Rob Lougas wrote:Hi Isaac,
No doubt you can build an earthship in your climate. Making use of timbers on the property will definitely decrease the costs involved. Also a used portable sawmill could be a big money saver as well. I guess it all depends on how much work you are willing to do yourself. If you have the trees and a sawmill you could completely cut out the cost of lumber. Other than fuel for the mill I suppose. In the cold climate your in I would make use of the thermal wrap method, a high r value insulation (like 45+ I think MR books might even suggest as high as 60) in your roof and a well placed rocket mass heater you should be just fine. Windows and insulation is where you will want to spend your money. I have heard of people venting the warm air in their greenhouses through a series of pipes under the floor to aid in heating efficiency (in floor heating but with warm greenhouse air instead of a liquid) and I am sure with a little research it could be incorporated into an earthship build. No point in venting it outside if you have a fire going and are a little to warm in the winter, might as well put it into the floor for added comfort in the evening. Another consideration would be to buy a large air compressor (like the big tow behind ones you can rent), with one of these you could use a pneumatic tamper to pack your tires instead of sledge hammers. This could be a huge time and energy saver. Youtube filling tires with a pneumatic tamper, I've seen at least one video of guys doing this and it seems to speed up the process significantly. Also when the time comes to insulate that compressor could come in handy once again. With use of it you could apply your own spray foam insulation. You can buy the stuff for discounted prices when you buy bulk and not to mention you wouldn't have to pay labour for someone else to do it or their material mark up. And it could be handy again if you were to do shotcrete pargeing on your interior walls. I've seen simple set ups made for cheap, do a google of diy shotcrete. This is all if your going to do the work. If your wallet is thick enough just call up MR and he will show up with a crew and set you up with a gobal model.
As for location of the house that's up to you and your wife to watch the land and see where the most suitable site would be. Are there any places that flood in the spring? Spots that get shady with the low winter sun? Look up some historical data about that big river. When was the last time it had a big flood? If it happened 100 years ago it will happen again someday. Lots of things to consider. Are you planning on making your own power? If not how far from utilitys are you it can often cost an arm and a leg to have hydro poles or underground wiring installed. Another thing to consider is how easy is it to get materials to your build site? A concrete truck or lumber delivery might not make it down that muddy trail you know what I mean?
Anywho there's some things to consider while you do your planning. Best of luck and keep us posted on your build!!!