The earth houses in Olst are inspired by Earthships by architect Michael Reynolds. The first Earthships date from forty years ago and have been extensively tested in use. Waste - where possible - and local building materials - as much as possible - are decisive in construction. An earthship is designed to be self-sufficient.
Architect Michel Post of Orio Architecten has adapted the principles to the Dutch situation (precipitation, annual temperature and subsoil).
12 houses have a north wall of car tires - filled with rammed earth - that partly supports the roof. In the 11 other houses we have replaced this with straw bales - the roof is leaning on a timber frame. The roof has a slope of 9º to optimally catch the sun: in the winter to the back of the house, in the summer little or no sun in the house.
In Olst we pump up groundwater to purify it into drinking water. We guarantee quality with regular tests - monthly.
Wastewater from households (only “grey” water) is filtered into clean surface water for the entire district via the helophyte filter.
The homes have varied solutions for wastewater. Most residents have a compost toilet. This saves many thousands of liters of drinking water on an annual basis and prevents “black” water. In addition, it also keeps valuable minerals available locally. The carefully obtained compost is used on the property.
The Middenhuis has a connection to the normal sewerage system.
Due to the embankments on the north side and the layout of the neighborhood with nature trails and varied plantings, the earthen houses will make the transition between built-up and rural areas very gradually. Bags of compost have been sown with a slope mixture to make the roofs greener. This is further supplemented by seeds that blow in from the environment. Edible greenery makes the neighborhood even more enjoyable. The combination of nature trails and semi-paved surfaces provides an attractive alternative to a paved residential environment and makes an important contribution to water management in the district. The chosen lighting protects the natural value of darkness.
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