Known as a Passive Solar Home, made from Tin Cans, Earth, Tyres, Old Glass Bottles and other recycled materials, its the brainchild of Michael Reynolds. We watched a program this past week all about one of his designed homes built in Montana in the US. With other homes like this already constructed in South Africa, this is a concept that is building in momentum and people are even volunteering for free on his build projects to learn more about the ideas and process.
The first one in South Africa was constructed near Hermanus in 1996.These homes recycle rain water with built in filtration systems, use grey water for growing food for self sustainability and pull on natural processes to insulate and even cool a home using simple systems built into the home in construction.
Michael himself calls them "fully independent vessels to sail on the planet that are more secure and more functional than ones hooked up to traditional utilities".
A metal roof catches rainwater and sends through a collection and filtration system. This gives you drinking and washing water. There is a specific water processing gravity system with its own filters to make it drinkable. Because it comes from rain water, its soft, so no need to remove hardened water issues.
Gas systems are usually installed as a power back up for heating if the solar energy happens to not be enough. Typically though, solar does what is need and feeds the battery bank inside the home.The entire house is designed to be a sun trap to store energy from the sunshine. The earth tubes are there to allow you to open up air circulation to cool the property.
The major building block is recycled Tyres filled with compacted earth. Taking this approach makes them pretty fireproof and also make them extremely strong.
Aluminium is used from recycled cans and glass bottles make great looking stained glass windows allowing natural light to shine through. The buildings store energy via their mass and pipes that run into the property from outside are used to vent cool air through the building to help cool it naturally.
Power comes in the form or Solar or Wind and is pretty much cost free once installed.
With an outer skin wall and an inner one for better heat processing and the ability to have an indoor style functioning garden fed by the grey water produced in the home, these projects lend themselves as close to off grid living as it gets.
Watch an overview video of a home being built:
Free Housing Project Documentary
Energy Futures Southern Alberta Prairie Project - Watch that here (click)
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