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Earthships are primarily designed to work as autonomous buildings using thermal mass construction and natural cross ventilation assisted by thermal draught (Stack effect) to regulate indoor temperature. These are generally off-the-grid homes, minimizing their reliance on public utilities and fossil fuels. Earthships are built to utilize the available local resources, especially energy from the sun. In this age of increased garbage accumulation, it is essential to reduce the waste clutter and earthships are an ideal option. This paper discusses the construction aspects, merits and demerits of earthships.

Published in: Engineering
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  2. 2. BIOTECTURE  Developed in New Mexico, United States, by Michael Reynolds, an ingenious architect.  Refers to “biological” construction.  The most versatile and economical, sustainable green building design in the world, customizable to any climate.
  3. 3. WHAT IS AN EARTHSHIP? Earthships are  Earth-sheltered.  Off the grid.  Self-sustained.  Passive solar houses.
  4. 4. EARTH SHELTERED  Earth sheltering is the architectural practice of using earth against building walls .  For external thermal mass.  To reduce heat loss.  To easily maintain a steady indoor air temperature.
  5. 5. OFF GRID  Not connected to the main or national transmission grid in electricity.  Off-the-grid homes are autonomous.  Able to operate completely independent of all public utility services.
  6. 6. PASSIVE SOLAR HOUSES  Windows, walls, and floors are made to collect, store, and distribute solar energy in the form of heat in the winter and reject solar heat in the summer.  Doesn't involve the use of mechanical and electrical devices.  Take advantage of the local climate.
  7. 7. CONSTRUCTION MATERIALS Constructed using  Rammed earth tires/ tire bales.  Used cans/bottles.  Thermal Mass  Embodied Energy Properties required
  8. 8. THERMAL MASS  mass of the building provides "inertia" against temperature fluctuations.  absorb thermal energy when the surroundings are higher in temperature than the mass  give thermal energy back when the surroundings are cooler Ideal materials High specific heat capacity High density
  9. 9. EMBODIED ENERGY  The sum of all the energy required to produce any goods or services.  Sum total of the energy necessary for an entire product life-cycle.  Materials used in earthships should have low embodied energy.
  10. 10. DESIGN PRINCIPLES  Building with natural & recycled materials.  Thermal & solar heating and cooling.  Solar & wind electricity.  Contained sewage treatment.  Water harvesting.  Food production.
  11. 11. BUILDING WITH NATURAL & RECYCLED MATERIALS  Earth rammed tires  primary material used is compacted earth.  recycled automotive tires filled with compacted earth.  small gaps in the frames, due to the tires being round, are filled with recycled materials.
  12. 12. TYRES AS BUILDING UNITS Preparation:
  13. 13. TIRE BALES  made by compressing waste tires into a rectangular shape with a large hydraulic press.
  14. 14. CHARACTERISTICS OF TIRES  Indigenous.  Can be fashioned with little or no energy.  Thermal Mass property.  Durability.  Resilient.  Low specific skill requirements.  Low tech use/application.
  15. 15. THERMAL & SOLAR HEATING AND COOLING  Comfort: Earthships maintain comfortable temperatures in any climate.  The outer few feet of the earth heats up and cools off in response to surface weather.  However about four feet and beyond, the temperature is more constant (around 58 degrees).  Here, the earth can be used to both cool and stabilize temperature if the home is appropriately designed.
  16. 16.  Warmth  If you want heat, you admit the sun.  The more mass, the more storage capacity.  When there is no sun, the heat stored in the mass radiates into the space. Sun heats Mass stores Heat Insulator
  17. 17.  Coolness  the cooler earth temperature is admitted and the sun is blocked.  cool mass of the earth connects with the mass of the shelter.  gets absorbed into the shelter mass and leaks into the living space.  the thermal mass of both the earth and shelter is a storage battery for temperature.
  18. 18.  Insulation & Thermal Mass  Insulation can help keep temperature in a shelter.  It neither collects nor stores temperature.  It blocks the passage of temperature from inside to out and visa versa.  Good insulation has millions of tiny air spaces.  This slow up the movement of temperature by causing it to pass from air space to air space.
  19. 19. ELECTRICITY  Produce their own electricity with a prepackaged photovoltaic / wind power system.  Energy is stored in batteries and supplied to your electrical outlets.  Can have multiple sources of power, all automated, including grid-intertie.
  20. 20.  Electrical energy is "harvested" from the sun and the wind.  Photovoltaic panels convert the sun's energy into DC current.  Earthship Power Organizing Module draws the electricity from the batteries, inverts some of it for AC electricity and supplies it to the home.
  21. 21. GREYWATER AND BLACKWATER  Greywater  wastewater generated from wash hand basins, showers and baths.  recycled on-site for uses such as WC flushing, landscape irrigation and constructed wetlands.  Blackwater  discharge from laundry, dishwashers and kitchen sinks.  discharge of WC's.
