BuildingEnergy SystemsLandWaste Systems & Recycling

The Multi Bioregion Earthship

Adaptation – any alteration in the structure or function of an organism or any of its parts that results from natural selection and by which the organism becomes better fitted to survive and multiply in its environment.

Who am I if not myself?

So, you’ve decided that you would like to live a more sustainable life — filled with natural homes, gardens and fresh water among other things. This transition is one that needs to be carefully thought and felt out. There are questions such as "where am I going to live?" or "what kind of dwelling do I want to have?", "what am I going to do for an income?" among other variables I’m sure you have racing around in your head.

We are going to focus on adapting the Earthship design concept to suit your bioregion. Before you get into the actual design of the house you need to ask yourself “What do I want for myself in this life?” It could be things like health, spiritual prosperity, a broad vocabulary, financial independence; it could really be anything! Try and spend some time in a place that you feel most yourself in. Somewhere really comfortable and go over what is really important to you. What do you want people to say about you in an eulogy once you pass? What are you going to leave as your legacy?

Take your time! This is definitely a part of the process that doesn’t need to be rushed. Remember to give yourself room to shift and evolve into who you may become. What you believe in and hold dear to yourself now may change in time, with experience.

And don’t forget, have fun with it! The end goal is a product of the process towards it. If the journey is enjoyable, the destination will hold a bounty of fruit.

Once you have set the foundation for the path that will lead you to your sanctuary, you can then start thinking about what features will serve the tangible living out of that journey. Lets take a short break from this and talk about what ‘Earthships’ actually are.

Traditionally, the term ‘Earthship’ was coined by renegade architect Michael Reynolds when he set out on a quest to free people from the clutches of utility companies and local infrastructure. The motherland for Earthships are in Taos, New Mexico, which is high desert country in south-west United States. They have an annual rainfall of seven inches, and the temperature ranges from approximately 15°C below zero to around +40°C. They get more than 300 days a year of full sunshine, heavy snow as well as winds that could blow the very thoughts out of your head without warning!

Inside greenhouse

Reynolds came up with an integrated design concept that could deal with these harsh conditions in a way that is sustainable for people and planet, making sure that all areas of survival were covered. Here are the six main elements that make up an Earthship:

  1. Building with natural and recycled material
  2. Thermal/solar heating and cooling
  3. Solar and wind electricity
  4. Water from the sky
  5. Food production
  6. Sewerage treatment

What separates Earthships from other natural and ecological house designs is that each one of those six elements operate simultaneously. Just like the human body, the systems of the home nurture and support one another to become a fully functional, healthy home that not only takes care of your survival, but your lifestyle becomes one that encourages you to thrive and evolve to your true potential.

Now, these buildings were initially designed to withstand and operate in arid/semi-arid bioregions. Since their birth, Earthships have gone global. Taking on the challenges of different bioregions has proven to be an exciting and ever-evolving learning experience.

Here are a few criticisms that I hear from time to time regarding Earthships:

  • Tyres are toxic
  • There is not enough natural light
  • There is too much concrete used
  • They are only suited to the desert

All of these concerns are real and well worth looking into. So lets do that!

Like all great ideas and concepts, they require constant evaluation and evolution. Just like water, if they remain stagnant, it restricts movement and eventually becomes toxic! Lets have a look at the six Earthship elements and how we can adapt them to different bioregions.

1. Building with natural and recycled materials, and 2. Thermal solar heating/cooling (I am including both because they are heavily integrated)

Earthships use a lot of tyres, bottles and cans in their standard designs. We look at using the byproducts of society as a way of engaging with the last part of their production cycle, their death. This part of the cycle is ignored a lot in society as it has a certain stigma attached to it. There is a lot of fear that circles around death, trash, faeces and waste in general. This leads to a disconnect between the human and the pinnacle of their cycle. Without death and waste, you don’t have rebirth. In turn, by utilising the byproducts of society, we are engaging that last part of the cycle and giving waste new life.

Tyres are steel belted, rubber encased building blocks that are piled up in mass graves around the world, where they spontaneously combust and degrade in the full sun. As a building material, they can hold a lot of thermal mass. A standard tyre can hold up to a wheel barrow and a half of rammed earth. When pounded they weigh around 125kg per tyre. They are fire proof, earthquake resistant, pest proof and in the right conditions, they wont degrade for lifetimes!

It has been said that tyres will leach and off-gas when set in the wall of a house. This is true if the work hasn’t been done in the right conditions. Firstly, tyres stop leaching gasses once they have done 20,000 miles on the road (for more info look at off-gassing). If you are building with tyres, make sure they have little to no tread left on them.

