All Those Bottle Bricks….

Now that I had the basic concept of Earthships rooted in my mind, I began to do some digging on their materials. One thing that piqued my interest was the construction of the walls!  While it was apparent some modern methods were still used, the method of upcycling really caught my eye.  What exactly was it about these materials supplements that worked for the structure?  I decided to do some digging and try my hand at building an Earthship this past Sunday.  What follows should illuminate your imagination a little bit.

Plastic Bottle Bricks.  Sounds simple enough, and simple it is!  Plastic bottles are among the many industrially indigenous materials to every region of the earth.  They come in all sorts of colors and shapes.  Once stuffed to the brim with plastic bags they are stacked in staggered lines layered with cob to build a wall.  I investigated and found an article from The International Association of Advanced Technology and Science*1 that found these walls to be 20 times more structurally sound than normal brick walls.  So what about the other brick replacements?

Glass Bottle Bricks.  Those three words might stir up a scene of a bar fight, but I assure you it’s something quite more beneficial.  Used not just for structural strength and heat retention, but also as a means to beautify.  I discovered last Sunday at the Seattle Earthship build that you do not just shove a glass bottle in the mud and repeat.  You want to collect like colors so that you can cut off the necks and duct tape them together. Filling them with liquids is not advised*2

Bottle wall

Bottle wall

Beer Can Bricks.  Same principle applies as with the plastic bottles mentioned earlier; only they do not have to be stuffed with plastic bags.  The metal void both reinforces the concrete and serves as an air pocket for insulation.  Once stacked these walls are given a face coat of cob/mortar and sometimes plaster.  Using these materials means you spend less on your mortar or cob mix.

Cob – This is a term some of you may not know about.  It is a natural alternative to cement or mortar mixes that has been around for thousands of years.  The basic principle is to mix sand and clay together with a binder to create a stone-like material.  Binders come in the form of straw, plant fibers, and even hair.  Mix until globby: not too runny, but not dry.  The cob secures and weights down all the bottle/can bricks you have laid then essentially turns to stone.

I was able to experience this past Sunday at the Earthship Seattle build and had a great time!  Florian guided the attendees thru what to do to finish a glass bottle wall.  Some of us worked with sifting clay and making cob, while others set bottles in place and lay cob in a fashionable manner.  There is still much to be done there, and with regular workshops there is plenty of opportunity for YOU to come participate (for those of you interested*3).  See you all next week! – Seth

*1 Plastic bottle Brick Study – http://www.jiaats.com/Journals-Pdf/March-2015/jcme/Jcme-12.pdf

*1 Glass Bottle Bricks – http://earthship.com/blogs/2015/01/make-bottle-bricks/

*3 Earthship Seattle FB – https://www.facebook.com/EarthshipSeattle/?fref=ts


Free Earthship workshops in April

Here’s a tentative list of the upcoming free Earthship workshops at the Earthship Trash Studio site in Seattle (Columbia City neighborhood).

April 18th (Monday) from 11am to 3pm
April 23rd (Saturday) from 11am to 3pm
April 27th (Wednesday) from 11am to 3pm
April 29th (Friday) from 11am to 3pm

Please RSVP on Facebook or Meetup using the links below.

Click here to RSVP on Meetup.
Click here to RSVP on Facebook.

mlk party

If you’re new to all this, then keep reading:

The Trash Studio is an Earthship inspired tool shed which will act as the first demonstration of Earthship principles in Seattle.

It’s the first step toward showing the community and the local authorities that you can build cheap, super sustainable buildings that reuse trash and turn it into beautiful healthy buildings for the future.

This first project is critically important because it’s also acting as a test which will eventually help people in the greater Seattle area know how to design for our climate and how to get building permits for Earthships.

The building will also be used to demonstrate and teach sustainability and Permaculture in the years to come.

The Trash Studio is not a full on Earthship. An Earthship is a set of 6 principles: building with recycled and natural materials, passive heating and cooling, rain water harvesting, renewable electricity production, in door food production, and contained sewage treatment.

The Trash Studio is not implementing the Earthship principles about electricity, food, or sewage. It’s partially implementing the Earthship principles of passive heating and cooling, and rain water harvesting. It is implementing to an extreme the Earthship principle about recycled and natural materials. As a matter of fact, we have used absolutely no money on the build so far, and instead have been relying on volunteer work, various local gift economy networks, and creativity to turn trash into building materials.


