Self-building an earthship Course

Course 1: Fri 18 – Sun 20 Oct 2013
Fully booked: 
Go on the waiting list.
Course 2: Fri 11 – Sun 13 April 2014
Course 3: Fri 6 – Sun 8 June 2014
Course 4: Fri 11 – Sun 13 July 2014

All days of the course run 9.00am – 5.00pm in Stanmer Park, Brighton.

New course dates will be announced soon. Click here if you would like us to notify you when these dates are announced.

This course is for anyone thinking about building their own home and anyone interested in learning about Earthships.  Includes practical workshops.

What is an Earthship?

An Earthship is a low impact building that makes use of recycled materials in its construction including over 1000 car tyres. It has passive solar heating and cooling and uses only renewable technologies. All the water used is harvested from rain-water and recycled with waste water management on site.

What will the Self building an Earthship course cover?

We will go through how a building can use the sun instead of central heating and how to build in natural, passive ventilation. We’ll look at how it’s possible to live off-grid, this includes; how you can harvest and recycle water and an outline of the relative merits of micro-renewable technologies like solar, biomass, wind and hydro. We will look at what you need to think about when sourcing environmentally friendly materials and how to avoid the most damaging materials. And we will look at the practicalities of turning the dream into a reality. There will also be a hands-on practical on ramming car tyres that make up the walls of an Earthship, an earth rendering workshop and a glass bottle brick workshop. This course will build on the good work of Mike Reynolds and focus on adapting Earthships to the UK climate.

Who is the course for?

This course is open to anyone aged 16 or over. It is for anyone thinking about building their own home and anyone interested in learning about Earthships. It is suitable for complete beginners, as well as those who are familiar with eco-building and want to know more.

Learning outcomes

Participants will learn what needs to be considered when building an environmentally sensitive home as well as what is involved in building an Earthship. They will learn how to gain autonomy and free themselves from gas and electricity bills. They will learn basic building physics which can shed light on how all buildings work. And they will gain the knowledge and confidence to take their ideas to the next stage.


Continuing Personal or Professional Development (CPD) accreditation is available for this course/event which is accredited by the CPD Certification Service. We can issue a certificate after you have completed the course/event. To find out more, please contact us or visit:

Photovoltaics course

A one-day introduction to photovoltaics course is also run in partnership with Low Carbon Trust. This course is designed to complement the self-building an earthship course and is normally timed to coincide with them. Read more about our Introduction to Photovoltaics course.

Course tutors

Rebecca Sarll is the main tutor and is a qualified trainer with an MSc in Architecture: Advanced Environmental and Energy Studies (Distinction) from the Centre for Alternative Technology. She has experience in straw bale and hemp lime building as well as more conventional construction methods.

Jon Kalviac worked on Earthship Brighton and also on the Zwolle Earthship built in Holland last year. He is a regular tour guide of Earthship Brighton and has much experience of working with rammed tyres.

Paulina Wojciechowska is an architect and author of the book Building with Earth: a guide to flexible-form earthbag construction. She has worked on natural building projects in the USA, Mexico, and Poland. She has taught natural building workshops since 1998, including earth rendering.

Mischa Hewitt was one of the Project Managers of Earthship Brighton, the author of the book Earthships: Build a zero carbon future and has an MSc in Architecture: Advanced Environmental and Energy Studies (Distinction) from the Centre for Alternative Technology. He is a building consultant and works with the green building company Earthwise Construction.


Stanmer Park (near University of Sussex), Brighton. Get directions to our meeting point near the church in Stanmer Park.

If you intend to book accommodation, please check availability before booking a place, as accommodation in Brighton can be hard to find, especially over the summer months.

Get details on local accommodation and Brighton Permaculture Trust supporters who can provide accommodation in their homes.


Fees include tuition, handouts, refreshments and a copy of Earthships: Building a zero carbon future.

£280 – Sponsored/organisation rate
£280 – Individual income more than 25k/yr
£235 – Individual income 18-25k/yr
£190 – Individual income less than 18k/yr
£145 – Individual, concessionary rate (please read below)

Concessionary rates are available to people in receipt of a state pension, means-tested benefits (including housing benefit, council tax benefit, Income Support, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, income-related Employment and Support Allowance or the guarantee credit part of Pension Credit, Working Tax Credit (income does not exceed £16,190) and/or Child Tax Credit), and full-time students. Please bring evidence of this to the course.

We endeavour to make our courses/events affordable to all. Unfortunately, we do not receive any external funding for most of our courses/events and as such rely on large amounts of voluntary input to run courses/events.

See the cancellations and refunds policy.

Booking the Self building an earthship course

Booking is essential, as most of our courses/events are fully booked weeks in advance. However, if places are still available, then bookings can be made until midday the day before the course/event. A place is not secured until we have received the requested payment.

Please do not book unless you are able to pay for your place.

Paying for your place

Please read this section carefully.

When you complete the booking process, you will receive a confirmation email from us. If you haven’t received that email within the next few hours, please contact us immediately, as this email contains vital information regarding your booking.

You can pay when you book your place using a credit/debit card or PayPal, or you can tick the ‘Pay later’ box (in the Event Fee section), which gives you the option to pay by BACS or send us a cheque after you have booked.

If you tick the pay later box, you will have 7 days to pay for your place. Bookings that remain unpaid on our system for longer than that will expire. You will receive notification of this expiration by email. If you then decide you want to come, you will need to contact us to see if there is a still a place available for you.

If you are booking within two weeks of the course, you will not have the option to pay later. Instead, you will need to pay immediately at the point of booking using a credit card or PayPal.  This will also be the only option available if the course is nearly fully booked.

Be certain that you understand ALL the information on this page, then:
The 18-20 Oct 2013 course is fully booked. Go on the waiting list.
Register here for Self-building an Earthship, 11-13 April 2014
Register here for Self-building an Earthship, 6-8 June 2014
Register here for Self-building an Earthship, 11-13 July 2014
If places are available, you will automatically be taken to the booking form.

Contact us

For further information or if you have problems with your registration, please contact us.