For materials to degrade they need to be exposed to varying elements (dry to wet, sun to shade, etc). The tyres need to be pounded to near full capacity so there is no wind damage, they need to be buried on one side with a waterproof membrane that will stop moisture from seeping in and they need to be plastered on the front face so there isn’t any direct sun. In this sense, there is no opportunity for the tyres to degrade because they are encased completely in earth.

In saying this, you don’t need to use tyres for your main building material to achieve thermal mass storage and load bearing capabilities. In some places it is unnecessary to have that much thermal storage capabilities. Here is a run down of a couple of different environments I have lived in and some likely conditions to think about.

Melbourne, AustraliaMelbourne is subject to the ‘four seasons in one day’ weather pattern. It can be raining in the morning, sunny by lunch and then hailing blood by tea! Melbourne averages around 180 cloudy days a year, around 50 clear days and an average of 100 days of rain annually ( climate/averages/tables/cw_ 086071.shtml). This means that in Melbourne they will not be able to store as much thermal mass from passive solar gain because they just don’t have as much winter sun. You orientate a home to face the winter sunrise so you can avoid the harsh direct rays of the summer sun. You do not need all that potential for thermal storage so what are you going to use instead? Looking at materials that have high insulation properties would be a good place to start — materials such as straw-bale and hempcrete, for example.

Using these materials will restrict a lot of the external weather conditions from impacting the temperature inside the house. You will still need some thermal storage however, for keeping the internal temperature consistent. Natural plasters are a good way to go. Cob and lime plasters have great thermal properties. Having an internal fire source, cooking, making love, having people around at your house, are a few good ways of creating energy to store in the thermal mass in the walls. Finally, you will need to heavily insulate your roof area to reduce the heat leaving your house. There are many more things you could do but this is only one small article!

Nimbin, Australia This area is subtropical. We get 91 inches of rainfall a year, sunny days in winter, humidity, a lot of clay, white ants (termites) plus many more variables I wont get into. How it differs from Taos is that Nimbin doesn’t get the variables in temperature that New Mexico does. You aren’t trying to harvest sun energy here because there is little to no frost. It is all about shade, waterproofing, keeping the white ants away and ventilation. You could definitely build with tyres here because the insulation factor isn’t as important as it is in cold/temperate climates like Melbourne. You could also use earth bags, mud bricks, hempcrete, straw-bale and stone as your main building material. It can get cold in the winter nights here so storing some mass will be beneficial. You are still orientating your house correctly because the summer sun is a wild beast here in the sub-tropics. Instead of trying to build a greenhouse to harvest as much sun as possible like they do in standard Earthship design, build a verandah instead. A verandah will shade you from the sun, and in doing so it can take up to 10 degrees off your internal temperature if done correctly. This also creates an outdoor entertainment area which is important in the subtropics — because it’s so good to be outside here!

It gets very humid so cross ventilation and a fire source is also a great idea as well as natural plasters. Natural plasters breathe and allow for the movement of moisture. The movement of moisture stops dampness issues that lead to mould. There are also no issues with harvesting water here. It is more of an issue of channelling and redirecting water to allow for flow. This can be done with french drains and also by building your house off the ground. You can raise an earth home off the ground using gravel or road base if you don’t want to put a home on poles. It all comes down to building in the right spot, with the right materials, for the right reasons.

3. Solar/wind electricity

Now that the climate of your home is fairly consistent, you don’t need to really spend that much on huge power systems. Residential homes use on average 47% of their power usage on heating and cooling space. That is one huge cost just eliminated!

Now, you have the sun and the wind that can take care of the rest.

You do not need to restrict yourself to these technologies though. Again it’s about what is appropriate for your circumstances. Solar and wind power energy systems are the most readily available and well-researched off-grid power sources on the market at the moment. The advancements in solar alone is mind boggling. This is definitely the easy way of getting power off-grid.

Things to consider – do you get enough sunlight to make solar a viable option? There are some panels you can get that operate better in cloudy conditions. You will need to research the average sun hours of where you live versus your average usage and then you can design a power system to best suit you.

You may want to get creative with your power harvesting. Try things like hydro-electric if you have a running stream, for example.

4. Harvesting water from the sky, and 5. food production, and 6. Sewerage treatment (all of which are part of one integrated system, the water trail!)

