From ArticleWorld

An earthship is a house made of recycled material and earth that has a very low environmental impact. Earthships are known for their excellent natural insulation and durability, and are autonomous buildings, making them well suited to those who want to live outside the paradigm of the modern urban world. The movement to build such houses is called Earthship Biotecture, and it is spearheaded by sustainable living advocate Mike Reynolds.

The classic design for an earthship is a U-shaped structure made up of rubber tyres packed tight with earth. The open side faces south or north, depending on the hemisphere, to catch maximum sunlight throughout the year. The roof is heavily insulated, and the structure is designed to use thermal mass to maintain constant temperature. Non-load bearing walls are made from recycled cans in honeycomb formation that are heavily plastered using the tabs to anchor the material.

In addition to having efficient thermal mass and excellent insulation, earthships use a number of other low-impact technologies and renewable energy sources. Solar cells, very small hydropower plants, and windmills generate electricity and allow people to live off-grid. Water is carefully managed, harvested, and recycled. Rainwater is collected in rooftop cisterns and through collection channels and pipes, and grey water from kitchen, washing, and bath use is recycled for indoor gardens.

Earthships are known to be extremely sturdy, surviving over two decades and withstanding earthquakes, hurricanes, and fires. Most earthships are in the United States, in southern Colorado state, and near the New Age, handicraft, and tourist mecca of Taos, New Mexico.