by PBS Digital Studios
An Earthship is a home that captures its own water, recycles its own sewage, and produces all its own electricity and food. It’s meant to function completely independent of the power grid or any infrastructure at all. Do we need the grid? Can we live off the grid?

In the high desert of New Mexico, at the foot of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, lies a small community of people who are living completely off the grid.

And it’s all possible because of the way they build their homes.

An Earthship is a home that captures its own water, recycles its own sewage, and produces all its own electricity and food. First conceptualized in 1970s by Michael Reynolds, an Earthship is meant to function like a self-sustaining spaceship or like the Earth itself, completely independent of the power grid or any infrastructure at all.

Earthships have been built all over the world, in all kinds of climates, from the deserts of New Mexico all the way to Siberia. They can be constructed with very few specialized skills and the materials they are made of are readily available.

Upon first glance, an Earthship appears to be just a regular house with all the amenities we’ve come to expect. There’s hot and cold running water, lights, TV, wi-fi, and even a greenhouse. But underneath it all, much of the Earthship’s structure is garbage. Literally. They are built out of discarded tires, bottles, and cans.

So we’re going to Earthship Biotecture to see what makes them tick. Then we’re going to stay the night in one, and see if our energy future might lie somewhere off the grid!

One man’s trash is another man’s Earthship.
earthship gifs
earthship gifs

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