Thursday, June 06, 2013

The Heralds' Earthship Adventure

Living the Sustainable Life
We've built our dream home, an Earthship using plans purchased from architect Michael Reynolds, on the edge of a gorgeous Rocky Mountain canyon. Our sustainable home is off-grid, heated by the sun in winter and cooled by natural convection and sheltering from the sun in summer. Our electricity comes from the sun via solar panels and an inverter. We do have modern conveniences such as computers, internet, and a dishwasher. We even have a flush toilet in addition to a composting toilet so this is not roughing it at all. Our experiences with solar electricity were featured on Colorado Matters - to find it put 8-13-07 Off-the-Grid with Solar in the search box.
From the far side of the canyon.

Floors are acid stained concrete. Like most of the house, we did it ourselves.

A little paint and some light fixtures make a world of difference.
Many of the interior walls are made from cans or bottles set in a concrete or papercrete matrix.
Earthship Links
Our house was part of the cover story in the May 2007 Beacon. It looks like the story disappeared when the June issue came out so I scanned it in. You can see it here. The article does have one glaring error, though. where it says "the home's internal temperature ranges from 58 in the winter to 78 in the summer" those are really the lows and highs. Our former conventional house used to drop down to 55 at night because that is where we set the thermostat. This house occassionally drops down to 58 in pre-dawn winter mornings at 7000 ft. altitude. As soon as the sun rises so does the temperature. I usually have to open the skylight and windows by 9am to keep it from getting too hot on those sunny winter days. So the article makes it sound chilly in here in the winter but it is exactly the opposite. Friends in town have been running their furnaces for a month now while we have only had one evening in the last month when we lit up the wood burning stove. In the last month it has usually been right around 70 degrees in the house when we retire for the night around 10pm.
Earthship Biotecture - this is our architect and the inventor of Earthships
High Noon Solar - this is our favorite supplier for solar and sustainable living stuff.
Living Earth Construction - this is the guy who pounded our tires and helped us build our dream.

Rural living does have its drawbacks. Here is a letter I now send off with anything like rebates or catalog orders that state P.O. Box addresses are not accepted. You may be able to tell I'm a little bit ticked off by this discrimination against rural residents.
 send email to me at: dherald at mac dot com