Earthship Homes: The Next Big Sustainable Housing Trend?


Earthships are off-grid homes built out of recycled and natural materials that focus on passive heating and cooling.

If you’re curious about off-grid living, you may have heard of an Earthship. Earthship homes are built partially into the earth out of upcycled and natural materials and constructed to be able to maintain a comfortable temperature year-round without requiring a conventional HVAC system.

Earthship home design makes use of natural resources to build an ecologically friendly and sustainable home that has on-site sewage and water systems and food sources that allow residents to be completely self-sufficient. Here’s what you need to know about major Earthship design principles and building an Earthship house.

An Earthship is an off-grid home built with upcycled materials, like tires and metal, and natural materials, such as sand, mud, and wood.

Earthship homes are designed to provide a comfortable living environment year-round without the use of supplemental heating and cooling devices. With innovative design top of mind, these structures make use of the sun’s warmth, the coolness of the earth, and thermal mass principles to achieve this. Clean energy sources such as solar panels and wind power supply electricity for running household necessities.

Since they are constructed with natural and upcycled materials and designed around their natural surroundings, each Earthship house has a unique, one-of-a-kind appearance that makes it distinguishable not only from more traditional home styles, but also from other Earthship homes.

Earthships were first developed by architect Michael Reynolds and follow six fundamental design principles. These principles are what make an Earthship home self-sustainable, durable against changes in climate, and non-reliant on traditional energy sources. These principles govern how to build an Earthship, as well as how to maintain one. These principals include: Passive Solar Heating & Cooling, Solar & Wind Energy, On Site Sewage Treatment, Natural & Recycled Materials, Water Harvesting, and Food Production.


This article caught my attention because of the house’s interesting appearance. To create a house of primarily natural and recycled materials is a super interesting concept and even more interesting to see in action. The use of glass bottles in the walls to insulate the house was quite interesting to see. This makes me wonder how recycled materials can be added between wet layers of a 3D printed concrete form and if this would add value in any way.


Recycled and alternative material may be utilized between layers of a 3D printed form

Natural materials and processes can be implemented to reduce environmental impact and add a unique artistic element to the design