Living underground in an earth-sheltered home is a great way to decrease your carbon footprint and there are quite a few architectural styles of earth homes to consider. What is an earth sheltered home and why would anyone want to consider building an earth home?
The best reason to live in an earth sheltered home is that it conserves energy. Underground earth homes, in a large portion of the United States, have a median yearly temp of around 50-60 degrees Fahrenheit. This is a large step towards conserving the amount of energy you will consume to keep your underground home comfortable.
Just imagine yourself living in a home that is very similar to the temps that you would find in your basement. My basement and living areas in that part of my house are always a welcome refuge during the summer. Work out in the yard for a few hours… go sit in the basement and play on the computer.
The U.S. Dept. of Energy points out that there are 2 types of earth sheltered homes:
Both types are covered with dirt (earth) and vegetation to reduce erosion.
I’m not sure that I could live in an underground earth home.
Why? Because I like to have plenty of windows to look out of to see the surroundings. I also like to do a little bit of bird watching.
Some of the reasons I’m interested in earth sheltered homes are:
- Increased energy conservation = lower fuel bills
- Increased security = peace of mind
- Comfortable interior climate year-round = personal comfort
- Lower exterior maintenance costs = trip to Europe or you could bank the savings
- Quiet surroundings = serenity
You see what I mean. There are certainly some valid reasons to consider taking the plunge and digging out a homebase.
Living in an underground earth home would be a huge adjustment. Think about Seattle’s (supposed) higher resident depression rate due to rain and overcast skies on a consistent basis. Seattle has 158 days per year of measurable rain and 226 days of cloud cover. That’s a lot of dreary days to NOT look forward to.
I like plenty of sunshine and it’s good medicine for your mental and physical health… but you don’t have to become a shut-in. Get out and enjoy the great outdoors in whatever style of home you live in.
The U.S. Dept. of Energy has a few more great links for the infamous FAQ regarding earth sheltered homes:
- Advantages & Disadvantages Of Earth Sheltered Homes
- Site-Specific Design Factors For Earth Sheltered Home Design
- Construction Materials And Considerations For Earth Sheltered Homes
If you are considering undertaking this sort of project, I suggest you do your research on the “construction materials and considerations for earth sheltered homes” link before you do anything else.
I started as a home-stalker… visiting brand new homes under construction in the neighborhoods near my house. That inspired me to write about home building and home renovation projects — chronicling homes during different phases of construction from a consumer's point-of-view. Basically, the tips you'll find in my articles are a collection of checklists for what I think should (and should not) go into building or remodeling a quality home.