Building An Earthship In Darfield, B.C.

We are a family of five living in Darfield, BC.
Our house is six hundred square feet in total and we are feeling cramped.

We have decided to build an earthship!

So starts the adventure ...

Thursday, February 12, 2009

The Complete (incomplete) Plan set

The rendered perspective at the beginning of this post is an image of the earthship buried in the ground.

You can see berms at the back (north end) of the roof to channel collected water from the roof into the cisterns. The ducting to accomplish this collection is not shown. The two cylinders behind the earthship are the cisterns. (I am so excited!!)

I will be updating the drawings on this page as I continue to update the building plans.

I had hoped to include PDF files of the drawings, but I am having problems uploading PDF's to the server. In the interim I have included the drawings as JPEG's.

The plan set consists of the following six drawings:


Floor Plan - Main

Floor Plan - Foundation


Elevations - East and West

Elevations - North and South

Gray Water

This is the first draft of our earthship's plan set!

This plan set is unfinished but it does give an idea of the direction the plans are heading.

The drawings are incomplete and not entirely consistent.

Over the coming weeks I will be updating these plans as I finalize our plans for submission to our local building authority.


Feb 17, 2009 Modified floorplan and foundation pages with new bathroom layout.

Feb 19, 2009 Continued to update all pages. Still have not done engineering on plans. I think I am going to have to add additional pages for gray water and plumbing.

March 4, 2009 Submitted plan set to the Thompson Nicola Regional District Building Department. I added a page for gray water design, added additional details on the roof page for water collection, and made many changes on the other pages. We were told to expect somewhere around two weeks for review of the plans. This is exciting ...


Caroline said...

Have you considered using tire bales instead rammed earth tires. Is there a local tire baler machine in the area.

Caroline Dahlen

Chris said...


I have not considered using tire bales.

I have read about tire bales, but I am happy with the rammed earth tires.

I am not aware if there is a tire baler in this area.

Shane said...

Your home and plans look very impressive!
I am wondering what you mean when you refer to a tire packer. I'm assuming it saves a lot of labour. What is it?
Good luck with your build.

Sandra said...

We have a hydraulic tire press that presses the dirt in the tire casing. After the first few days of pounding with sledges Chris built one. Some later posts show this unit in action. Where four of us might pack 20 tires in a day (and be exhausted, the tire press let's us do at least double if not more. A few days ago when we had 9 working adults, (two for just half a day), about 60 of the 80 tires were completed in just one day. The tires are hand packed ahead of the tire press so that its work is limited to compacting the casing. Then we take a manual tamper and fill the centre of the tire and pack it, too.

kevan said...

Following with interest your progress. Been involved in earthships for past 5 years and built the earthship in Normandy France ( also since have formed a company called Earthbuilds ( also has a facebook page and web site Have formed a european build crew and have worked on First earthship in Holland and also working on a project in Scotland at the moment. Keep up the great work, it takes a lot of courage to do what you are and I wish you all success. Kevan

Sandra said...

Hi Kevan,

Thank you. We have been following many of the blogs about the construction projects you mention and we've seen your name pop up, too. Will check out your website.

Anonymous said...

Being a mechanic, machinist, and now a solidfuel specialist,
(glorafied chimney sweep)I have a few concerns that should be the last 50 or so years we have seen tires used for all sorts of things after their usfullness as tires...swings, garden boxes, and now as walls on the inside of main concern is tires are very close to the brakes...brakes untill recently are made from Asbestos...nano particles of Asbestos are imbeded by the needs to take this into consideration before useing consists of beating the hell out of them to compress the dirt...durring that time brake dust is flying every where...then they are put in the house...a closed living quarters that could be potentialy filled with abestose dust....something to be considered...exspecialy exposing children to such things.

a away to over come this problem may be to put them in a parts washer or presure washer of some there any way to take a Asbestos reading?

Chris said...


Just responding to the health concerns regarding tires ...

A number of studies have been done regarding the health concerns of using tires as a building material. Some of these are available at Earthship Biotecture (

I am not aware of any studies that have identified health concerns with the use of tires as a construction material.

I tend to look at it practically; this construction method has been used since the early seventies with good success, and no problems have been identified.

Are there risks with using tires? None have been identified, but some may be over time. We take calculated risks all the time, we simply do not realize it. For example, very few people question many of the engineered products used in construction today, and their potential risks.

I have yet to see a compelling concern raised over the use of tires.