When you hear someone say “sustainable, off-the-grid living,” you probably imagine primitive huts that are divorced from the comforts of the 21st century. But the truth is sustainable homes have come a long way in the last few decades, and these beautiful, modern Earthships are proof of that.
Earthships are 100% sustainable homes built using a combination of natural and recycled materials. They’re cheap (if you build one yourself), easy to build and awesome to live in homes that were designed by architect Mike Reynolds in the 1970s with a focus on self-sustainability.
The outer walls of an Earthship are made of recycled tires packed with mud and the interior walls are built using recycled plastic bottles or aluminum cans. Water is collected from rain or snow and fed into a filter that makes it drinkable. Energy is harvested by wind generators and solar panels on the roof and stored in batteries for use as needed. Even sewage from the toilet is treated and reused to flush the toilet and grow food.
The home is also outfitted with a greenhouse where you can grow your own vegetables and keep small animals like fish or chickens for meat and eggs.
Earthships are a practical solution to the increasing need for homes that make use of the natural environment instead of polluting it. Their value for the future of the planet is undeniable, but building one is not easy without training.
Reynold’s company, Earthship Biotecture, charges between $50,000 to $100,000 to build the cheapest Earthship model. The cost could be cut in half if you built it yourself, but you’ll still need to find or hire a crew to help you with the construction. Living in one may also be prohibitive for the average person who is not prepared to make extreme lifestyle changes for the benefit of the planet.
Despite the limitations, Earthships are slowly becoming mainstream as more people become conscious of the effects of climate change. It’s estimated that there are around 3,000 Earthships around the world, and those numbers are expected to rise as more people see the value of living in sustainable homes.