The paradise for self-catering – Earthships

Houses made of garbage, which provide the inhabitants with vegetables, water and electricity. The Earthships use minimal resources for a sustainable and self-sufficient life.

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There are about 1'000 houses worldwide

The US-American Michael Reynolds started the development in 1972. Among other things, old car tires from used tire dealers and garage, used old glass from hotels and restaurants as well as broken tiles from demolated houses are used as building material. The clay plastered building is passively heated by solar heat, the old car tires are built into the walls. The walls serve as thermal storage. Fresh air is conducted through the earth and warmed up in the process. This simple system made of recycled materials replaces the classic heating system. The southern facade of the Earthship is completely glazed. Behind it is a greenhouse for vegetables, fruit and herbs.

This also applies to the water supply, which can be provided by the public (and in Germany must also be provided due to legal requirements). The eco-house catches the rainwater on the roof and supplies itself with it. The rainwater is then stored in cisterns underneath the house and passes through various filters, in a last stage a ceramic filter, which also removes bacteria and viruses. This makes it drinkable. Slightly polluted wastewater from showers, bathing or washing hands is filtered and used for watering the greenhouse. The electricity is generated by photovoltaic or wind power station and stored in batteries.

House construction build with recycled material, tires, cans, bottles used as bricks for ecological buildings.
Entrance of an Earthship in Taos, New Mexico

Learning by doing

You don't have to be a specialist to be able to build on it. Of course, architects and construction experts are also be involved, but the majority help out of conviction - without any special expertise. "Learning by doing" is the motto here, which also works very well. In addition, problems are solved directly and above all together.

"Imagine a house that heats itself, supplies water and produces food. It doesn’t need expensive technology, recycles his own waste and has his own energy sources. It can be built anywhere and by anyone, from things that our society throws away," says Michael Reynolds.


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