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March 25, 2013

Earthship Australia

No, it’s not a cosmic, patriotic nightclub, rather Earthship Australia is the offshoot of Earthship Biotecture, a company that builds self-sufficient, sustainable homes. Originating in Taos, New Mexico in 1970s, Earthship was founded by American based architect Mike Reynolds.

Since then, Earthship Biotecture has grown considerably, and is now established in Australia, Africa, Canada, Guatemala, Haiti, New Zealand, South America and throughout various parts of the U.S. Describing itself as a “small but determined community organisation”, Earthship Australia is promoting self-sustainable building through its Earthship workshops.

Earthship Australia

Firstly, Earthships are homes built largely from earth-filled tyres and recycled materials that use thermal mass construction techniques. Such techniques regulate the inside temperature by minimising heat loss or gain.

In order to demonstrate these sustainable homes, Earthship Australia are running a number of workshops in Earthship building, the next one being a two-day course in April 2013 to be held in Tasmania. The following course will be held in WA in May 2013, followed by one in the NT in June 2013. All courses will be held by Rachel Goldlust, town planner, environmental educator and founder of Earthship Australia.

Earthship Australia

Each of the homes demonstrated by Earthship Australia are able to:

• Heat and cool themselves naturally via solar/thermal dynamics.
• Collect their own power from the sun and wind.
• Harvest their own water from rain and snow.
• Contain and treat their own sewage on site.
• Produce a significant amount of food.
• Are constructed using the byproducts of modern society like cans, bottles and tyres.

Martin Freyney, Earthship Australia pioneer and lecturer at the School of Art, Architecture and Design at the University of South Australia, discusses some of the problems Earthship builders may face from council. He suggests added landscaping and making the construction slightly smaller in order not to ruffle the aesthetic congruence of your area’s council approved buildings.

Earthship Australia

He continues to say while many councils won’t look favourably upon the use of tyres in household construction, a fantastic support for their use is EcoFlex Australia – a civil engineering company in NSW. EcoFlex Australia has undertaken research which suggests there are many benefits in using recycled tyres for household construction. And since EcoFlex are allowed to use them to build houses, with the right approach, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be able to also.

For more information on this forward-thinking organisation, take a look at the Earthship Australia website.

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