All the water used in Earthships is harvested from the clouds. The roof is turned into a bowl which gathers water to store in holding tanks. The same body of water is then used in all the sinks and showers in the house. From there the grey water is sent to an interior grey water treatment cell which also grows plants and food. From there the now filtered grey water is sent to the toilet cistern which flushes human waste into a septic system that filters itself and expels high nutrient black water to feed exterior plants and fruit trees.

Let’s look at the different stages of the water trail:

Harvesting water from the roof This is especially important for homes being built in dry/arid climates. When you are short on water, it is a great idea to harvest as much of it as you can. For this reason, having a larger roof area will make for greater harvesting capacity. This becomes a delicate dance between having enough roof to harvest sufficient water and not making the interior rooms so big that it becomes difficult to make the temperature consistent. A great trick is extending the outdoor undercover living are to expand your harvesting capabilities.

If you have high snowfall, sometimes is could be beneficial to run the pipes for your solar hot water along the top of your roof so when they heat up, they melt the snow and you harvest more water before the snow evaporates.

If you have high rainfall, your options become wide open. For example, you don’t need as large a harvesting area because your rain is fairly consistent. What you can do is play with where your water is coming from and how it is getting to your house. Let’s say you are living on a slope and you build your home on a slightly lower part of the hill. A little higher on the hill you can have your undercover car parking area/garage. You can harvest your rainwater off this area and have your storage tank beneath the shed. Then you could gravity-feed the water down to the house, thus eliminating the need for electric pumps and allowing for natural water pressure. This frees up the roof of your house to be used as an extra entertainment area, or extra growing area. If you make a green roof, that will really help with the stability in room temperature.

Grey water treatment cell Once the water has had its first use, whether it’s been the shower, sink or bath, it is then ready to be sent through the interior treatment cell. Traditionally, the treatment cell is located in the hall or lounge room. It grows food for the household while cleaning the grey water at the same time. The cell is dug out with a slope that gradually falls to its lowest point. It is then lined with pond liner, gravel, sand, soil and plants. The water is reticulated four times a day to prevent bacteria from developing. The gravel cleans any large particles and the roots from the plants eat finer nutrients. At the end of the cell the water is at a point of cleanliness where it can be used for flushing the toilet.

This system has been designed for an area where the external growing of plants is restricted by large seasons of frost and limited water fall. A couple of extra benefits of this system is that it introduces plant and water life, into the house. This allows for a richer quality of oxygen within the living space. It also introduces literal life into a space which is usually taken up with dead materials and electrical equipment. This works great for personal well-being and happiness. Even areas that don’t have issues with outdoor growing space would benefit from the multi purpose system. You could grow herbs and vegetable that you use on a daily basis internally for ease of accessibility. Look at the inside garden bed as a living pantry of sorts. If you are building somewhere that has a very high water table, you may want to consider building this system above ground.

Sewerage treatment After the grey water has been filtered through your interior garden space, you are now ready for the third and fourth use — the toilet and the black water treatment cell. The grey water from the grey water cell is now pumped up to the toilet cistern. From there the toilet is flushed. You use a homemade septic system that uses basic rock filtration, anaerobic breakdown with the help of microbial filtration, which leaves you with a high nutrient black water. The ‘black gold’ is then run through a reed bed that has soil on top of it as well as plants and trees that can take high nutrient content. This is the final resting place for the water.

Again this system can be adapted to suit your environment and personal preference. Personally, I love using compost toilets that provide you with organic matter for the garden. The beauty of using a composting toilet is that it frees you up for one more water use after the grey water treatment cell! There are many compost toilet designs out there which are either DIY or shop bought systems. It’s all about finding out what is right for you and the land you call home.

That is the big lesson in all of this. There is no time like the time it takes to work out that time is not important! Once you start to learn all of these systems and how they integrate with each other, the fun can really begin.

Try camping out on your site for a while — you will really get to know your land on an intimate level. Speak to it, walk with it every day, and most importantly, listen to it. It is kind of like a relationship you would have with a lover. You wouldn’t purposefully get pregnant with someone you have just met. You would get to know one another, find out what they are all about. You would have times where you think it just isn’t worth the pain and other times where you feel so filled with joy that lightning could strike you and you would die a happy human. Your love-making gets more intense and passionate as your love grows into something that can only be described as the uniting of twin souls. Then you start to talk about what kind of upbringing you want for your children. You talk about if you agree on physical discipline, Steiner schooling and sport among other things. Then there is that day that you finally take the plunge with each other, and have a child. You are overjoyed with this blessing you have been given and you are now excited about the next exciting chapter of your life….

