How to Build a Completely Off-the-Grid, Self-Sustaining Home



With the problems resulting from climate change appearing daily in our news, a trend has slowly been emerging to go back to nature and live in a totally self-sustaining home.

These houses are being designed by a company called Earthship based in New Mexico. The idea behind these homes is that they are “off-the-grid,” meaning that they try to rely as little as possible on public utilities. The man behind Earthship, Michael Reynolds, came up with the idea back in the 1970s. He had three objectives: utilize sustainable architecture, rely on natural energy sources and the easiness for someone with little construction skills to build.

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The buildings are designed to maximize the light and heat gained during the winter months and as such the walls are thick, which provides thermal mass that regulates the temperature inside the house when it is both hot or cold outside. The outer walls of the house are made from earth rammed tires because they proved to store and radiate heat, helping with climate adjustment.

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The Earthship is built to catch and use water in the local environment as opposed to bringing water in through pipes. These sources can be from rain, snow or condensation. The water is filtered to remove any bacteria so that it is suitable for drinking. The water collected by the above methods can be used for drinking water. The toilet uses a different kind of water known asgreywater, which means it’s already been used.  Wastewater is sent to a solar septic tank, which means it’s a regular septic tank but its heated by the sun.



The Earthship comes with a greenhouse that can grow food all year round regardless of the weather. You can also choose to add a fish pond and chicken coop.

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To power the house, energy is collected from the wind and the sun. The energy that is collected is stored in batteries, which are kept on the roof. The Earthship comes with what is known as a Power Organizing Module (POM), which takes the power from the battery and converts it so you can use it for AC. The house can also access city grid electricity. These Earthships do not just rely on solar heat to stay warm, tire walls are used to store heat during the day and give off heat in the night.


Worldwide Earthships

Earthships are popping up around the world, they currently can be found in Belgium, the UK, France, Portugal, Spain, The Netherlands, Sweden, South Africa, Patagonia, Estonia and Czech republic. The first district of Earthships is currently being developed in The Netherlands.

Still unsure?

Here are five reasons why you should definitely live in an Earthship:

It has a fantastic water recycling system.

Feed for free. Your greenhouse and optional chicken coop can provide all the food you’ll need.

Bill-less living, you don’t need to dread payday as you don’t have any bills or mortgage to pay

Cheap living, the cost of a basic Earthship is $19k

The Earthship makes you think differently about how we live and what we are doing for the environment.

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By Holly W



  1. Michael 27 February, 2016 at 15:35 Reply

    I have a small 2 acre organic farm that needs a 3 bedroom house like this well water solar wind would be perfect! Can you build one here and let me market it here in Indiana? Customers can take brochures etc!! I love this idea

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