T H E B A S I C P R I N C I PA L S 1. RECYCLING 2 . H E AT I N G 3. ENERGY 4 . WAT E R 5. SE WAGE 6. GREENHOUSE
TA B L E O F C O N T E N T S 4. WATER Silt filter Water cisterns WOM
27 28 29 30
4 5 6 7
THE BASIC PRINCIPALS
Tires Aluminum cans & plastic bottles Glass bottles Metal sheets 2. HEATING What is thermal mass? How is thermal mass used? What sources of temperature is used? How is an Earthship heated? Bufferzone - greenhouse How is an Earthship heated ? 3. ENERGY Electricity from photovoltaic POM Heating water with solar panels Energy consumption
10 11 12 13-16 17 18 20 21 22 23 24
Reusing fresh water Grey water treatment Black water treatment
Food production Green House EARTHSHIPS AROUND
33 34-35 36-37 39 40-42 43-44 45
THE WORLD A GREEN ALTERNATIVE
EARTHSHIP Earthships are completely self-sufficient houses built with by-products of society, namely recycled materials. An Earthship is self-sufficient in electricity, heat, water and manages its own wastewater. The house uses natural phenomena to heat and cool the indoor climate. The building is powered exclusively by renewable energy from the modern solar and wind technology and has an integrated water harvesting system that provides clean drinking water. An Earthship reuses the household water and the sewage water is cleaned and treated by plants that grow in botanical cells. Exotic fruit and vegetables are grown all year round in the favorable indoor climate.
EARTHSHIPS CONSIST OF 6 BASIC PRINCIPALS 1
They are built with recycled materials
They use “thermal mass” to maintain comfortable temperatures in any climate
They produce their own electricity with energy from the sun and wind
They catch water from the sky
They contain, use and treat all household sewage
They produce fruit and vegetables indoors all year around 2
THEY ARE BUILT WITH RECYCLED MATERIALS An Earthship is built out of various
These recycled materials are used as building components: TIRES ALUMINIUM CANS PLASTIC BOTTLES GLASS BOTTLES METAL SHEETS CARDBOARD
TIRES & CARDBOARD The walls are constructed by stacking rows of tires filled with compacted soil on top of each other and displace them. They form large, load-bearing walls that are virtually indestructible. A well-filled tire weighs over 135 kg. The walls are then covered with several layers of cement plaster on the inside and the outside wall is covered
Wall under construction
with more compacted soil. Recycled cardboard is used in the base of the tires to keep the earth from falling out.
ALUMINIUM CANS & PLASTIC BOTTLES Aluminum cans and plastic bottles are used to build walls inside the house. These walls are built by using cans as bricks and alternating with one layer of cement, just like a traditional brick wall. Cans and bottles are used in order to minimize the amount of cement that is needed.
Can wall under construction
Finish can walls
Glass bottles are used to build walls that are not bearing. These are constructed by placing layers of cement and glass bottles on top of each other. The ends of two glass bottles are taped together in order to let light through. With glass bottles, you can create beautiful designs that are a decorative element in the architecture.
Glass wall under construction
Finish glass wall
M E TA L S H E E T S
Metal sheets from old refrigerators and other electric appliances can be recycled and used to decorate the building. Not all buildings use recycled metal panels, but it is an option.
Metal sheets used as roofing material
THEY USE “THERMAL MASS” TO MAINTAIN COMFORTABLE TEMPERATURES IN ANY CLIMATE
The basic structure of an Earthship is built by tires packed with earth. They form a thick wall of thermal mass that stores heat from the sun during the day and releases it at night.
W H AT I S T H E R M A L M A S S ? Thermal mass absorbs and stores heat in the same way that a battery stores electricity. Examples of materials with thermal mass are rock, water, compacted soil and concrete. The more compact mass, the more heat it can store. There is a great difference between thermal mass and insulation. Insulation has no capacity to absorb and store heat. Insulation prevents heat or cold on the inside of a house to be transported to the outside or vice versa. Earthships use a combination of thermal mass and insulation
HOW IS THERMAL MASS USED? In an Earthship the thermal mass is placed on the inside of the wall and insulation on the outside. The heat from the sun is absorbed during the day and stored in the thermal mass walls. The insulation prevents the heat stored in the mass from being lost.
T E M P E R AT U R E S O U R C E S The inner surface of the earth, about 1.5 meters below the ground, heat is stored in the form of geothermal energy. The heat in Earthships comes from two sources, the sun and the hot subsurface of the earth . Earthships are built into the ground so that the temperature source can be used to stabilize the indoor climate. The building is designed to optimize solar radiation so that the sun can provide heat to the indoor environment. The south-facing side of an Earthship is built with sloping glass windows which maximizes solar radiation. By using thermal mass and designing the building with regard to these two infinite temperature sources an Earthship can heat and cool indoor temperatures at no cost at all.
HOW IS AN EARTHSHIP H E AT E D ? During the day heat is absorbed from the sun and stored in the cool mass in the walls and floor. According to the law of physics heat will naturally move to cooler areas.
