From Debris To Dwelling

Elise Kaplan
2 min read
A Michael Reynolds-designed Earthship in Taos
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Earthships sound like the future, but they’re made from the past. Built entirely from recycled, natural and indigenous materials, the homes are as unique as the individuals who inhabit them. Due to consistently sunny weather, unclaimed wilderness and a population that prides itself on being different, New Mexico presents the ideal location for off-grid, solar powered dwellings. The self-proclaimed “renegade architect” for the cause, Michael Reynolds, created the Earthship World Headquarters in Taos.

The first Earthship given a permit in Santa Fe County in 10 years nears completion by Christmas 2011. The
Ampersand Sustainable Learning Center spearheaded the construction of this Reynolds-designed dwelling in Cerrillos. The house will be 1,400 square feet, and recycled tires and cans set in cement form the walls. Once complete, the home will maintain a temperature around 70 degrees, due to solar heating and cooling from the earth.

On Aug. 20 Ampersand will offer a Sustainable Neighborhood Project seminar, including tours and hands-on experience for visitors. Volunteers can help create interior plasters from local materials. The tour includes a discussion of the sustainable processes involved in harvesting solar energy, rainwater and graywater.

As off-the-grid homes, Earthships require no utility bills and create minimal fossil fuels. Plus they look awesome.

To register for the Sustainable Neighborhood Project call (505) 780-0535 or e-mail

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