Earthship, sweet earthship
If you look at the house in the picture above, the first thing that comes to mind probably isn’t innovation, technology or the future. If anything, it resembles the Flintstones house or some sort of pre-historic home. As the saying goes, you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, or in this case, a home by its appearance. We are used to associating progress and innovation with images of futuristic, stainless steel cities, tall skyscrapers and busy streets, but if we want to truly be innovators, we might have to take a step back from high-consuming technologies and be more integrated with nature. This is what Earthships do: they are fully integrated in the environment around them and produce most of the energy and water needs for the people living in them. Solar panels on the roof of the house generate electricity, while thermal walls built using recycled materials retain the heat during summer and slowly release it during winter, replacing electric heating.
Not relying on any external sources of power, water or gas is a technical challenge, and building homes that are more sustainable will not only drive new innovations in civil and environmental engineering but also be an essential step to take if we want to stop harming our planet. Also, “I’m staying in my earthship tonight” sounds way cooler than “I’m staying home tonight”.
In this episode we speak to Dr Mark Schenk, an aerospace engineer whose childhood interest in origami led to innovative work developing foldable structures.Read more
In this podcast episode, we speak to QEPrize Judge Jim Al-Khalili about his work on quantum biology and the key role that engineers play in society.Read more