Mike Reynolds has often suggested that the cost per square foot for an Earthship is about the same as the local cost for a conventional home of similar size. Where Earthships have reduced costs for most of the main building materials, by using waste products, they typically invest more upfront in the services for the home (Rainwater harvesting and PV solar generation capabilities etc) hence the costs balance out.
HOWEVER you need to look at the total cost of ownership for an Earthship and remember that once it is up and running there are arguably no utility bills and an anecdotal US$100 per year on gas for cooking fuel (and even that can be reduced to zero!). Of course it goes without saying that just looking at the bottom line costs of housing and things like GDP, got us here in the first place. With an Earthship the cradle to cradle view of understanding the ‘costs’ of this home is better known and better off in the short and long term.
BRANZ (Building Research Association of New Zealand) recently published some “Average Build Costs” for New Zealand.
|Standard, Basic 3 bedroom house in Wellington||NZ$1200/sqm||Average size 140sqm = NZ$168,000|
|One-off 3 bedroom house, some customised features, modest quality||NZ$1400/sqm||Average size 160sqm = NZ$224,000|
|Executive, 4 bedroom architecturally designed house with high quality materials||NZ$2000/sqm||Average size 240sqm = NZ$480,000|