An Aquapon’s Delightful First Earthship Meeting

Earthships. What are they? Are they talking about the Earth as a ship, or what exactly? Makes sense right? Sailing thru space and such. While I already knew the answer, I figured why not learn more locally if I can, so I did. Running ‘Anything Aquaponics’ here in Seattle, I have been interested in integrating Earthships into system designs for some clients, and having seen it done on a small scale I reached out to ‘Earthships Seattle’. They encouraged me to join their Meetup group and attend a meeting.

This past Monday I had the great fortune of dropping in on an Earthships Seattle meeting. Some attendees and myself were greeted by the host Florian at the door and ushered inside. Being among the first to arrive, we mingled while consuming the delicious appetizers as more members poured in. The food was just as diverse as the group; Individuals from all over the country, Central America and Europe. Stuffed peppers, pressed chocolate, and fresh bread from a Ballard bakery were among the many delightful hors d’œuvres. Once the group swelled to just over 20 folks the meeting formally began.

Event Organizer Sophie initiated a ‘fill-in-the-blank’ style of introductions to go around the room. Most people appeared to be new to the ‘ships’ as they are referred in these circles, but we privy to the concept and were inspired to drop in and learn more. A few members of the group have completed the Earthship Academy workshops and have built multiple ships all over the world. Tele-conference was also conducted for those who could not physically attend, but were still interested.
Following the introduction session a video clip from Democracy Now on Earthships was put on. The piece was on Michael Reynolds (the father of Earthships) the story behind the movement. One topic he covered that I bring up in my aquaponics classes is establishing local food security as a social dissent deterrent. Put more succinctly: feed hungry people and they are less likely to commit crimes.

Seth R. Connell

Seth R. Connell

Mr. Reynolds’ sense of humor was acceptably dry and industrious; poking fun at the global market machine by referring to glass bottles, soda cans, and used tires as ‘indigenous to all continents’. When questioned about his Architecture license being revoked by the government he confirmed the case. Reynolds went on to describe that because Earthships are so efficient and different that they do not abide by modern architecture’s international building code standards. After losing his license he came up with the term ‘Biotecture’, which ended up being the latter half of his new business ‘Earthship Biotecture’.

Other key points on the video to bring up for anyone not familiar are rather unbelievable to newbies. Benefits such as year-round indoor gardening, constant regulated temperature, solar/wind/alt power sources, and Eachship boasting a utility bill grand total of under $100 per year; those are the main head turners. Structures are on average comprised of 45% recycled or upcycled materials, and the rest purchased.

Upon the videos end, hearing their stories over the course of the night was rather inspiring. Some of the certified ship builders had actually spent months with Reynolds. From what I was able to gather, these homes average out to the same expense per square foot as a modern home. While that may be true, to this writer the benefits of Earthships drastically outweigh the plain functionless structure of the cookie-cutter boxes most of us call home.

Local Earthship events were mentioned as well if you feel like getting involved. What the group has dubbed the ‘Trash Studio’ is located in the Columbia City neighborhood of South Seattle. It is near completion and they have setup the final few workshop days on their Meetup.com page. Upcoming workshops are on the following dates and you can RSVP on their Meetup page: 3/16, 3/20, 3/27, and 3/29.

There are a variety of other opportunities for Earthships to be built in Western Washington which were mentioned, many of which are still up in the air, and our state’s legislators make it very difficult to approve plans. There are ways to work with city/county inspectors to get these projects accomplished and I’m sure there will be more information available as those respective projects move along.

About this time the meeting concluded and some people disembarked for home. I stayed and talked more in depth with those who stuck around, as well as signed up for some volunteer positions on the board. My aquaponics company keeps me busy, but there is enough downtime to contribute my time to helping this group get these ships in the ground (not off it).
If you are one of the people who actually practices being the change you want to see in the world, rather than just saying it, then you should definitely join this group! There are many other positions available for people to join this great group of skilled enthusiasts and certified builders. Workshops, meetings, and even road-trips to Earthships are among the activities they hold.

I personally had a fantastic time and am excited to play a role in the group. Can totally see myself turning from a professional Aquapon into a bit of a E-shipper/Shippie or whatever the proper moniker is. Please find them on meetup.com or on Facebook.
http://www.meetup.com/Earthship-Seattle/
https://www.facebook.com/EarthshipSeattle/


Earthship community get-together on April 6th!

