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Thanks! Responses are inline…
“1) You say earthships overheat in summer.”
I lived in Taos for ten years, and spent a lot of time in Earthships. It’s not really debatable that Earthships overheat; ask anybody who has lived in one of the original designs.
“Isn’t there a vent system placed below the cool earth mass behind the earthship to let cool air naturally in and prevent overheating in summer?”
No. Not on the original earthship designs, nor any actual example I’ve seen, although I haven’t seen them all. Of course, you can modify and add anything you want; at some point it’s no longer an “earthship”…
“Excluding summer sun from an eartship would render having an internal garden a losing proposition, would it not?”
Yeah, I guess… My point is that they are bad designs that do not work well as a whole. Obviously, in the summer, you want zero sunlight entering your home, bringing heat. Again, I think that the design strategy of combining greenhouse and living space is a losing proposition to begin with.
“2) You also say earthships are connected to the ground mass around there, which bleeds out heat. Isn’t one of the main building features of earthships to use insulated wrapping all around the building, with just enough of its own thermal mass to avoid precisely that bleed-out? The in-earth insulated construction is not original to earthships, so it is relatively time-proven, or am i wrong?”
I’ve never seen an earthship with an insulated wrap outside the tires, like in your diagram linked above. But then what would be the point of being in the earth? Why not just stack up tires for walls, then wrap them in insulation? In a way, the addition of insulation is a great idea, but only because of the stupidity of the original design.
You seem a little confused about the functions of thermal mass and insulation, or maybe you were just a little imprecise with your writing. In any case, insulation is not a “main feature” nor even a feature, period, of any earthship I’ve seen. If they added some lately, it’s news to me, but then I don’t really keep track of them. And what exactly is that four foot thick insulation layer made of, anyway? Did that design ever get built somewhere? Would take a lot of money, I’d think.
I have no problem with an insulated in-earth design. IMO, it should bear no resemblance to an earthship, should not be made of tires, etc.
“3) You advocate the division between food production and living space because of smells and insects. Isn’t the use of compost not supposed to happen in indoor gardens? The black/greywater filtration of eartships is supposed to provide the fertilization needed below ground level. I currently have a small indoors garden and there is no smell whatsoever from the ground itself. I thought it would be common sense to use compost only for external gardens, as a garden internal to eartships is more ackin a large wicking bed. As for insects, i was of the idea that most would leave through ceiling light fixtures automatically (which are connected to the outside), as that is more natural for insect life than what happens in regular homes.”
Bottom line: the earthship designs are terrible, largely because the designer is incompetent, has no basic technical skills, and is a half-crazed ideologue. Nothing personal against any of the crew, and some of them are great guys, good craftsmen, and of course hard workers… But not rocket scientists. The idea of trusting that crew to set up a black water system that feeds my indoor garden, and then living inside of it frankly terrifies me. I mean, what could possibly go wrong?
Earthships are, in my opinion, full of great concepts and ideas that are poorly thought through, poorly executed and do not, at the end of the day, work.
I have no idea what you mean by insects leaving through light fixtures. In any case, my experience of many Earthships included some smells and many, many insects… I will keep my garden outdoors or in a greenhouse, and have potted plants in my home. Y’all suit yourselves!
“I agree, of course, on the points of excessive labor, excessive cost and others you made.”
Yep. In my opinion, both the earthship design and the organization are so flawed that I want nothing to do with them. After seeing a lot of time, energy, and money wasted on these things by really good-hearted but naive people, I thought I should tell a little of the other side. Maybe somebody intelligent could modify an earthship design into something great, but I’d pick a different starting point. If after hearing what I’ve said you want to go forward, cool! Just don’t go in blind, drinking koolaid and believing the hype.