During the night when the indoor temperature drops and becomes lower than the thermal mass, the heat stored in the mass will be released back into the room. Thus, a stable and comfortable temperature can be maintained indoors.
H O W I S A N E A R T H S H I P H E AT E D ? The figure below illustrates where the thermal mass and insulation is placed in the building. The sun is let through the glass walls during the day to reach the back wall constructed of tires. The heat is absorbed and stored in the thermal mass walls. A layer of insulation blocks the heat from escaping. During the night heat is radiated back into the room.
H O W I S A N E A R T H S H I P H E AT E D ? The figure below illustrates a section of an Earthship. In order to maximize solar radiation the building's glass windows have to be placed perpendicular to the winter sun's illumination. This will block the hot summer sun and optimize the direct solar radiation during winter when the need for heating is larger.
BUFFER ZONE - GREENHOUSE In climates with cold winters there are large temperature differences between day and night. In order to avoid excessive heat loss, an Earthship is designed with a built-in greenhouse that serves as buffer zone. The greenhouse is placed in front of the house in order to optimize use of solar energy and thermodynamics. By incorporating a buffer zone in a thermal building more stable and comfortable indoor temperatures can be achieved all year round. The result is cooler indoor temperatures in summer and warmer in winter.
H O W D O E S V E N T I L AT I O N W O R K I N A N E A R T H S H I P ? Earthships utilize a natural ventilation system. The outside air is drawn through underground vent tubes through the building. They are buried under ground in order to cool the air. The tubes enter the building on the backside and flows through the living space and greenhouse. The exhaust air leaves the building through skylights in the greenhouse and the windows on the front.
EVEN WHEN T E M P E R AT U R E S A R E BELOW ZERO OUTSIDE T H E I N D O O R C L I M AT E I N A N E A R T H S H I P S TAY S C O M F O R TA B L E .
THEY PRODUCE THEIR OWN ELECTRICITY WITH ENERGY FROM THE SUN AND WIND
An Earthship produces household electricity and heats water with the help of modern solar and wind technology. Solar power is the main source of energy. Wind is used as a supplement where sunlight is scarce. Technological developments have led to efficient extraction of solar energy which can be converted into electricity and heat to a lower cost. There are two main types of technology to obtain solar energy. The first type is photovoltaics, which convert solar energy into electricity. The second type are solar panels used to convert solar energy into heat.
ELECTRICITY FROM P H O T O V O LTA I C Solar cells are used in an Earthship to convert sunlight directly into electricity. The process is silent, without moving parts or fuel, and without anything in the solar cell being consumed. Several paired solar cells become a photovoltaic panel. The number of photovoltaic panels that are installed depends on the demand for electricity and the availability of sunlight. An Earthship stores energy from the photovoltaic panels in batteries that are integrated into compartments in the roof. This is to ensure access to electricity also during the night and during days with less sun. 3
View from the roof ,photovoltaic panels and batteries
POM â€“ POWER ORGANIZER MODULE POM is a prefabricated unit that is specially designed for Earthships. POM is a central system for household electricity, which includes the necessary components such as inverters, switches, controllers and meters on the same panel. The electricity passing through the POM can be used to power household appliances such as washing machines, computers, appliances, printers, vacuum cleaners, etc. With POM, it is also possible to connect the building to the electrical grid.
AVRAGE ENERGY CONSUMPTION
CONVENTIONAL SWEDISH HOME - 25 000 kWh/year
When designing solar-powered homes it is important to reduce overall energy
Hot water, 5 000 kWh
consumption to be able to limit the cost
Heating, 15 000 kWh
of the equipment. Earthships are a result of energy-conscious design, they have come a long way by reducing the need for
Electricity, 5 000 kWh
heating. An Earthship consumes only 9500 kWh/year, while a conventional house in Sweden consumes about 25 000 kWh/yr.
EARTHSHIP- 9 500 kWh/year Hot water, 4 250 kWh
Heating, 0 kWh
Electricity, 4 250 kWh
P H O T O V O LTA I C PA N E L S S O L A R PA N E L
B AT T E R I E S
THEY CATCH WATER FROM THE SKY
Earthships have a water harvesting system that collects rain water and melted snow for household consumption. The figure to the right illustrates how a roof can be designed to harvest the rainwater and snowmelt. The roof has a six degree slope for the water to be collected in cisterns that are buried behind the building.
S I LT F I LT E R
The water that is collected on the roof must be cleared of twigs, leaves, grass, dirt and other debris before it enters the cistern. To do this, a silt-filter is used to keep larger particles out. In a wet climate the silt-filter is designed to cope with heavy rainfall so that no water is lost.
W AT E R C I S T E R N S The tanks used to store water in an Earthship are made out of hard plastic. For a household of four people anywhere from two to four tanks with a capacity of 5000 - 6000 liters each will normally work. Where there is heavy rainfall the tanks are often refilled and can therefore be smaller. In dry climates the tanks should be able to store a total of approximately 23 000 liters of water, while in wet climates a capacity of 11 000 liters or less is sufficient.
