Hendersonville NC Real Estate Blog: Have you heard of Earthship Homes?

Have you heard of Earthship Homes?

Have you heard of Earthship Homes?

Earthship Homes


I lived in New Mexico in the mid 1990's. I moved there to learn about more alternative energies, because where I lived in Iowa, many wrote off things like solar panels and different methods of building as things that wouldn't work. While living in New Mexico, I was lucky to work with some fantastic people in many different areas, but my favorite place to visit was the Earthship village in Taos New Mexico.

The Earthship design was developed by a man named Michael Reynolds. The style consisted of walls made from recycled tires, rammed full of dirt, for the walls. Holes were filled in with waste like plastic and glass bottles, and metal cans, for a completely filled in wall. Then the walls were covered with an adobe mud, basically dirt and water much like the original dwellers made years ago for adobe homes. The result was beautifully organic walls with a solid feel, holding temperatures so well that there was minimal need for heating and cooling. The roof provided water collection systems and the electric was from solar panels. The designs usually incorporated a greenhouse along the front of the home for growing your own food. 

Hence the Earthship name. The building was designed in a way so as to provided the dwellers with everything they needed. The challenge was to live there without any dependence on outside sources for any utilities or food/water. You can read more about these homes in Mother Earth News.

When Mr. Reynolds first developed this design, many wrote him off as a nut, building homes out in the desert. But his vision and his commitment to creating a sustainable method of living is probably one of the most dedicated I have seen in the alternative energy movement. I have always admired his tenacity in this project to build homes with no carbon footprint what so ever. 

I recently ran across The Earthship's website, and I have to say he has come a very long way. I was thrilled to see that he is now building these homes in a project to assist Haitians in designing permanent homes that can withstand the forces of weather like hurricanes and earthquakes. His crew will be returning to Haiti to start another building in October, expanding on educating and empowering the people of Haiti on how to take care of themselves. Hear more about Michael Reynolds and his work in Haiti:



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Comment balloon 5 commentsJerri McCombs, Broker • September 24 2010 09:47AM


While not on board with all of it (I'm not a huge fan of some of the designs), I am a fan of earth sheltering and simple things like passive solar.  But, it takes the 'nuts' to push the technology.

Posted by Lane Bailey, Realtor & Car Guy (Century 21 Results Realty) over 9 years ago

Hi Lane,

I think that we all have our own style of home that we love, and can live with some things but not others. Funny, it reminds me of the saying 'One man's trash is another man's treasure'. So true.

I have never really thought of Michael Reynolds as a nut, although many have or still do. I really admire the man for his tenacity and persistence in finding a viable solution to energy use and low cost housing that the owners can participate in themselves. Although these buildings may not be aesthetic to some, I think that they can make a huge difference in how we see housing in places like Haiti and New Orleans and other places that endure devastating weather year after year. 

Thanks for your thoughts! Appreciate it.

Posted by Jerri McCombs, Broker, Hendersonville NC Relocation (Dogwood Real Estate Services) over 9 years ago

Some of these ideas are worth considering for me... especially using passive technology

Posted by Chris Smith, South Simcoe, Caledon, King, Orangeville Real Esta (Re/Max Chay Realty Inc., Brokerage) over 9 years ago

Jerri, nut isn't a bad thing...  Anyone that is sufficiently tenacious and single-minded is probably a nut.  Car nut, gun nut, eco-nut... 

Posted by Lane Bailey, Realtor & Car Guy (Century 21 Results Realty) over 9 years ago

Lane, you are right about that. I guess I am a gardening nut and a bread making nut and probably a lot more nut! Ha! I am certainly appreciative of the 'nuts' that persist to make the world a better place. 


Posted by Jerri McCombs, Broker, Hendersonville NC Relocation (Dogwood Real Estate Services) over 9 years ago