With walls made from old tires packed with earth, as well as upcycled glass bottles and cans, Earthships have always been built with mainly found materials. The home provides its own energy (with photovoltaics and passive solar and geothermal tubes), water (rainwater and even dew-water capture) and grows food in the essential greenhouse (necessary for temperature regulation and for filtering the water to be reused).
Costs range from $100,000 for a Simple Survival model to $1.5 million for the top-of-the-line Global design. Earthship Biotecture has just completed their first Encounter: an affordable model that provides all the power, water and good of a more costly home.
Deborah Binder has been building Earthships for the past 8 years, both her own home, and community projects in places like Malawi and Puerto Rico. She gave us a tour of the first Encounter build, as well as the Global model she is test-living.
We stopped in at the Encounter build number 3 where foreman Phil Basehart pounded tires and explained how the Encounter compares to other models.