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Letter Re: Building a Refrigerator Wall Adobe House

Dear Mr. Rawles:

A recent article on your site mentioned using shipping containers to build an enclosed courtyard similar to those that were constructed as California Missions. The author stated he could not use adobe due to the wet climate in which he planned to construct his non-fortress-looking enclave. Here is another suggestion in lieu of adobe:

While living in a rural area in Southern California in the early 1960s, I had to take trash to the dump about every third week. Over the span of just a couple of years, I watched a huge canyon fill-up with trash from our disposable-society discards. About that same time, I also became aware of Dennis Weaver (remembered as Chester in the television series “Gunsmoke“) built eco-friendly “Earthship” home, in New Mexico [1]. He used old tires and built his home into the side of a hillside. He reported an almost year-around constant temperature with very little external heat or cooling. That gave me the following idea:

I moved to Texas to purchase 30-40 acres in a non-building-permit-required, non-art-jury-dominated, non-homeowners-association-controlled location. I drew a 50-mile radius on a map with the center of that circle being my property. I then located all appliance stores within that 50 mile radius and made arrangements to pick-up their old appliance carcass’ at no charge. I collected the shells of used refrigerators, stoves, chest freezers, washers and dryers which I then used in lieu of adobe bricks to fill-in as walls of a pole frame house. After some reinforcement, stucco on the outside and drywall on the inside made it look like a regular house except for the three-foot-thick walls. The insulation factor is excellent and I figure I personally helped save a lot of space in some land-fills. Regards, – Tex