Cruise towards the circular economy

By Christian BlockMisch Pautsch Switch to German for original article

The self–sufficient Äerdschëff in Redange wants to be a source of inspiration for true sustainability and regenerative solutions. The learning and experimentation centre will probably only take off in the coming year. At the moment, however, the transition movement is lacking support.

It is barely visible from the street, and you have to leave the pavement to visit Luxembourg's only Earthship. In a way, you need to be prepared to go new ways.

The Äerdschëff, which at first glance, with its clear lines and also in comparison to projects abroad, leaves a rather sober impression, is located between a shopping centre that can be reached quickly by car, and the Atert-Lycée on the outskirts of Redange-sur-Attert. There is a certain symbolism to this circumstance. After all, the Earthship wants to show its primarily young passengers "how to live with a reduced impact". Consumption habits included.

That's what Katy Fox says. The social anthropologist is one of the initiators of the project, which was developed in 2014. The development of the principle of Earthships in the 1970s – in the context of the energy crisis at the time – is attributed primarily to the architect Michael Reynolds. Due to a growing awareness of climate issues, resource consumption and construction methods, the idea spread, especially around the turn of the millennium, and resulted in hundreds of projects worldwide. According to the Britannica encyclopaedia, there are now almost 3,000 of these constructions that function without non-renewable resources.

"The idea of a closed system fascinated us", Katy Fox tells us during the tour. To make the idea work, the roof of the Earthship is equipped with photovoltaic panels and connected to a wind turbine. The saltwater batteries are still missing to close the gaps in the energy supply. It is a bit ironic that the self-sufficiency of the Earthship is being delayed by delivery problems. "Because of the pandemic, there have been an extreme number of challenges", notes Katy Fox, who hopes the storage units will arrive by the end of the year.

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