Look at this gorgeous hobbit village we stayed at on our trip to New Mexico! Actually, they are Earthships!
An earthship is an unique type of house which produces food and energy, cleans water, moderates temperature, and turns trash into treasure!
Sounds amazing? Let’s take a tour and see how we can apply some of the inspiring ideas to our own homes!
1. Trash to Treasure
Have you ever noticed that humans are the only species that have the concept of “waste”? In nature, everything is part of a beautiful cycle of life. One of the most amazing things about Earthships is that it turns what society considers “trash” into treasure – soda cans become building materials, glass bottles become stained glass art, discarded tires become vessels for earth walls, can lids become outlet covers…
The secret here is creativity. When we look at something with fresh eyes and open mind, we see not an end, but potential!
2. Embrace Sun and Wind
When we embrace the tremendous energy that the sun and wind provides, we see creative solutions to utilize them. In an Earthship, besides solar panels and wind turbines, there are many smarts designs such as solar hot water, thermal mass, orientation of the building and careful placement of windows so it stays at a comfortable temperature with little needs for heating and cooling.
It’s true that not everyone can remodel a house overnight, but small things such as a simple solar box cooker (we have one and it’s awesome!) or even a wind chime makes one appreciates the sun and wind in a deeper way!
3. Celebrate Water
When we walked into the earthship that we were staying at, the guide told us “Please don’t try to conserve water! Take nice long showers, the plants love it!”
Here we are in the middle of a harsh New Mexico desert, yet inside by the sunny south window, there’s an oasis of flowering and fruiting plants thriving. The water in an Earthships comes from harvested and filtered rainwater. Shower water is filtered to feed the plants, and sink water is filtered to flush the toilet.
I remember an inspiring tour where I visited many homes that retrofitted their laundry system so the water is cleaned and channeled into the garden. If that sounds a little complicated, an outdoor shower with bio-degradable soap is a fun way to celebrate water and irrigate our gardens on warm days
4. Grow an Indoor Food Garden
From fig trees and bananas, to tomatoes and kale, the Earthship is a mini food forest. All those indoor planters and hanging buckets are not only beautiful, but also bountiful year round. Some recent Earthships even have aquaponic systems where one can have fish and plants co-exist harmoniously: the fish waste (ok, poo) provides nutrients for the plants, and the plants cleans water for the fish! That’s definitely a must have in our near future! If you are curious, check out this amazing site- Backyard Aquaponics!
5. Create Art and Beauty
Just because it’s green does not mean it can’t be gorgeous! Earthships bring joy to people through all the beautiful handmade details. One can sense the creativity and love that goes into the walls, floors, and furniture pieces.
In our modern world, the time we spend making something for our homes most likely won’t match the money we make in our day jobs, yet the love that radiate from something we make is so valuable that could not be measured by numbers.
Hope you enjoyed this tour! Here are a few of my favorite links if you want to explore further :
- earthships: earthship.com
- solar cooking: www.solarcookers.org
- rainwater harvesting and greywater: greywateraction.org
- edible gardens: www.rosalindcreasy.com/edible-garden-how-to
If you love Earthships, you will love this wood fired earth oven that’s easy to build and fun to use! Check out the full tutorial here.