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Global Model Earthship

Follow Dan through his 3 year journey of building his own Global Model Earthship! Below you will find the entire video collection of his entire process, from land search to completion. It was started in March 2011 and completed in October 2013. Below you will find many details of the building process along with Dan’s personal insights and challenges, of which there are many!

The Global Model Earthship is a design by Michael Reynolds of Earthship Biotecture. It has all the amenities of a typical American home but is completely off the grid. It uses passive geothermal and solar to heat/cool itself, photovoltaic modules and/or wind to produce electricity, and catches rainwater and re-uses it 4 times before it is safely returned to the environment. Click here to learn more about Earthships or continue on to learn how to build one.

Dans 800sqft Global model Earthship floor plan

Dan's 800sqft Global model Earthship floor plan

Help me build an Earthship!
Dan Richfield is moving to Taos, NM in March 2011 to build an Earthship! We are accepting volunteers to help with the build process, so if you want to learn how to build a fully self sustainable, off the grid home, visit http://www.offthegridbuild.com and click on the “Volunteer & Learn” link!
Off the Grid Build – Episode 1
Dan makes his way up to Taos and talks a little about the trip there and some preliminary meetings with Michael Reynolds and Earthship Biotecture
Expense Itemization
A full accounting of everything I purchased to build by Global Model Earthship Studio. Includes cost, detail of item and where I purchased it.
Getting a building permit
I have been warned by Earthship Biotecture that getting a building in Taos, NM is quite an arduous process. They advised me to pay them to take of it, but left the option open for me to do it myself. If I was living in Taos right now, I would have opted to do it myself but since I am not out there until the end of March, and I need to get started in April, I had no choice but to hire Earthship Biotecture to take care of it…
Mission “Land Acquisition” Successful
I just got back from a short trip to Taos, NM with the sole intention of buying land to build an Earthship on next year. I started out looking at several properties with John Kejr from Dreamcatcher Realty. I had him show me proper…
Plans and permitting, done.
Just got the finished plans from Earthship Biotecture today. We are a go for Earthship ground breaking in March! Now that things are in motion, I am going to get serious about my own planning of
Earthship Systems: Water
A comprehensive article I wrote about all of the Earthship water systems. All photos and information in this article are from Earthship Biotecture builds I was volunteering on before I got started with my own build. Check it out, lots of great info!
Gathering Tires
A clip explaining a little on how and where to gather tires to build your Earthship.
Making Bottle Bricks
A step by step on how to make bottle bricks to use in the walls of your Earthship. Bottle bricks allow light to shine through a wall, and color the light the color of the glass used in the brick
Solar Power!
After several days of making stuff up and a little help from Earthship’s Amzi Smith, I finally got the solar system working today! This is a silly video of the moment that happened.
Build site walkthrough
A literal walkthrough of the build site as excavation and the solar system installation are underway.
Build Site Organization
A little walkthrough of our work site and how we organize it. It’s important to strategicaly place materials and equipment to enhance safety and productivity.
Solar System Installation
How to build a weatherproof solar panel rack and mechanical boxes. Also how to set up an Outback solar system.
Thermal Wrap and Cooling Tubes
A description of an Earthship’s thermal wrap and cooling tubes.
Thermal Wrap Installation and Backfill
A brief video showing the process of installing the thermal wrap that creates a thermal break surrounding the building, buried within the berm.
Air Guitar
Tirewalls build themselves while we rock the f**k out.
Building a Tire Wall
How to build an Earthship tire wall, step by step. Lots of tips and tricks included.
Blog Entry 7-12-11
An update of where the build is at after returning from Texas.
More Tire Courses
A progress video showing more tire wall construction, installation of the cisterns and some very serious goofing off.
Cistern Installation
Installing two 1,700 gallon cisterns into a Global model Earthship.
