We are nearly 3 weeks into the Earthship build in the Coromandel now, of this 3 bedroom ‘Global model’ inspired home. A quick building site update: Progress is developing before our eyes daily – today finishing our last course of tyres (10 courses of about 75 per course). Cooling tubes are in and buried. Backfill, drainage, insulation are in behind the tyre walls, and water proofing of the east and south wall are done.
I am very excited to be part of a project taking serious steps towards off-grid green building. There are many advantages to Earthships, in its thermal mass qualities, water catchment and recycling, independent solar power supply and contained sewage. But seeing as these building were pioneered in the desert, we obviously need some changes for our climate and building code. Things to address include water proofing details (especially in the floor and behind the tire walls), reinforcement in case of tectonic movement, and design elements (such as vertical glass and eves). Its great to see changes in materials too, like the choice of mudbrick internal walls (rather than cans and cement), old sails used to protect the vapour barrier, and crushed mussel shell as insulation in the floor (with an R value of 2).
Its a privilege to be working with so many talented and qualified individuals on this project, which, in my opinion creates a wonderful petrie dish for creativity and forward thinking projects. Architects, Engineers, TCDC officials (Thames Coromandel District Council), building crew, a digger driver, electrician, plumber, students from 7 countries – all with skills and experiences to add.
I’d like to give special credit to our national and international crew (Ben Garrett, Justin Dudley, Sean Bozkewycz, Brenton Stockman, Peter Larson and myself) who are working to create both a productive work site AND an educational environment. This means the weeks are busy! Quite apart from work hours, we also include guest speakers, Earthship lectures & docco movie nights into our week. Its an energetic site, and a great place to be. Our community wouldn’t be complete without all the extras we enjoy – the Dj’s coming to play, our delicious meals headed by our wonderful chef Loli in the container kitchen and our morning yoga classes from Siests and Mary.
Lastly, a huge thank you to Gus & Sarah and their family for all their work, hosting us on their land and providing such a wonderful base of operations. The work hours put in are enormous, with everything from organizing sponsored clothing (thanks Cactus and Earth, Sea, Sky) to getting the coffee flown in by helicopter (true story). You’re the best guys!