After years of lobbying, we finally got the Sustainable Development Testing Sites Act passed in New Mexico in 2007. This piece of legislation allows testing of housing and living methods in day-to-day living circumstances, with real people, outside the encumbrance of conventional living concepts, codes and regulations.
Special race tracks are used to test automobiles safely outside and apart from the public highway system. The EVE project (via the Sustainable Development Testing Sites Act) is a testing place for housing and living methods that is safely outside and apart from the confines of the outdated regulatory system. We chose to use two acres of property at the Greater World Sustainable Community in Taos, New Mexico that already has three older Earthship buildings on it. We wanted to take everything we have learned over the last few decades, incorporate the latest dreams and innovations and demonstrate all of this in a more dense living situation involving twenty-five to thirty people. We wanted to take the Earthship sustainable design principles even further into high performance beyond regulations and economics because, like the horse and boat analogy before, a completely different concept of living is sorely needed on this planet.
We have since found that anywhere in the developed world, a project like this is still subject to the ever-evolving political sphere. The locations of EVE projects therefore need to be in remote locations around the planet, far and free from developed world politics, regimes, economies and other evolutionary encumbrances. We are choosing these locations and launching EVE projects globally with this in mind.
Recently an engineer who was just introduced to Earthships said, “what the world needs now is one billion of these immediately.” Our observation now is that even though we have this home/product available and priced very much in the same ballpark as conventional homes; conventional homes (for many reasons) cost way too much. We want to make sustainable housing/living more affordable than conventional housing/living. In order to do this we must venture far outside the realm of existing concepts, codes and regulations… thus the EVE project.
In a conventional situation, you can only take the six basic Earthship design principles and systems so far. But within the test site scenario, we will be able to experiment with methods that will stretch and evolve these principles and render them more economical and thus available to more people. Right now, (even with the hard earned experimental variances from the state of New Mexico at the Greater World Earthship community)… it is ridiculously expensive to meet the code requirements for the heating and cooling systems, the electrical system, and the gray and black water systems – i.e., out of reach for many people and very stressful to obtain for others. It is a blessing that we are allowed to even use our systems in this “one of a kind” community, but to fit them into the conventional scenario is wasteful and inappropriately expensive. If there are no limiting, short-sighted regulations to meet, we could still address all of the recognized issues related to health and safety, but in a totally new and different way that would be much more affordable. Conventional codes and regulations (by their very nature) are not capable of allowing rapid evolution on a major scale and this rapid evolution is possibly the only way for us to get out of the jeopardy we are in on this planet. The developed world has placed itself in a precarious corral that someone or something has to force us out of… the E.V.E project is that force.