Earth Sheltered Homes the Future of Residential Building?
Did you know that many of the pioneering heroes of our country built homes with the ground? Because of the lack of trees on the Great Plains and the thermal efficiency of earthen building materials, sod homes were quite practical and comfortable, if not a bit, well…earthy. Sod homes comprised the standard living condition for many settlers
It would seem odd that a century and a half later, a return to earthen homes is coming back into vogue, but it’s a trend that is catching on—and with good reason. Lest you get the idea that an earth-sheltered home is a dark cave or grass-covered hovel, think again. Earth-sheltered merely means that the home utilizes earth against the walls, providing it with outstanding thermal efficiency. It’s an ancient and sustainable building method. Some homes are built into hills, some are built partially underground, and some simply provide earth berming against the walls.
Although the earth-sheltered homes of yesteryear had a few problems—not the least of which were poor air quality, lack of sewage disposal and structural collapse—today’s earth-sheltered homes are comfortable, efficient and desirable places to live. Here’s why.
- Year-round climate control, with little to no energy consumption
- Superior strength due to in-ground construction
- Low maintenance costs, often up to 25% of what it would cost to maintain a traditional home. Additionally, less time is spent on maintenance.
- Incredible durability. Even many of the primitive earth-sheltered homes from centuries past are still standing (or sitting) today. With superior building practices and materials, today’s earth-sheltered homes will be around for a very long time.
- Low dust accumulation and/or allergen infiltration
- Symbiosis with nature. Rather than have a home that is an imposition to its surroundings, why not fit it in? Earth sheltered homes do just that—situate your home within the context of its natural surroundings
- Ultra protection. Not only will you enjoy the benefits of climate control, no frozen water pipes and a strong construction, you can also say goodbye to termites, rodents, leaky roofing, wood decay, fire potential and hail damage. An earth-sheltered home may even protect you from nuclear fallout.
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