Super Efficient Off-Grid Earthship Built for Early Retirement Plan

In this video, we meet Connie and Craig from Wind Chasers. They’re a retired couple who built themselves a 100% off-grid, passive solar earthship using plans they bought from Mike Reynolds (the man featured in the Garbage Warrior documentary – check it out if you haven’t already!).

The couple built the earth ship because they wanted to live an environmentally sustainable lifestyle, but they also wanted to live a financially sustainable lifestyle that would allow them to retire comfortably. Building this home using recycled tires and portland cement cost them a fraction of what a conventional house would have cost, and they got the 1200 recycled tires they needed for free!

In addition to the low construction cost, they don’t pay any bills to maintain the home. They use solar power instead of being hooked up to hydro. They collect their rain water instead of being hooked up to municipal water. They store energy from the sun in the thermal mass of their home instead of having a furnace. They use a composting toilet instead of paying to install and maintain a septic system. And they treat their own greywater (from the kitchen & shower) on site. There is a fireplace in the home, but the couple says they only use it a few times per year for atmosphere, and they don’t depend on it as a heat source.

The couple even grow a lot of their own food in their indoor planter, like tomatoes, sweet potatoes, bananas, carrots – you name it! The planter also stores energy from the sun to help maintain a stable temperature in the home.

The first earth ships were built in New Mexico by Mike Reynolds, and while many people think they’re amazing, they don’t believe that earthships can be built in harsher environments (like in Canada for example). This earth ship is built near Lake Erie, in Ontario, Canada. It did take a few years for the home to absorb all of the thermal energy it needed to maintain a stable year-round temperature, but now that it’s had time to cure and mature, it’s working great.

Mat and I were completely blown away when we walked into the house and realized how incredibly well the house was performing without any of the traditional inputs we’re used to seeing in a conventional home. We enjoyed the feeling of being outdoors that the house provides with the natural light, curved walls, and luscious greenery. The recycled bottle walls are spectacular, too.

If you’re interested in learning more about Connie and Craig’s earthship, you can visit their Wind Chasers website here:

Thanks for watching!

Mat & Danielle


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Music & Song Credits:
All music in this video was composed, performed, and recorded by Mat of Exploring Alternatives.

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45 Replies to “Super Efficient Off-Grid Earthship Built for Early Retirement Plan”

  1. My Tiny Retirement

    Oh my gosh, I absolutely love those bottles. How gorgeous. I wonder if we can do something like that in our own tiny retirement house. Not an earthship, though, just a tiny cabin. Lol.

  2. deb patterson

    Were did you learn how to do this? And where are you located? I think IL, is probally the strickest place to live you even need a permit for a 5ft fence

  3. Glenn S

    How do I do this? Cost? Who do I get in touch with? I've wanted this so much for years but don't know where to even start!

  4. Lesley Allinson

    Amazing what you have done and live in, I can't see it as I am blind but from your discription I see it in my head

  5. Cheryle Maybury

    Wow 😮 wow 😮 wow, it’s so awesome 😎 I love it. I have always wanted to build something like this and live a sustainable lifestyle. You guys are truly living my dream.

  6. sally kilby

    it is a great way to live, if you're fit and healthy, very concerned if it is true about tyres can still give off gas.

  7. Tova H

    I have heard that tires can off gas and cause cancer. I would love to know what other method can achieve the earth mass to keep the home warm/cool.

  8. Joe King

    I love seeing these ideas and I love the idea of a grey water system I would really like to see a video that Chronicles how to use a grey water system and what types of things you can wash with or clean with. We live in a home that has a aerated septic system and we cannot use any type of antibacterial anyting nor can we use any type of harsh cleaners or it will throw off the biological environment within our septic

  9. Mihai Mateescu

    No septic system ? With 2000 gallons of water having to go somewhere ?
    Would you be kind to explain in more detalis ? Thanks in advance. 🙂

  10. Patrick McMahon

    all the tires, aluminum cans and glass bottles could have been recycled and reduce the need to mine more resources from the ground; but they would rather use it for this house. Recycling the material back into it's raw form to be reused is better than what these two did. They just removed valuable resources from the supply, thus increasing the need to mine more.

  11. Dale Couch

    Note that the county was fine with it so long "as you had an architect." OK, that just made it un-affordable for many people. Why does something that has published design and elaborate established theory need an architect? Maybe a good builder, but part of the value of something like this is alternative building. This should be part of a new vernacular building type–"architecture without architects"!

  12. Malryth

    Great video with some solid information. I did see the Garbage Warrior documentary a few years back. I have a dream to do the same thing…build an Earthship in Canada "somewhere" so retirement seems much more "achievable". Thank you for sharing this video. 🙂

  13. Roland Burks

    This is magnificent!! Thanks you guys for being so awesome and creating this beautiful magical dwelling!!

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