Earthship: Radically Sustainable Buildings

The Earthship is a unique type of passive solar house that is made of both natural and recycled materials (such as earth-filled tires), designed and marketed by Earthship Biotecture of Taos, New Mexico. The term is a registered trademark of Michael Reynolds.

Earthships are among the most popular types of DIY eco homes around the world, utilising discarded “junk” like stacks of earth-packed tires, bottles and cans to build custom homes in practically any shape imaginable. While most beginners in this building technique stick to simple designs that are cheap and easier to build, some models are stunningly complex.

The main design of an Earthship with vertically glazed southern wall:

Typical Earthship plan. Source: Pinterest

Typical Earthship plan. Source: Pinterest

The Earthship was designed as a structure that would be free of the constraints of centralised utilities, on which most modern shelters rely. Earthships must be able to create their own utilities, and to utilise readily available sustainable materials. In order to be entirely self-sufficient, the Earthship needs to be able to handle the three systems of water, electricity, and climate.

5  ways to make an Earthship home:

  1. Combination of clay, sand and straw (COB) is used to create the exterior.
  2. Straw bale: Straw bale walls can be load-bearing or can be combined with post and beam framework as needed to gain building permits.
  3. Rammed Earth: Fireproof, termite-proof, storm resistant, extremely low-maintenance and literally dirt-cheap. Popular in hot, dry places like Australia and the American Southwest, rammed earth uses compressed dirt blocks as building bricks.
  4. Earthbag building


(images via: ziggy fresh and Web Ecoist)


(images via: daycreek, cordwood masonry, and Web Ecoist)

Straw Bale

(images via: building with awareness and Web Ecoist)

Rammed Earth

(images via: rogers rammed earth)

Earthbag Building

(images via: dornob and Web Ecoist)

Source:, Web Ecoist

One thought on “Earthship: Radically Sustainable Buildings

  1. Pingback: 82. Earthship on the prairie: A radically sustainable home in southern Alberta - Green Eating And LivingGreen Eating And Living

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