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Does anyone live in an earth sheltered house? What are the pros and cons? Can anyone recommend a good book on the subject? Amazon has 18 different ones, but I would like to know which ones have the best information, plus lots of good pictures before I start spending money on them. Thank you!
 

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I too am interested in this subject. But I am also interested in any type of sustainable housing that would be suitable for building in the Ozarks. Book suggestions and website addys are VERY much appreciated. :)

Gina
 

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We are going to build an earth-wrapped home this year, I have the plans done. The outside has earth @ 6 feet on 3 sides with @ 2 foot space for casement windows so each room will have natural light and natural venting. It will have a conventional roof which is higher insulation value that earth roof plus lots less money and you can have the ventilation. Also plan on skylights. There will be radiant heat with a wood stove also, passive solar south facing windows. The house will be tucked up in the woods with wind barrier of trees on the three sides and a beautiful southern view of the rolling hills down into Pa. The root celler has the same design... Joan :) :D :D
 

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My father has lived in an earth sheltered home since 1989. He likes it very much. He has a wood stove for heat and windows all across the front of the house which are almost floor to ceiling and the width of the rooms. He has skylights in the kitchen and both bathrooms. The only thing he would change is to add another skylight in the dining room. It is quite nice and I lived in the house with him and my mom for a year.

My cousin also lives in an earth sheltered house that is almost the same exact design as my dad's. He added an extra bedroom. No complaints from him either.

There are at least 20 to 30 earth sheltered homes(that I can think of off the top of my head that I have seen) in the area in Missouri where they live. And it is rare to see any for sale, unless the owner has died.

Wish I could give you a book suggestion but my dad's cousin built the house from scratch as he is a contractor and the other cousin who lives in one also built his from scratch as he is a builder, too.
 

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Farmmaid, You just described the house I just built. My house is earth burmed on three sides, South facing, and we love it. The one thing I considered, was to make both roofs concrete and sod over them while leaving the casement sticking out. Also radiant floor heating is great for this type of home. I have friends who live in "under ground homes", and they always wish they had more natrual light. Good luck.
 

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I'm a bit concerned about waterproofing and radon. Did you consult a professional with earth sheltered housing experience to address these problems, or is it fairly easy to protect against these things? I've heard of people building homes in places like Colorado, but I've never heard of any in Ohio. Could it be possible that some climates and soil types won't suit this type of construction? I've considered ordering the book from Undergroundhousing.com, Chickflick. If you think it's a good one, I might go ahead and order it. I found two decent web sites, one from the Rocky Mountain Institute, and one from, I think, the renewable energy council. From what I've seen so far, I prefer the designs with a big wall of windows facing south, and the ones with pod type rooms with skylights, but I would really like a book with pictures so I can see lots of different designs. Thanks for the great info, everyone!
 

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There is a lot to know re: building an underground that MOST folks haven't thought of. Mike Oehler (sp) has done an excellent job in over 30 yrs of trial and error and THINKING about it. I can nearly Guarantee you'll love the book and tapes. You also get a little 'kit/puzzle' to design your own with the tapes and some 'testing' to get you on the right track. ALSO... (EDIT HERE!)

He is very conscious of FOUR directions in which to build.. drainage, light, etc.


MelissaW said:
I'm a bit concerned about waterproofing and radon. Did you consult a professional with earth sheltered housing experience to address these problems, or is it fairly easy to protect against these things? I've heard of people building homes in places like Colorado, but I've never heard of any in Ohio. Could it be possible that some climates and soil types won't suit this type of construction? I've considered ordering the book from Undergroundhousing.com, Chickflick. If you think it's a good one, I might go ahead and order it. I found two decent web sites, one from the Rocky Mountain Institute, and one from, I think, the renewable energy council. From what I've seen so far, I prefer the designs with a big wall of windows facing south, and the ones with pod type rooms with skylights, but I would really like a book with pictures so I can see lots of different designs. Thanks for the great info, everyone!
 

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There is some excellent material in the Earthship books on earthsheltered design. You don't necessarily have to make the walls of tires to utilize all the RnD they have done.
 

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mightybooboo said:
Mellisa,I have EARTHSHIP volumes 1,2 and 3 by Micheal Reynolds.Its about underground/earthsheltered homes,all the systems.I like them them a lot.It is what we want to build.
BooBoo
DW and I are wanting to build an earthship as well. Where did you get the books? How close are you to start building? Lots of questions, but I have so very few answers right now!

:)
 

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Loompanics Books has a few book titles which can help - check out their sections Gimme Shelter and Head for the Hills

www.loompanics.com

Malcolm Wells and Mike Oehlers have both been around advocating / designing underground homes for years. Buy (or borrow / check out) a copy if you like.

Also do a search on the MEN Archives - I'll bet you will find some articles on this subject.

http://www.motherearthnews.com/index.php?page=archindex

I hope this helps.
 

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There is a website for the earthships. www.earthship.org If I could build anything I wanted, it would be an earthship. I love how integrated they are. They use both passive and active solar, grow food, collect water and treat both grey and blackwater. If I understand correctly, there are ways of building them that don't use tires as well.

Gina
 

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MMyers1 said:
DW and I are wanting to build an earthship as well. Where did you get the books? How close are you to start building? Lots of questions, but I have so very few answers right now!

:)
Got the books at half.bay.com.They come in all price ranges,and get to you fast.Great place to find any title you may want.Unfortunately,our plans are still in the find the property stage,dang thats been a challenge!But at least I have a good start on the homestead library,and Ive got all my dairy equipment from ebay. Got a month off in August or sept,and back to the search.Wish me luck,or at least the wife,she is going nuts over the delay,bless her heart.
BooBoo
 
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You missed it this year, but if you are in the area or want to plan to be in the area next year; the people at Davis Caves hold a festival called Earth Fest. They have a workshop on Earth Sheltered Homes Construction, Financing & Zoning, alternative energy displays, and entertainment. May be worth some consideration.
 

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I've read and re-read many of the how-to books in the library here. Some of the energy conservation info is from the '70's and you have to consider changes in materials and methods over 30 years. But there is valuable info to be gleaned. And there are a good many newer books and magazines. Malcolm Wells, Rob Roy, Stu Cambell, etc... I have not yet gotten around to spending time in the community college's library.
 
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