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So here are the details - Earthships 101 - I will warn you that I am a novice, but I have absorbed as much as I could since yesterday and here's what I understand thus far:
  1. Eartships are built from recycled materials. The supporting walls are used tires packed with dirt and pounded down (36" thick). Interior non load bearing walls are concrete interspersed with used aluminum cans/glass bottles.
  2. Earthships are entirely off grid. Each earthship has solar panels for electricity, a solar hot water unit, passive solar design, and a cistern for rainwater. The rainwater is filtered and used for potable water. The water from the sinks, bath, and shower are then filtered and pushed into a greywater system which is used to water the plants throughout the whole in a drip system. The water that drains from the planters is pushed into the toilets for flushing at which point the water is marked as "blackwater" and is no longer usable so it enters a traditional septic system outdoors. Off grid = no utility bills. Ever.
  3. Earthships are literally built into the earth (see photos). The thick walls as well as the portion of the building that is seemingly underground take advantage of thermal mass to ensure no heating or cooling system is necessary.
  4. Earthships are beautiful.
Since yesterday, I've watched a ton of videos and perused pictures of earthships. The majority are in three communities in New Mexico where the Earthship creator - Reynolds - lives.  Each is a truly unique structure. There are no words. A couple pics of the Earthship we visited in NC are below. They are linked to pages with larger images. Earthship Entry Earthship Planter Earthship Kitchen Earthship Bedroom Earthship Bathroom EarthShip Exterior