The Unofficial Earthship Wiki


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Welcome to the (unofficial) Earthship Wiki!

This wiki attemps to capture the theory and practice that guide the design + building Earthships, in an easily accessible and modifiable location.

It is currently being updated by Mat Holroyd, who is participating in an official Earthship Academy in Ushuaia, Argentina.

What is an Earthship?

Earthships are houses designed and marketed by Earthship Biotecture in Taos, New Mexico, USA, which are designed specifically to minimize the fuel and resources need to "run" the house while at the same time reducing or eliminating altogether any waste that leaves the house (e.g. grey water/black water). To this end, modern earthships typically possess the following design elements:

  • The outer walls and some inner walls are built with material with a high thermal mass (e.g. dirt or stone) and surrounded by substantial insulation. Additionally the roof and (in colder climates the floor) is heavily insulated.
  • A glasshouse facing the equator (e.g. south in the northern hemisphere) allows solar energy to heat the inside thermal mass walls and floor in the winter months, while blocking most of the sunligh in the summer months. In very hot climates the glasshouse may be omitted and instead a circular building design may be used.
  • Water is collected onsite, usually via the roof. 
  • Electrical energy is generated via solar panels (and possibly wind turbines), and stored in batteries.
  • Passive cooling is achieve by a series of vents in the walls and glasshouse.
  • All waste water is collected and re-used and/or processed on site, e.g. both grey water and black water .
  • A series of plant beds are located in both in the glasshouse and outside the house, as part of the grey water/black water systems. The plant beds can provide food for the inhabitants.
  • Additionally, recycled materials are often used throughout parts of the building, e.g. the thermal mass walls are often made with old tires rammed with earth , and non-load bearing walls are made from recylced cans and bottles.

Thus a completed earthship possess the following characteristics:

  • No outside electricy or water is needed.
  • No outgoing sewage line is needed.
  • An all-year-round stable temparature is maintained.
  • Some food can be produced onsite.
  • Typical modern ammenties are feasible, e.g. AC power outlets in all rooms, flush toilets, drinking water.

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