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Welcome to the pictorial journal
of our tire house build


If you'd asked us a few years ago, Hey how about building a "Tire House" to retire in?, our answer would have been, "A what?", and then "Are you nuts?"

After some surfing on the net, and then a tour of an actual tire house, we then decided that this was the direction that we wanted to go. We live on a farm with solar and wind power already and decided that this was the next step. To be totally off the grid was something that I have always wanted and just the concept of a tire house was just amazing to me.

Imagine, living in a house that you can basically build by yourself, using materials that would normally be buried in a landfill site. A house that can be totally off the grid and have no need for a central heating and cooling system. It's a house that requires no septic system, instead using a grey water recovery system and composting toilet to reduce our carbon footprint as much as possible..

We will require some sort of fossil fuel to supplement hot water heating and for cooking, but other than that it's carbon footprint is greatly reduced compared to that of a conventional house.

The heating of this type of house is on based on a concept called Thermal Mass. All of the external, and some of the internal walls are made of tires stacked and packed with sand. This makes them really dense and gives them the ability to absorb heat, store it, and then radiate it back out when needed. And no, when it's done you don't see any of the tires at all. A wood stove is all thats needed to bring the temperature up to comfortable levels.

The south side of the house is all glass which allows the sun in to heat up the tire walls. Cooling of the house in the summer is achieved with a system consisting of an adjustable cooling stack in the roof and underground air intake tubes coming up through the floor. Hey, free air conditioning.

Imagine having a garden in your house with vegetables and flowers growing all year round, watered with the grey water from your shower and sinks that would normally be wasted in your septic system. Add to that a composting toilet, and "VOILA" no septic required!!

This style of house was conceived and then put to the test years ago by an architect named Michael Reynolds. He believed that there had to be a better way to live than the way that we are doing now. I can highly recommend his series of books called "Earth Ship", as they give a detailed description on how the house comes together, operates and why we should be looking for new ways to design and build.

When we decided to build our new home, hired an architect and an engineer who was familiar with Earth Ships to draw up the plans we had envisioned. We were also pleasantly surprised to find that when we approached our local building inspectors with what we wanted to do, they were also familiar with the concept of a "rammed earth house" and were looking forward to watching it being built. This is the first house of this type to be built in this area so there is a learning curve for all of us. Remember, although you can do most of the work yourself and it is a different type of build, there are still building laws and codes that you must follow. Having the building inspectors working with you is not only required, but a big plus.