Over the past few years, Kaila has become increasingly passionate about natural building, and specifically the building of “Earthships.” These “self sustaining vessels on land” were conceived by architect Michael Reynolds in the 1970’s, as he experimented with using waste materials to construct houses. Using aluminum cans, plastic and glass bottles, and used tires rammed with earth, Reynolds has revolutionized the design and construction of sustainable housing. He wanted to design a home that would do the following three things:
1. Use natural materials that are indigneous to our planet combined with recycled materials whereever possible.
2. Produce their own energy using natural energy sources and thermal mass to be independent from “the grid”.
3. Be economically feasible for the average person with no specialized construction skills.
As we seek to design energy-efficient living systems for ourselves and the planet, it is imperative that we open our minds to such radical ideas as Reynolds’.
We have begun to integrate Earthship-inspired projects in our permaculture courses, to empower students to think outside of the box, and more in a dome-like shape, as they design their sites.
The most recent permaculture course held on Martha’s Vineyard, MA., took part in building an Earthship-inspired composting toilet on Kaila’s family land.
The first step….ramming tires!
This project is now almost completed, with 2 out of 4 walls put up, and some recycled windows waiting to be put in. The upcoming permaculture students will put the finishing touches on, and hopefully begin to put it into use!
Earthships follow six principles:
In terms of integrating Earthship principles into a home site without engaging in full Earthship construction, Kaila has worked on two “Earthship-inspired” composting toilets – one on Martha’s Vineyard, and one in Roaring River, Jamaica.