I don't know if anyone has ever heard of them but they are built into the sides of hills. Using earth friendly building and recyclable materials. I just wonder about the shifting of earth because I doubt you can have basements there.
They are a really cool houses, practically self sustained. There is a big community of them in Taos and they are becoming ever popular. Just wondered if anyone had any info on the subject relating to the islands.
That sounds like my house on STX. If concrete is recyclable. And there is good bed rock not very deep. It was a volcano a long time ago. Not to far from that Caribbean plate ether. If the big one comes it wont mater what it is made out of. ST is closer though.
How would you get water if it's built into the side of the hill since we need cisterns & a roof to get the water?
We dont have earth ships that like they do in Taos but there are several builders that are building as green as possible in the usvi's. Things that work in the desert do not work as well here because of the rain and hurricanes. So yes we have green houses but few look as interesting as earth ships. Although theres a concrete dome house going up on the hill next to me does remind me of some I saw in arizona.
Trade, they collect rain water and store in a cistern.(you have a collection system) You purify it yourself, and energy comes from solar. In Taos the walls are usually made of old tires packed with earth, then adobed over.They stay nice and cool because the are insulated from the earth on all sides. Usually all you see is glass in the side of a hill, it's tilted at a certain angel to let less sun in in the summer, and more sun in the winter. Not like that would matter on the islands. I wasn't sure if the the earth could sustain one, but it sounds like it might. Just a thought.
I was told by several people that STX is a sedimentary island, not volcanic. While STT and the others are volcanic. STX is on a different Teutonic plate than STT, and the PR trench runs between STX and STT. Was this wrong?
Just one more question. I'm assuming it's built into the side of the hill including the top of the house, right? So how do you collect rainwater? And you still build a cistern under the house?
Well if you look at my house the cistern laundry and pool pump room are under ground in the side of the hill. Above that is first floor the slab roof is two feet above road. Second floor will be only part truly above ground on all side. It is not done yet it just looks like a slab from the street. Trade that is how all my neighbors homes there already are so i will go and say it is common.
I pulled up a couple websites with photos and those shown weren't built completely into the hillside, so they had a roof. The cistern seems to be the same general concept used in the VI, with some additional features like water conservation methods & water treatment. I found a webpage that discusses the earth ship watersystem at http://www.builditsolar.com/Projects/SolarHomes/Earthship/Visit/WaterSystem.htm. It might answer your questions.
It looks like it is made out of concrete. I don't think it is made out of recyclable materials. Well you could mix some trash in the concrete if you want , is that recycling. They do look cool though.
Thanks for looking that up, Islander. I get it now.
I took a natural resources class in high school. The gentleman that came in showed us a slide show of how they built them. Generally they were built in the sides of hills or mountains. The ones he showed us, they were using old tires packed with dirt for the general wall building. They had a kind of recycling center in the house. Grey water from the wash and such were reused to water plants in the home. Cannot remember what they did with the black water. They had a collection center for water on top of the *house* and a filtration system to purify it. Electricity is from solar. I just found a couple of websites. Google *earthship* one word. Or check out this site.
Check this one out too.
I thought that maybe it might be an initial big investment, but if you almost live utility free the savings would add up big time.
Interesting info, Harlan. Thanks for posting it.
What does it cost? Wye would you pay god knows what to build when homes here are Eco friendly anyway. Water is free if you live in the right area. Septic is the norm. Heat does not exist. So solar would be the only thing that sounds good to me.
All energy cost are reduced - A/C included. My folks lived on the bottom level of an apartment building, 1/2 way below ground level. Their heating and cooling costs were about 1/4th that of the people who lived above them.
I would think they would be much safer in a hurricane as well. The materials are virtually free, old tires. It's mainly a lot of labor. But I think the cooling would be one of the best advantages. I think a lot of them use composting toilets, eliminating the cost if you have a back up in the septic. I personally don't like composting toilets, but they are very friendly.
Where most of the earth ships are built is in the desert and they dont get as much rain as we do either or have to worry about the massive amount a hurricane can drop in a short amount of time. Building below ground level here can be tricky and asking for leaking and flooding problems. Especially when large parts of the island are considered a flood zone. Most of the house here do utilize alot of earth ship like qualities as ashultz mentioned.