And now, just a bit on the backstory…Earthships fired my imagination back in 1994 when I picked up a copy of an early book by Michael Reynolds. I was on the road travelling in Africa and Ireland and got fired up with the simple idea of building an ecological and affordable home myself. Why not?
Well it turned out that in the UK and many other places, the price of land that is permitted for residential use has become massively expensive for one…so I got involved in looking at that issue and the urgent need for land planning reform to permit low impact and low carbon development…
By 2000 I had started up one of the first ‘low carbon consultancies’, CLevel. We wanted to orchestrate an ultra low carbon build project and I wanted to get back to the dream of living lightly without having to go into debt for a lifetime…
First Earthships Europe
So I invited Mike and Kirsten Jacobsen to Brighton to explore building in the UK. At about the same time, Paula Cowie was making moves to build Earthship Fife in Scotland. We went to Scotland, and we went to Taos…
And by 2003, we had pulled together funding, planning permission and set up the new non profit organisation, the Low Carbon Trust. We had also built the main structure for Earthship Brighton on the south downs in Stanmer Park.
Everything about earthships still felt right to me. Innovative, low carbon, low impact and just plain ‘doable’.
So to take things further, I pulled together funding and lead a feasibility study to look at using earthship brighton as a prototype for a housing development. This was successfully completed and lead onto us securing full planning permission for a 16 unit earthship eco village called the lizard – on land overlooking Brighton Marina. It was now 2007.
Brittany Groundhouse and Grand Designs
Although we had many of the hurdles dealt with to progressing with Earthship Homes, the land sale stalled, and I took the decision with Adi Nortje that now was the time to really ‘walk the talk’. I had secured full planning approval in 2006 on land in Brittany – so we set to it with a team of engineers, technicians, builders and friends and by January 2009 we were able to move into a new home, the Brittany Groundhouse.