We plan to build our off the grid home in the 2012 and 2013 building seasons. Our home of choice a Global Model Earthship, a sustainable home that provides everything we will need to collect our own water, grow our own food, heat our home, and generate our own energy; this non-conventional housing solution is new to Manitoba but not new to the world. Earthships have been designed and redesigned for over 40 years. As there are no building companies experienced in Manitoba for this type of build with the assistance of a project team we intend to independently manage the build in phases.

The Purpose (Mission)

  • Get the first Manitoba Earthship built - and move in by Summer/Fall of 2013
  • Make the way for others to follow a plan for building in our Province
  • Study how the claim that Earthships are "Comfort in any Climate" without additional heating/cooling systems
  • This project is only a start - in 2013 we will also make steps to move towards projects to create a sustainable organic farming business applying permaculture techniques

These are the targets we want to meet

  • Achieve financial sign off by April 2012 (Done)
  • Get plans approval to start build by May 2012 (Done - although it was July 1st before we were approved to start)
  • Close up the structure by Fall 2012 (Done)
  • Complete the full build so the Earthship can be occupied by October 2013 (still working on this)

What is an Earthship?

    Good question.

    Earthships are sustainable housing solutions created from recycled materials and powered by renewable energy sources. The principle of the Earthship is such that it can be designed to suit any climate in the world, be economical and self-sustaining. Globally there are over 1000 Earthships in operation.

    An Earthship is a type of passive solar house made primarily of natural and recycled materials. Designed and marketed by Earthship Biotecture of Taos, New Mexico, the homes are primarily constructed to work as autonomous buildings and are made of rammed earth tires, using thermal mass construction to naturally regulate indoor temperature. They also have their own special natural ventilation system. Earthships are generally Off-the-grid homes, minimizing their reliance on public utilities and fossil fuels. Earthships are built to utilize the available local resources, especially energy from the sun. For example, windows on sun-facing walls admit lighting and heating, and the buildings are often horseshoe-shaped to maximize natural light and solar-gain during winter months. The thick, dense inner walls provide thermal mass that naturally regulates the interior temperature during both cold and hot outside temperatures.

    Project Approach


    The Plantz and Bennett Earthship Build will follow the standard Earthship Biotecture plans for the Global Model unit. The plans will be purchased from Earthship Biotecture and any amendments to the plans will be made under the consultation of the architect (Michael Reynolds).


    Due to the nature of the project there are no local building companies or general contractors with the knowledge to organize and manage this type of project. Therefore, the owners, Kris Plantz and Nicole Bennett will share the responsibilities for managing the team members for the project includes subject matter experts (e.g., Engineers) and general labor. The general responsibilities will be assigned to the owners and split between a project manager role and a general contractor role.


    Construction will be managed in short phases each with a goal to complete a particular aspect of the building. Each phase will have a subject matter expert and a general labor component. During the phase there will be planned check points where the subject matter expert is consulted and the work is reviewed. Before the start of the next phase the financier will confirm that the value has been achieved as planned.


    The design of the building will follow the standard global model plans from Earthship Biotecture whenever possible. There will be some amendments required to meet building code in Manitoba and satisfy any structural issues based on the geotechnical report and engineer. When amendments are required Earthship Biotecture will be consulted on the changes prior to generating new drawings. Any amendment once reviewed and approved will has a specification completed and documented as a change to the plans.