Living in harmony with nature
Both concepts are wonderful solutions for building a house in harmony with nature. While Earthhouses are already being built in Switzerland, there is as yet no Earthship to be found in Switzerland. The Earthship up- and recycles, while the Earthhouse is built in an environmentally friendly way with natural materials, but does not recycle any materials. Earthships are actually always built with the help of the community, although the architect is more involved in the construction of an earth house.
Which construction method do you like better?
The concept of the Earthship was developed by the American Mike Reynolds in the 1970s. At that time, environmental protection and energy efficiency were hardly an issue, which is why the cleverly thought-out Earthships are still considered revolutionary, environmentally friendly architecture today.
The houses are built almost entirely from recycled and natural materials. Old tyres and glass bottles are used, for example, but also anything else that would otherwise end up on the rubbish heap. As the only new building component, solar panels are installed on the roof to generate heat. Photovoltaic systems on the roof provide sufficient electricity.
Earthships consist of thick walls on three sides, built from old tyres and earth, for example. Part of the house is set into the ground so that the floor is slightly below the earth's surface. In this way, the Earthships are optimally insulated, which ensures a relatively constant temperature inside. The fourth side of the Earthship consists of a glass front. This is always oriented towards the south so that it catches as much sunlight as possible.
(Bild Jenny Parkins)
Many Earthships also use the warm and sunny area directly next to the glass front to grow vegetables and thus become largely self-sufficient. The water is collected as rainwater via the roof, among other things, and then treated internally in the house.
Switzerland has not yet built any Earthships, but it has built earth houses
Earth houses are also progressive and highly energy-efficient. An earth house can be built both above and below ground. But it is always built in harmony with the environment.
The walls, except for the abundantly glazed front, and the roof are mainly made of earth. This type of building has many advantages. Storms, which sometimes cover a conventional roof, or rain and heat, which damage the façade in the medium term, cannot harm it. The earth house is quite insensitive to wind and weather. The walls and roofs, which are thickly covered with earth, regulate the interior temperature in a miraculous way. Earth houses also use the heat from the earth to balance both summer heat and winter cold. A very healthy ambient humidity is provided.
(Bild Dietrich Michael Weidmann)
In some properties, additional clay plaster is applied to the walls for optimal humidity control. Allergens and pollutants from the outside world are automatically blocked. Large window fronts and light wells serve as sources of light and heat. An earth house can be very comfortable and equipped with modern facilities.