We here at Inhabitat can’t help but feel warm with affection about any sort of earthship, the sustainably built homes made largely from reclaimed and recycled materials. The first such structure to appear in an urban area in North America, as far as we can tell, has emerged in Calgary, Alberta in Canada, but it won’t be a residential abode. According to Grow Calgary, the nonprofit farming venture behind the build, the 500-square-foot earthship is nearing completion and will soon become a greenhouse to aid the organization in its mission of providing fresh, local produce for area residents.
Since earthships make use of recycled and reclaimed building materials, they can be constructed at a very low cost. Grow Calgary’s volunteers began building this one in 2014, but their project was threatened after the city issued a demolition order due to code violations. After an appeal, the nonprofit won the right to continue and found ways to get the earthship to meet the city building requirements, thus earning proper permits. Scottie Davidson of EcoNerds led a renewed effort this past summer to complete the construction, and the team is almost at the finish line.
Due to their partially subterranean design, earthships are ultra energy efficient. Being partly underground greatly reduces the need for artificial heating and cooling by taking advantage of the earth’s steady temperatures, which is also the feature that makes an earthship a wonderful spot for a greenhouse. Many earthships, like this one, can also eschew artificial lighting, thanks to abundant windows that also help draw in warmth from the sun.
With walls made from old tires, beer cans, and other trash-turned-treasure, Grow Calgary’s earthship greenhouse will be open to the public once it’s complete, and crops grown in the greenhouse will (like the rest of the urban farm’s yield) be donated to the Calgary Food Bank. The earthship sits on the organization’s 11-acre plot that is already home to traditional crops. Adding the greenhouse will unlock the key to year-round production, even in Calgary’s long, frigid winter.
Via Calgary Herald
Images via Grow Calgary