by Sarah Ganly
Reynold's book covers the construction of an earthship from start to finish. An earthship is a sustainable home built from natural resources. It is an extremely informative book that explains in extreme detail why earthships are efficient and important means of housing. This book is effective because it has many pictures and talks in a language that is understandable to someone who is not familiar with home construction. The pictures in this book are very useful, and they help to illustrate scientific ideas that I would not have grasped as easily with just a written explanation.
One of the important ideas described in this book are the use of the sunlight to provide heat in a home. An earthship is constructed with the front of the house facing south, and the front wall of the house is made up of all windows. This book explains that these windows "must be at a 90 degree angle" to the sun during the "winter zenith" of the location of the house you are building (Reynolds, 1990).
This book is filled with useful information, and this has helped to increase my excitement about building an earthship. I feel the author has made a point in this book to make sure the reader does not feel intimidated by building an earthship. The author explains all of the technical details of building an earthship in layman terms and this helps the reader feel empowered. The author of this book is also the man who created this type of housing so I feel he is a very reliable resource for information on building an earthship.
This book has also helped me to understand that the house is so efficient because it interfaces with the earth and works in coordination with nature instead of against it. This book explains how the earthship uses "thermal mass" as insulation instead of using a heating and cooling system, and it describes how earthships are built out of "earth rammed tires" to increase insulation (Reynolds, 1990). The combination of thermal mass and maximized sunlight help keep the house warm in the winter and cool in the summer. These methods allow earthships to maintain a temperature of "65-75 degrees" (Reynolds, 1990).
This book has taught me the difference between structural and non-structural walls, and it explains how aluminum cans and concrete can be used to create non-structural walls. This book has also given me an excellent idea of the skills, materials, and tools I will need to create an earthship. The skills I will need are explained in a detail in the book as well which is very helpful. Some of the tools I will need are a "backhoe, chainsaw, skillsaw, and cement mixer" and the materials needed are mainly recycled and easily attainable items such as tires, aluminum cans, cardboard, wood beams, decking, cement, concrete, and windows (Reynolds, 1990).
This book also answered an important question that I was concerned about when it explained that tires only deteriorate when they are exposed to "sun or fire" and when buried and encased in cement they can not burn and are not exposed to sunlight (Reynolds, 1990). This book is a very important tool in my study plan because it explains many of the things I need to know in order to create an earthship in depth.