Underground homes or earth-sheltered dwellings as some call them
lie mostly beneath the Earth's surface. These houses are inexpensive
to heat and cool since the surrounding soil acts as natural insulation.
Those who design underground homes have come up with several methods
for regulating the temperature.
Underground buildings (at least some) depend entirely upon the
insulation provided by the soil surrounding walls and floors.
Others, however, have tubes channeled through them to bring in
fresh air. Still others use a heat pump to regulate temperatures.
Most underground dwellings are made of concrete and one can expect
to pay 10-percent more for construction of these earth-sheltered
structures than a typical home. Enthusiasts say, though, that
at least 10-percent or more is saved from lower maintenance and
energy costs. Subsurface homes are not suitable, though for northern,
permafrost regions or for most areas on flood plains.
The U. S. Department of Energy (DOE) agrees with the energy savings
of underground or earth-sheltered homes saying, "If you are
looking for a home with many energy-efficient features that will
provide a comfortable, tranquil, weather-resistant atmosphere,
an earth-sheltered house could be right for you."
The DOE differentiates between underground houses, which are
almost completely below the surface of the topsoil and earth-berm
homes which may have one or two sides exposed, such as elevational
Some other advantages of building underground are lower insurance
premiums, natural sound insulation, less susceptibility to fire,
high winds, hailstorms and tornadoes to name a few. Privacy is
another issue stated by underground dwelling enthusiasts, which
lured them to build below the surface.
A Community of Underground Homes
No matter whether you're a fan of underground or earth-berm homes,
we have something for you at this Internet habitat. If you keep
checking back we may even surprise you with a few things you hadn't
anticipated as well. Hint, hint, keep checking back.
And, we promise not to keep this information undercover. Did
I mention that we're heavy into humor around here?
I know a few of you who will dig that. Oh, the humanity!