Self-building an Earthship
Course 1: Friday 16 – Sunday 18 October 2020
Course 2: Friday 23 – Sunday 25 April 2021
Course 3: Friday 9 – Sunday 11 July 2021
Because of uncertainties relating to COVID-19 we are not currently taking bookings on these courses. Please use the Make an enquiry button at the bottom of this page to ask to join a waiting list.
This course is for anyone thinking about building their own home and anyone interested in learning about Earthships. Includes practical workshops.
What is an Earthship?
An Earthship is a low impact building that makes use of recycled materials in its construction including over 1000 car tyres. It has passive solar heating and cooling and uses only renewable technologies. All the water used is harvested from rain-water and recycled with waste water management on site.
What will the Self-building an Earthship course cover?
We will go through how a building can use the sun instead of central heating and how to build in natural, passive ventilation. We’ll look at how it is possible to live off-grid. This includes how you can harvest and recycle water and an outline of the relative merits of micro-renewable technologies like solar, biomass, wind and hydro. We will look at what you need to think about when sourcing environmentally-friendly materials and how to avoid the most damaging materials.
Mischa Hewitt will discuss the practicalities of turning the dream into a reality: getting planning permission, building control and finances. You’ll get hands-on practical experience in ramming car tyres that make up the walls of an Earthship, earth rendering, and making a glass bottle brick wall. Lastly, you’ll see how all these elements come together in case studies of Earthship France (built by Kevan and Gillian Trott) and Earthship Brighton.
This course will build on the good work of Mike Reynolds and focus on adapting Earthships to the UK climate.
A taste of what you’ll learn
For more videos from our Self-building an Earthship course, on topics ranging from cob rendering to rainwater harvesting: click here.
Who is the course for?
This course is open to anyone aged 16 or over. It is for anyone thinking about building their own home and anyone interested in learning about Earthships. It is suitable for complete beginners, as well as those who are familiar with eco-building and want to know more.
Learning methods and outcomes
Participants will learn what needs to be considered when building an environmentally sensitive home as well as what is involved in building an Earthship. They will learn how to gain autonomy and free themselves from gas and electricity bills. They will learn basic building physics which can shed light on how all buildings work. They will also gain the knowledge and confidence to take their ideas to the next stage. Course participants who complete the entire course will receive a certificate, which will be sent via email after the course.
A one-day introduction to photovoltaics course is also run in partnership with Low Carbon Trust. This course is designed to complement the Self-building an Earthship course and is normally timed to coincide with it. Find out more.
Rebecca Sarll is the main tutor and is a qualified trainer with an MSc in Architecture: Advanced Environmental and Energy Studies (Distinction) from the Centre for Alternative Technology. She has experience in straw bale and hemp lime building as well as more conventional construction methods.
Jon Kalviac worked on Earthship Brighton and also on the Zwolle Earthship built in Holland last year. He is a regular tour guide of Earthship Brighton and has much experience of working with rammed tyres.
Mischa Hewitt was one of the project managers of Earthship Brighton, is the author of the book Earthships in Europe, and has an MSc in Architecture: Advanced Environmental and Energy Studies (Distinction) from the Centre for Alternative Technology. He is a building consultant, domestic and non-domestic energy assessor, and has worked on many eco renovation projects.
Gillian Trott is a qualified teacher and facilitator with over 25 years experience in Education. She also holds a Permaculture Diploma. She co-project managed the construction of an earthship home in 2007. Following this she managed the teaching of earthship building courses in Europe such as Portugal and Glasgow. She is a regular tour guide for the Brighton Earthship.
Stanmer Park (near University of Sussex)
South East England
Get directions to Stanmer Park.
If you intend to book accommodation, please check availability before booking a place, as accommodation in Brighton can be hard to find, especially over the summer months.
Get details on local accommodation and Brighton Permaculture Trust supporters who can provide accommodation in their homes.
Fees include tuition, handouts, refreshments and a copy of Earthships in Europe.
- £340 – Sponsored/organisation rate
- £340 – Individual income more than 25k/yr
- £285 – Individual income 18-25k/yr
- £230 – Individual income less than 18k/yr
- £175 – Individual, concessionary rate (check eligibility)*
* Concessionary places are limited. If places are not available check back two weeks before the course/event as more may be available then.
We endeavour to make our courses and events affordable to all. Unfortunately, we do not receive any external funding for most of these and rely on large amounts of voluntary input.
See the cancellations and refunds policy.
Booking the Self building an Earthship course
Booking is essential, as most of our courses/events are fully booked weeks in advance. However, if places are still available, then bookings can be made until midday the day before the course/event. A place is not secured until we have received the requested payment.
Paying for your place
If you have completed the booking process but you haven’t received a confirmation email from us please contact us to check your booking has gone through.
If you are booking within two weeks of the event, or the event is nearly full, you will not have the option to pay by cheque or BACS. Instead, you will need to pay immediately using a credit/debit card or PayPal.
Because of uncertainties relating to COVID-19 we are not currently taking bookings on these courses. Please use the Make an enquiry button below to ask to join a waiting list.