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Earthships—Not Yet Ready for Oklahoma City Liftoffs

This Tuesday, the 2018 Earthship Biotecture Conference will be called to order—but I’m not aware whether any Oklahoma City delegates will be attending. Since sustainability and minimal use of the planet’s resources are the goals of the Earthship movement, the realities of airline fuel consumption and the fact that the conferees’ meet-up is taking place in Portugal would make attendance hard to justify.

Earthships, for those who haven’t been paying attention, are the most realized expressions of eco-friendly housing. True Earthships are off-the-grid residences constructed with “biotectural” building materials like soda bottles and used tires rammed with earth. Powered by photovoltaic panels and wind turbines, they use any number of clever recycling ideas to conserve water and control internal heating and cooling.

The idea originated in New Mexico in the late 1970s, championed by architect Michael Reynolds. His architect’s license was revoked after early disillusioned Earthship buyers sued over leaky roofs, mold, and other complaints (apparently the plaintiffs hadn’t taken the “experimental” nature of the projects seriously enough). But, following the release of the green movement’s hit documentary, Garbage Warrior, Reynolds’ license was reinstated. By now, Earthship projects have been completed well beyond New Mexico—they can be found in Europe, Central America, and Africa.

Although Earthships have yet to catch on around here (Oklahoma City Earthship listings are nowhere to be found), the kernels of individual Earthship attributes have been steadily gaining traction. Just last week, for instance, California became the first state to mandate solar paneling for every new home built after 2019.

You may not be ready to grab a flight to Portugal or to commission your own Oklahoma City Earthship, but it’s not a bad idea to keep abreast of some of the earth-friendly (thus, wallet-friendly) technological advances that are beginning to transition from the experimental to the practical. In the meantime, for assistance with any and all Oklahoma City real estate matters, give me a call!

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