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cheap earthship building ideas

Thomas Olson


Joined: May 05, 2013
Posts: 25
I'm poor and have a monster debt so I don't have money to be playing around with ideas that have bad science behind them or have little to no actual benefit. But I do have ideas, so I'm going to bounce them off you folks.

You know that solar chimney thing Molison mentions? They use it in the earthships as well. I was thinking about the intake. What if I used two intake pipes, one inside the other? The inner one copper, the outer pvc. The heat moves past through the copper as it goes up. The pvc pipe will have its own solar chimney or solar thermal collector. The pvc will have insulation with an emergency blanket wrapped on the outside. I want isolate the temperatures from the outside of the pvc pipe as much as possible so the ground doesn't contribute to the heat. The objective is to move even more heat then the normal method by sucking off the heat from the top of the copper pipe.

Just a thought, not really an idea. Mollison says the air drops the water as it moves up the pipe, if the pipe is angled upwards at the building. The water in the air takes up space, with less water the air gets dense. Which would mean the oxygen is more combustible. So if I did that solar death ray that green power science did with that air, could i get higher temperatures? Maybe the sun is a bad use for that, perhaps just a regular forge. Another thing, since there is less water in the air, that means it can pick up even more water for air conditioning, thus further increasing its cooling capacity right?

What if I had an insane amount of spare time and unlimited access to tires? I'm on Canadian prairie land, so everything is flat. There is no gravity fed irrigation system for me unless I build one. So I was thinking about using tires on the perimeter and gaining about 1.5 to 2 meters in height. But maybe I just do 1 row of tires ever year. And no digging under the surface so I can maximize gravity. I'll use a pond liner. Can the tires hold it? More importantly, can I fill it? I was thinking about pushing the snow from the road into my tire pond during the winters. I would build a large ramp and drive the snow up to the edge. Perhaps throw a black tarp on top when I'm done so I can move another load on it later. I think I need to plant caragana right against the tires to block the sunlight as the tires will absorb the light. The water should be warmer than normal in the spring and fall when the leaves fall off the caragana, due to the absorption from the black tires. I'll also plant bur oak further away on the south side. Or maybe I'll just do duckweed. I guess it couldn't hurt to do both. I wonder if the shrubs will grow on the top layer of the tires.
Jennifer Herod


Joined: Nov 13, 2013
Posts: 30
Location: Texas
    
    1
Shrubs will grow in the top layer of tires, but if you dont stucco finish the outside...the dirt in the tires will erode with the rain in the spaces where the overlap is. It is possible to fill 10-12 tires a day by yourself...more than that if you dont poop out. LOL
Amedean Messan
pollinator

Joined: Nov 11, 2010
Posts: 785
Location: Burlington, NC - Woodland, Clay - Zone 7
    
  26
Earthships are not cheap! I think they average roughly $180 per square foot. The best option I have seen for debt free living without compromise in living standards is a trailerable home such as the designs seen by Tumbleweed Houses. What makes them flexible is that they are not classified as permanent structures so it is very difficult to enforce building restrictions which inhibit other alternative building styles.



Those who hammer their swords into plows will plow for those who don't!
Jennifer Herod


Joined: Nov 13, 2013
Posts: 30
Location: Texas
    
    1
earthships dont have to be 180/sq.ft. you have to be good at digging around and using other peoples debris. People discard and give away lots of useful things that can be repurposed. Freecycle.com is a website set up to repurpose in this manner.
Jennifer Herod


Joined: Nov 13, 2013
Posts: 30
Location: Texas
    
    1
Im not oposed to your idea though. That is one cute little house!

Keeping small keeps down costs...this is true in earthships too.Earthships are inexpensive to dwell in once they are complete. we are hoping this makes retirement more doable.
Amedean Messan
pollinator

Joined: Nov 11, 2010
Posts: 785
Location: Burlington, NC - Woodland, Clay - Zone 7
    
  26
Its also easier than building a giant house. Think of it this way, you would best manage your debt not getting further in debt building a larger home. After you settle your financial constraints, build the house you want and sell your tiny home on wheels as they wont depreciate in value easily.
R Scott


Joined: Apr 13, 2012
Posts: 2311
Location: Kansas Zone 6a
    
  28
Earthships have compressive strength due to the circular shape, they will not hold as a pool or pond without MASS or reinforcing (post-tensioned cables, etc.). Look at the information on using tires for retaining walls and how to build pond dams. You could use the retaining wall method to make the sides steeper, but you still need a lot of mass to prevent a blowout.


"You must be the change you want to see in the world." "First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win." --Mahatma Gandhi
"Preach the Gospel always, and if necessary, use words." --Francis of Assisi. "Family farms work when the whole family works the farm." -- Adam Klaus
Joe DiMeglio


Joined: Nov 30, 2011
Posts: 13
    
    1
Thomas Olson wrote:I'm poor and have a monster debt so I don't have money to be playing around with ideas that have bad science behind them or have little to no actual benefit. But I do have ideas, so I'm going to bounce them off you folks.

I'll use a pond liner. Can the tires hold it? More importantly, can I fill it? I was thinking about pushing the snow from the road into my tire pond during the winters. I would build a large ramp and drive the snow up to the edge. Perhaps throw a black tarp on top when I'm done so I can move another load on it later. I think I need to plant caragana right against the tires to block the sunlight as the tires will absorb the light. The water should be warmer than normal in the spring and fall when the leaves fall off the caragana, due to the absorption from the black tires. I'll also plant bur oak further away on the south side. Or maybe I'll just do duckweed. I guess it couldn't hurt to do both. I wonder if the shrubs will grow on the top layer of the tires.


Hi Thomas, you may want to check out calearth.org for their earthbag building tchniques. Earthbags filled with stabilized adobe (superadobe) meaning they add 5-10 % concrete to adobe are super strong and cheap. It's a good way to make silos, bridges and cisterns due to the incredible strength of the materials and the use of arch/vault methods. You may have to use some buttressing to keep the walls of your cistern/storage tank strong enough to resist the water pushing outwards on them. You could also build up a little hill or make a pedestal of earthbags filled with dirt and put your tank on top to increase the gravity flow. The Romans moved billions of tons of water and created water pressure with only a 3% grade in their aquaducts so a little elevation goes a long way. You could probably use tires and buttress the pond with more tires. That way you have both sheer mass and the design elements to prevent blowouts. You could also pile dirt against the structre to grow plants in if you wanted. Regarding driving snow up onto the ramp, that may put too much stress on the wall. What you might do instead is to pile snow next to the tank and use a shadduf to move the snow into the tank. The Egyptians have used it for millennia to irrgate their crops from the river. You can also use the shadduf to raise the superadobe into the bags as you build it. The ancients had lots of great technology that can be used today, elminating expensive, polluting and soil compacting machines.

I'm also low on the cashflow (but luckily, have no debt) and I'm considering a Wofati type house using some earthbag or compressed earth bricks instead of timber, especially for the vertical supports and any other components that it make sense to use them for. The increased thermal mass would add to the annualized thermal innertia as well. I'm a big beleiver in using components from many systems to make better performing hybrids like incorporating some of the earthship design ideas into an ATI/earthbag home.


"It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society." - J. Krishnamurti
 
 
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