earthships Archives - Off-Grid

Posts tagged: earthships

Spectacular Modern CAVE HOUSE Is Man’s Lifelong Dream – 5,700 sq ft

If you’ve read some of our other posts, people looking to break away from the urban property mold typically explore off-grid ideas such as cabins in the great outdoors, modified / repurposed shipping containers, or self-sufficient Earthships. Well, Grant Johnson—from Moab, Utah—had a different idea.

A REALLY different idea. This is something else!

After several years of living off-grid in a trailer on his 40 acre property, Grant got to fulfil his lifelong dream. As covered in this video by the Tiny House Giant Journey YouTube channel, the Utah man went the astonishing route of blasting through a vast bedrock mound on his land to create a 5,700 square foot modern cave house!

The house is a wide open space filled with most of your typical household amenities, water pumped from a nearby pond, turbine-generated electricity, and even satellite internet. As with any other true off-grid living arrangement, he grows his own food and raises farm animals in the property.

Grant was careful to respect nature by molding the house design around the natural elements of the bedrock. As a testament to his appreciation of natural beauty, all openings to the cave are glass panes for an unobstructed view of the rustic countryside. Even the furniture is designed to complement the existing rough arches of the walls. The end result is an astonishing blend of clean, modern architecture and a liberating, organic aesthetic.

If you’d like to explore the innovative modern cave house and natural beauty of the land it’s built from, you can rent a two-bedroom/one-bathroom apartment in the cave house on Airbnb. I’ll bet they are totally booked out, seeing as this video got over 3 million views in just over a year of being online. 🙂

Grant even has a jam room, where he often invites guests for a music session.

Modern CAVE HOUSE Is Man's Life Long Dream - 5,700 Sq Ft
Modern CAVE HOUSE is Man’s Lifelong Dream – 5,700 sq ft – Images: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BqPtClvahWw

Brilliant EARTHSHIP Home Makes Off-Grid Life Look Easy

First things first; what is an Earthship? It’s defined as “a passive solar earth shelter made of both natural and upcycled materials.” Such a building, properly designed and executed, requires no utility services from the grid to operate.

The idea behind building an Earthship is that you don’t necessarily have to go back to basics to live off-grid – you only have to be conscious of how you live and your interaction/impact on nature. That is, you can embrace nature by building an environmentally sustainable and energy-efficient Earthship.

In a video published in the Tiny House Giant Journey YouTube channel, Jeff from Big Sky Earthship highlights the self-sufficiency of an Earthship — and we have to admit, he makes off-grid living look easy. Here’s a quick summary of how one of his Earthships in Montana works:

1. Shelter: The Earthship is largely made from recycled, reused, upcycled, and natural materials. Tires, old drums, and other types of scrap that are often thrown away in dumpsters are given a new lease of life.

2. Heating & Cooling: The house heats and cools itself passively and maintains a stable, comfortable temperature year-round, without the need for a centralized AC system.

3. Garbage Management: Aluminum cans and other garbage material are integrated into the structure of the building.

4. Clean Water: Household water is harvested from the roof, stored in cisterns, filtered, pressurized, and pumped into the house.

5. Water Recycling: Grey water from the sinks and shower is used to water the plants.

6. Food: As in any other off-grid living technique, growing your food is a big part of the Earthship owner’s journey of self-sufficiency.

The walk-through of Jeff’s Earthship is both inspiring and a pleasure to see the many ways people can co-exist sustainably with nature in off-grid living.

Brilliant EARTHSHIP Home Makes Off-Grid Life Look Easy
Brilliant EARTHSHIP Home Makes Off-Grid Life Look Easy – Images: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BNekutd-6qM

Earthships: Simple Survival Model Earthship

Earthships - Simple Survival Model EarthshipEarthships: Simple Survival Model Earthship – Image To Repin / Share
Photo – Wikipedia – lic. under CC 3.0

Here is a five minute video by earthship that shows how a simple Earthship is built. The Earthship building method has been evolving for over 40 years and is aimed at providing a structure that is very simple and cheap to construct, with the aim of being as sustainable as possible. The design method is known as Biotecture – architecture that greatly reduces the use of energy and the earth’s resources. Earthships are very cheap to heat and many have water re-use systems built in as standard.

It’s great to see how a home can be built using many “waste” materials – old tyres and cans are used to form the main walls – it’s not true recycling, more like the re-use of waste, which can be seen as a greener option as the secondary manufacturing process is carried out on the site of a new build.

Mexico is one country where the building techniques for Earthships are being developed – the technology is simple to learn, very versatile and works well in hot/desert environments. It’s great to see how the designers have incorporated a greenhouse and another area for growing food or other plants. You can see more about this build at http://earthship.com/simple-survival

The ingenious design also allows your home to harvest rainwater, although apparently this is illegal in some US states – isn’t this ridiculous? Here’s a link that will tell you more: http://beforeitsnews.com/politics/2013/04/collecting-rainwater-now-illegal-in-many-states-2513766.html.

Related: Brilliant EARTHSHIP Home Makes Off-Grid Life Look Easy

Earthships have been built in every country and in each of the 50 states. The easiest place in the US to build one is probably New Mexico, where an area has already been designated for this kind of project, and some states such as Texas have areas where there are fewer building restrictions.

Bottles and drinks cans can be interspersed throughout concrete with very little effect on its strength. They provide some insulating properties by trapping air and it keeps trash out of landfill as well. We found a great page with inspiring photos of walls made with colourful glass bottles – some are of Earthships in New Mexico and there’s even a temple in Thailand made from a million bottles! Here’s the link: http://www.inspirationgreen.com/glassbottlewalls.html
Find out more about the science of using glass in walls here: http://www.concreteideas.com/recycled-glass-in-concrete/

Okay, here is the video: