Earthship set to land here

THEY look more like a spaceship than a house, and could be the ultimate in environmentally-friendly housing.

The earthship is a radical design approach for a house using recycled cans, bottles and car tyres.

It operates entirely separate from the grid, generating its own electricity, water, heating, cooling and even food in its purpose-built indoor and outdoor gardens.

Sewage treatment is part of the setup.

The earthship creator US architect Michael Reynolds has been building them since the 1970s in the US, Mexico, Europe, Canada and Haiti and is bringing the concept to Australia.

The 60-odd-year-old who was the subject of the 2007 documentary Garbage Warrior will be at Bangalow A&I Hall on February 23 for a seminar on earthship architecture or biotecture.

His stop-off at Bangalow is part of an tour aimed at promoting the earthship concept, which, although widely known in alternative circles, is still seen as too radical in Australia.

There are a few earthship prototypes in Australia and plans to build more in the township of Kinglake in Victoria, but so far red tape and a lack of awareness appears to have stymied their success.

Their unusual structure, sewage system and futuristic appearance can make it tricky to get council approval.

A spokeswoman for the tour said it was possible, however, to adapt designs and that the Northern Rivers was one of the places identified for a possible 'earthship academy' to help teach people how to build the houses.

An earthship costs about the same as a conventional house to build, although construction can be labour intensive as earth must be rammed into the tyres used to construct the walls.

Mr Reynolds said he believed the time had arrived for more sustainable building, in which houses were no longer places of resource consumption and waste production.

To learn more, phone 0415 047 096.

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