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Earthship Green Home in Philippines ??

Discussion in '☋ Expat Section ☋' started by Rich321, Jul 13, 2009.

  1. Rich321

    Rich321 DI Junior Member

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    Good day everyone,
    Can any of you tell my why building an Earthship type green home in the Philippines would or would not work?

    Don't have a clue as to what an Earthship home is? Google this architects name: Michael Reynolds Earthships. An excellent introduction to what an Earthship home could do for you. You could build one right out in the jungle or some place completely off the grid as far as electricity and other money sucking utilities are concerned.

    Seems like such a structure would be a natural solution to the oppressive heat as the structure would take advantage of the coolness of the earth (if tucked into a hillside eight feet under ground.) Add a few solar panels for electricity, develop a method collecting rain water, and a few other low tech solutions for every day living. Heck, you could even construct a compound wall like most of the other estates in the Philippines.

    Are there rigid zoning laws that would forbid or penalize such construction out in the province, say within an hour's drive of Davao City but not in the city proper?

    This could also solve or reduce the noise problem. You probably can't hear a rooster crowing thru a double paned window in a four foot wall.
    Any comments -- pro or con -- would be welcome.
    --Rich--
     
  2. derivative_guru

    derivative_guru DI Senior Member

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    My immediate thought is that building underground or partially so might cause problems with leakage. Also, a solar system would likely be under-powered during the rainy season. It looks like they use little wood, that would be important to limit as the termites here use steroids.
     
  3. Arie

    Arie DI Forum Adept

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    must be an adventure with the landslides and earthquakes to live in one :D
     
  4. Pedro

    Pedro DI Senior Member Veteran Navy

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    I am going to go out on limb and say it looks doable. As far as zoning goes you will have to make those inquiries at the local government offices in the province you plan to build in.

    That was really interesting and the creators of the system seem really driven to get people to build and live in biotectural houses. It seems like new territory and if you have the patience and determination to put something like that together here in the PI, go for it and keep us posted.
     
  5. Arie

    Arie DI Forum Adept

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    yeah sorry I do like eco initiatives, it is a designed though for a certain part of the US and the drawbacks as mentioned are water leakage etc, isolation of the roof is eather earth or adobe, I can't see how you would get around building serious re-enforced concrete to keep that weight comming down with an earthquake.

    Earth dwellings do have an ancient history in parts of europe but likely for good reason not in SE Asia/tropics (I could be wrong) and that has likely its reasons.

    There is not much best practice knowledge on the subject in SE Asia and badly constructed it will have huge problems, there are many eco initiatives that seem more suitable to the Philippines.
     
  6. Kenny

    Kenny DI Forum Adept

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    I lived in New Mexico where there is a whole community of Earthships and they worked quite well there. Totally different climate from here, desert, over 300 days of sunshine a year. That doesn't mean it wouldn't work here but I would be concerned about dampness and mold. There was also some concern at one point about the tires used to build the walls off-gassing toxic fumes. I don't know if anything ever came of that.
    It would be an interesting experiment but I would do a thorough investigation before committing large sums of money to it.
    There were a few books published on earthships and the building techniques used but they reminded me of the manuals for building ferro-cement boats. They sold a dream that few had the skill and endurance to achieve.
    Kenny
     
  7. AntiX

    AntiX DI Member

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    People in Southeast Asia figured out how to build structures from renewable resources that would stay dry, cool and relatively insect free centuries ago. Why try to reinvent the wheel?
    Earthships belong in the desert.
    If you're opposed to concrete then you should consider bamboo. Of course, high winds could cause some issues and bugs like to live in nipa roofs. The upside is they're easy to repair, resist boring insects and have a low thermal mass.
    The thermal mass issue is one I've been mulling over for a while. Lighter materials such as bamboo or insulated concrete panels do not store heat like hollow-block or poured concrete. On the other hand, people living in the Philippines are accustomed to having their windows open and spending most of their time outdoors.
     
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  8. Teacher

    Teacher DI Senior Member Showcase Reviewer

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    Something to think about...

    Absolutely there is no way this will work in a tropical environment. AntiX is right it does belong in a dry climate. Instead of thinking solar power think Hydro power lots of water around put it to good use. I had a friend that wanted to build an earthen home into a side of a mountain I explained that one day he would wake up with his house flooded. You really need to know this place before you plan on a building. I mean one minute it is dry the next minute there is a foot of water on the ground. Many houses here have three foot over hangs to keep the concrete dry the moisture is extreme in the Philippines. If you build in a mountain think about that foot of water coming down the hill into your house.

    Here is just a sample of what you need to think about.
    YouTube - GINGOOG CITY FLOOD SCARY!

    It was worse than the pictures look. But flooding is very common in the Philippines.
     
  9. OP
    OP
    Rich321

    Rich321 DI Junior Member

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    Thanks for everyone's input...
    Most of you pointed out things that are more or less no-brainers. (Don't build on the side of a mountain, don't build in a flood zone, don't build over an earthquake zone which apparently is about half of the Philippines).
    Most people who would take the time to build an Earthship type home would research all these things and either find a more suitable place or abandon the idea all together.
    For the record, water seepage and drainage problems can be solved. And, no they are not only built in dry areas, do some research and you will find them in the middle of Canada, for instance.
    Still, when all is said and done, I might be able to accomplish what I want (economical cooling) by simply burying a PVC pipe, maybe 8 inches diameter, 8 to 10 feet underground for perhaps 100 yards to cool the home with free circulated air. (Google underground cooling).
    Thanks again for your input... --Rich--
     
  10. AntiX

    AntiX DI Member

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    Even though my opinion is obvious it's great you're thinking of alternatives to the typical electrical air-conditioning solution. If you do succeed with an underground cooling solution in PI it would likely benefit many people. I hope there are more discussions on this topic.
     
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