Earthships: Self-Sustaining Homes For A Post-Apocalyptic US?

Earthships: Self-Sustaining Homes For A Post-Apocalyptic US...

On the desert mesa of New Mexico, miles from the nearest town of Taos (pop. 5,700), Star-Wars-like shelters rise from the earth, half-buried and covered in adobe. Called “Earthships” – brainchild of architect Mike Reynolds in the 1970s- they’re nearly completely self-sufficient homes: no electrical grid, no water lines, no sewer.

The Greater World Earthship Community, about 70 passive solar homes built from earth and trash on 633 acres, had a rough start; they were shut down as an illegal subdivision in 1997 and it took them 7 years to come to compliance. Though today, the county fully cooperates with Reynolds and his Earthship Biotecture operation to turn trash (tires, cans, glass bottles) into shelters and has even given them 2 acres to experiment with housing in anyway they like (they also provide their recycling).

Sixteen years ago, Tom Duke had just finished over a decade on the pro volleyball circuit when he bought a bit of land here with his wife and began to build a tiny Earthship the size of a storage shed. When their first son was born they built their dream house on the property, a two bedroom that, like other Earthships, collects rainwater, uses its water four times (the plants in the indoor greenhouse filter the greywater) and even processes its own sewage.

In this video, Tom takes us on a tour of his home, his original “Earthship survival pod”, the “nest” ($50,000 studio apartment), the “Simple Survival Earthship” (aimed mainly at the developing world), a custom home designed to feed a family of four (including a tilapia pond in the greenhouse) and the “BMW of Earthships”, the “Global” (aimed at the typical American family). Check it out below…

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(8) comments

I would like it, but the prominent solar panels have to be replaced with something that blends in.


    That’s actually not a typical earthship. I believe the building pictured is used as the school where students learn how to build earthships. Rarely are the homes two stories. They’re beautiful though. Check out the website

    Reply it’s not that far out of Taos which by the way is a really small town. It is high plains desert


Marg awesome is this one


I love the concepts and the technology used to create a whole new way to live off the grid. I wish I could afford to do it. The main problem for me would be living away from a city – I am not a small town or no town girl.


KC Morris: would you consider doing something like this? Have you heard about the Earthships before? I would really like to have this as an opportunity.

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