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by Paige
Rated: E · Essay · Environment · #1957186
Persuasive evidence based argument supporting a thesis.


Paige Buchanan


Short Paper Draft


October 6, 2013








Practicing a sustainable
lifestyle is the key factor in insuring a strong and healthy
environment for future generations. Adapting to sustainable routines
can drastically improve the quality of the environment as well as
protect it. Sustainable living is a system of living that resorts to
using and reusing natural and local resources (Shank, 2012).
Heinberg's (2010) third axiom for sustainability stresses the
importance that "the use of renewable resources must proceed at a
rate that is less than or equal to the rate of natural
replenishment" (p. 4). Building a home uses renewable resources
like wood, but just because something is renewable, doesn't mean
it is necessarily sustainable. It takes time to renew and replenish
resources. There are more sustainable materials that can be used to
construct homes and are nonrenewable resources. For example, in
Grand Designs: Earthship they show a family who built their
exterior walls of their house out of rubber tires. Though rubber
tires are 100% recyclable, they are only recycled about 35% of the
time (Rogers 2013). According to Rerubber, about 300
million tires are scrapped per year.
("Environmental
impact of,"). Space in landfills in not
unlimited, so it is important to find options for reuse of tires.
Building homes out of rubber tires can reduce their presence in
landfills and can provide a resource to build sustainable homes.
The
home displayed in Grand Designs: Earthship demonstrates the
essence of sustainable living because the homeowners utilized
nonrenewable resources and limited their use of renewable resources
while also installing alternative designs for plumbing, electricity,
and architecture that allow them to live sustainably.


Climate change is an ongoing
issue and hot topic in society that is forcing us to find
alternative energy and also alternative lifestyles. Fossil fuels and
greenhouse gas emissions are the leading causes for climate change.
Though the effects of climate change are still minor today, if
nothing is done to help prevent further pollution the future of our
planet is in jeopardy (Anderson 2009). In order to create a low
carbon emission planet, it is important to take steps towards a
sustainable future. One way we could achieve this would be to
construct homes that are built out of reused materials and utilize
solar energy to become more energy efficient. One particular
material that is extremely sustainable to build houses out of is
rubber tires.


Using rubber tires from cars is
a sustainable resource that can be used to construct houses. If
rubber tires are not utilized, they often get put into landfills and
end up creating more problems. Tires can be a breading ground for
mosquitoes, and this can be threatening to humans because of the
diseases mosquitoes can carry ("Environmental impact of,").
The chemical make up of tires also creates problems when they are in
landfills. The toxins in tires can contaminate soil, but also some
of the heavy metals present in tires like lead, can persist in the
environment for a long time, which is also contributes soil
contamination (Rogers, 2013). Tires are useless when they sit in
landfills and only generate more problems, but there are ways to
make them more valuable once they are no longer useable for cars.
They can provide a sustainable way to build homes that can help
reduce the depletion of slowly renewing resources.


The family followed by Grand
Designs: Earthship
chose to build their home out of tires
because they want to live as sustainably as possible, but also
because of the cost. Daren and Adi were able to go to a local tire
yard, and take as many tires they needed for free. This makes the
option to build homes out of tires more attractive to potential
homebuilders because it is much less expensive. Though it is cost
efficient to build a house out of tires, it is also labor intensive.
Daren and Adi were lucky enough to have many volunteers to provide
them with enough hands to get the job done in a timely manor. The
tires are laid on the ground next to each other and are compacted
with about 4 pounds of dirt in the cavity. Filling the tires with
dirt makes them a better insulator and more sturdy. Once the first
layer of tires is laid, the tires are stacked and packed until the
wall is complete. After the wall is finished, the tires are covered
with adobe. Adobe is a mixture of mud and straw, which is a
sustainable resource used to build a houses often in the southwest.
The use of adobe and tires in Daren and Adi's home is a form of
soft technology. This type of technology tries to work in sync with
nature rather than working against it (Jacobs 1997 p. 109).


Along with using tires as the
building block for their home, Daren and Adi also wanted to include
earth sheltering into the design of their home. Earth sheltering is
an architectural design that uses the earth as an external mass
against the wall (Bica, Rosiu, Radoslav, 2009 p. 160). Having this
extra layer on the outside is very efficient in controlling the
temperature inside the building. The earth surrounding the walls
provides insulation to keep inside cool during the summers and warm
during the winters. This is beneficial to the environment because
the need for air conditioning or heating is minimized (Bica et al.
p. 162). This type of architecture design is also beneficial to the
homeowners because they won't pay high bills to regulate the
temperature of their home.


Along with the earth sheltering
architecture in Daren and Adi's home, they also have many
alternative energy systems and functional designs in the house that
make it sustainable. They have a slanted roof that collects
rainwater that can then be used to water their gardens. Daren and
Adi also have a solar hot water heater. This design is sustainable
because it uses the energy from the sun to heat water rather than
using propane. Daren and Adi's alternative implements contribute
to their goal to live sustainably and efficiently.


Daren and Adi set out to live a
sustainable life. Through their ups and downs, they ultimately
achieved their goal by reusing tires to build their home, but also
by installing alternative energy sources and by the architectural
design of the home. With climate change on the verge, it is
important to take steps towards a sustainable future in order to
protect the environment for upcoming generations. Relating back to
Heinberg's (2010) third axiom of sustainability, Daren and Adi
successfully helped to equal or lower the rate of renewable
resources and their natural replenishment (p.4). Daren and Adi's
home that was displayed in Grand Designs: Earthship, has the
qualities of a sustainable home because they minimized their use of
renewable resources and also integrating alternative designs for
plumbing, electricity, and architecture that assist them to a
sustainable lifestyle.
















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