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Burrow Bureau
(Journal of Underground Homes)

Burrow Bureau (say this 5 times fast) is the place to educate yourself about sub-surface, underground and earth-sheltered houses. It is the aim of our site to illuminate, elucidate, enumerate and generally extol the advantages and disadvantages of underground living and the building of subsurface dwellings.

Modern Underground Home

Living green and saving on energy bills, the owners of over 6,000 underground homes in the U. S. are living large.

Underground America Day is celebrated May 14 every year (it began in 1974). Creating this day was the brainchild of Malcolm Wells who came up with the idea of celebrating not only moles, gophers, groundhogs, snakes and cavemen of yore, but modern people as well.

"The Groundhog has his day every February second," Malcolm was heard murmuring. "So, let's celebrate people living underground!"

Earth Sheltered Dwelling

You're Gonna Have to Deal with Some Things ...

Okay, so now moving on. Underground living is not for everyone. There are issues you have to deal with whether you're buying or building a subsurface or earth-sheltered house. Moisture, ventilation, lack of light are the main disadvantages in dealing with underground living. And if you're prone to claustrophobia then this may not be for you.

And, on these pages, we will address each of these realities and concerns. They should not deter you when thinking of the possibility of living below the grass, however.

Now, if you've been living under a rock your hole life (pun intended) then you may not know the advantages of underground homes (of course if you've been living under a rock your whole life then perhaps you already know).

Modern Earth Sheltered Home
Some of the unapologetic advantages of underground housing are saving on energy bills, shelter from the elements, more security and low maintenance (you never have to worry about your aluminum siding or painting the outside of an underground home).

Now, if you are planning on living in an earth-sheltered (bermed) home then you'll have a few more worries, such as painting part of the outside walls. But you'll also experience some of the advantages too like having more natural sunlight.

Most builders in the northern hemisphere will make sure that an earth-sheltered home is facing south in order to take advantage of the warming rays of the sun year round. So, if you're scouting a location for your new green dwelling this is something to keep in mind, as well.

A few other things to keep in mind are in regard to the water table where the underground home is or will be located. You don't want to dig on top of a natural spring do you or have Old Faithful blow you out a new one every morning when you're in the bathroom. No, this would be bad.

Underground Home Concept

Downhill ...

So, just as in every real estate transaction, with underground or earth bermed homes, location, location, location is of paramount importance. And once you have the ideal location picked out and have talked to your builder, the rest is all literally downhill from there. Did I just say that?


Of Interest...

The city of Coober Pedy in Southern Australia is known for its opals and underground dugout homes.

The Chinese yaodong is a cave house carved out of a hillside and yet contains a courtyard.


Written by Kevin Knatloa

Originally Published on November 05, 2012

Updated October 05, 2015