I stayed in an Earthship and it felt like I was on another planet

Originally published at: I stayed in an Earthship and it felt like I was on another planet | Boing Boing


Did anyone else notice the sale prices on these?


They run from $900,000 up into the millions.


Did you see how much wine you had to drink to get your building materials :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:


The individualistic and libertarian streak running through the ideology behind these things deffo makes them feel more like a luxurious hobby for those of privilege, rather than anything actually sustainable or equitable.

Instead of homesteading on your own piece of stolen desert land proudly off-grid, maybe recognize that interdependence and systemic change are the only things that can save the planet, and invest your resources toward making the grid a more sustainable thing. Otherwise you’ll just cook inside your earthship slightly later than all the povvos outside have cooked.


Maybe I’m just old, but I remember when this was marketed as a DIY kind of affair back in the day. Like decades ago, I looked into it, and thought about it. I can’t in my state due to homesteading/permitting issues, and I didn’t want to move to new Mexico. I can’t exactly remember my estimates, but it was a 5 digit estimate, that’s for sure. I guess I didn’t realize they’d moved up to luxury goods, and was taken back by the prices of these now.

I mean, way back then, solar and gray water systems were pretty new, and this was a cool idea to get off the grid.

I totally agree. We have to make the grid more sustainable, not make a pocket oasis for the priviledged few.


I would say these things are more like early adopter brainstorms, and are less the way forward than test beds for what can flow back into The Grid, and what isn’t feasible after all. Look at them that way, and they are kinda neat.

And it fits the Happy Mutant ethos! Mutations aren’t always good, because mutations go in every direction. But sometimes a good trait will pop up from the deviancy from the norm that improves the norm!

So let’s salute the Earthship rich weirdos, and maybe see what can actually carry over to improve the lives of the rest of us living amongst the mundies.


I agree that that is the way to look at them. I just find it sad and frustrating if not downright depressing that so little has carried over.

Earthships have been around since the 70s as have various other similar designs. Leaving the aesthetics aside the various features that actually make up the idea have now been used for decades but are still only slowly making their way into “mainstream” housing construction.

There really is no excuse for why grey water and/or rain water harvesting systems are not built into every new home along with solar panels and/or wind turbines and as close to passive heating/cooling as the local climate allows.

Those are all by now well understood systems which are easily integrated at the build stage. Instead people are mostly left to retrofit them at great expense and increased difficulty, thereby of course making them less feasible and attractive.

We do build a few token homes with this stuff. We call them “ecohomes” and sell them off as something special rather than as they should be just “homes”.

Anything to protect developers from having to stop stamping out their three or four cookie cutter home types and actually design homes fit for their location.

Ugh… /rant.


The houses we now build with earth rammed tires are so strong that no foundation is required

Huh? That might work in the New Mexico desert, but foundations aren’t there to lend “strength”, they are supposed to make sure the house doesn’t sink or rise in the ground. I have a feeling a lot of this wouldn’t work in a climate where moisture control needs to be balanced with heat retention. Desert housing has always struck me as house building on easy mode. Which is probably why virtually all communities like this are found in deserts.


It’s more because trying to build them anywhere where anyone else wants to live means lots of arguing with NIMBYs.

There are certainly adaptations that have to be made in different climates but earthships have been built in other climates quite successfully.

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I dunno. I think the one in Alberta seemed a bit of stretch in the winter, with a wood stove burning to keep an area of it habitable. (The guy is sitting right by the stove, but still rubbing his hands?) Off-grid so long as the truck keeps bringing wood.

It probably could use some design changes for that climate, but one of the complaints that I’ve read is that the Earthship people don’t do that.


Fair enough.

I have to say I wasn’t aware that there was a company purporting to sell/build these.

I’ve only ever been aware of them as a DIY thing and it’s definitely true that they’ll do a lot better where it’s warm and dry.

And they’re still a huge waste of resources and require far too big a footprint.


These are cool concept practice, especially the water stuff in the desert, but they’re kind of heavy on concrete, so in terms of true eco-sensibilities :woman_shrugging:t2:
My friend in NM had stayed at one and later saw the place was for sale- 2 earth ships (one being used as a short-term rental) a short walk from a hot spring. He got pretty excited and looked into it. Testing showed radon levels were off the fucking charts. Don’t even know how you would remediate that in such a dwelling. :grimacing:


Radon would be a tough problem for a home like that, short of sealing it from the surrounding earth while building it.

There’s a community of them in Taos NM, but you have to join the HOA.


The community is exclusively Earthship homes. There is a Board of Directors who enforce the Land User’s Code.

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