France’s first residential Earthship has received planning permission. There are already two UK Earthships (houses built to the specification of Earthship guru Mike Reynolds) but these are eco-showcases in Brighton and Fife – not for living in, and there is another in Valencia, Spain.
Having failed to get planning permssion in the UK, a couple from Brighton decided to build the totally sustainable home in the small French village of Ger in Normandy. Kevan Trott and his wife Gillian are now hard at work on the structure (pictured).
The Earthship Defined
The Earthship is a completely independent globally orientated dwelling, made from materials that are indigenous to the entire planet. The major structural building component of the Earthship is recycled car tyres filled with compacted earth to form a rammed earth brick encased in steel belted rubber. This brick and the resulting bearing walls it forms are virtually indestructible.
Heat and cool themselves naturally via solar/thermal dynamics
Collect their own power from the sun and wind…
Harvest their own water from rain and snow melt
Contain and treat their own sewage on site
Produce a significant amount of food
Constructed using largely by-products of modern society like cans, bottles and tyres
Waste management has become a huge headache, particularly regarding tyres. Tyres are now considered hazardous waste and therefore not appropriate for land fill. This Earthship utilised 750 tyres in its construction as well as 5,000 aluminium cans and 10,000 bottles as well as other waste products destined for landfill sites or further processing in recycling plants which require more energy.
Water shortages are becoming an increasing problem as we enter into a period of much drier and longer summers. This co-incides with a steady and consistent increase in demand for water. The Earthship in Normandy does not require mains water connections as all the water this building requires is harvested by the roof. It is then used very efficiently internally through a sophisticated water filtration system.
The supply of energy is now becoming vulnerable at a time of great demand. Again the Earthship significantly reduces this problem as all energy demands are fulfilled on site.
Finally, sewage, a polluter along a number of domestic coastlines, is dealt with efficiently on the plot by a simple planter system that operates like a reed bed.
History of Earthships
Since visiting the Earthship Community in Taos, New Mexico in October 2005, Kevan
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