Forty years ago, Michael Reynolds discovered his passion for sustainable building. Today, he is the heart of Earthship Biotecture, a New Mexico-based company that is trying to spread sustainable living around the world. Earthships are sustainably designed buildings that provide heating, cooling, water, sewage treatment, and food without producing any carbon dioxide.
These buildings are completely off-grid, thanks to the solar panels that top them. Exact Solar recently installed the panels on the new Earthship at the Silver Lake Nature Center in Bristol Township, Pa., which will be used as an education center. The construction is a community project that began in the summer of 2011 and has been supported solely by local businesses and volunteers. Anyone interested in donating toward the project can do so here.
Earthships cool and heat themselves without any electricity, and can be built in any climate, anywhere in the world. The walls are constructed of natural and recycled materials including of hundreds of tires, recycled glass bottles, and hundreds of pounds of dirt. These materials allow the building to maintain a comfortable temperature year-round, as well as withstand natural disasters such as earthquakes and hurricanes. With additional energy coming from renewable sources such as solar, we can live in an Earthship home and still enjoy luxuries such as a washing machine and television.
In addition to the solar panels on the roof, there are containers that collect rainwater that can be potted and used for all household needs. Wastewater is recycled and used as fertilizer—for the on-site gardens that produce all food necessary for the home. Earthships are truly the innovative structures that allow people to live comfortably and luxuriously without destroying the planet in the process.
Environmental issues including climate change can no longer be ignored. We are the only species that does not live sustainably. Earthships can change that. If you are interested in building, buying, or even staying a night in one of these sustainable structures, make it happen!