What should a house give us? Shelter, of course, drinking water, energy, waste management and gray and black water… Today, the homes we live in are capable of that. But what if, in addition, we could build them ourselves using recycled materials and with minimal energy expenditure? Well, that’s what we would get if we opted for an earthship.
To understand what this type of sustainable housing is, we can travel to the Taos desert in New Mexico. Nestled in such a peculiar landscape, semi-buried, with circular designs and large windows and totally disconnected from all kinds of supply networks, we find a few examples of this type of housing as a result of sustainable architecture.
was the architect Michael Reynolds who devised the earthships in the 70s of the 20th century in the United States. Concern about pollution and the difficulty of accessing housing in this country led Reynolds to experiment with the first prototypes of constructions with tiresa highly polluting material of which there was an overabundance.
Over time, earthships became much more sophisticated and autonomous. Today they include in their design thermal mass, solar energy, small windmills, a natural ventilation system, rain and snow collection in tanks and treatment of their own water. They even grow food for human consumption and some may use biodiesel. “They have to be facing south. Thus, they do not accumulate heat in the summer because the thermal inertia of the ground, as the house is semi-buried, is maintained”, explains Borja Izaola, project chief architect at the Green Building Council Spain (GBCE). In this sense, the tires, being protected can last up to a thousand years.
Currently, there are more than 3,000 earthships around the world, some (very few) in Spain. And the option seems interesting because it is about homes that do not need a mortgage and are free of exorbitant electricity and gas bills, as Miguel Pérez, spokesman for Earthship Spain, recalls.
What requirements must be met in order to build an earthship in Spain? Why aren’t there more homes of this type in our country? He tells us about it all Sol Acuna in this Igluu article.