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An alternative home built in Luna County, N.M. It was made out of paper, cactus juice, lime, bottles, tires and mud for less than $100. Builder Sean Sands is pictured standing beside a skylight. ((Courtesy of Joe Raedle))

There's no place quite like the home of Dave Carey — not that you'll find in suburban Winnipeg, anyhow.

The independent contractor is in the process of building a house made from used tires — about 2,500 of them.

It's substantially cheaper to build a house this way, Carey says, but adds his reasons are primarily environmental.

"For one thing, you're recycling a material that is otherwise stockpiled and left," said Carey, who was Green Party candidate in the last federal election.

Carey expects construction to get underway soon.

A Winnipeg architect, known for his alternative housing designs, has agreed to give Carey's blueprints the stamp of approval he needs to move forward. After that, the blueprints will be forwarded to the regional municipality of Woodlands where a special agreement will be drafted, protecting the jurisdiction from any legal liability.

No tire homes in the city

Carey said it would not have been possible to build the home in Winnipeg, which is why he chose Woodlands, a community just outside the city.

A concentration of tires Careyneeds for his home might cause others concern, but the environmentalist says he's not worried.The fire hazard for a house made of tires isn't the same as a pile of tires, he said.

"The tires themselves are filled with earth; they're then packed solid.Then the walls are covered in either an adobe coating or a concrete coating.That seals the tires in and won't allow air to get in underneath.

"So, even if by some odd chance it does manage to catch fire, the house itself puts it out using the sand and the fact that oxygen is unable to get to the tires"

The aesthetics might not appeal to everyone, but Carey says he and his wife will be the envy of other homeowners on hot summer nights and cold winter days: Most of the house sits below the ground where temperatures are more easily regulated.

'For one thing, you're recycling a material that is otherwise stockpiled and left'— Dave Carey

"So, summer or winter, it's regulated temperature of about 58 degrees [F]. And then it just takes a little back-up heat in the summer time, there's actually no cooling required."

Tire source secured

As for all the tires he'll need to get things rolling, Carey says he's already secured a source.

"Reliable Tire Recycling on Dublin," he said."I've already talked to the owners. I'm going to borrow a trailer, drive down and get a hand-off, then start building."

Carey estimates the entire cost of his new tire home to be between $25,000 and $30,000. But he says the sky's the limit if you really want to go all out.

"The house can be inexpensive to build or it can cost you astronomical amounts of money — labour is the biggest issue."