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September Update - MB Earthship 2012

posted Sep 27, 2012, 3:45 PM by Nicole Bennett
A friend reminded me recently that our website could use a little updating - and so here I will attempt an update on the highlights from August - September in one post with a promise to improve my posting skills in the future. First let me say that we (Kris & Nicole) have experienced the best and most busy summer of our lives. Building your own Earthship is wild - tons of work, research, planning, debating, checking & double-checking, and crossing of fingers. I would only recommend doing this yourself if everyone who will live in the home is fully committed, on the same page, and ready for some sacrifice.

Kris has taken the summer off (thanks to his workplace AMEC who supported his leave of absence for the project). I've been working and taking vacation to participate in construction as much as possible. For us in 2012, when I say "done" I mean: Roof is on & front windows installed. This will get the home closed up for the winter. Then we can start work early in the Spring of 2013 (finishing in summer of 2013). We are pretty close to meeting this goal and if the Manitoba weather holds we should achieve it!

Our July update was all about tires - because July & August were almost purely about pounding the 11 tire course retaining wall in place and related work (like the cooling tubes & cisterns). I'll try and give some highlights:

-1800+ hours into tires - The approximate labor hours it took to install cooling tubes, finish retaining wall, put cisterns in place, and install the thermal wrap.
-800-850 Tires - The amount of tires it took to finish the retaining and south wall which acts as a footing for the exterior greenhouse wall.
-12 Tires in One Day- The record for amount of tires pounded by one person in a day (held by Scottie). It takes a long time to pound tires - easily an hour or more on a large one.
-12 weeks Camping (still going) - The longest length of time a volunteer has camped out and worked as part of the core crew for the build (held by Stevie). We are so lucky to have volunteers stay for anywhere from one night to many weeks. We never could have got this far without the support & expertise.
-13 weeks (still going) with no shower - With the exception of creek runs and the famous "hot bucket shower" my husband holds the record. I can't think of any other way we could have done this other than living on the property like we have. The outbuildings have provided space for things like summer kitchen, 'living room', work shop, storage and more. It's a really different experience living like this - and a lot of fun.
-Alberta Wins - The province that the most out of town volunteers came from. We've have over 4 longer term volunteers come from Alberta including Calgary, Red Deer, and Lethbridge. We've also learned there are a few Earthship builds in Alberta - just not sure the exact location yet of any.
-$15,000-$20,000 - The amount of money it will cost us for excavation & skid steer work. This is the biggest overage on our budget so far. Our original estimates were not even in the ballpark. It was easy for an excavator to spend an entire day digging and moving dirt to pound into times.

The pump truck - our first big concrete fill was for buttress footings & footings for the interior south wall.

Interior greenhouse wall - we made a can wall for the form - it almost blew out but was saved by the rigid insulation

Roughed in the cisterns - we've been getting our drinking water out of these since we filled them up with a water truck in August - this provides us easy access to water on site for concrete work plus drinking water to fill our containers with.

The buttresses will tie everything together - at the top the rebar is hooked into rebar in the bond beam - we are doing these pours On Saturday September 29th.

Three foot rebar lengths get painted with rust paint and driven through three layers of tires before the can form is built for the bond beam. We got to buy a rebar cutter and bender to do all our own form work ($425).

Making a can form - we'll use thousands and thousands of cans as part of this build. This form is for the bond beam on the top course of tires. Leave 3 fingers space between cans.

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