TIny House & Earthship Building


Two Sustainable Construction Workshop Series for 2018

We are offering two sustainable construction workshops series in 2018.  The first is the return of our popular Earthships 101 course, where those who are interested in building an earthship can come to Blue Rock Station, spend the weekend in one of our straw bale cabins, and get an in-depth overview of what is involved in building one of these lovely homes.

Our second construction project is the $5,000 Tiny House project.  Our aim is to build a Tiny House.  However one of our concerns or disappointments with the whole tiny house movement is that they seem to have morphed into amazingly expensive little buildings.  So our goal is to build this house with as little money as possible - or our dumpster dive tiny house project, if you will.

(Cartoon by Kristin Noelle)

These workshops are designed to take you out of your normal day-to-day and transport you into the world of Blue Rock Station.  The workshops begins as early as you wish to arrive on Saturday (provided it is not before 10 am).  You will settle in to your straw bale cabin or camp site, get acquainted, have a cup of tea, and discuss the goals of the weekend.  Some folks are anxious to jump right in and get to work on a project, others want to just sit at the overlook and dream.  How much or how little you get your hands and feet dirty is up to you.  No pressure.

After lunch, we will have a tour of Blue Rock Station.  This is a regularly conducted tour and takes between 2-3 hours.  You are welcome to join in or to work on your project.  Again, entirely up to you.  After the tour, work on the project continues up until dinner.

Sunday morning will begin with a continental breakfast - then onto the project (until lunch).  We will dine at the overlook (weather permitting) taking in the views of the foothills of the Appalachians.  Work will continue in the afternoon until you feel the need to return to the "real world".

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Earthships 101:  A Behind the Scenes look at permits, costs, building and living in an Earthship

You've read about them in magazines.  You've perhaps seen them on television.  You may have even convinced yourself that you would like to build one.  But just what is an "Earthship" and how hard would it be to create and live in one?  If you have ever wondered if you might have the energy, the desire and the stamina to build your own amazingly comfortable home from old tires, a pile of earth and a sledge hammer - then this workshop is for you.

Spend the weekend at Blue Rock Station to learn the basics of Earthship concepts.  No need to run all the way out to New Mexico - we have one right here in Ohio.

Learn the techniques used to:

  • Water-proof Earthships for a colder and wetter climate (and not the desert southwest)
  • How to capture water for use inside the house (we will discuss the rainwater harvesting to drinking water filtration system)
  • Creating indoor wetlands (harnessing and reusing grey water)
  • How to use wetlands effectively
  • The tricks to mud plastering
  • How to pound rammed-earth tires effectively to create the basic structure of the Earthship
  • plus everything we would have done differently if we knew then what we know now

You’ll also have an opportunity to view Earthship design plans, ask questions about the basics of design, discover area professionals who could serve as professional resources, and take a tour of Ohio’s first Earthship.  Normally this type of information is provided in a consulting setting at a fee of $75 per hour.  But during this workshop we can discuss your specific ideas (time permitting) and we will also highlight the "what we would do differently if we knew then what we know now" changes we would make to the original Earthship designs. We limit these weekend retreats to 6 students - so as close to one-on-one instruction as you can get without actual one-on-one instruction (which we refer to as consulting).

Dumpster Dive Tiny House Project Workdays

For years we have seen the tiny house movement grow and change.  As all good things, it has been adopted and commercialized - often straying from its original intent.  To our way of thinking, the idea is good, making a nice home with a small ecological footprint at an affordable price.  So, just how low can we go?  Well, this being Blue Rock Station, we will see how close to zero we can manage.

The plan is that over the course of a number of weekends, we will convert an existing garden shed into a cute little house.  This house will incorporate:

  • rammed earth tire foundation
  • passive solar heating
  • solar thermal hot water system
  • solar PV generator for electricity
  • composting toilet
  • full kitchen as well as a shower

all on a 12 x 12 footprint.


In keeping with the affordability theme of this project, the cost of the workdays will be kept at a minimum ($35 per person per weekend), designed to simply cover the cost of food and camping.