Earthships: The Way of the Future?

Kansas City is experiencing a terrible drought.  Soaring temps and no rain have left us (and our lawns) in dire straights.  Some of my neighbors water their lawns with almost religious fervor.  Every morning, multiple sprinklers spray water for hours. Dan and I chose not to do this for two reasons.  1. We didn’t want to deal with the outrageous water bill that accompanies such extravagant watering.  2. We couldn’t, in good conscience, come up with a reason to use so much water on something so superfluous when water is arguably the world’s most scarce resource.  So we don’t water the lawn. And yeah, it’s not lush and green and pretty, but at least we can feel good about trying to do our part – however small it may be.

Another thing we do? We keep the AC at a relatively high temperature.  There’s no need to run your AC super cold and waste all of that energy to cool your house.  I don’t care who you are, when it’s 108 degrees outside for multiple days in a row, going into a home that’s 77 degrees will feel cool. In fact, it will feel great.  Our attempts at a green lifestyle reminded me of these ultra-green homes called Earthships.

Designed by architect Michael Reynolds, Earthships are built using the method of Biotecture. They are greener than LEED certified buildings. They maintain comfortable living temperatures, have wind/solar powered electricity, and are constructed with only locally available materials and discarded waste (think bottles, tires, –  a true testament to the idiom, “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.”

Given my decision to save water and let my lawn dry out, I was especially interested to see that Earthships capture water (rain and snow) and use it four times.   The water is filtered and used in your typical household ways and consumption, then it is cleaned and used for interior “botanical cells,” after that it is used in toilets, and finally it is cleaned again and used in exterior “botanical cells.”

“Botanical cells,” as I’m sure you’ve already guessed, is just a fancy name for a garden area.  These cells can be used to produce food. In fact, Andrew Zimmern even did an episode of “Bizarre Foods” about the food harvested in Earthships.

Are you as intrigued by this idea of extremely green living as I am? Or does this seem a little too tree-hugger for you?