If all else fails, Do It Yourself!

earthship-waterEarthship-tirephoto-s1-49746d238abc300c7693c7bcc16110ae9

May 2014

Our plans to buy a home have taken an unexpected turn. After what seems like a lot of knock-backs from the banks, and being stuck in a vicious circle of wanting to buy somewhere hundreds of miles from where are jobs are based, we have decided that we will not give up, but instead look at different ways of reaching our goal. The more we thought about permaculture, the more we started looking into eco-living. To us, it seems the two go hand-in-hand, and it has led us to the conclusion that in our ideal world, we would want to live in a completely ecological house, and not just a partly eco-renovated one.  We have spent the last month researching earth-filled tyre structures, straw-baled walls, cob houses, rainwater harvesting, aquaponics, solar heating and much more. Without a doubt, our ultimate dream is to become entirely self-sufficient and live “off the grid”. We already have some floor plans in mind and we just need to put together a dossier, so convincing that even the most difficult of planning authorities will give us the go-ahead. So instead of buying a house with land, it will most likely be just the land. It is going to take time and a lot of effort but we intend to build a type of “earthship” structure, adapted to our needs, and aesthetically pleasing at the same time. We want to use reclaimed tyres for the main structure, with cob walls. This will be set in the land, providing thermal mass, with a southern-facing glass front, inside which we want to be able to grow plants all year round. There will be no upper floors nor cellars, everything will be on one level, including 4 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, an open-plan living room and kitchen area, behind an oasis of plants. The slanting roof will lead to 2 rainwater collection tanks, which will be used to recycle water within the house. Along with solar power, it is these systems that will contribute to the majority of costs for the build, so we would hope that we might be able to get an eco-loan or make the most of government incentives to help make our money go further.

We’ve already had a mixed response by family and friends. Building a house of tyres is still relatively unknown to most, and we’ve had a few sniggers and “it’ll never work” comments, but it makes sense to do it now. Before long, everyone will be doing it, costs will spiral out of control and restrictions will make it practically impossible. We have to do this…and we will do it. Watch this space…

earthship2 Earthship interiors ship2

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