“Thinking about buying or building an underground home?"
Building an underground home properly, could be the wisest and most
gratifying decision you make for the largest investment in your life.
There are many names for an earth home: Green home, earth integrated home,
earth contact home, earth-sheltered home, hobbit house and many more. I am sure like
me, your interest in earth homes have generated many questions;
· What defines an earth home?
· Are they comfortable?
· Will they save money on
heating, cooling and maintenance?
· Why are underground homes,
considered Green Homes?
· What do they cost compared
to conventional construction?
· Are they safe from extreme
· What about financing?
· What about insurance?
· What about resale value?
Over the years I have researched these questions. If you stick with me over
the next few minutes, I will share the results of that research.
I have gathered a lot of information please bookmark this site so you can
find me later.
Now, we’re ready to “dig into” the facts about the earth home!
What defines an earth home?
Many types of structures are called underground or earth homes. Usually
if the house is constructed with one or more walls below the grounds surface it
is called an earth home.
The earliest of all true underground homes were naturally occurring caves or
shelters made by digging into a hill side and placing timbers or stones to form
a door, across the opening. Some very elaborate homes are still constructed
using natural caves.
Today people adapt a wide variety of abandoned missile silos, mine shafts,
tunnels, concrete culverts and boxes into underground living spaces. Concrete
culverts and boxes are usually buried using a process called, “cut and cover”
where a bulldozer or track-hoe digs a trench that is covered after the culverts
or boxes are lowered into it by a crane.
Concrete reinforced with steel is widely used in earth berm homes. These are
usually designed much like conventional homes then covered with earth.
Steel and shotcrete in large quantities is being used by some companies for
dome homes that get covered with earth.
The latest Leading edge technology for underground green homes is a modular
construction system, manufactured with composites, designed to be covered with
earth. These homes are 100% water proof, easy and fast to assemble, highly
tornado and earthquake resistant all with an interior that features a smooth
clean futuristic appearance.
SCIENTIFIC STUDY OF EARTH HOME ENVIRONMENTAL PROPERTIES
Click the “Green Home” button on the left to learn more about these State of
the Art homes.
Are they comfortable?
Underground homes are not subject to rapid temperature change. Even in
winter, unheated they will not drop below 50 degrees. By their very nature,
being covered with earth, they are easy to heat and easy to cool.
They are very quiet from outside noise and safe from tornadoes, earthquakes
and hurricanes. Your home should be a safe comfortable shelter. A place you go
to, not run from in case of an emergency.
Will they save money on heating, cooling and maintenance?
Properly constructed underground homes will save 85-90% on heating and
cooling costs compared to conventional construction.
This is big! Do the math for your situation and see how big. Whether you heat
with oil, propane, natural gas or electricity your cost per unit has continued
to increase and will continue to increase. Most of these energy sources have
increased over 100% in the last ten years.
I see recommendations to lower your thermostat by a few degrees in the winter
and raise it by a few degrees in the summer to reduce your energy costs. The
people I talk with do not want to bundle up in the winter to stay warm in their
own home. One lady told me she, “reduces her thermostat, bundles up and is still
uncomfortable, while spending ¼ of her monthly income on fuel”, in her
Click the “Green Home” button on the left if this sounds like your situation
or will be when energy prices double again.
Why are underground homes, considered Green Homes?
There are many factors that are considered when building a green home but
lets’ just look at the two with the largest impact, heating and cooling. Aside
from the financial costs of buying the fuel or electricity to heat and cool your
home there are staggering ecological costs.
According to researchers at National Geographic's The Green Guide,
you will probably consume more energy heating your home than cooling it.
In colder states, heating can account for up to two-thirds of your annual
energy bills, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).
And, on average, heating an American home with natural gas produces about 6,400
pounds of carbon dioxide (CO2, a major warming gas). Use electricity, and CO2
emissions average about 4,700 pounds. In a cold state like Minnesota, the
numbers jump to 8,000 pounds of CO2 for natural gas and 9,900 pounds for
In hot parts of the country, the calculation changes: Air conditioners become
the bigger energy users. A typical centrally air conditioned home in Florida,
for instance, produces about 6,600 pounds of CO2.
There are a lot of little things we can do to make our homes more Green but
none have more positive impact than building a green home.
Click the “Green Home” button on the left to start planning your Green Home.
What do they cost compared to conventional construction?
Homes vary widely in total costs according to how home owners have them
finished out. That means the type of roofing, siding, windows, doors, flooring,
cabinetry, counter tops, trim, wall coverings, lightening and plumbing fixtures,
etc. When going Green some people are choosing to go “Off Grid” and retain rain
water for household and garden usage.
The cost of underground construction can vary greatly according to
construction technique. Concrete structures are labor intensive and involve
costly heavy equipment not readily available in rural areas.
Click the “Green Home” button on the left to see how our Green Home solutions
are suitable even for the Do it Yourselfer.
Are they safe from extreme weather?
Yes! Underground homes are places people run to not from in extreme weather.
Click the "Safe Room" button for more information.
What about financing?
Unlike many owner designed earth homes built from a variety of re-purposed and recycled materials our homes are professional engineered and constructed of high quality materials.
Loan officers I have contracted are happy to loan money for construction of our homes, if the borrower meets the standard financial requirements expected of home loan requester. As a bonus savings from reduced energy costs from heating and cooling make a limited budget easier to manage!
What about insurance?
Insurance companies are quickly adjusting to a new mind set when they see the benefits of not having roofs to incur hail damage or entire structures blown away by tornadoes and hurricanes. I predict in the near future underground homes will enjoy a special discounted rate because of their resistance to
What about resale value?
Huge energy savings, increased ecological awareness, safety from more
frequent extreme weather and comfort will soon make underground homes in high
demand. Do you want to rest well at night, safe from extreme weather, reducing
your carbon footprint and saving dollars on heating and cooling costs?
- Eagle Valley Green Homes
- We are Eagle Valley Green Homes, a company committed to environmental awareness and dedicated to making a difference in the world by being good stewards of the earths natural resources.
- Green Prefab Homes
- If you are a contractor or a DIY'er building green prefab homes just got easier.
- Building A Green Home
- Building a green home provides energy savings by advanced engineering and twenty-first century architecture. Interior designs with a touch of magic at a cost far less than conventional structures.
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Frequently Asked Green Home Questions
- Underground Green Home Blog
- The Underground home Blog, provides information for those interested in underground or earth sheltered homes. Subscribe here.
- Green Home Plans and technical discription
- If Green Home Plans are in your future and green living is important in your life then an underground home is a must.
- Green Home Projects
- Colfibrex Green Home Projects.
- Is your safe room or tornado shelter really safe?
- Before installing a safe room or tornado shelter is the time to decide if it actually give you the biggest bang for your bucks.
- Technical Information on Earth Homes
- Technical information on Earth Homes. Specific information on why a earth contact home provides comfort, safety and security with huge savings.
- Videos of Earth Sheltered Homes Being Built
- Building Earth Sheltered Homes does not take heavy machinery or an engineering degree. Watch and learn how to build easy fast low-cost buildings.