Brighton’s iconic earthship: appeal for upgrade of energy and water systems

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ViewFromWestByMischaHewitt

Earthships are self-contained living vessels that don’t rely on mains water or energy from big companies. Earthships use natural systems to provide all their own utilities — solar energy for heat and power, and rain for water — they heat and cool themselves, and use plants, both inside and outside, to treat ‘grey water (used water from bathroom sinks, showers, tubs, and washing machines (excluding water from the toilet).

Earthships

Earthship Brighton embodies five core elements of sustainable construction to create a building with outstanding ‘green’ credentials.

Use of low impact materials in construction — using local, recycled, waste, natural and renewable materials

Passive solar design — enjoying the sun’s free energy for space heating

Renewable energy — zero fossil fuel consumption for day-to-day running with on-site generation of power for electricity and water heating

Rainwater harvesting — free water from the skies with no mains connection and subsequent groundwater depletion

Using plants to treat waste water — no sewage infrastructure with on-site ‘waste water’ treatment using plants and natural processes.

Earthships have evolved over the last thirty years from the pioneering work of architect Michael Reynolds, Earthship Biotecture and the residents of the first three Earthship communities in Taos, New Mexico, USA.

Brighton Earthship

The internationally known earthship has delighted and educated thousands of visitors for over nine years but now the much loved eco-building needs to revamp its energy and water systems. The earthship was designed and built by the Low Carbon Trust in 2006 as a model low carbon community centre for courses and school visits.

One of Brighton’s most iconic buildings, the earthship was the first of its kind to be built in England and is one of only two earthships in the UK (the other is in Fife, Scotland). Stanmer Park, one of Brighton’s most visited green spaces, is home to the award-winning building.

Working as a demonstration site the earthship is not a home. It illustrates how — with smart design and careful planning — the buildings we live and occupy can have a low impact on the planet whilst being both beautiful and comfortable.

Some stats

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the Low Carbon Trust

Brighton based Low Carbon Trust is a not-for-profit organisation that was formed in 2001 to set up, manage, and promote environmental projects. Low Carbon Trust was established to increase awareness about the links between buildings that people live and work in, the carbon dioxide emissions that are produced by this and the resulting climate change.

The Low Carbon Trust does this by:

  • Running dozens of green building courses each year

  • Monthly Earthship Brighton tours

  • Running the popular Eco Education Days

  • Running the yearly Green Architecture Day: a weekend of talks by designers, practitioners & professionals run in partnership with Brighton Permaculture Trust

  • Promoting an ecological approach to architecture

the Upgrade

The Low Carbon Trust need to raise £20,000 to acquire a new ultraviolet water filtration system to purify rainwater for use inside the building, purchase new batteries to store electricity generated by the solar panels, and to build a straw bale unit to securely house the new batteries.

With these new systems in place the building will be able to host many more events and courses and open the building up to the local community to use it for their own projects and events whilst continuing to demonstrate cutting edge renewable technologies alongside elegant ecological building design.

the Appeal

The Low Carbon Trust is launching a crowdfunding campaign, Earthship Brighton: Plugged into Nature to upgrade its vital energy and water systems. The crowdfunding campaign launches on Tuesday 13th of October 2015 on Buzzbnk, the UK’s first crowdfunding platform and will last for 30 days only.

Buzzbnk is the UK’s first crowdfunding platform specifically for social enterprises and charities

To support the appeal, go here: https://www.buzzbnk.org/EarthshipBrighton