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The Big Dig
Putting the lid on
Welcome to our earthship home in Spain
If you've ever dreamed of building your own eco friendly home and breaking free from the rat race we're here to inspire you.
This blog contains a wealth of information and pics showing our earthship build - how we added a geodesic dome using papercrete and adobe, building a shed from pallettes, and many other eco friendly, some might say mad cap, ways of creating your dream home.
You can also read about life in an earthship, using solar power to cook, up-cycling pretty much everything and anything and learning how to live with the land in a permaculture kinda way.
Subscribe to this blog to join our online earthship community. We're taking a break from active blogging at the moment but with hundreds of pages on this site packed with info on our build you'll have something to be going on with until we're back!
We started building an earthship in the Almeria Province of Andalucia, Spain in 2007. In September 2014 we eventually moved in, even though there's still lots to do to finish it.
This has been an epic journey for us which we've kept a record of here in our blog. There's information on how we built our earthship, what eco friendly materials we used and how we're living our life in the slow lane in southern Spain.
We'd love to inspire you to build your own eco friendly home simply because we believe this is a much more nourishing and happy way to live. It's also critical for this beautiful planet that we slow our lives down and learn to live with nature rather than apart from it, we think you'd love it too!
What is an earthship?
The idea of earthships comes from Michael Reynolds an American architect who has been developing these environmentally friendly dwellings for about 30 years. Check out his videos below.
Basically, it's a sustainable dwelling constructed from local and waste materials, such as old tyres and drink cans. It uses the theory of a cave house and the modern technology of greenhouses. We like to describe it as a cave house with a conservatory on the front - which is why we named ours Cuevas de Sol - Caves of Sun.
The tyre walls form the mass of the building which helps achieve a constant temperature, approx 16C, throughout the year. They hold the heat in winter and help cool the building in summer. Much as a cave house does.
The front of the building, which would face south in the Northern hemisphere, is glass fronted. This forms a greenhouse area where food can be grown and allows for solar heat and light gain. This solar gain can increase temperatures in the winter to a comfortable 20C without the need for fossil fuel heating. A welcome difference to a cave house.
The area in which we've chosen to build is renowned for it's cave houses. Let's hope this one will demonstrate how tradition and modern knowledge/technology can work together.
Water from the sky is collected on the roof (or as run off from the land) and stored in tanks. The water is used four times: Firstly for washing and cooking, Secondly the now grey water is used to irrigate the in-house planters which somewhat filter and clean the water, thirdly the filtered water is used to flush the loo, finally the now black water is processed through a septic tank and used to irrigate outside areas.
Water is heated by vacuum tube solar panels, stored in an internal tank or heat store. The taps, shower etc are located close to the tank avoiding the waste of too much cold water.
Electricity is generated by Wind turbines and Solar photovoltaic panels, the energy is stored in deep cycle lead acid batteries. Power is delivered via a DC to AC inverter providing the standard 220-240 volts.