Autonomous houses

Members of the group : Tiphaine, Maud Guérin, Romane Astier

How can we live at home without fossil energies?

We found a couple which has travelled around the world for two years. During their experience they've visited a lot of organizations building ecological houses. The goal of this travel was to discover the diversity of eco-accomodations and way of life associated to these houses. This is their website : here
We will compare these houses and explain why it's ecologically interesting.
There is also a website very cool about alternative houses there.
image Capture_anglais.png (0.4MB)
Off the grid houses

I What are the different ecological houses?

Materials, ecological interest, required skills, insulation
-tiny house
-bamboo house
-house with straw bales
-raw earth
-earthbag house

II Which household appliances use renewable energies

Solar cooker, zeerpot, washing machine, solar water heater,...
How does it work ? How can we make it ?

III How to sensitize people about energetic autonomy

Conversation with Earthship Biotecture

Pictures sources:

Tinyhouse : Website « flickr » taken by Nicolas Boullosa, on internet since september 2th 2009, licence « creative commons ».
Yurt : Website « flickr » taken by Antoine Gady, on internet since october 5th 2011, licence « creative commons ».
Raw house : Website « flickr » taken by Oyvind Holmstad, on internet since april 27th 2017, licence « creative commons ».
Earthbag house : Website « flickr » taken by Justin Martin, on internet since march 20th 2010, licence « creative commons ».

Food for thought :

There is a nonprofit organization which offers a training to build super-adobes houses in the USA, California there.
The french organization "Gold of Bengal" is picking up all the low tech around the world and give them freely on this website.
A woman who built her own earth bags house and gives books to help people to build their house themselves there.
Here the house's construction .
An another website that explains earthbag building here.

Group organization :

Our pad



Green Citadels. Explore eco-friendly earthships with sustainability pioneers (watch from 5:50 to 10:27)

Source: RT Documentary

Sustainable : This word is a synonyme of « durable » or « long term ». It describes something lasting over time.
Recycled : A garbage recycled means we use it once again. We usually change it for an other use.
Sewage : This word defines waste water from toilet or shower for example.
Self-sufficient : This word is used to describe an entity providing its proper basic needs.
Tires : Tires are the rubber cylinders around wheels from cars or bicycle for instance. In earthships, we use it as the walls structure.

Houses of straw - the rediscovery of strawbale building

Source: Ecofilm, on youtube since july 30th 2007

Renewable :This word describes something endless. For example energies produced by winmills or solar panels are defined as renewable energies in contrast to fossil fuels. Usually, renewable systems are using natural elements.
Straw bales : It's a groupment of stalk of wheat. They built houses with this materials.
Available in abondance : It means that there is a lot of this resource in nature because there is a lot of wheat cultures and it's not often used.
Effective insulation : There is a double advantage: We use the straw for walls and for insulation.
Clay : It's the natural material that coat the straw walls.

Definition ecological houses
What is autonomous building

The article

We've chosen ThisArticle.

Off-the-grid : An off-the-grid house is a house which is disconnected from the general system (water, gas, electricity). The owners will not be reliant on big companies and they will be self-sufficient.
Footprint : This word describes the trace we let behind us. It's used for example to speak about human impact on nature, we say « ecological foot print ».
Efficiency : Being efficient is using as minimum materials, time and efforts as possible to accomplish something. The ratio energy developed / energy supplied has to be maximum.
Passive heating : A passive heating system takes advantage from natural elements in order to be efficient. With that system, we aim to use less supplied energy as possible.
Eco-friendly : An eco-friendly house is designed to don’t harm the planet or maybe to have a positive impact on it.

Sum up of our documents

Can we build an autonomous environnementaly friendly house?

If you want to live in a sustainable way without harming the earth, there are some ways to build autonomous and ecofriendly houses. There are many different types of eco-constructions : tiny house, kerterre, yurts, bamboo house, earthship, straw bales house, raw earth, earthbag house, and so on. We can use various materials to build these houses : natural elements like straw or soil and recovery items like tires or cans. You can use solar panels, a rainwater collector, an underground fridge and other equipments not using fossile fuels to go further in the process. Those constructions are designed to take advantage from natural elements and to maximize the effeciency of the house. In this way of life, people will be able to provide for their proper basic needs. They are self-sufficient and they are not reliant on big companies.

The question is : Even if you are at maximum effort, is your house really autonomous and environnementaly friendly? Using recovery materials like tires or cans make your home non compostable ! At this day, solar pannels are built with rare materials difficult to extract and they are not recoverable. Can we really say these houses are autonomous and ecologic ?

Our interview with Heidi Loehrer - Earthship Biotecture

13th of November 2018
earthship biotecture

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"What is an ecological house ?"
About earthship
How Living Off the Grid Works