Underground Housing

From Open Source Ecology
Jump to: navigation, search
Earth sheltered home in Big Sur, California

"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 house for flat land"


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.

"How not to build an underground house!"

Underground Greenhouse

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