Earthship Research: Earthship Europe

Earthship Europe
Earthship Performance. 2012. Digitally available at: http://earthshipeurope.org/index.php/earthships/performance 


"Reynolds explains… in 'Comfort in any climate' is that the temperature of the outer few feet of earth heat up and cool down in response to surface weather. However at about 4 feet (1.2 m) the temperature is more constant, around 58oF (14,4oC)… it sure is not the case in most European situations… you can take the years average temperature of your location and that is about the temperature of the earth at 1,5 m deep. The average temperature in Belgium is 9,8oC (49.6oF). So tapping into the earth will give you the uncomfortable feeling of 9,8oC, when you probably want at least 19,8oC… I expect this tapping into the earth has a negative effect on performance in many European countries. To me it made more sense to insulate underneath the entire earthship (walls included) instead of just insulate the thermal wrap.” 

"…huge thermal bridges. To most construction engineers in Western Europe it is well known that thermal bridges can cause moist and mold problems. The difference in temperature between the insulated and not insulated part causes moist to gather at that point. This is not prevented by completely sealing of water from the outside since the (moisture) comes from the inside. In time, when not properly handled, it will turn into mold."  

"Ventilating in summer when it is warm will not give a great deal of problems the Reynolds way. But winter time in cold and moist climates do need another way of ventilating." 

“…thermal mass. It is clearly made for a New Mexico situation. Longer days in winter, probably more clear sky days and less days with a grey sky no sun coming through… the few ours of sunlight on a very short winter day in Sweden (cannot) make the thermal mass work, provided the sky is clear blue and without any clouds. The amount of heat lost through the windows should be investigated, as should the amount of heat gained though them and those should be compared…”

This research points to several resolutions we must find if the earthship ideals are to be realized. The chapter that addresses the issue in Part 2 of this book is listed after the issue:

Understanding recycling  – Part 1: The Myth of Earthships and Recycling
and Part 1: The Myth of “A Radically Sustainable Home Made of Recycled and Natural Materials…”

Installation of backup heating
Use of slab and foundation insulation