During periods of time when oil and other heating source
fuels are scarce, there is an interest in earth sheltered
homes. And, they are once again growing in popularity.
People are learning that it's not like living in a bunker
or a cave - you can have most of the conveniences you
enjoy now, and still be a friend of the Earth.
Earth sheltered home
Earth sheltered homes include those that are virtually
unseen at the surface, as well as those with a façade
as lovely as any found on conventional homes.
When you shelter your home, your cooling and heating
costs are usually less than half as much as they would
cost in a conventional home. In addition, they don't usually
cost much more to build.
America uses a great deal of energy, even if we are close
to being eclipsed by countries like China for the dubious
honor of top energy user. It's important to consider energy
efficiency in all aspects of your life, including not
just the car you drive, but also the home you live in.
Being Eco-friendly and going Green when choosing your
housing type can make a big difference in your use of
Earth Sheltered Houses
Earth-berm homes have almost the same energy efficiency
as homes that are built fully underground. In addition,
their roof is made of earth, which gives the house a greener
footprint. Having walls that are earth-sheltered along
with living roofs allows homes to have less of a negative
impact on their surroundings.
The land that is used for earth-sheltered homes can also
be reclaimed "marginal" land, which is not used
for anything else. By taking property that doesn't serve
a farming purpose and returning it to its natural green
scape, you will give the area a more natural appeal. Building
homes in caves and gravel pits allows you to take lifeless
areas and fill them with green life once again.
Earth Berm Home Plan
Them 50's ...
Earth is a good insulator and is a very good capacitor
as well. This means that it absorbs and stores heat, especially
when wet. It can store heat and coolness, which makes
these homes more comfortable, year round. In most regions,
the earth 4 feet deep and below is in the range of 50
- 55 degrees Fahrenheit all year round. You gotta like
There are two types of thermal masses that work together
in homes that are sheltered by earth. The mass of the
earth is not something that you can control, but the mass
of the building is well within your control. Building
a home at a specific depth in the soil will allow it to
have more moderate temperature fluctuations. Earth-berm
houses built in northern states can have the climate of
houses in southern states.
Comedian and Actor Steve Martin's Earth
But, Wait, There's More ...
Using the earth for shelter helps not in just heating
your home, but in cooling it as well. At the normal building
depths, which may range from six to eight feet for a one
story dwelling, the air is comfortable in nearly all parts
of all seasons. The narrow range associated with the temperatures
in earth-sheltered homes helps not just in winter heating,
but in summer cooling, as well.
Written by Kevin Knatloa
First Published on November 05, 2012
Updated February 10, 2015