Convento São Francisco de Mértola
In 2009 the Association Entre Dois Rios, artists Christiaan Zwanikken, Geraldine Zwanikken, Louis Zwanikken and Patrice Aaftink in collaboration with a international group of dedicated Earthship followers started off with a prototype/pilot Earthship on the property as a visitors center, where people can get acquainted with the ideas and philosophies of the Earthship. The dream is creating a community with sustainable/carbon zero housing, with the possibility to experiment with new ideas, integrating artwork and experimental kinetic design.
What are Earthships?
Earthships are fully sustainable structures that re-use materials in their construction. A visionary architect, Mike Reynolds, has worked on designing and building earthships for the past 40 years. There are six aspects of an earthship and these give it such high eco credentials:
• The earthship house is constructed using a large amount of materials considered to be waste i.e. tyres, bottles and cans.
• It is a passive design which means no energy is needed to heat or cool it.
• Energy is generated on site using solar panels and wind turbines so that no mains connections are necessary.
• Rainwater is harvested off the roof and provides all the water needed in the house.
• Sewage is treated on site so that no link to the main sewage system is necessary
• Space is provided in the greenhouse corridor to increase the sufficiency of the occupants by providing a really productive food growing area all year round.