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Earthship Development

What is an Earthship?

Just as a ship setting off on a long voyage must provide for all the needs of its crew, so an Earthship provides for the basic needs of shelter, water and electricity through its design and systems.

An Earthship is a passive solar building with thermal mass. This means that it maintains a comfortable living temperature year round. It is made from natural and recycled materials - predominantly earth-rammed tyres and aluminium cans. It is powered by renewable energy, such as wind, water and solar power. It catches its own water supply from rainwater, and treats and contains its own sewage in planter beds.

Earthships are a concept, not a set design. They can be adapted for any climate worldwide. Earthships offer people the opportunity to build their own homes and make a conscious decision to live lightly on the earth.

Where did they come from?

Earthships were first developed in South Western USA in the 1970s. Since then they have evolved tremendously and now exist in virtually every climate. There are over 2000 Earthships and they are spreading fast! For Earthship Biotecture in New Mexico please visit

The Scottish Earthship

"It is the aim of Sustainable Communities Initiatives to demonstrate the Earthship's performance in the Scottish climate, as well as the costs involved and the best route through planning and building control."

Both the functionality and the aesthetics of the Earthship have been adapted for Scotland in the Earthship Fife project.

Read more: What is an Earthship? (pdf 100K).

Read Paula Cowie's 2000 Dissertation Sustainable Housing in Scotland: Are Earthships Viable?
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