Alternative Building and Sustainable Living
When we moved to our land, there was nothing built, an empty slate that allowed us to build the life
and structures we wanted. The roads were unimproved and still aren't up to Park County standards,
but that's fine with us. There was no power, water, sewer or phone. No garbage removal or mail
delivery.
Many Americans would find the lack of these essentials a fate too awful to bare. But we embraced
the challenges this land and life had in store for us, and we found ways to be very happy and
comfortable by applying practical, problem-solving solutions. Here is our story, still in progress:
    
   
Our first and foremost requirement is to live
debt free. Debt is unsustainable. We sold
everything and moved to the land to live in a
yurt until we could build a house.
The yurt has been very comfortable. It has a 30 foot diameter, with a living room/office on one
side and a kitchen, bed-room and bathroom on the other side.
The wood burning cookstove is over 100 years old and works perfectly to cook food, heat water
and heat the yurt. Fueled by beetle-kill pine.
The composting toilet is great and has served our needs very well.
The wind turbine and 8 solar
panels each produce 1KW of
electricity. We have 12
batteries for storage.

No power bill ever. Priceless!
The tire bale house is being build to take advantage of some of the concepts of an Earthship. All the windows are South facing and are the
only heat source we should need to keep the house comfortable, although we are leaning toward radiant-floor heating in the master
bed-room and walk-in pantry. If we do radiant floor heating, it will be from solar heated hot water.
We ordered the windows from Fibertec in Canada because they have the highest solar-heat gain co-efficient we could find. Windows need
to be between 14% and 22% of the total floor space to provide enough heat to sufficiently heat the house. Our house is appox. 3000 sq.ft.
The window frames are fiberglass, which reduces expansion and contraction resulting in broken glass and heat lose.
The tire bales weigh 1 ton each and are comprised of 100 compressed tires. The bales measure 5 x 5 x 2.  They are dense and provide a
great deal of thermal mass, plus they are insulating at R-40.
The first few tire bales in place. We took
42,000 tires out of a landfill to build house
with courtyard, greenhouse and barn
.
Spray insulation stabilized the tires and
also sealed the holes from water and
rodents.
Inside house before backfilling,
but trusses and ply on roof. The
giant beam has to withstand 120
mph winds and 80 lb. snow load.
The North and West sides of the
house ready to be backfilled to
the cement bond beam.
That should keep the wind out
.
South view of the house.
The windows are in and the metal roof is on, now the
backfilling begins.
Great view of the summer kitchen that will be wonderful for
sipping iced tea and canning the summers bounty
.