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House #
House Style
Size Ft2
Year Built
Earthship (First in State), rammed tire walls
General Contractor
Sub-contractors (significant) & Type
Owners + Michael Reynolds (earthship originator) for engineering Owners Michelle Mondot—Stucco and Tile
Primary E-Design Factors
Significant E-Products Used
Recycled tires local, and from Spokane, plus empty aluminum cans.
Dirt from site used to fill tires.
Cork floor
Large indoor planters, which are open to the ground below.
Recycled tires and aluminum cans. Recycled tires that won't be burned or sent to land-fills.
Efficient passive solar heating.
Blends into site.
Able to grow food indoors!
Tilted passive solar windows are difficult to upkeep - seams fail and snow is tough to clear. Some new earthships have corrected this.

This house is the first permitted "Earthship" in the state. Earthships use old tires packed with earth as forms to make a wall which are, (or can be), load bearing and are very strong and stable. The wall, typically the north wall, is built into a hillside or bermed (the east and west walls may also made in the same way). The southern wall is largely glass to take advantage of passive solar heating. The earth wall/s offer the insulating properties of berming, and function as thermal masses i.e., heat collectors. This house fits the typical design for an earthship, being a rather long narrow rectangle (the long axis is east-west), which enables the winter sun to penetrate most of the space. The earthship is heated with a supplemental wood stove as needed in winter. Burial wiring is installed in wall channels, to code. There is a traditional septic system. They used local and repurposed wood. This house is beautifully detailed, and feels peaceful, quiet/lively and spacious. Building a tire walled house requires a lot of labor (there are over 2400 tires in the house walls), but the tires are often available free, except for the delivery to the site. The earthship is a good house for an owner builder who intends to tread lightly on the site, use materials in their least adulterated state and use materials that would be tossed into the land fill otherwise.

Note: This house cost them about $22 Ft 2 in 1992, because they did most of the labor themselves, with some help from friends. An inspiration.

There is a series of large planters, running most of the length of the house, formed by the base of the southern wall. The planters are open to the ground, below. Because the earth is always approximately 55 degrees, a few feet down, and the planters are directly next to the passive solar windows, plants enjoy a good temperature for growing. The house plants, with so many flowers in bloom, bring the summer beauty into the winter. And watering percolates to the ground with no bad effect on the interior of the house. In fact, the large number of plants provide a green house comfort when the snow is deep. This house is a refuge from the heat in summer.

Earth plaster stucco covers the walls, planters and exterior of the house. Because this plaster has been applied with great skill, it enables the house to feel integrated with the site and brings an esthetic integrity to the entire building. Even the showers are aesthetically designed with plaster.

Owners Advice: The tires should be as uniform as possible for ease of construction. Consider making your house as small as possible. "There is no free lunch". Buildings use a lot of resources, money and labor. Try to use local resources when building.

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