Adobe Packout
How to mix and use a crude adobe mud used to fill the voids (pack out) a tire wall.
Mixing Can Wall Cement Mortar
How to mix cement mortar used for building can walls.
Meet the Crew
Meet some of the Off The Grid Build crew that came out to help and learn how to build a Global model Earthship.
Blog Entry 8-23-11
Just a little update on what’s going on because I haven’t had any time or energy to put any new videos together. I’m hoping to get a couple videos detailing the footings and framing up this weekend!
Footings, Buttresses and Bond Beam
An overview of the following for a Global Model Earthship.
1) Build and pour concrete forms for the footings, bond beam and butresses.
2) Building the can wall form for the bond beam and pouring the concrete beam.
Plating & Interior Greenhouse Wall Framing
An overview of a Global model Earthship’s interior vertical greenhouse frame wall and the stem pour and plating below it.
Tarantula Time
Ceebass notices and very sexy tarantula in the house.
Worksite Dogs
I wanted to get a dog so bad when I first came out to Taos in April because having a dog on the worksite is great. Unfortunately, I move around too much so it would be unfair to both of us. Luckily there are a bunch of neighborhood dogs that love hanging out my place!
The Roof – Part I
The first part of 3. This video covers craning the vigas up to the roof, securing them to the house, and decking the roof.
The Roof – Part II
The second part of 3. This video covers the layers of the roof, preparing the front face, gutters and how the water gets into the cisterns.
The Roof – Part III
The third part of 3. This video covers the trusses, the wing wall roofs and the propanel roofing.
Blog Entry – 10-16-11
Picking Lumber
How to make sure you’re getting straight boards at the lumber yard.
Exterior Footings
Ooops… I didn’t dig my exterior footings deep enough to accomodate for the frost line, so here’s the fix!
Gypsy Snake
An original track we threw together that sums up our Earthship experience.
Blog Entry 11-22-11
Front Face – Part I
The first of a series of videos detailing construction of the front face of a Global model Earthship.
Front Face – Part II
The second of a series of videos detailing construction of the front face of a Global model Earthship.
Front Face – Part III
The third of a series of videos detailing construction of the front face of a Global model Earthship.
Exterior Doors
A little walkthrough of how I built the exterior doors for my Global model Earthship.
Blog Entry – 7-14-12
I’m back in Taos working on the Earthship. Here’s an update.
To Free a Hummingbird
A hummingbird was trapped in the greenhouse, and I helped it to get free.
Blog Entry – 8-4-12
The sky erupted in beauty
Blog Entry – 09-08-12
Progress update! Check out what’s going on and subscribe to facebook.com/offthegridbuild for more updates!
Roof Boxes
How I built the systems and skylight vent boxes on the roof of my Global Model Earthship.
Final Solar System Installation – Part I
Wiring 4 225W Schott solar modules in two pairs of series the dc breakers in the combiner box. Also tips on cable management for the modules.
Final Solar System Installation – Part II
This video covers how to wire your solar panels to the combiner box, what the breakers in the load center are for and how to ground your load center. Also some tips on whether to choose DC or AC power in your house.
Final Solar System Installation – Part III
This video covers the DC negative bus bar, the negative shunt, the ground bus bar and the grounding rods. Also detailed are how the breakers in the load center and the charge controller are wired.
Final Solar System Installation – Part IV
This video covers the battery setup, some safety precautions, and the inverter wiring.
Final Solar System Installation – Part V
This video covers pulling wire through liquidtite conduit with a wire puller.
Sizing Your Solar System
Understanding exactly how much power is stored in your batteries and how much of that you can use on a daily basis. This video also covers how power gets from your solar panels, to your batteries and finally to your appliances. You will learn how to size your solar system according to how much power consumption you expect to have.
Sizing your Solar System Corrections
I wanted to address some legitimate comments made on my Sizing your Solar System video.
Monitoring your solar system with a Tri Metric Monitor
This video covers the features of the tri metric monitor and explains how to use it to monitor the state of your batteries. I also cover how it generates a % full number.
