Taos, New Mexico is the unofficial (or perhaps official? How do they determine these things?) home of the â€œEarthshipâ€ movement. Earthships are ecologically friendly homes that are heavy on solar energy and use lots of recycled products in their construction. Some earthships even use recycled stuff like tires, cans, etc. A lot of them are actually partially built into the ground.
The company Earthship Biotecture takes the concept of an earthship to a new level. They define their construction technique in the following manner:
Earthship n. 1. passive solar home made of natural and recycled materials 2. thermal mass construction for temperature stabilization. 3. renewable energy & integrated water systems make the Earthship an off-grid home with little to no utility bills.
Biotecture n. 1. the profession of designing buildings and environments with consideration for their sustainability. 2. A combination of biology and architecture.
They seem to use some concepts in permaculture in their design ideas, so these homes are theoretically very self-sustainable. Theyâ€™ve got some very cool designs on their website.
My only complaint about earthships? The price tag. Reports from some people I know in Taos say that earthships in general (not just from this company) are not what youâ€™d call affordable housing. Theyâ€™re more like housing for the very elite. Letâ€™s hope that one day the earthship movement can open their doors to middle and low income folks as well!