Technology and Culture of the Eco-Housing Movement
This picture shows Lone Tree Two, one Earthship of many in the New Mexico desert. Constructed by Earthship Biotecture, these eco-homes are built with 6 principles in mind: the use of passive thermal/solar heating and cooling; solar and wind electricity; building with natural and recycled materials; water harvesting; contained sewage treatment; and food production. As a result of the design, residents pay virtually no utility bills. The cost of Earthships are claimed to be similar to conventional housing of the same size, and studio designs can cost as little as $7,000. The image on the left is of a privacy wall extending out from Lone Tree Two. It is made with recycled bottles and cans cemented together with a mortar mixture. The image on the right is of the south-facing side of the house, which is the only side with windows. The other three sides are made with car tires surrounded by a dirt mound. Sunlight enters from the south to heat the living spaces as the tire-walls absorb the energy. Electricity is generated by solar panels and stored in batteries while rainwater is collected on the roof and stored in cisterns. Inside the south wall is a garden for yearly food production. My research focuses on the builders and dwellers of these Earthships. I hope to understand the entanglement of materiality and sociality as it is built and lived by the activists. I am specifically interested in the mixture of low-tech/high-tech, off-grid/on-grid living, and the culture these buildings afford the users.