The Pros and Cons of 12 vs 24 Volt Systems
Which voltage should you use for your house? This video explains the things you will have to consider when choosing between 12 and 24 volt systems.
Blog 11-08-12
I’m back in NYC working on a new business and finishing the videos for the Taos Earthship. I decided to trade my Subaru Impreza WRX in for a ’99 VW Golf TDI which I will convert to veggie oil with the Grease Car system.
Electrical Wiring – Part I
How to mount an electrical box on a tire wall.
Electrical Wiring – Part II
How connect Romex wire into an electrical box and how to run it on tire walls.
Electrical Wiring – Part III
This video covers running wiring under the floors, through framing and running the home runs into your AC/DC breaker boxes.
Plumbing Overview – Part I
Overview of drainage plumbing in a Global Model Earthship.
Plumbing Overview – Part II
Continuation of the drainage system, venting and explanation of the supply lines.
Plumbing Overview – Part III
Continuation of supply lines to sinks, outdoor hose bibs and a little talk about gray water and black water drainage.
Testing for Plumbing Leaks – Part I
Using soapy water to check for leaks in the water supply lines. This same technique also works for gas lines.
How to Clean the Water Filters in an Earthship
You will have to periodically clean the filters in your Water Organization Module. This video explains all the steps involved.
Directing Greywater to Planter or Septic
Installation of a 3 way valve to direct gray water from the bathroom sink, shower and washer to either the gray water planter or to the septic.
Bathtub Installation
How we poured a concrete raised bed for the bathtub and framed and insulated around it.
Toilet Installation
This video covered a couple details about installing a toilet at finish concrete floor level that I had no idea about, but are incredibly useful!
Testing for Plumbing Leaks – Part II
Using soapy water to check for leaks in the water supply lines. This same technique also works for gas lines.
Gray Water Planter – Part I
Video 1 of 4 on how to build a gray water planter in a Global model Earthship.
Gray Water Planter – Part II
Video 2 of 4 on how to build a gray water planter in a Global model Earthship.
Gray Water Planter – Part III
Video 3 of 4 on how to build a gray water planter in a Global model Earthship.
Gray Water Planter – Part IV
Video 4 of 4 on how to build a gray water planter in a Global model Earthship.
Gray Water Planter – Part V
Covers the gray water re-circulation pump and the gray water board that pumps water to the toilet.
Gray Water Planter Performance
An update on the fully functioning gray water planter. Covers the many details on the reception cell.
Concrete Slab Floors – Part I
Part 1 of 4 on how to prep and pour concrete slab floors and patios in a Global Model Earthship.
Concrete Slab Floors – Part II
Part 2 of 4 on how to prep and pour concrete slab floors and patios in a Global Model Earthship.
Concrete Slab Floors – Part III
Part 3 of 4 on how to prep and pour concrete slab floors and patios in a Global Model Earthship.
Venting the Plumbing out the Roof
How I vented my drainage, fan exhausts and dry exhausts out of the roof of my Global Model Earthship.
Building a Vertical Wall off a Tire Wall
Tire walls have a slight lean back into the berm. After plastering, this makes a wall that is not vertical. This doesn’t work so well if you need to mount utilities to the wall.
Frame Wall Plaster Prep
How to get frame walls ready to receive a coat of plaster.
Tire Wall Plaster Prep – Part I
How to install lath around electrical boxes and over electrical wire on a tire wall with adobe packout.
Tire Wall Plaster Prep – Part II
How to plaster over those weird shaped turns in the tire wall.
Tire Wall Plaster Prep – Part III
After we finished our adobe plaster scratch coat, we installed stucco netting to the lower portion of the wall in preparation for a cement based plaster.
Do you want to rent an Earthship?
Are you interesting in renting an Earthship? Give the “Off the Grid” lifestyle a try in this studio Global Model Earthship! Available for rent in Fall 2013. Please send me your feedback in the comments if you would be interested.
Earthship Tour – Available for Rental!
The Earthship is done and is ready for rentals. We are taking reservations for nightly and weekly rentals starting mid October on Airbnb. This video is provided on a DVD when you arrive at the Earthship but also shows the finished product off for all our Internet viewers. Let us know what you think in the comments and make a reservation if you want to visit!