Earthship homes

70s Earthship Homes: A Blast from the Past Shaping a Sustainable Future

Mon Apr 24 2023

Welcome to another blog post at, where we explore various topics related to green job opportunities and sustainable living. In today's article, we'll dive into the world of 70s Earthship homes, a fascinating and sustainable housing concept that emerged during the 1970s. These unique structures have gained renewed interest as more people seek eco-friendly solutions in response to the growing climate crisis.

Table of Contents

  1. The Birth of Earthship Homes
  2. The Six Principles of Earthship Homes
  3. The Benefits of Earthship Living
  4. How Earthship Homes Align with Sustainable Development Goals
  5. Building Your Own Earthship Home
  6. Job Opportunities in Earthship Construction
  7. Conclusion
  8. Frequently Asked Questions

The Birth of Earthship Homes

Earthship homes were conceived by architect Michael Reynolds in the 1970s as a response to the growing environmental awareness of the time. Inspired by the idea of self-sufficient living and minimizing waste, Reynolds sought to design homes that were entirely sustainable and off-grid, using natural and upcycled materials.

These homes became known as "Earthships" because they were intended to function like autonomous vessels, providing everything their inhabitants needed without relying on external resources.

The Six Principles of Earthship Homes

Reynolds based the design of Earthship homes on six key principles:

  1. Thermal and solar heating and cooling: Earthships utilize passive solar design and thermal mass construction to maintain a comfortable temperature year-round without the need for conventional heating or cooling systems.
  2. Solar and wind electricity: Earthships generate their own electricity using solar panels and wind turbines, reducing dependence on non-renewable energy sources.
  3. Self-contained sewage treatment: Earthships treat and reuse wastewater on-site, minimizing water pollution and conserving resources.
  4. Building with natural and recycled materials: Earthship homes are constructed using materials like earth-packed tires, aluminum cans, and glass bottles, minimizing waste and reducing the ecological footprint.
  5. Water harvesting: Earthships collect and store rainwater for domestic use, reducing water consumption and preserving precious resources.
  6. Food production: Many Earthship homes incorporate indoor and outdoor gardens, allowing residents to grow their own food and reduce reliance on conventional agriculture.

The Benefits of Earthship Living

Opting to reside in an Earthship home presents numerous advantages that enhance one's quality of life while promoting sustainability. These benefits encompass various aspects of daily living, such as:

  1. Minimized Environmental Footprint: Earthship homes are constructed using eco-friendly materials, repurposed waste, and sustainable building techniques, significantly reducing the environmental impact compared to traditional construction methods.
  2. Self-Sufficient Energy: Earthship homes harness renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind power, to generate electricity. This energy independence allows homeowners to reduce their reliance on fossil fuels and diminish their carbon footprint.
  3. Cost Savings on Utilities: Thanks to their energy-efficient design and self-sufficient systems, Earthship homeowners can enjoy substantial savings on utility bills. The homes' passive solar heating and cooling systems, coupled with efficient water management practices, further contribute to reduced monthly expenses.
  4. Enhanced Disaster Resilience: Earthship homes are designed to withstand various natural disasters such as earthquakes, floods, and extreme weather events. Their sturdy construction and off-grid capabilities make them a reliable option for those seeking a safe and resilient living space.
  5. Connection to Nature and Sustainable Living: Living in an Earthship home fosters a deep connection with the natural world and encourages a more sustainable lifestyle. Homeowners often engage in activities such as gardening, composting, and rainwater harvesting, which promote self-sufficiency and environmental stewardship.

By choosing an Earthship home, individuals can enjoy a comfortable, eco-friendly living environment that not only minimizes their ecological footprint but also fosters a strong connection to the natural world and supports a more sustainable way of life.

How Earthship Homes Align with Sustainable Development Goals

Earthship homes are not only innovative and eco-friendly; they also align with many of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). By embracing Earthship living, you contribute to a greener, more sustainable future.

Goal 7: Affordable and Clean Energy

Earthship homes use solar panels and wind turbines to generate power. This renewable energy source aligns with SDG 7, which focuses on providing access to affordable, reliable, and sustainable energy for all.

Goal 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities

The design of Earthship homes emphasizes minimizing environmental impact and utilizing natural resources efficiently. This aligns with SDG 11, which aims to create inclusive, safe, resilient, and sustainable urban spaces.

Goal 12: Responsible Consumption and Production

By using repurposed materials and reducing waste, Earthship homes support SDG 12, which promotes responsible consumption and production patterns.

Goal 13: Climate Action

The eco-friendly features of Earthship homes, such as rainwater harvesting and passive solar heating, help mitigate climate change. This is in line with SDG 13, which calls for urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts.

Goal 15: Life on Land

Earthship homes often incorporate green spaces and gardens, promoting biodiversity and a healthy ecosystem. This supports SDG 15, which aims to protect, restore, and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems.

