We began our tire bale house project in 2003, drawing plans, discussing strategies with a designer, researching and finding property and purchasing it. We hired a contractor to bulldoze a driveway in 2004. We finalized our plans over the next few months then, in 2006, we hired a local contractor. After closing in the structure, we let the contractor go.
Working very hard with friends and volunteer laborers, we finished the project ourselves and received our letter of occupancy, which allowed us to move in, December 24, 2008.
Ours was the first "designed, built and lived in tire bale house" in the world--that we know of. Although there are other tire bale houses-- some that look similar to ours, most look decidely different. Ours was designed as a showcase of possibilities.
Our house is a "passive solar, thermal mass" that (practically) heats and cools itself and has been an ongoing experiment. As retired (software) engineers, we do a lot of experiments around our house. Data is tracked fairly regularly as time and tools permit.
What's it like to live in a tire bale house? Well, ours is very quiet, very comfortable, uses much less energy and takes less maintenance than stick houses. Everyone that comes into our house cannot believe how comfortable it is--nor how quiet. Of course the location helps with the quiet--we don't live near planned urban communities but then, community zoning would never approve of this type of house in their communities.
We have included a couple of files to help answer questions and to show you what we were able to achieve.
In addition to conferences, we have been sought by people around the world to help or consult on their tire bale project. Most have succeeded in building their dream home out of bales of used tires.
Building this type of house took LOTS of engineering planning and forethought and lots of creativity and ingenuity by all involved--especially the craftspeople. This kind of project is not to be taken lightly. While this type of house uses some of the concepts of Earthship houses (used tires and trash as building materials), it is not an Earthship. However, on the inside, our house is much like other stick homes (framing and dry wall).>
Contact us if you have questions about this type of building technology through our blog.