Miles City, Montana residents venturing near the Yellowstone River are likely to notice a structure that may seem otherworldly at first glance, but that’s no mother ship: that’s the Earthship, a self-sufficient green home built by Michael “Garbage Warrior” Reynolds and a crew of 12 men and a few volunteers.
Reynolds and his crew may have built the Earthship, but they don’t dwell within it. The residents, Scott Elder and Karia Lund, employed every conceivable measure to ensure that their home was a model for sustainability: as explained by Green Diary, “energy independence is ensured via a thermal mass construction that offers temperature stabilization,” and “renewable energy and integrated water systems contribute toward negligible utility bills.” Custom steel belted bricks were made by stuffing dirt into 650 tires, and the interior walls are composed of soda cans and beer bottles cemented with adobe mud, straw and glue. Solar panels charge roof-mounted batteries, and the entire home is powered by batteries stored in the brain room. What of modern conveniences such as microwaves and LED clocks? Not a one can be found within the Mothership, though a television is plugged into a power strip so that power can be cut when the device isn’t in use.
The Earthship website provides even more details of the home’s operation, such as how sewage is treated on-site in interior and external botanical planters, as well as details concerning food, which is grown inside and outside the home. Total time spent constructing the house: a mere eight weeks over the course of summer 2009.