Building a house on your land is very similar! It is a relationship between your spirit, your land and your creativity. Like all good things, it takes time, passion and forward thinking. Wherever there is passion there is spirit. Forward thinking keeps the previous two from lifting off the ground and onto a place of unrealistic dreaming. The balance is the tricky part.

Just remember, if it all seems too much, to hard, or out of reach, just go back to that special place that you hold dear to yourself and sit there. Feel and think it out again. It is this place where you will find answers that you will never find in books, videos and lectures. This is where you will find your foundation that will lead you to the right books, videos and lectures. Ghandi said "be the change that you want to see in the world" and that is it. The change in human understanding begins with you and ends with you.

Happy journeying folks!


  1. I must say I would never advise anyone to build this way and I cannot see any sense to it.

    1. Hi Geoff, could you please expand on your comment. I have been thinking of building an earthship and can’t see any downside with the design. Having said that I would really value your perspective on any problem areas you have noticed. I would also like to hear your thoughts on alternative designs that you prefer particularly for cold climates. Thanks mate.

    2. im finding it difficult to understand why you would advise that. is it the tyres you arent into or you just arent into integrated natural systems? because you dont need to build with tyres. as a matter of fact i am not going to be building my place out of tyres. i will be looking to other sources for my thermal mass

    3. are you THE Geoff Lawton or A Geoff Lawton? this doesnt sound like a THE comment at all…trolls not welcome here thanks

        1. Hi Geoff. Thanks for both yours and Roberts input and explanations.

          As I commented previously, I don’t burn a candle for earthship buildings and have no experience with them. It is good to see that the Permaculture Research Institute will actually publish an article that is of a contrary nature to the experiences of the more well recognised and experienced people within that organisation. I respect that.

          I was completely unaware of any perceptions of cult like status surrounding these style of buildings as that sort of thing is not on my radar.

          As to the use of concrete, well I did state that I’ve been involved in contemporary building practices as well as many styles of older houses built as far back as the 1890’s. I can only state from experience that the vast majority of brand new buildings in Australia – including many alternative styles such as strawbale – use vast amounts of concrete and materials with massive amounts of embodied energy – and the vast majority (not all though) apparently have such a short life expectancy. It is a bit of a shame really.

          I have no beef with any of you and have additionally put my own resources where my mouth is and built an unusual dwelling which works on the principle of an esky being very heavily insulated. The weather here can swing between 44.5C one day to 18C the next day so the house works at this site but may not work everywhere. I never proposed that there is a one answer fits all to dwellings and the design should most importantly respect the site, location and history.

          Anyway, I hope we are all good.

  2. Hey Duuvy. Only someone with hands on building experience could write an article like this. Well done and respect. Your description of Melbourne’s climate and the appropriate building response was the most accurate I have yet seen anywhere.

    I built my own house at the farm here north of Melbourne and followed the above elements 2 to 6. Element 1 was a non starter due to the change in building codes relating to the new bushfire standard AS3959-2009 (what a headache). I have included many recycled materials where possible, without contravening the standard though. The primary emphasis here was on insulation, rather than thermal mass and the building just works beautifully.

    Over the past two decades I have done much building work (extensions and complete houses) and it both became obvious and occurred to me during that time that your description of appropriate responses to a particular environment was the correct one. It is just a shame that few people understand that.

    1. thanks for the feedback. i have had quite a bit of building experience. training with michael reynolds in taos, setting up and facilitating the building of the first earthship in australia as well as plenty of retrofit projects and small scale builds.

      would love to hear more about your experiences in the colder part of the country. always looking to expand my understanding of different bioregions.

      thanks again for contacting

  3. Hi Geoff. Thanks for your thoughts. I have no experience at all with earthships and don’t burn a candle for them. My perspective on appropriate building design responses was formed from hands on work with current building techniques over a couple of decades as well as work on post WWII and Victorian era housing. The housing stock in Australia is of a pretty ordinary standard as it was built without reference to the environment and has to be both mechanically heated and cooled.

    On the other hand, if you’ve ever been involved with the planning and building permit system in Australia you’d know that to attempt to build any structure outside of the accepted industry norms is an epic uphill battle.

    A good example of an appropriate building material that cannot be used here is strawbale. This material has outstanding insulation properties. However, despite anecdotal evidence of the materials resistance to fire it is not allowed to be used in bushfire areas (beyond a certain risk level) due to the simple fact that no one can afford to conduct the specific tests in the new AS3959-2009 standard with the CSIRO which can cost upwards (I believe) of $50,000 per test.