Join us to learn about Earthships, meet people interested in sustainable living and building, and get involved!

We are excited to bring people together, new and old. Bring a dish you enjoy and a friend if you like!

Taos Mesa Brewery

Taos Mesa Brewery

Timeline:
7:00 Arrive
7:20 Eat and Greet
7:45 Intro to Earthship Seattle
8:00 Video about Earthships (changing monthly)
8:30 Volunteer Opportunity Sign Up and Questions
9:00 Head home or stay and mingle!

If you have any questions, please reach out to Sophie Suberman via Meetup or Facebook!

Click here to RSVP on Facebook!
Click here to RSVP on Meetup!


Free Earthship workshops in March

Here’s a tentative list of the upcoming free Earthship workshops at the Earthship Trash Studio site in Seattle (Columbia City neighborhood).

March 16th (Wednesday) from 11am to 3pm
March 20th (Sunday) from 11am to 3pm
March 27th (Sunday) from 11am to 3pm
March 29th (Tuesday) from 11am to 3pm

Please RSVP on Facebook or Meetup using the links below.

Click here to RSVP on Meetup.
Click here to RSVP on Facebook.

mlk party

If you’re new to all this, then keep reading:

The Trash Studio is an Earthship inspired tool shed which will act as the first demonstration of Earthship principles in Seattle.

It’s the first step toward showing the community and the local authorities that you can build cheap, super sustainable buildings that reuse trash and turn it into beautiful healthy buildings for the future.

This first project is critically important because it’s also acting as a test which will eventually help people in the greater Seattle area know how to design for our climate and how to get building permits for Earthships.

The building will also be used to demonstrate and teach sustainability and Permaculture in the years to come.

The Trash Studio is not a full on Earthship. An Earthship is a set of 6 principles: building with recycled and natural materials, passive heating and cooling, rain water harvesting, renewable electricity production, in door food production, and contained sewage treatment.

The Trash Studio is not implementing the Earthship principles about electricity, food, or sewage. It’s partially implementing the Earthship principles of passive heating and cooling, and rain water harvesting. It is implementing to an extreme the Earthship principle about recycled and natural materials. As a matter of fact, we have used absolutely no money on the build so far, and instead have been relying on volunteer work, various local gift economy networks, and creativity to turn trash into building materials.


Earthship community get-together!

Join us to learn about Earthships, meet people interested in sustainable living and building, and get involved!

We are excited to bring people together, new and old. Bring a dish you enjoy and a friend if you like!

Earthship construction

Earthship construction


Timeline:
7:00 Arrive
7:20 Eat and Greet
7:45 Intro to Earthship Seattle
8:00 Video about Earthships (changing monthly)
8:30 Volunteer Opportunity Sign Up and Questions
9:00 Head home or stay and mingle!

If you have any questions, please reach out to Sophie Suberman via Meetup or Facebook!

Click here to RSVP on Facebook!
Click here to RSVP on Meetup!


Tour the Trash Studio on Sunday February 28th

A lot of people have just learned about the existence of the Trash Studio, the first Earthship project in Seattle, built without money.

We’re hosting a tour this Sunday between 4:30pm and 6pm.

The site might be muddy so dress appropriately, and if you feel like doing some work while you’re there, you desire will be met 🙂

Otherwise, just come check it out!
mlk party
Click here to RSVP on Facebook!
Click here to RSVP on Meetup!


Free Earthship workshops in January

Here’s a tentative list of the upcoming free Earthship workshops at the Earthship Trash Studio site in Seattle (Columbia City neighborhood).

January 18th (Monday) from 10am to 3pm
January 19th (Tuesday) from 10am to 3pm

More dates to come.

Please RSVP on Facebook or Meetup using the links below.

Click here to RSVP on Meetup.
Click here to RSVP on Facebook.

mlk party

If you’re new to all this, then keep reading:

The Trash Studio is an Earthship inspired tool shed which will act as the first demonstration of Earthship principles in Seattle.

It’s the first step toward showing the community and the local authorities that you can build cheap, super sustainable buildings that reuse trash and turn it into beautiful healthy buildings for the future.

This first project is critically important because it’s also acting as a test which will eventually help people in the greater Seattle area know how to design for our climate and how to get building permits for Earthships.

The building will also be used to demonstrate and teach sustainability and Permaculture in the years to come.

