Growing Number of Trash Tire
It has been estimated there are more than three billion (3,000,000,000) trashed cheap mud tires in the United States. And every year we throw away more than two hundred fifty million more (250,000,000). They go directly to our landfills, or tire dump mountains—where they sit. For years, maybe even hundreds to thousands of years. This is a huge problem. Tires are a plague of landfills. They don’t disintegrate. They don’t stay buried, they float to the top of the dump. We just can’t get rid of them.
More and more people are looking for ways to recycle, and reduce our use, and need, of landfills. Tires are re-treaded, are being used in the manufacture of carpets and rug pads. For years, people have made sandals from them. Archer Daniels Midland (ADM), a large corporation, has found a way to mix them with coal to produce a clean burning fuel. All of this is important, but we need to continue to do more. We can use them as building blocks for houses. The properties that make them horrific for landfills actually make them good for housing materials.
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The basis of this writing is the tire house—dwellings whose structural basis is steel-belted radial tires. We will talk about revolutionary, self-sustaining tire houses, and about more conventional-looking housing made of tires. We talk to people who live in these homes, who are building them themselves.
Discussion will be done about the environment and the choices we all make that affect the environment. People are also interested about the techniques used when repairing, renovating, or building new homes that do little damage to the environment. Experiments done on these topics were the “tried and true”—based on studies and experiments that help to determine which products do least damage to our environment, via cutting, mining, processing, shipping, installing, and using. They are also those that allow use of readily available materials at reasonable cost.
Choices on the theme of the discussions remain choices about design, location, orientation, what kind of rooms and life-style. Choices still remain important, but this writing focuses more on sustainability. These homes use more recycled products, more experimental techniques and systems. They utilize thermal mass. This writing recommends techniques and materials that might not appear to be aesthetically pleasing, but ultimately are. It describes a range of options, which once you buy into the sustainability credo, offer revolutionary methods as well as more conventional ones. But it is still a presentation of choices. About you, and me, our life-styles, our needs, our comforts, and our commitments. These houses can be built anywhere. Tires are a locally available “natural” resource in every community. However, be sure to check local codes and regulations. In many areas, permits for tire houses will still be considered experimental.
This writing also discusses issues of money and the pragmatics of running a profitable construction company. Anyone can build one environmentally responsible home. But, to make a difference long-term, these techniques must be incorporated into the mainstream. The materials must be readily available at reasonable cost and the techniques must be within the standards of the trade. Otherwise, the total impact on the world will remain small. We hope we can bridge effectively the world of evolutionary design and the demands of a successful 20th century business.
Building a home of tires is one choice. One way to go. And if hundreds, and then millions of people made this same choice, we would make a significant impact on reducing garbage and recycling all kinds of products. The future holds even more choices—and more options for sustainability. We hope this gives you ideas for your own life and your own home.
Make it Environment-friendly
To build truly evolutionary housing you must be informed about the environmental building movement and environmentalism in general—from rain forests to dolphins. Decisions must be made with the big picture in mind. Take mahogany, for example. Many people believe we should not use mahogany at all. But if there were a market for mahogany, we could encourage the peoples of the rain forests to manage, i.e. sustain, mahogany trees/forests rather than eliminate the market, and eventually devalue the trees so they are burned or cut and thrown away. It’s another way to make responsible environmental decisions. And yet, tomorrow, our choices might change. What’s appropriate today may not be tomorrow. Using garbage from landfills, whether it’s tires or asphalt, should not lead us to demand these products if we are able to clear our landfills of them. Our choices are not static—they must also evolve.
In terms of housing, choices can be made that do less damage to the environment short term as well as long term and that deliver comfortable, aesthetically pleasing, reasonably priced homes. Cost is a critical issue in environmentalism. If a system, a technique, or particular material costs significantly more than the norm, a choice must be made. Quality comes into play here, too. If the very best product is less environmentally sound than desired, a choice is made. Balance is sought. For example, Styrofoam is still used as rigid insulation on TREE Homes, even though we are actively pursuing other materials. The cost is reasonable and no “green” products come close in terms of performance. But, our evolutionary perspective lets us do this, knowing we balance the equation with other choices and our belief there will be better, greener, products in the future. We call this pragmatic environmentalism