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Underground Concrete Homes

As fossil fuels are depleted and those that remain become more costly, people are naturally seeking out ways to live that are more economical.

Concrete for an underground home

Eco-friendly houses like concrete underground homes provide a safe place to live and lower heating and cooling bills, as well.

Pouring Over the Facts ...

Homes built underground have the earth around them to keep their temperature fairly regulated, year round. There isn't as much of a need for heating and cooling systems. Concrete homes are very sustainable, and they are strong enough to withstand fires and earthquakes, which easily devour houses above-ground. Poured concrete is stronger for your home than wood frame or cinder block.

The design of concrete homes isn't exactly a new idea, but it's still a largely unexplored concept in home design. Locating your concrete home underground helps to increase its efficiency, while still maintaining a comfortable and attractive living area.

Steve Martin's Santa Barbara, CA Mansion is Made Mostly of Concrete

Water You Thinking?

The earth's mass maintains the temperature in your underground housing year round. Your habitat must be properly designed to carry the weight of earth, and you'll need to protect your home from the infiltration of water, both above, around and below.

Concrete is often used in underground homes because, when reinforced, it is strong enough to withstand the weight of the soil on it, and it will not degrade. Domes are one of the most popular shapes for these houses, for proper weight distribution. As a rule, the builder will also add insulation. Then your home will be waterproofed, using methods like liquid polyurethane, plastic sheeting or rubberized asphalt.

Concrete Home Underground

Some homes that are called "underground" are actually excavated into hills, and partially buried. This will allow you to have one side available for windows, allowing you to use passive solar energy. But true underground homes are below ground level, and the area around them is filled in with dirt. Often, these houses may utilize a courtyard in the center, to allow more light and air to come into the home. You may also opt for sun tubes or skylights to add more natural light.

Differently Different ...

Underground homes work differently in different climate zones. You can still build even in areas where the temperature fluctuates a lot from night to day, since the earth will provide nearly the same temperature, not only for the whole day but for the whole year. Humid climates aren't the most ideal places for underground housing, since they may bring on excess condensation issues for homes located underground.

Underground Concrete Home

Have your contractor check the frost line and water table in your area before you build. If they are very close to the earth's surface, an underground dwelling will not be the wisest choice. In your plans and blueprints, make sure that all water is routed away from your home, since water is a huge enemy of underground housing.

Your contractor will also check the soil in the area where you would like him to build your concrete home. It must be stable enough so that it can support your house. Gravelly and sandy soils usually work well, but soil that contains a high concentration of clay is not as suitable.

Written by Kevin Knatloa

First Published on November 05, 2012

Updated February 10, 2015