If you’ve never heard of “Earthships” before, choose a chair. Homes are a funky fusion of sustainable living, lots of dirt and lifeless nets – and you can rent one through Airbnb.
Anyone who does not enter the sustainable / alternative housing business can absolutely be forgiven for having no idea what a ground vessel is. I will freely admit that I know them is based on the period in my life where I read obsessively about alternative housing constructions – here looking at you, monolithic domes and straw bale construction – including earthen vessels.
The concept was groundbreaking in the 1970s by architect Michael Reynolds and combined traditional construction techniques for frame soils with modern materials. These modern materials are mainly recycled, such as using old tires to create the shapes of the rammed earth, incorporating discarded bottles or cans into the walls to create insulating spaces and cut down on materials, and so on.
But that’s only half the earthquake equation. The other half is to design the home to use as little energy as possible. Everything about homes is designed to help the home minimize energy use through passive and active measures. Windows are placed in such a way as to maximize heat gain in winter, water is collected from the roof, a “greywater system” safely increases reuse in the home, electrical needs are met with solar panels and so on. Hemen may look good, but the science and technology of their design is a fascinating look at how far you can push home design in the pursuit of energy efficiency and living off the grid.
However, since they are such an alternative and odd thing compared to a traditional home, it is definitely something you want to experience in person before you commit. While the organization founded by Reynolds to market Earthships, Earthship Biotecture, has been offering rentals for several years now, Airbnb has made the experience much simpler and more streamlined.
Over on Insider, they have compiled a collection of lists of earthboats in Arizona, the spiritual home of the movement, but if you search for airships on Airbnb, you will find them all over the world, including places as far from Arizona as New Zealand and Croatia.
Far away from a nearby ground vessel rental site or wisely avoid traveling during a pandemic? No worries, you can get your fix with the video above or other virtual tours like this one from RelaxShack and Living Big in a Tiny House.
And hey, even if living in a cool hobbit hole is not in the cards for you who dream of a house where bananas grow in your kitchen and you do not have an electricity bill is a pretty good way to spend the afternoon.