Underground Homes, otherwise known as earth sheltered homes, have become a hot topic and have moved to the forefront of the green movement. These homes are the epitome of sustainability. Passive Annual Heat Storage is implemental in achieving a homes green status. PAHS is a process in which the home heats the Earth around it in warmer months and naturally radiates back in when winter arrives. subsequently the process reverses in the summer, naturally cooling the home. This process alone can reduce fossil fuel consumption by as much as 80%.
Underground Homes are perfect candidates for Geothermal Heat Pump systems. geothermal energy is a process that is not dissimilar from PAHS in that it uses the natural warming and cooling of the earth to aide in heating and cooling a home. Fluids are cycled through pipes in various applications and either circulated through a blower or used in a radiant flooring system.
The cost of building an Earth Sheltered Home is comparable to conventional buildings as
an initial expense but the long term energy savings and tax advantages of owning a green
home can add up to a huge savings over time.
There are three basic types of Earth Sheltered Homes that can be integrated into any
Atrium style homes are usually u-shaped and are built below grade with one or two open
ended walls for egress and lighting. This is sometimes refered to as a courtyard style
because the center of the u-shape is a privatly enclosed area, swimming pools are often
itegrated into this space. The top of the house is open for anything incuding; a living
roof, garage, tennis or basketball courts, or solar and wind power generators.
Elevational underground homes are built into the side of a mountain. Lots that otherwise would be
unbuildable can now be part of the built-environment while preserving precious farm land in the process. This kind of home is the most energy efficient of the three as a result of the thermal mass that covers three sides and the roof. This style is also referred to as an Open Ended Dome
Berm Homes are built above grade, and are usually only open in the front and back, and are
covered from side to side.This style is often refered to as the see through dome. The design
possibilities are endless and can span several floors or sprawl over a large site. One
drawback of this design is that the earth used to cover the home is usually imported and can be expensive. Advantages include; lower excavation costs, expandability, and design capabilities.
Underground Homes are Cool in the summer and warm in the winter. It just makes more sense
to live sustainably. Preserving our natural resources and lowering our carbon footprint is
essential to maintaining an environment that we can pass on to our children and our childrens