  22. 22. CONTAINED SEWAGE TREATMENT  Contain, use and reuse all household sewage in indoor and outdoor treatment cells.  Containment, Treatment & Distribution  Based on wetlands concept.  Treats gray water inside the building  Treats sewage from the toilet outside of the building.
  23. 23.  Use & Re-use  The sewage-water for bathing, washing dishes, also called gray water, is used and cleaned for a second time in interior botanical cells.  The flush toilet is the third use of the water.  After the toilet, the water is contained and treated, and used a fourth time in exterior botanical cells.
  24. 24. THE PATH OF WASTE WATER IN AN EARTHSHIP: Gray water Treatment Systems drains Clean looking water Flush Toilets Conventional septic tank Exterior botanical cell
  25. 25. GRAY WATER ORGANIZING MODULE (GWOM)  pumps the treated water to the toilet to flush.
  26. 26. EXTERIOR BOTANICAL CELL  objective is to eliminate the need for public sewage systems and un-contained septic systems that pollute the earth.  getting multiple uses out of all water collected in the catchwater systems.
  27. 27. WATER HARVESTING  Catch water on the roof, from the sky (rain & snow melt) and use it four times.  Collected in cisterns.  Heated from the sun, biodiesel and/or natural gas.  Can have city water as backup.  Do not pollute underground water aquifers. .
  28. 28.  Catchwater caught from a roof. silt catches cisterns Water Organizing Module pressure tank filters Gravity-fed channels
  29. 29.  The Water Organizing Module  Water from the city, cistern, your well, etc. hooked up to the WOM.  Automated systems can manage your water levels.  Filters clean the water for human consumption and use.
  30. 30. FACING THE FACTS  If there are energy shortages, individuals will have water problems.  If there is ecological damage, individuals will have water problems.  If there are economic crisis, individuals will have water problems.  If there are computer glitches, individuals will have water problems.  If there is political turmoil, individuals will have water problems.  If there is war, individuals will have water problems.
  31. 31. FOOD HARVESTING  gray water is recyled and purified by feeding into an indoor planter.
  32. 32.  Hence, earthship is an independant module which consists of following systems:  Water.  Power.  Sewage Treatment.  Comfort.  Food.
  33. 33.  Load bearing walls  Non load bearing walls CONSTRUCTION Earth rammed tires Tire bales Aluminium cans/Bottles in cement mortar
  34. 34. FOUNDATION  Made of rammed earth tires.  Does not require a concrete foundation strip.  Tire walls have larger footprint.  This ensures proper load distribution.
  35. 35. WALLS  Tires make up the exterior load bearing walls.  It is earth sheltered.  The south wall has large glass panels used for passive solar heating.  Insulation materials are used directly over the tire before the finish is applied.  Interior walls are made of aluminum cans and are mortared into place with cement.  Wire conduits can be built into the walls during construction.
  36. 36. ROOF Bond beam gives the roof trusses a way to attach to the tires.
  37. 37. FLOOR Once the bond beam is construct ed concrete is poured to create the floors.
  38. 38. FINAL TOUCHES  glass panes are erected at the south or south eastern wall.  can be vertical or sloping depending on the climate.  Extreme climates sloping walls allows rays of both winter and summer sun to pass through.
  39. 39. MODELS  Global model.  Vaulted global model.  Simple Survival.  Packaged model.  Custom designs.
  40. 40.  Global Model  most universal model for the developed world.  can be modified for almost any climate.  comes in many sizes.  can be built in one month.  Vaulted Global Model  the latest Earthship design.  Better designing.  more efficient in terms of performance and construction.  fits better into the hands of the people.
  41. 41.  Simple Survival  compact houses  uses basic techniques
  42. 42.  Packaged Model  Most economical & versatile Earthship in terms of construction and building. It can be adapted to any climate.  It comes in any size.  It comes as a split level for stepping up a hill.  North/south dimensions cannot change but east/west can be as long as you like.  It comes with an open end to the east or the west.  It comes with a garage entering in to the east or west.
  44. 44. ADVANTAGES  Energy Efficiency • provide a large amount of thermal mass • keep the house cool in the summer and warm in the winter.  Self-Sustainability • designed to take advantage of natural resources • oriented to take advantage of passive solar radiation • rainwater stored in cisterns and gray water is recycled  "Buildability" • can be owner built.  Easy Availability of materials
  45. 45. DISADVANTAGES  Resellability • house is "different" from the norm  Building Permits • problems with local building codes • getting approval for the rammed tires might be a problem.  Financing • home loans are not available for earthships yet as they are a relatively new technology.
  46. 46. CONCLUSION Earthship  Offers possibilities for adaption and mitigation of the effects of  Climate change.  Energy decline.  Resource scarcity.  Pollution.  Improves preparedness for natural disasters.  Provides the means to curb excessive resource consumption.