Academy, Day 6

I took a tonne of pictures today, but most will appear in other posts. It can be difficult to get some free time living with seven others to make a post, but I’ve been doing okay so far.

I do have one picture for today’s post. This is a vertical axis wind turbine. It’s not as efficient as some of the bigger ones, but it will run on much less wind so you can generate power more often. It kind of equals out.


Today we had class in the morning and then we toured some more Earthships. Four to be exact. I’ll be putting up the pictures from each as individual posts. Hopefully I can get caught up tomorrow on all of the other posts I have started but not published yet.


Academy, Day 5

Today was our first full day of working on site. No classes today. Mike Reynolds was on site when we got there this morning. You can see his back in the dead center of this picture.


I worked mostly on moving dirt today, making sure people pounding tires had enough and filling in the thermal pack and outside berm. This became much easier when the back hoe arrived 😛 Below you can see a picture of the top of the tirewall, with the thermal wrap (the white plastic line) three feet away from it. The thermal wrap is two sheets of 2 inch thick high density rigid insulation. What it does is it extends the thickness of the back wall of the house so it’s about six feet thick, so it will store a lot of temperature. It also insulates away from the frost and moisture that a house may encounter, allowing the thermal mass to keep its temperature.


Here you can see a bunch of people working on the tire wall. If you look close the the bottom and count the tire courses, you’ll see we’re at eight. Well, we only need to do nine courses and we already have that partially done from today. It’s gone pretty quick, which is good, because it’s really labor intensive.


The weather today was really freaky too. It was cold and cloudy, with rain just pummeling the mountains around us, but it never touched us. There were a few hours when the sun came out and then we were too hot. Then the clouds came back, the wind picked up and it got cold again. This is the land of really radical temperature changes within a really short amount of time. Like ten minutes.


This is Smidge. He’s one of several dogs owned by employees or interns who hang out around the Earthship community. Really friendly, and likes to see what everyone is doing.


Tomorrow, we have class again in the morning and then work in the afternoon.

Academy, Day 4

So, I meant to do this yesterday, but I forgot to take the picture. Below is a picture of the place where I am staying.


This is a really early experiment that was actually built around a vertical axis wind turbine to keep it from flying into the stratosphere. It’s mostly can wall, not much tire work. It’s three stories; I sleep on the second floor. Kitchen and common area are on the first floor and there are more sleeping spaces on the third. There are seven of us staying here right now.

Now on to what went on today.

We did Solar Thermal Heating and Cooling in class this morning with Mike Reynolds. This was all about how you can keep the building at a constant, comfortable temperature, with no burning of fuel, just a lot of compacted mass and the sun. It’s frikin’ awesome is what it is, and probably the topic of another whole post.

After that we had another class with Phil (another Earthship employee) who talked about using recycled materials for building blocks. Things like tires, aluminum cans, glass bottles, scrap metal and cardboard are all used to create an Earthship.

After that, we had lunch and then it was back outside to pound more tires. I’m getting better at it. I was working with a guy named Eric from Calgary and we got through ten tires in the 3.5 hours we were working at it. Not too bad for some pretty physical work. So far, my body hasn’t fallen apart, which is a good thing 😛

This first picture is end of day at the work site. I was working down at the far end on the right side, extending the tire wall.


This other picture was taken at the same time, just turned about 75 degrees to the left from the first shot. It shows the other end of the building. This Earthship is rather interesting because it is the first one they have ever made that incorporates a garage. The little pony wall coming out from the main back wall that you can see in the picture is the separating wall between the house and the garage.


I will do my best to try to post some concept posts, about tires and thermal mass and all that.

Academy, Day 3

Today, we went over Earthship terminology for the first half of class, and then we watched a new Earthship movie called New Solutions. It follows a full Earthship build down in Mexico from start to finish. They did it in 20 days too. Theses guys can really make things happen.

Yay, I have some pictures.


This was the start of the hands-on work part of the day. This is a shot of the work site before we got started. I pounded my first tires today. I did two full, plus a bunch of finishing on others. We had a bit of a set back on pounding tires because we need to put in a cooling tube, but they didn’t have one to put in.


This picture was taken after we were done for the day. You can see the new tires we added and we also worked on the thermal wrap around the back. Well, my group did anyway. Others were working on other parts. I’ll be pounding tires tomorrow too, as far as I know.

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