Housing and Energy - IN THE HANDS OF THE COMMUNITY
Would you like a home that:
- Is built mainly out of recycled materials
- You can help to build yourself
- Can be totally off the grid
- Provides its own water
- Deals with its own sewage
- Recycles its greywater creating beautiful indoor gardens
- Powers itself from the sun and wind
- Can be built partly with LETS
- Is cheap to run once it is built
- Brings you closer to the Earth and her natural rhythms
- No matter what your income, there are ways for you to live in one?
SOUND LIKE A DREAM?? LETS MAKE IT A REALITY HERE IN MORAY
Could I afford to build an ecologically-friendly home?
A new group has been set up to answer that very question. And they're looking for ways to turn your answer into a "YES!"
Earthships Moray is aiming to find innovative, practical ways (including the use of LETS) to bring energy-efficient, self-sufficient, off-the-grid and cheap-to-run homes, known as Earthships, within the reach of all sectors of the community - regardless of their income. "We've noticed that a lot of people would like to live in houses that make use of renewable energy and that bring them in touch with Earth and her rhythms but they simply can't afford to build or buy these types of homes."
Working in association with Sustainable Communities Initiative (SCI), who are building the first demonstration Earthship in Fife this Summer, as well as Michael Reynolds, the originator of the Earthship concept, Earthships Moray is set to achieve its aims by providing support, education, training and awareness-raising events.
LETS LAND SOME EARTHSHIPS IN MORAY!!
A personal perspective from Stewart Noble:
Whilst sitting in the Lets Community cafe in Stirling one day in June 2000,I spotted a poster on the notice board. The poster was advertising a talk by an American architect Mike Reynolds, organised by a local Lets member Paula Cowie. The poster had the slightly off the wall title of "Are Earthships coming to Scotland". I was intrigued and put the date of the talk in my diary.
I went along to the meeting expecting a rather dry lecture on ecological housing issues. In fact I was gripped from the first slide to the last, and left the room inspired by the simplicity of the ideas expounded and their accessibility to ordinary people.
Mike Reynolds argues that if we are to take seriously the issue of sustainability then we have to radically re-think how we meet that most basic of human needs -shelter. Existing house design he argues increases dependency on centralised power and water systems. In fact, he argues that modem houses are simply boxes that plug into the various grids, without which they would not be able to function.
His 'Earthship' concept is more than a green house design but a self-supporting system, capable of supporting human needs independently. The building itself is embedded in the earth to tap into free heat / cooling available from the earth's mass. The south face of the building is glazed to access the heat of the sun. Water is collected from the roof, and grey wastewater treated within the building.
The building uses waste products for its building materials. Car tyres are rammed with earth to provide exterior walls; interior walls are made from aluminium cans and glass bottles. Perhaps the most exciting aspect of his lecture for me was the accessibility of the design for ordinary (i.e. not rich) people. The construction skills needed are also not as extensive as compared to traditional brick, stone or wood framed buildings. Local Currency systems could make them even more accessible, by reducing the need for national currency (always a scarce resource).
I have for some time had a desire to build or renovate a home for my family and myself. Mike Reynolds Lecture inspired me to think about his design and it's practicality within Scotland. I've spent the last six-months researching the design and have come to the conclusion that it is practical, and will be acceptable to planning authorities. I am currently looking for a suitable building plot -the design places some restriction on where it is practical to build, and my budget places more obvious restrictions.
When I have found a building plot and obtained the appropriate permissions, I hope to utilise the LETSystem in Stirling & Alloa to help me make the building a reality. In effect I will be approaching the LETSystem for a 'Groats' mortgage, as I will need permission from the system to run up a commitment beyond that allowed currently. Of course a 'Groats Mortgage' will not attract any interest, I will only have to put back into the system what I have taken out. Once the Earthship is built I would pay off the commitment by working for members of Stirling & Alloa Lets two -three days per week, This will boost trading within the system, which will hopefully stimulate trading by other members,
I am hoping that the inspirational nature of the design will prove a good motivator for getting members: of the system to work for local currency only, on the project. If I let my imagination go I can see a colony of Earthships, either built by their owners using the LETSystem or available for rent in local currency. One day maybe.
For further information, contact:
Tel: 01309 - 691889