An earth sheltered home is protected from Mother Nature and requires little maintenance. It can actually outlast a conventional home by decades.
The earth sheltered home is built to take advantage of the Earth’s huge thermal mass. It will stay warm in the winter and cool in the summer without demanding significant amounts of energy for heating and cooling.
In addition, because it is so well protected by the surrounding earth, this kind of home will not be easily damaged by natural disasters such as tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes, etc.
Most of them are constructed using a technique known as berming.
Earth-bermed homes are built largely above ground, but lots of soil is then pushed up against the walls, all the way to the top, to form a protective and insulating mass of earth and vegetation that will separate the outer shell of the home from the open air.
Roof covers of soil and vegetation may or may not be included with earth-bermed homes, but most seem to prefer them since they do increase a house’s protection against heat and cold.
There are three primary design styles for earth-sheltered homes: atrium, penetrational, and elevational. Or you could build an earthbag dome for about $300.
If you who would like to maximize the protection from the sun, wind, heat, and cold, the best choice would be the atrium style.
All of the rooms in such a residence are built completely beneath the surface of the earth, in a “town square” type of arrangement surrounding a central atrium space that functions as the home’s entrance from above ground.
Each of the rooms of the home will face the atrium on the north, south, east, or west, with spacious windows and possibly glass doors to allow the natural light to filter in from above.
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