In Colorado, Jon Jandai, a Thai man, is part of a group of advocates for sustainable building and living “off the grid.” They’ve built a house out of earth that protects them from the seven months of snow they get each year.
He published a YouTube video about his life on Monday and it’s already had 6,000 views.
“Earthen building is something that people think only exists in Africa and the Middle East. But it exists everywhere. Earthen building is easy and can be built anywhere,” he says in the subtitled video.
Made of local materials, they call their house “Earthship.” The earth walls come from the site, the tires they use for insulation come from a nearby landfill and the wood is from trees that died naturally from a bug infestation.
The house sounds ugly, right? Nah, it’s gorgeous. And it’s 4-5 times cheaper than buying traditional materials to build a house, according to Jon.
Where the group is living, in the Rocky Mountains, winds blow as fast as 200 miles per hour and the home sits at 10,000 feet above sea level. So, it’s pretty darn cold.
The house’s earth walls keep it cool in summer and warm in winter. A wall of windows on the south side allow heat to fill the house while the earth walls holds the warmth in.
Jon, who has ties to PunPun Organic farm in North Thailand, calls the group of Americans that he lives with his family.
He talks about how housing should be easily accessible for everyone. In urban Thailand and most parts of the US, high housing prices mean that many people will never be able to own their own home or apartment.
The part of Colorado where they built “Earthship” is remote. There is no public water or electricity. Instead, they rely on their own solar panels and wind generator for power. Jon and his “family” pride themselves on being almost 100 percent self-reliant, which allows them to be “free from the system and the grid.”
He ends the video with some food for thought. “Shelter has been something that’s easy for humans for ages. It should remain this way into the future. The materials around us should be used in building our homes. Housing has to be easy, if it’s hard, it’s wrong.”
Sure, there’s some hippie mentality at work here but when we see Jon, relaxing is his gorgeous home with a craft beer in front of a roaring fire, snowboards outside the door, not a care in the world — It doesn’t look half-bad.