 Muddypause
Fri Feb 23, 2007 2:52 am

Karen_Grace wrote:I like the Earthships, but doesn't rubber degrade and crumble over time?


Not for a few hundred years, at least - probably a few thousand, actually. There is some talk about some chemicals leaching out into the ground, though.

Would this make any difference to the safety of the building, or is the rubber just there as a support for the concrete while it is setting?


The idea, usually, is to avoid stuff like concrete, and fill them with rammed earth - preferable with a high clay content. You pound it in with a sledge hammer, and when you think it is full (about 6,000 whacks later), you add the same amount of earth again and ram that in too. Then repeat. Several times. The result is a rigid, load bearing, tyre-shaped block.
Stew



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