1214 Words5 Pages
Max Altschuler
ENVD 3115
Professor Marcel S. de Lange
December 8, 2013

Earthship Design, Materials, and Sustainability

Earthship design is a movement initiated by Michael Reynolds. Earthship Biotecture is a method of architecture and design that incorporates recycled materials, earthen materials, and renewable energy sources into a sustainable and self-sufficient home. The purpose of this according to Michael Reynolds it to achieve energy independence, sustainable housing, and relieve the burdens of stress on the environment from conventional building methods while keeping cost minimal. Utilizing waste and earthen materials, Michael was able to construct comfortable living, beautiful architectural design, and self-sufficiency
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Adobe is a commonly used material in earthship construction and has its earliest recognized use in 8300 B.C. Although labor-intensive adobe serves as a sustainable and abundant material that can often be produced onsite. Adobe is typically composed of clay, sand, silt, and gravel, and various amendments such as straw and grasses. Proper distribution and ratios of the materials are essential in creating adobe blocks that are strong and do not shrink or crack; therefore the soil used should be screened and tested before production. An important element to adobe construction is the bond beam that connects the roof to the walls and prevents collapse of the adobe blocks. Problems with adobe construction lie within the perceived notion that it is unrealizable and primitive, therefore many builders encounter problems in obtaining building permits. Cob is one of the oldest earthen building materials that requires little framework and is less labor intensive then adobe. Cod consist of clay, sand, straw, and water. Cob wall construction is usually 24 inches wide and is laid in sections up to 18 inches high at a time. 18 inch foundations and long eves for roofing is important to keeping cob-constructed walls intact and secure from water damage. To create strong walls a 5% taper should be included in planning, this equates to 6 inches for every
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