Earthship creator to lecture in Calgary

Mike Reynolds Earthship Biotecture creator and subject of the 2007 documentary Garbage Warrior is visiting Calgary on Saturday July 19 for a day-long conference on Earthship architecture and how humans can use ecologically sound housing designs to meet our basic needs.

Reynolds and his specialist construction crew has been in Picture Butte near Lethbridge since June 29 working on the first Earthship home they have ever built in Alberta. Reynolds says that the house is nearly finished. They will remain onsite until August 1 completing the house.

Earthships are built primarily from discarded auto tires filled with earth to create a low thick walled structure heated by solar energy through a wall of south-facing windows. They are also designed to process sewage collect water for household use and contain a greenhouse and require little to no artificial heating or cooling throughout the year.

Though Reynolds originally developed them in New Mexico he says Earthships are designed to function in any climate and that despite the extreme cold and high water table the Canadian prairie is an “ideal” place for them.

For the Picture Butte site Reynolds says “we beefed up a few insulation details and things like that… A little wood stove can easily be installed right through the roof… but you just don’t need it to heat the building.”

He says this latest design has evolved a great deal since the original Earthships developed in the 1970s in New Mexico. Because of that he anticipates it will be the best he and his crew have ever built.

At the Calgary conference Reynolds will discuss various Earthship designs and how they relate to thermal solar dynamics contained sewage treatment household electricity and building with recycled materials.

“Basically the buildings address six issues that all humans are having to deal with all over the earth and that is shelter that is comfortable with minimal or no fuel it’s electricity it’s water it’s sewage treatment it’s food and it’s garbage. Those six issues everybody has to deal with. These buildings address them and the conference is going to be aimed at presenting those six issues and how these buildings deal with them” Reynolds says. “We’re doing everything possible in terms of books and videos and lectures and we have an academy and everything to get this information out to people so they can do it themselves. And it’s doable.”

The conference is being held 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the Boyce Theatre at 1410 Olympic Way SE Stampede Park. Tickets are $100. More information is available at earthship.com/calgary.