Earthship buildings: opinions on their contribution towards sustainable alternative housing in the UK

Journal article


Colin A Booth, Rosemary Horry, Cameron Isaac, Abdul-Majeed Mahamadu, Patrick Manu, Kwasi G B Awuah, Emmanuel Aboagye-Nimo, Panagiotis Georgakis and Abhinesh Prabhakaran 2022. Earthship buildings: opinions on their contribution towards sustainable alternative housing in the UK. Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers - Management, Procurement and Law. https://doi.org/10.1680/jmapl.22.00026
AuthorsColin A Booth, Rosemary Horry, Cameron Isaac, Abdul-Majeed Mahamadu, Patrick Manu, Kwasi G B Awuah, Emmanuel Aboagye-Nimo, Panagiotis Georgakis and Abhinesh Prabhakaran
Abstract

Earthship buildings are marketed as being an epitome of sustainable alternative housing. Built by reusing or repurposing mostly reclaimed urban waste products, their design includes the utilisation of low-embodied-energy materials, passive solar heating and cooling, photovoltaic power systems, rainwater harvesting and solar hot water heating, along with black- and greywater-treatment systems. This study explores stakeholder opinions of whether Earthship buildings can contribute towards the future of alternative housing in the UK. Opinions were sought through a questionnaire completed by UK members of online social media groups whose shared focus is related to sustainability (n = 50). The results reveal that the public believe that the main benefits are their minimal environmental impact and also their reliance on renewable energy resources, while the main barriers are identifying suitable building plots and obtaining the necessary planning permissions. Notwithstanding that the participants included in this study already have sustainability interests, it is surmised that the public deem that the general principles of Earthships are an acceptable choice of alternative home/living. However, while the uptake of Earthship homes proves increasingly popular in some parts of the world, the utmost concern within the UK setting is the reality of finding somewhere suitable to build an Earthship and acquiring necessary authorisations to construct the building.

Keywordsalternative living ; off grid ; sustainability; sustainable construction; UN SDG 7: Affordable and clean energy ; UN SDG 12: Responsible consumption and production ; UN SDG 13: Climate action waste management
Year2022
JournalProceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers - Management, Procurement and Law
PublisherICE Publishing
ISSN1751-4312
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1680/jmapl.22.00026
Web address (URL)https://doi.org/10.1680/jmapl.22.00026
https://www.icevirtuallibrary.com/doi/epdf/10.1680/jmapl.22.00026
Output statusPublished
Publication dates03 Oct 2022
Publication process dates
Deposited11 Oct 2022
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