Where do you imagine living in ten years? You may not have explored all the options yet. When I first heard about the landlord, I didn't pay much attention to it. But then I found out that this environmentally sustainable housing is a global phenomenon.

Zemljanka from beer cans

The original idea actually originated hundreds of years ago and is known as zemljanka - a house sunk into the ground, economical from natural resources. It was reshaped and adapted to today's standards by Michael Reynolds. An architect who started designing houses from materials from 1969 that no one wants. To farmers, such an island is for itself. It was designed to provide its inhabitants with everything they need without the need to connect to utilities. With the help of natural resources, it provides heat, drinking water and electricity. In addition, it is built of materials that are easily accessible all around - from clay and garbage. 

The house as a perpetuum mobile?

First, a pit is excavated so that the house is partially sunk into the slope and the cover is covered with soil on one side. Tires are most often used in the foundations, but as a result, almost everything that others would have long ago thrown away will serve. During the construction, beer cans, glass bottles and everything that has excellent thermal insulation properties are also used. The south side is then always glazed. In the beginning of the projects, even so much heat flowed in through the glazed part that it was kept in the cans and walls of the house that it was hard to withstand inside. Today, the materials are balanced and the house stably maintains a pleasant 21 ° C, both in summer and in winter. However, heating and air conditioning are not required. 

It also orders the wind to rain…

The house captures rainwater and collects it in tanks of thousands of liters, stored near the house or under it. Not a drop of water is wasted, it is always reused as long as possible, for example for botanical cells with plants for subsistence. These are, for example, in the middle of the living room, but also outside, depending on what plants you want to grow in them, taking into account the climatic conditions of the area. The farmhouse also includes a water purifier with anaerobic bacteria, which again turn drinking water into drinking water. Thanks to ingenious management, water will not run out even if it does not rain for several months.

Electricity is produced by solar panels and mite propellers. The energy produced is then stored in batteries. And it is enough to cover all appliances, including washing machine and television. Solar energy also takes care of the heat in the house, which is maintained by natural air circulation and perfect insulation materials.

Global project vs. administration

The farm project has meanwhile become a global trend. Especially in America, these ecological buildings are growing relatively fast. But also in New Zealand, Australia or Africa. Hobbit-like houses are rapidly gaining popularity on all continents.

Paradoxically, the biggest obstacle has become the bureaucracy. Reynolds himself in New Mexico soon caught up with it, and even revoked his license as an architect and entrepreneur. He used material for construction that was not approved by the standards, and did not connect the construction to the obligatory distribution networks. And so Reynolds set out across the ocean to spread his message about the usability of garbage.


In the Czech Republic, the Zeměloď project undertook the construction of sustainable ecology. The first started to emerge in 2012, and within a few years a few other farms grew up in our country. Initially, some activists protested against the construction of non-degradable tires and did not want to allow them to be sunk into the foundations. In the world, however, this style of living is gaining sympathy, especially for those who have almost no roof over their heads. Housing, which costs you about $ 40 a year with everything, has its advantages and disadvantages. Maybe it's building the future, maybe it's just a crazy hippie idea that sinks into the past. In any case, it is worth noting. As Reynolds himself says, "It's too late to save the planet." But hope dies last.

"The house captures rainwater and collects it in tanks of thousands of liters"