The Trash Studio is not a full on Earthship. An Earthship is a set of 6 principles: building with recycled and natural materials, passive heating and cooling, rain water harvesting, renewable electricity production, in door food production, and contained sewage treatment.

The Trash Studio is not implementing the Earthship principles about electricity, food, or sewage. It’s partially implementing the Earthship principles of passive heating and cooling, and rain water harvesting. It is implementing to an extreme the Earthship principle about recycled and natural materials. As a matter of fact, we have used absolutely no money on the build so far, and instead have been relying on volunteer work, various local gift economy networks, and creativity to turn trash into building materials.


Free Earthship workshops in December

Here’s a tentative list of the upcoming free Earthship workshops at the Earthship Trash Studio site in Seattle (Columbia City neighborhood).

December 5th (Saturday) from 10am to 3pm
More dates to come.

Please RSVP on Facebook or Meetup using the links below.

Click here to RSVP on Meetup.
Click here to RSVP on Facebook.

Plastering crew

Plastering crew

If you’re new to all this, then keep reading:

The Trash Studio is an Earthship inspired tool shed which will act as the first demonstration of Earthship principles in Seattle.

It’s the first step toward showing the community and the local authorities that you can build cheap, super sustainable buildings that reuse trash and turn it into beautiful healthy buildings for the future.

This first project is critically important because it’s also acting as a test which will eventually help people in the greater Seattle area know how to design for our climate and how to get building permits for Earthships.

The building will also be used to demonstrate and teach sustainability and Permaculture in the years to come.

The Trash Studio is not a full on Earthship. An Earthship is a set of 6 principles: building with recycled and natural materials, passive heating and cooling, rain water harvesting, renewable electricity production, in door food production, and contained sewage treatment.

The Trash Studio is not implementing the Earthship principles about electricity, food, or sewage. It’s partially implementing the Earthship principles of passive heating and cooling, and rain water harvesting. It is implementing to an extreme the Earthship principle about recycled and natural materials. As a matter of fact, we have used absolutely no money on the build so far, and instead have been relying on volunteer work, various local gift economy networks, and creativity to turn trash into building materials.


Recycling Center Tour

This is an event from the “Minimalism & Simplicity” Meetup group, which I’m duplicating here because it looks awesome!
Original event here: http://www.meetup.com/Seattle-Minimalism-and-Simplicity-Group/events/226471305/
RSVP on Earthship Seattle’s Facebook page (click here) or Meetup group (click here).

Recycling Center

Recycling Center

“Hi everyone!

Have you ever wondered what happens to the huge amount of plastic, glass and paper we empty into the dark green recycling bins and place at the curb each week? What happens to all the lids less that 3 inches, the food containers that still have food stuck to the sides, or shampoo bottles with that last inch of stubborn soap at the bottom? Seattleites are strong recyclers but often fall victim to the act of “Wishcycling” or throwing things in the recycling bins because we “hope” they will be recycled or think they “should” be recyclable. But how does this affect the sorting process at the recycling centers? Does it do more harm than good?

Come find out more about the recycling process in the Seattle area and get these and other questions answered!

During the tour we will dive into the entire process, how everything is sorted and what they do at the facility. More information:

The visit will include about 45 minutes in our conference room, where we will discuss recycling procedures and observe sorting activity on closed circuit television. We will then watch the sorting process from the observation deck for about 5-10 minutes. Sturdy shoes: Visitors must wear sturdy closed-toe shoes. Photographs: Visitors may take still photographs, but video cameras are not allowed.

Accessibility: The conference room where you will be for most of the visit is wheelchair accessible. However, it is necessary to climb 24 steps to watch the sorting process from the observation deck at the end of your visit.

The address is 14020 NE 190th St, Woodinville, WA 98072. You can access directions at http://wmnorthwest.com/cascaderecycling/directions/. Please park in the upper parking lot off of NE 190th St and 142nd Ave NE. Walk down the hill and enter the building through the double doors with a WM decal on them. Use the stairs or elevator to go to the second floor, and you will see the classroom on your right.

Call (425) 652-0862 if you have any questions. More information about the CRC is available at http://www.wmnorthwest.com/cascaderecycling/index.html.

NOTE FOR CARPOOLING: For people driving from Seattle, we will plan to meet up at a central location at 2pm (TBD) so we can drive over together in less cars.”


Upcoming Event

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