In May 2014 T.C.U.P. began the design phase of our community building! This building will be a hybrid Earthship, built from natural and recycled materials, and designed to maximize the efficiency of thermal mass insulation and passive solar. Construction began in May 2015 and is being conducted in series of stages. The building will house community members and be a communal space of cooking, eating, working and enjoying life together.
The design of an Earthship is based on six principles: Thermal and Passive Solar Design, Solar and Wind Energy, Building with Natural and Recycled Materials, Water Catchment, Contained Sewage, and Food Production. The basic layout of an Earthship is a front wall facing south made of glass windows angled to catch winter sun but shade out summer sun. This allows for a year-round indoor growing space. The rest of the walls are made of recycled tires pounded with earth and covered with earthen plaster on the interior. These walls are bermed, meaning that they are mounded with earth on all sides, in order to stabilize the temperature of the house. The tire walls and the concrete stone floor act as a thermal mass that collects heat from the sun and releases it gradually as the outside temperature drops. Rainwater is collected from the metal roof and directed into a cistern for storage. Recycled glass bottles and cans are used to let in light and take up space in the interior cob walls. The wastewater from the bathrooms and kitchen is directed into interior and exterior plant filtration systems. The electrical system is set up to receive power from solar panels on the roof or a wind turbine.
We planed to build a hybrid of the Earthship Global Model: a two-story building with traditional tire walls for the base and straw bale walls for the second story. We ended up with cellulose and pink insulation as straw was not feasible. The south facing glass front is 1.5 stories high with an attached greenhouse to facilitate extra heating and growing space for northern BC’s cold winter climate. We use compost toilets currently and plan to continue this in the future, but will direct our greywater from washing dishes, showering, etc. into the plant filtration system. We might decide otherwise as we are concerned about the humidity that will be given off by planter beds. Supplemental heating for the winter will come from a rocket stove mass heater that is designed to be super efficient as it burns wood gas in its combustion chamber and directs the exhaust into a large thermal mass seating area. We have preemptively named this building The Hive, after the six honeybee hives we started tending this year, in the hopes that this will be a place of inspiration to work together as a harmonious collective.
Building an Earthship is one way we can work to free ourselves of our reliance on the exploitive capitalist system.
As citizens of the earth…
We fully have the right…
to harvest water from the sky
to grow food in our homes
to harvest energy from the sun and the wind
to contain and reuse our own waste
to make our shelter comfortable without the use of fossil fuels
and to harvest what others throw away to construct our homes
We pledge to defend these rights and to spread the knowledge of how to
achieve them to others.
If six billion other people said this as well…
we would transcend the corporations, the governments, and the worlds oppressive elite.
We, the people, would always survive.
Inspired by: Earthship Architect Michael Reynolds
Construction of THE HIVE began in Spring of 2015, with the helping hands of our greater community of radical do-gooders. We welcome those who are seeking what we have to offer to come and lend a helping hand. Accommodations will be rustic tent camping, with a couple of campers available for longer-term volunteers. We welcome a diverse group of people to live and work together in a mutually respectful and affirmative environment, using the Sociocracy process and open, direct communication.