Living small in the Earth Ball

Published online: Jul 08, 2010 News Kara Pound - www.emagazine.com
Since last November, Roger Drowne has been bobbing through East Coast waterways, from North Carolina to the Florida Keys, in a self-designed, soccer ball-shaped plywood and fiberglass watercraft dubbed "Earth Ball."

"This could become low-income housing for the whole planet," Drowne says. The vessel uses a small amount of natural resources to build and emits minimal pollution in the process. "Soon it will be completely off the grid," Drowne says.

When in the water, Earth Ball sits on a 12x12 Styrofoam raft with a pontoon float on either side. Drowne built the pentagon-and-hexagon sphere for a few thousand dollars and has outfitted the craft with an electric Honda 9.9 outboard motor, a 12-volt wind power generator to run his laptop, phone, stove, small refrigerator and lights, and a compost toilet that he stirs with peat moss and a long metal rod.

Along his journey, Drowne has introduced the houseboat to people in North Carolina, South Carolina and Florida. A few have begun work on their own Earth Balls. "I'm hoping to build myself a second one to use as a greenhouse so I can grow my own food, or to use as a guesthouse for when my grandkids come visit," says Drowne.

CONTACT: Earth Ball

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