    I accept that you have more real world experience with these earthship buildings, but I’m left confused by your comment.

    The house here – which I built with my own hands – was built using industry accepted materials to achieve a very high level of fire resistance and insulation standards and that permeated every aspect of the design from the roof to the windows and walls. The government has since put the fear into the population of bushfires and now there are anecdotal accounts that there is a blanket ban on people building in these sorts of areas – despite natural disasters such as flooding affecting many more people and dwellings every year.

    On the other hand I respect the earthship peoples sheer audacity in attempting to construct anything different using cheap and available materials. I believe – and I’m happy to be corrected on this matter – that the average new house built in Australia now has a life expectancy of approximately 35 years.

  4. Hi there,

    As a self-builder with 8 years’ experience working with cob and straw bale, I must say that I agree with Geoff, I am not at all impressed with the earthship design. It’s a bit like the craze for geodesic domes: they may sound like a nice idea in theory, but for all sorts of reasons they make a terrible house.

    To be honest, I think that Earthships are a bit of a cult. To say “What separates Earthships from other natural and ecological house designs is that each one of those six elements operate simultaneously.” is just to ignore deep-rooted building traditions and the enormous advances made in ecological design all over the world since the second world war.

    People who are not aware of the vast range of low-cost options for housing with low-impact natural and recycled materials, are being sucked into a system of building (tyres filled with rammed earth) that is tremendously labour-intensive and not at all user-friendly.

    Tyres packed with rocks or earth can make good retaining walls, but terrible interior house walls because the very irregular shape of the finished wall means you have to throw an immense amount of plaster at it… and because it’s very difficult to get natural plaster to stick to tyres, people often use concrete. Not very low-impact.

    If you want to know about effective and safe greywater treatment, check out Art Ludwig’s Graywater Oasis site. If you store greywater in your toilet cistern what you will get is a smelly, dirty cistern! If you’re that short of water you should be using a “Humanure” style dry composting toilet anyway.

    Sorry to be a downer, but I think it’s important to weed out the bad ideas in order to let the good ones flourish!

    1. i have applied natural plasters to tyres many times and have never experienced any difficulty with it. mainly because the little amount of tread left on the tyre act as a scratch coat to hold onto the material.

      yes i do agree with you that the earthship concept has formed somewhat of a craze or cult status. this is unfortunate because it has created a dogma of sorts which is never positive. what i am trying to show in this article is that with any ideology or concept, it is good to look at is as a malleable foundation that can be appropriated to different conditions.

      as far as building with tyres, personally i wouldnt do it, but some people do. it does require a lot of extra material but no it does not necessarily need to be cementitious. for example martin freney in SA used cob to pack out all the areas in between the tyres and for the plastering. tyres are great to use but in the long run it does take a fair amount of energy and extra cost in steel reinforcement. if it works out for people to use it though, then go for it!

      and really, i havent seen any other natural home design that integrates its systems like earthships do. doesnt mean that they dont exist, it just means that the earthship brand is accessible for people to draw inspiration from. for that reason, the fact that it is a craze is great. otherwise you can just get lost in the whirlwind of natural building. i dont really like using the title earthship because i dont think it serves what we do correctly because of what earthships are in its traditional sense. but for now, i use the name because it is something that people identify with and understand. it also provides a platform for people to evolve and adapt from.

      in saying all this, your comment is totally justified. like with any ideology, it is great to take the points from it that you agree with and discard the stuff that doesnt resonate with you. thats what we try to encourage when people do our workshops and courses. dont take what we teach you as gospel, use it as an inspiration. take the physical tools that we give you and use them to communicate whatever it is that you believe in. at least we kind of say something like that haha. thanks for the feedback anyhow

    2. Hi Robert, very interesting post. So the problems that you see are 1, It’s labour intensive 2, not user friendly (could you expand on this one, I’m not sure what you mean) 3, very difficult to plaster interior with natural plaster. 4, grey water makes the toilet smell (didn’t know that thanks for the insight). OK note taken on these but overall it doesn’t seem much of a downside for the things it does like self heating at a constant temp, self water gathering, in house food growing. As far as I’m aware it’s build cost is relatively low, maybe a little more on glass but that’s all.
      So could you tell me if there are any other major problems that you perceive with it.And if you wouldn’t mind direct me to a good source for alternative designs that you feel generally out perform it websites or books etc. I’m sure a lot of people reading this would really appreciate it. I haven’t built an earthship myself so it’s hard to properly evaluate it particularly without something to hold up in comparison to it. I’m still not convinced that Earthships are a bad design but it’s so important to have knowledgable people like yourself help evaluate it. Thanks mate. Look forward to hearing what you think.

