Homes are havens. We find comfort, solace, well-being, and so much more in our cozy shelters. They are a positive aspect of society, right? The idea of them is, yes, but have you ever thought about how much energy is consumed and how much waste is produced by each and every home on the planet?
Traditional modern housing does not take into consideration sustainability. It is about providing us the luxury we so desire without having to think outside the box, relying on public utilities and fossil fuels rather than greener options. However, there has been a serious urge in recent years to wake up to our impact on the environment, leading innovators from all over the world to utilize alternative forms of housing as a means for protecting the planet we live on. One of those ecologically-friendly housing alternatives happens to fall under the revered off-the-grid movement.
In Taos, New Mexico, a small community lives totally off the grid by utilizing a concept of a self-sustainable house called Earthship, which is based on sustainable architecture and green energy. Its other hallmark is that it can be built by someone without advanced construction skills.
Architect Michael Reynolds is responsible for the Earthship concept, created in the 1970s, and established guidelines which require builders to make the most of the surrounding environment, using materials in proximity rather than expensive resources to build the homes. Every Earthship is built using solely natural and recycled materials that are easy to find anywhere on the planet. The walls, for instance, can be made with a mixture of concrete and old tires, beer cans, and bottles. Reynolds says that this combination works to provide a natural isolation which creates a natural climate control in the home. The electric power and heating are a result of renewable energy sources like solar and wind energy.
These Earthships also produce minimal waste as a result of an advanced water treatment system, where wastewater can be recycled and used for gardening, toilet flushing, and landscaping.
In the mountains of New Mexico, Reynolds has built 15 cliff-top homes complete with a stunning view, proving that these Earthships can be built anywhere. His company has built 75 homes across the city of Taos, New Mexico, and his designs have gone global. The Earthships aren’t just makeshift homes, either. They’re fairly extravagant, ranging in price from $250,000 to $1.5 million.
The local governments aren’t exactly supportive of the Earthships, however, which comes as no surprise due to their high level of sustainability and self-sufficiency. Governments claim these homes don’t meet the requirements and regulations needed, but their response is likely a cry to keep people from living independent of public services.
Hundreds of people around the world live in Earthships, supporting the concept that traditional homes aren’t necessary.
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