"In a hole in the ground lived a hobbit.
Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell,
nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or eat:
it was a hobbit-hole, and that means comfort."
Underground homes have several advantages over homes built above the ground:
- There is no need to lay a foundation, which saves a huge amount of labour and material
- The walls are earth, so that saves a lot more building material
- The thermal mass effect of the earth stabilizes the temperature. Earth cools and heats more slowly than the surrounding air. If you dig 2m (6 foot 6 inches) into the ground, the temperature is always - day and night, summer and winter - steady at that climate's average. A well-designed underground home should need no energy for heating or cooling
- They are easy to build.
- They are unaffected by wind, hail and hurricanes
- Pipes are not exposed to atmospheric temperature and don't freeze
- They require little maintenance
- They are soundproof and relatively fireproof
- It can be complemented with a greenhouse that takes advantage of the heat already there (e.g. greenhouse-facing kitchen)
Please see the page for Malcolm Wells for one architect's underground houses.
Greenhouses in cold climates must retain moderate temperatures for year-round growing, therefore underground greenhouses are useful for temperature stabilization (see: Walipini).
Mike Oehler's methods
Information about Mike Oehler's methods was removed after OSE received a Cease and Desist letter from the author based on copyright. -MJ 2/17/15
- Performance Building Systems, Inc.
- Underground Homes
- Bill Lishman's underground domes, also featured on Treehugger; built with ferrocement and then reburied.
- Wikipedia: Underground Living
- "Earth-Sheltered Housing", Washington Energy Extension Service (1984)
- Underground Homes Gazette Articles and info about underground and earth sheltered housing.
- Treehugger: "Here's the dirt on a prefabricated plastic earth sheltered home design you can buy off the shelf"
- Pictures: Ziggurat-type