    3. I agree with everything you said Robert. It was a relief for me reading Geoff’s first comment and the second agreeing with you as well.

  5. Thanks for your comments everyone.

    There are many, many possible ways to build a house, and there are many possible ways to integrate the different functions discussed in this article. Which ways work best for you will depend on many different factors — local climate, building materials, skills and traditions, your needs and requirements — so there is no single answer to the question “what is the best design for an ecological house.” Which is my real beef with the Earthship — that it is being presented as THE answer.

    Duvvy, you say on the one hand that you have applied natural plaster to tyres many times, and on the other hand, that you wouldn’t work with tyres, though other people would. I’m a bit confused! I’ve always heard that the Earthship concept is an earth-sheltered building made of tyres filled with rammed earth. But if not, then I’m no longer clear on what defines an Earthship.

    In answer to your questions, Patrick:

    By “not user friendly” I mean, mainly, that a wall built out of tyres is not a particularly pleasant thing to have in your house, nor is it a very user-friendly way to build (mainly, all that ramming and plastering.) You can get to the same place (i.e. a passive solar house that requires little or no heating or cooling, uses a lot of natural light etc.) in any number of different ways: straw bale, rammed earth (using slip forms not tyres), compressed soil blocks, cob, earth bag, timber frame, etc. I’d consider using tyres in the foundation of one of these building systems, or perhaps (as I’ve said) in a retaining wall. But not as a house wall.

    Water gathering can be done almost anywhere with any kind of roof.

    Sewage treatment — for many people Humanure (dry composting) is the best solution. In our house we have a dual-chamber composting system which traps and composts the solids from our flush toilets (we have to add sawdust), whereas the liquids go into a trench where they are treated, along with the grey water. In any case I would stick by the principle of taking the greywater out into a treatment system as quickly as possible, not trying to treat it inside your house.

    Indoor growing — while it’s nice to have green plants in your house, I don’t know how much of your food supply it is really possible to grow inside your home — also, there can be problems with too much humidity. Where we live has a fairly mild and humid climate, so we don’t need a greenhouse integrated into our house. Again, it depends on your context.

    I can’t really tell you which building system is best — if you look at our website you will see the kind of options we chose for our particular situation. I suggest you read up on the different techniques I’ve mentioned and see what the options are, at least.

    1. hi robert

      sorry for the confusion. ill try to simplify it a little. i have used natural plasters on tyres and it has worked a treat. that is in response to your comment on applying natural renders to tyres. i personally wouldnt use tyres because from my experience they require extra steel reinforcement that is costly and unnecessary. i much prefer to use materials like straw bale, cob and earth bags depending on the bioregion. thats why in the article i spoke about other materials that can be used to replace tyres if you dont desire to use them. that is actually what the whole article is about. it is about adapting the concept to suit different bioregions.

      the earthship concept is not solely based on a house made out of rammed earth tyres. this is what they traditionally use as their main building material. the earthship concept is about the integration of the six living systems that are listed and discussed in the article. they operate in symbiosis. that is what the concept is at its core essence. michael reynolds likes to use tyres because they are freely available, they have great thermal and load bearing qualities amongst a host of other benefits. as i mentioned in the article and as i have mentioned here, you do not have to use them for the concept to be true.

      on a side note, i have lived in over 8 of these buildings at varying times of year and the toilet cistern does not smell at all. once the grey water is treated in the botanical cell and then goes through an additional particle filter before it hits the cistern, the pathogens have been processed and there is no smell left. its about mastering your filtration system

    1. Hi Robert – you can either reply to the entire thread, which will put your comment at bottom, or reply to individual comments (as I am replying to you now), which will create a sub-comment to whoever you’re replying to. The choice is yours.

  6. Would bookshelves act as extra insulation? I live in a Zone 6/7 (apparently Zone 6 but I really feel the cold).
    I think a problem with tires as walls is that it means your wall’s cant be straight (which is bad for storage/hanging things on them).
    However didn’t that Kinglake/Pangea person say that circular low houses were more bush fire proof?
    What building materials do you recommend as an alternative to tires in cold dry climates?
    How do you build 2 stories (which is a more efficient use of space/enables you to have a larger garden (enabling livestock and native wildlife to browse)
    Also what plants do you recommend within the house for the greenhouse?

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