AN environmentally friendly “Earthship” is on its way to landing in an Apollo Bay hillside.
Apollo Bay farmer Tony Webber is in the process of pounding 550 old tyres into the side of a hill on his property.
The earth-filled tyres will eventually form the basis of a fire shelter.
Mr Webber said his Earthship would be one of Australia’s first, although Michael Reynolds started the concept in New Mexico, United States, in the 1970s.
“The main reason I’m building it is because it hasn’t been done much in Australia, so much of it is to give people a trial of using them,” he said.
Earthships are a type of house made of natural and recycled materials and are usually off the power grid, with their own alternative source of electricity.
The back of Mr Webber’s unpowered Earthship is in the ground, while the front of the structure will be mostly glass to take advantage of the sun’s warmth, and Mr Webber plans to render the interior with a clay mixture.
He recycles aluminium cans to reinforce the tyre wall, and uses old bottles to create a stained-glass effect in other walls.
Edible plants will grow in the front section and the shelter will have enough space for Mr Webber’s animals in case of a bushfire.
“The roof will be timber but buried under the ground,” Mr Webber said.
“It will be covered in earth with layers of plastic and carpet, using a lot of what is called ‘waste material’,” he said.
“Because they’re under the ground generally, they have a stable temperature all through the year.”
Mr Webber attended talks from Mr Reynolds in 2011 and 2012 which inspired him to make his own Earthship.
Mr Webber said friends and people interested in the concept had helped him pound about 150 tyres since last year.
“They’ll camp on site and enjoy the climate and the views and the beach, so it’s not just working and it’s also the experience,” he said.
“Some people have realised it is a very physical job and they’ve had to rethink or plan it a different way.
“Others have got really enthusiastic and gone off and started planning their own, some people have gone to America because they have workshops over there.”