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Old 10-16-12, 01:54 PM   #1
MetroMPG
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Default Article: The $55K, 2,900-sq. ft, eco-friendly home & no electricity bill (Earthship)

From the Globe and Mail:

(Direct link will probably disappear behind a paywall in 30 days - search Google for the article title to read it after that...)

The $55K, 2,900-square foot, eco-friendly home

Probably not news to most EcoRenovators, but here's a mainstream media article about the growing number of "Earthship" homes being built in Canada. It's a bit short on technical issues.

Quote:
the concept has seen a surge following a 2007 documentary about [designer Michael] Reynolds called Garbage Warrior. The movie helped popularize Earthships, which appeal to many for both environmental and economic reasons.
The article scratches the surface of the ideas behind these buildings (see the Wiki page for more info), mentioning economic and environmental advantages like:

  • off-the-grid
  • made of recycled materials
  • heated by passive solar / high thermal mass
  • used tire "bricks"
  • low cost construction (depending)
  • indoor "greenhouse" like gardening
Reynolds' company says there are already dozens of the homes in Canada.

Quote:
...with several currently under construction in British Columbia, Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec.Earthship Biotecture held a seminar in Toronto last month that attracted 150 people. Interest is so high that Reynolds is in the midst of getting his architecture license in every province.
The article touches on the fact that owners of these homes tend to promote them to family & friends, and convince them to build their own:

Quote:
Pat Potter and her husband, Chuck, both in their 60s, have lived in an earthship-like home for nearly two decades in Gilmour, Ont.
They have since helped to build four others, and have designed another five. Currently, they are build one up the road from their house for Chuck Potter’s sister.
More: The $55K, 2,900-square foot, eco-friendly home

The comments that go with the article are interesting too.

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Old 10-16-12, 02:01 PM   #2
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Garbage Warrior doc:

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Old 10-16-12, 04:01 PM   #3
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I love the idea of having a 'experimental house', I should look into that as my next house will be built off grid on acreage.
My plan is for a concrete & glass structure with soil / vegetation and on the roof.
I was going to call it my recreation property more then my home, so as to avoid the building regulations.
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Old 10-16-12, 04:31 PM   #4
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I wonder what kind of toxic fumes old tire "bricks" give off.
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Old 10-16-12, 05:35 PM   #5
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The toxic kind.
The guys a hack.. its a make work project, but i like it!
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Old 10-16-12, 06:02 PM   #6
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i love the documentary. i think the guy is as real as it gets. im going to have to research earthships. i cant believe they do that good in that type of climates.
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Old 10-17-12, 12:28 AM   #7
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I would think earth bags would be a quicker way to build cheaply and quickly in disaster areas compared to the effort of hammering tires full of dirt.

I did feel his pain when it came to dealing with the political system though.
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Old 10-17-12, 10:32 AM   #8
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I imagine that humidity is difficult to manage. I don't think this is a good solution for cold climates. But the idea of using recycled materials is great. I also don't like the idea of living in a pile of used tires. I don't like to touch tires even when new. I wouldn't wear them on my body so I wouldn't want to use them as my "third skin", as Robert Riversong calls a house.
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Old 10-17-12, 11:36 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Patrick View Post
I wonder what kind of toxic fumes old tire "bricks" give off.
They're apparently fully encased within the walls (concrete) - from a commenter at that newspaper article.

Agreed - humidity will be interesting to manage with an indoor garden. But one of the designs I saw in the first 10 minutes of the video showed a separate "window wall" between the garden and the living area. So it's perhaps more like an "attached greenhouse" than having a garden inside the house.
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Old 10-17-12, 11:42 AM   #10
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Hadn't thought about the plants. I was mostly talking about moisture coming in through the walls and floor.

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