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 ...

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

No more plans!!!

Okay ... I am excited!

After too many long hours of work we took the plunge and submitted the plans to the building authority yesterday.

I feel like a huge weight has been lifted from my shoulders ... until the plans are actually submitted the urge to change and hopefully improve them is irresistible and it begins to feel like a never ending treadmill.

We spent about an hour going over the plans with the senior building inspector when we submitted the plans. He asked lots of questions, said they had seen tires used in buildings before although nothing of the scope shown in our drawings. It was a good discussion. He said that it would take about two weeks for them to review the plans, and (hopefully) at the end of that we will have a building permit.

In addition to evaluating the structure of the building over the last couple of weeks I have been mulling over the water systems in the earthship ...

Gray Water Recovery

As mentioned in previous posts the gray water recovery system has been causing me sleepless nights.

I have done a lot more research over the last couple of weeks and am still waiting for my copy of Water From the Sky (Mike Reynolds) so that I can do some more. Having said that I am now comfortable with the workings of one of these systems. My design is shown beside this paragraph. I am drawing heavily from my reading of Earthship Volume III and Create an Oasis with Graywater. The gray water planters are closed systems; the water cannot drain to native soil until it has spent a period of time in the planter's filtration bed, by which time it is suitable for non-potable uses such as irrigation.

The idea here is that the bulk of the water is consumed by the plants (transpiration and evaporation). Treated water can also ultimately be withdrawn from the system via the treated water overflow outlet and used outside. Our ultimate intention is to have the overflow outlet feed into a gravel bed beneath an area planted with fruit trees.

Rain Water Harvesting

The other activity that has been consuming a lot of my time is harvesting and storage of rain water.

Our intention is to use this harvested water for irrigation and possibly non-potable uses like the washing machine, shower and tub. Here again my design is shown beside this paragraph.

It turns out that an excellent overview of this subject has been written right here in BC. It is titled Rainwater Harvesting on the Gulf Islands: Guide for Regulating the Installation of Rainwater Havesting Systems- Potable and Non-potable Uses, and is written by Dick F. Stubs. I came across it on the internet.

Moving On

The last couple of months has been consumed with getting a set of building plans completed.

The snow has been melting the last couple of days and we are now thinking about how best to prepare so we can hit the ground digging (and pounding) when the snow disappears.

Hopefully tire collection will start again by the end of the week, and I have to start thinking about equipment maintenance. The tractor has been (and still is) buried under snow all winter.

On unrelated but exciting notes...

I just ordered seeds for the garden. (we will be gunning for bigger tomatoes and blue Russian potatoes this year).

We are getting 25 laying chickens and 25 meat birds in about a month. We are thinking that the kids can make some money selling eggs to so far, unsuspecting relatives and friends, and more compost for me.

The kids are planning on 5 sheep between the three of them this year. I am hopeful that a few of these sheep may be Friesens (a European dairy sheep).

I think I need to get outside and do some work ...

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