Academy, Day 18

It was another windy night last night and it didn’t let up all that much when we got up. I did get a snazzy picture of the cloud bank traveling overhead when we were leaving for class this morning, though.


It was quite frosty last night too. So much so that it snowed. It was just a light dusting, but enough so you could see it. Here is a picture of an iced over window of a mini-van parked in the Earthship Biotecture parking lot.


Our first class was more water systems with Lou, the plumber. He’s a fun guy and teaches pretty well. This class was about the grey water and black water systems that are used in an Earthship. How to pipe your drains into your planters, create the cell to flush the toilet and then take the black water out of the house. All sorts of stuff we’ll be tested on next week 🙂

After that, we had Earthship Types, part 2 with Phil. This class gave me some fun ideas. I had been leaning more towards flat land with a single story Earthship, but after this class, when he showed us some interesting designs they have been working on lately, I’m thinking of going back to the two-tiered design again. Also, you gain some big water advantages with a two-tiered approach.

My group wasn’t working on the main build site today. Instead, I got to do some finishing work on another building. We were working on bottle wall finishes. Similar to can walls, Earthships also use bottle walls, only the bottles often remain exposed so the light can shine through them. Remember that other post I made about making bottle bricks? This is where those bricks were used.

In this case, the bottles were already laid, I was just adding a first finishing coat of mortar and smoothing out the design a bit. Heather, an Earthshipper of some ten years or more was showing me how to do this. Her specialty is fancy bottle work so I was in her expert hands.

This first picture is part way through the procedure.


Because we were working on a wall that goes from the ground up to the top of the roof, there was some ladder work and other precarious positions while trying to accomplish our goal. I got to use some of my dusty climbing skills, so I had a good time.

This is what the wall looked like at the end of the day.


There was one part that still looks a bit rough, down beside the glass that was difficult to reach. You smooth out the concrete much the same way as you would if you were working with tile grout. You wet a spounge and wipe it over the surface. The water in the spounge dissolves a bit of the surface and you can then smooth it out. This is called floating. I was told there would be another finishing coat so I didn’t need to worry about the rough bit too much.

Here is another shot from above of the finished wall.


After that was all done, we were supposed to head over to the main build site for some Q&A, but it was over by the time we arrived. I did take the opportunity to take a picture of the progress that was made while I was working on the bottle wall.


Here you can see the framing that has been put up for the vertical greenhouse wall. They first put a plate down on the footing made of Trex, which is a composite plastic wood that they use for park benches and decks and what not. They use this because it will never rot. Then the wood framing for the windows is nailed onto the Trex.

I took a picture of a pile of lumber and you can also see what Trex looks like. It’s the dark brown stuff.


Trex is a brand name and I don’t know if they sell in Canada, but I’m sure we have similar materials available. One thing they did say is that Trex is like 3x the cost of regular lumber. Use it only where it is crucial.

Remember yesterday I mentioned vigas? Well, here is a picture of the pile of vigas we will be running from the back wall to the vertical green house wall. These are the main support for the roof. Yes, the roof is gonna be really strong, these logs are 12 inches (30cm) in diameter.


Tomorrow is another full work day, so I’m sure we’ll see more progress at the main build site. On our way back to our residence, we saw how much snow had fallen up in the mountains. I took a picture through the car window.


That peak was almost bare the day before. There is a big ski resort up there somewhere on the north side, so I’m sure all the skiers were happy about the new powder.


5 thoughts on “Academy, Day 18”

  1. I can’t take it anymore. Or, I could, but I’m choosing not to.

    ‘Lumbar’ – the name of the vertebrae in your lower spine.
    ‘Lumber’ – wood.

    If your lumbar are made of lumber, it’s not good, it’s wood.

    Your local grammar nazi,
    Just call me Der Führer

  2. We definitely have “plastic” wood decking up here… not sure if it is the same/similar stuff to Trex.
    BTW, we received more snow today as well… supposed to go up to 8 degrees today! Is it wrong to think that it is going to be “really hot”?

  3. Depends. Did you break out the shorts, G?
    Amusingly enough, I see that Taos is currently at 18 degrees Fahrenheit while Cobden is registering 23. ~K~

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