Building Your Own Earthship Home

If you're inspired to build your own Earthship home, here's what you need to know:

  1. Research: Familiarize yourself with Earthship designs, principles, and building techniques. There are many resources, books, and online forums available to help you get started.
  2. Location: Select a suitable plot of land for your Earthship home. Consider factors such as climate, accessibility, and availability of natural resources.
  3. Permits and regulations: Check with local authorities to ensure you comply with zoning regulations and building codes. Obtain necessary permits before construction begins.
  4. Design: Create a customized Earthship design based on your needs and preferences. You can hire an architect or designer experienced in Earthship homes, or use available resources to create your own blueprint.
  5. Materials: Source sustainable and recycled materials, such as tires, cans, and bottles. You may need to purchase some new materials, such as insulation and windows.
  6. Construction: If you have construction experience, you may choose to build your Earthship home yourself. Alternatively, you can hire a team of professionals to handle the construction process.
  7. Maintenance: Once your Earthship home is complete, regular maintenance is necessary to ensure its longevity and performance.

Job Opportunities in Earthship Construction

As interest in sustainable living grows, there is an increasing demand for professionals skilled in Earthship construction. Job opportunities in this field include architects, designers, engineers, and construction workers with expertise in sustainable building techniques. Check out for job listings in sustainable construction and other green industries.

In addition to these specialized roles, there are various other job opportunities within the Earthship community. Some of these positions include:

  1. Earthship Educators and Workshop Instructors: Individuals with experience in Earthship construction and a passion for sharing their knowledge can teach others how to build Earthship homes through workshops, courses, or online tutorials.
  2. Sustainable Materials Suppliers: As the demand for Earthship construction materials grows, there is a need for suppliers and manufacturers of sustainable and recycled building materials. This includes suppliers of tires, bottles, cans, and other repurposed materials, as well as eco-friendly alternatives to traditional construction supplies.
  3. Renewable Energy System Installers: Earthship homes rely on renewable energy sources such as solar and wind power. Professionals who specialize in installing and maintaining these systems can find opportunities in the Earthship construction industry.
  4. Permaculture Designers and Landscape Architects: Earthships often incorporate permaculture principles and sustainable landscaping. Designers and architects with expertise in these areas can help plan and create functional, eco-friendly outdoor spaces for Earthship homes.
  5. Earthship Consultants: As more people become interested in building Earthship homes, there is a growing need for consultants who can provide guidance on design, site selection, and navigating local building codes and regulations.
  6. Skilled Tradespeople: Carpenters, electricians, plumbers, and other skilled tradespeople who are familiar with Earthship construction methods and sustainable building practices will find their expertise in high demand.

By pursuing a career in Earthship construction, you can help shape the future of sustainable living and contribute to a greener, more eco-conscious world. Keep an eye on job boards and industry websites, and consider networking with other professionals in the sustainable construction community to stay informed about new opportunities and developments in this exciting field.


Earthship homes, with their unique design principles and sustainable features, have come a long way since their inception in the 1970s. They offer numerous environmental benefits, align with the UN's Sustainable Development Goals, and contribute to a greener future. If you're considering building your own Earthship home, remember to research, plan, and collaborate with experienced professionals to create a comfortable, sustainable, and eco-friendly living space.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How much does it cost to build an Earthship home?

The cost of building an Earthship home varies depending on factors such as size, design, location, and materials used. A small, basic Earthship can cost as little as $50,000, while larger, more elaborate designs can exceed $200,000. Keep in mind that using repurposed and recycled materials can help reduce costs.

2. Can I build an Earthship home anywhere?

While it's possible to build an Earthship home in various climates and locations, certain factors must be considered. Land with good sun exposure, access to water, and a moderate climate is ideal for an Earthship. Additionally, it's important to check local building codes and regulations before beginning construction.

3. How long does it take to build an Earthship home?

The construction timeline for an Earthship home depends on the size, design, and the team working on it. A small, simple Earthship can take a few months to build, while larger, more complex designs may require a year or more. The process can be expedited by hiring an experienced construction team or participating in an Earthship workshop.

4. Are Earthship homes energy efficient?

Yes, Earthship homes are designed to be highly energy efficient. They use passive solar heating and cooling, thermal mass, and renewable energy sources to minimize energy consumption. This energy efficiency not only helps the environment but can also save homeowners on utility bills.

5. How do Earthship homes handle waste and sewage?

Earthship homes often utilize composting toilets and greywater treatment systems to manage waste and sewage. These systems are eco-friendly and help conserve water by recycling and repurposing greywater for irrigation or other non-potable uses.

6. Can I add modern amenities to my Earthship home?

Yes, it's possible to incorporate modern amenities and technology into an Earthship home. Many Earthship homes have electricity, running water, and Wi-Fi. However, it's important to prioritize energy-efficient and eco-friendly options to maintain the sustainable principles of Earthship living.

7. Are Earthship homes safe in extreme weather conditions?

Earthship homes are built with thick, load-bearing walls and can withstand various weather conditions. However, it's crucial to consider local climate and potential natural disasters when designing your Earthship home. Proper planning and engineering can help ensure that your Earthship is built to withstand extreme weather events.

Article updated at: Fri Apr 21 2023

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