Sustainable housing and real estate in Kitchener-Waterloo Region


Welcome aboard the earthship!

What is an earthship, you ask?

Earthship in Brighton

Earthship in Brighton

Let me tell you. The earthship was the brainchild of one American man named Mike Reynolds who began experimenting with different types of architecture in the 1970s.

Reynolds dreamed of a home that would be entirely self-sustaining, using natural materials indigenous to the area or recycled materials for building, with the home being able to generate its own electricity, heating and cooling, as well as cleaning and collecting its own water, and in many cases even incorporating greenhouses within the space to grow some or all of its own food. These homes would be entirely “off the grid”, so to speak. As the concept developed over the years, Reynolds began even creating subdivisions of these homes that from outward appearance, looked much like any other neighbourhood. The difference is, the people living in these suburbs had annual combined utility bills of $0-100, cheaper building costs and healthier indoor space.

Interior

The idea experienced a lot of flack in the beginning. The American government nearly shut down construction and research permanently as it hammered Reynolds with red tape involving what a  legal subdivision should entail and denying him permits or permissions to build any new structures. As with any new technology, some kinks needed to be worked out. The technology is getting better everyday, as more homes are built and more people learn the trade.

Recycled bottle bathroom

The first homes had difficulty being entirely “off-grid”; some complained about extreme temperatures or lack of water or other comfort issues. Many of the first homes had composting toilets, but are now mostly using a system involving a solar-enhanced septic tank with leach-field and planter cells. As time went on, these kinks started to unravel and the technology got better and better and more comfortable to live within.

Rammed tire walls

Mike’s most common design involves using recycled tires and ramming them full of earth until they have great load-bearing capacity, thermal mass and resistance to fire. They are then plastered and decorated. You would never know they were once old tires underneath. So why are we not building most homes using these types of technologies yet?

Interior

It’s coming, slowly, but surely. People seem reluctant to invest in something they consider “experimental”, especially when they themselves and their families will be living within it. Earthship rental properties available in Taos, New Mexico that offer people the chance to see what it’s like to live in this type of home seem to be an encouraging idea.

There are several under construction right now in Ontario. Check out here and here for some more details.  Want to learn some techniques how to build your own earthship in Ontario? Check out here and here.

A different design

Mike even exported this idea to tsunami victims in Southern Asia to help the local population rebuild cheaply, sustainably and in more weather-resistant ways. This technology is now sprouting up everywhere, with earthships from Nicauragua to India. There is a really great documentary now available on Mike’s struggle to bring out this technology called Garbage Warrior. I highly recommend you check it out!

WBuilding an earthhip in Nicaragua.

Want to try living in an earthship of your own? Check out this earthship for sale in Ontario.

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20 Comments so far
Leave a comment

I have been looking looking around for this kind of information. Will you post some more in future? I’ll be grateful if you will.

Comment by GarykPatton

Keep an eye on the sustainability category. I will be posting on this topic from time to time, and most definitely on some of the technologies and building techniques used in earthships.

Thanks for your comment!

Comment by kwarearealestate

Very interesting information!

I am actually starting to look into the feasability of building an Earthship in the K-W region. I was wondering if in the future you could post on successful projects in Southwestern-Ontario. I am looking for people who have accomplished doing this and possibily looking to do an email exchange with anyone who has.

(There’s obviously lots and lots of questions/legalities that come with building one of these structures)

Comment by Dave Adams

I found kwrealestateblog.com very informative. The article is professionally written and I feel like the author knows the subject very well. kwrealestateblog.com keep it that way.

Comment by canadian cash advance

An interresting idea.I like to see a house of this type.It seems ok.Need more pictures if you have.

Comment by Inchirieri apartamente

My family owns a recycled tire business in Canada, and we are THRILLED to hear this is catching on! Great idea! We want to jump on board in offering our tires to people locally , we think the Earthship will catch on famously. However, I am having problems reseraching whether or not the Earthship will be resistant to our climate. It’s kind of harsh conditions. We are in St. John’s , Newfoundland, Canada. Alot of new homes are being built here and I know the Earthship will catch on if it will stand up to the harsh conditions ! Help! Anyone?

Comment by Nikki Hanlon

My wife and I love Earth Ships. We are considering building a version of an Earth Ship in the mountains of NC. Are there any Eastern US versions (we have plenty of rain fall and a lot more moisture issues) out there?

Comment by Ron Stone

Nikki- I believe that the earthship is resistant to harsh conditions. From what I have read or heard, they are as resistant as any other building material. They can be found in almost every state and most provinces, in all different types of weather and conditions.
Ron- Here is a NC version http://www.mountainx.com/guides/housing/042507earthship; and I have read about many more in the Eastern US.

Comment by kwarearealestate

Beautiful home indeed, I will feel more like into an spaceship than into a regular home if living there

Comment by Costa rica property

Cool site, love the info.

Comment by Bill Bartmann

Thanks Bill!

Comment by kwarearealestate

[…] under: Uncategorized Anyone who knows me knows that I’ve been dreaming of building my own earthship on a large acreage (enough for a woodlot, orchard and gardens)  for many years now. I think about […]

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I enjoy this site, it is worth me coming back

Comment by Kelli Garner

[…] Asking $150,000. Please message me for more information or to book a viewing. For more information on what an earthship is, please see http://kwrealestateblog.com/2009/06/10/welcome-aboard-the-earthship/ […]

Pingback by Earthship for Sale in Southwestern Ontario. « Sustainable housing and real estate in Kitchener-Waterloo Region

[…] who knows me knows that I’ve been dreaming of building my own earthship on a large acreage (enough for a woodlot, orchard and gardens)  for many years now. I think about […]

Pingback by Visions of integrative-sustainable housing. | Real Estate Toronto Canada

[…] For more information on what an earthship is, please see http://kwrealestateblog.com/2009/06/10/welcome-aboard-the-earthship/ […]

Pingback by Earthship for Sale in Southwestern Ontario. | Real Estate Toronto Canada

[…] at Earthship Biotechture intend on teaching the people to build their own sustainable housing (earthship technologies) using locally found […]

Pingback by Rebuilding in Haiti using Sustainable Housing (Earthships) « Sustainable housing and real estate in Kitchener-Waterloo Region

[…] at Earthship Biotechture intend on teaching the people to build their own sustainable housing (earthship technologies) using locally found […]

Pingback by Rebuilding in Haiti using Sustainable Housing (Earthships) | Real Estate Toronto Canada

Beautiful homes! I want to build one but I would prefer to be part of a community of Earthsip / alternative homes like this. If anyone is thinking the same way, where do you think a good site would be for an Earthship village in Canada?

Comment by Jamie Hume

Thanks Jamie for the feedback!
I receive many inquiries from people all over Canada looking for earthships or eco homes. I’m sure there would be plenty of interest if you were to set up a community. Try the Ecovillage network to exchange ideas and find people.

Comment by kwarearealestate




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