W O M â€“ W AT E R O R G A N I Z I N G M O D U L E WOM is a specially designed filtering device for filtering water to the household. After the rain water has been treated by WOM, it is clean enough to be used for domestic purposes. WOM is a prefabricated unit that is connected to the cisterns. The water passes through four different filters and delivers clean drinking water.
THEY CONTAIN, USE AND TREAT ALL HOUSEHOLD SEWAGE
An Earthship reuses the household water and the sewage is contained and treated in botanical cells.
F R E S H W AT E R R E C Y C L I N G An Earthship uses its fresh water four times: 1. The water is first used by the residents for bathing, washing, laundry and other household needs 2. The greywater (water from bathing, dishes and laundry) is used to water the greenhouse plants 3. The same water, now purified from any color and odor, is used to flush the toilet 4. The black water (water from the WC's) is sent to a septic tank and finally used to water the outdoor plants
G R E Y W AT E R T R E AT M E N T The greywater is passed through the rubber lined botanical cells in the greenhouse. The water passes through a number of cells with selected plants that treat and clean the greywater. In the lower part of the final botanical cell the water passes through a series of filters. This water can now be pumped through a charcoal filter to flush a conventional toilet.
I N D O O R B O TA N I C A L CELLS UNDER CONSTRUCTION
B L A C K WAT E R T R E AT M E N T Black water is water from the household toilets. The water is flushed into a septic tank where the solid waste is broken down to liquid through an anaerobic process. Thereafter, the water is sent to the outdoor botanical cells or the outer greenhouse. These cells are designed to have completely absorbed the water by the time it reaches the last cell.
BOTANICAL CELLS OUTSIDE BOTANICAL CELLS INDOOR
O U T D O O R B O TA N I C A L C E L L S A N D S E P T I C TA N K UNDER CONSTRUCTION
THEY PRODUCE FRUIT AND VEGETABLES INDOORS ALL YEAR AROUND
In every Earthship there is typically one or more indoor greenhouses where fruit and vegetables grow all year round. The greenhouse is a vital part of the system as it also handles the household wastewater and acts as buffer zone for the heating system. The botanical cells are a cross between hydroponics and wetlands.
FOOD PRODUCTION In an Earthship the plants have constant access to nutrient-rich water (greywater) and plenty of daylight. The plants do not need direct sunlight throughout the day to be able to produce. A few hours of sunlight per day is enough. The plants require a minimum temperature of +4 째C
Watermelon growing in Earthship
at night during winter to survive and keep producing. When the outside temperature is -30 C the Earthship greenhouse holds a temperature of +7 째C, a favorable climate for exotic fruits and vegetables no matter the season.
Aubergine growing in Earthship
A BANANA TREE IN AN I N D O O R B O TA N I C A L CELL DURING WINTER
TOMATO FROM THE SUPERMARKET
ORGANIC TOMATO FROM AN EARTHSHIP
GREENHOUSE In addition to producing fruits and vegetables the greenhouse has other benefits: •
Green plants are aesthetic and provide a comfortable indoor climate. Many people enjoy having plants around them.
The indoor climate is affected positively by plants that contribute to keeping the humidity at a higher level.
Pollution in the air is absorbed by plants, which results to a better indoor air quality.
The plants also have a positive impact on smell and airborne microbes. 6
EARTHSHIPS AROUND THE WORLD EUROPE
The Netherlands - Bonaire 2008
USA – Arizona 2000
The Netherlands - Zwolle 2008
USA - South Dakota 2000
France - Normandy 2007
USA - Sonoran Desert 2001
Spain - Valencia 2004
USA - Hawaii 2006
England - Brighton 2003
USA - New York 2006
Scotland - 2002
USA - Georgia 2010
Belgium - Strombeek 2000
Kanada – British Colombia 2010
India - Little Andaman Island 2005
Jamaica - Negril 2008
Russia - Sibiria 2000
Haiti - 2008/2011
Himalaya - 1993 Japan - 1993
COMMUNITY USA - The Greater World Community
(New Mexico) 1994
Bolivia - La Paz 1992
USA - STAR (New Mexico) 1992 - 1997
Honduras -Tegucigalpa 1999
USA - REACH (New Mexico) 1990 –
Mexico - Todos Santos 2009
Mexico - Mano Leon 2006 Nicaragua - San Juan del Sur 2007
A G R E E N A LT E R N AT I V E In the face of climate change, natural disasters and water shortages there is an urgency to develop more environment friendly solutions. Most importantly, to create more efficient and green technology and to break the oil dependency. This is a pressing issue if we want to create a brighter future for the planet and all its inhabitants before it is too late. Earthship goes beyond being simply a technology for building housing, it also contributes to a less resourceintense lifestyle and increases awareness of our relationship with nature. With this knowledge we have a chance to eliminate the destructive behaviors that threaten the environment on our planet. Earthships are tools to radically reduce humanity's negative pressure on natural resources and the environment. They enable us to return to a life in greater harmony with nature. 46
The Six Basic principals of Earthships