Retirement Home--Earth sheltered?

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by farmmaid, Dec 3, 2003.

  1. farmmaid

    farmmaid Well-Known Member Supporter

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    SOOOOOOOO exciting but overwhelming!!!!!!!!!! Went to the library to get books about earth sheltered homes and the "newest" was 1980. Our home will be 32' x 56', one level not counting the garage. May do a partial earth sheltered, just 2 sides and not the roof covered with sod. Have NO idea how expensive this would be. I know water proofing and venting are two big concernes, BUT... if we build it like a basement, have earth @5' high on the outside of two walls, basement type windows ground level, garage attached to the 3rd side with long windows on the south side (4th side) and then a regular roof we are hoping the cost will not be out of our budget. We have a finished basement now with 3 sides in the ground and the temperature NEVER changes more than 7-10 degrees. Any body have plans, info, books to suggest? Anyone have ANY range of price? We are going to get with an engineer after the holidays but wanted to see if we could find a price range ( per foot, sq. foot???). HELP...Joan
     
  2. j.r. guerra in s. tx.

    j.r. guerra in s. tx. Well-Known Member

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    Mike Oehler's An Underground Home for $50 Dollars and Up or something like that has been around for quite a while. Figuring on how much it will cost would be very difficult. The degree of slope at your site, soil conditions, water table depth, distance from city, and difficulty of moving heavy equipment to site are only a couple of factors you would have to think of when getting a price estimate.

    Would you be able to get a price estimate for building a swimming pool at your location. An underground home is basically the same pricincipal - only the water has to (hopefully) stay out of the house. If you are talking only a partially underground home, where the earth is bermed against the wall, the structural engineering wouldn't be as complicated.

    A google search might net you a find - underground homes are hard to sell to people who aren't in the market for one. Hard to understand - they save tons of money on utilities.

    I hope you find your answers soon.
     

  3. Gimpy_Magoo

    Gimpy_Magoo Well-Known Member

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    Kansas
    Maybe these will help...

    http://www.daviscaves.com/index.shtml

    [ame]http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&q=%22bermed+home%22[/ame]

    http://www.ourcoolhouse.com/final.htm

    http://www.liquefaction.com/berm/

    http://www.deltams.com/deltams/index.html

    We are building a berm home.

    South facing to collect free energy from the sun gods. We will be building using the dry stack cinder block method. Stronger than morter bed construction and much easier and cheaper. Cheaper than concrete also.
    Ours will be 60X45 with garage, 3plus beds and two bath, family room, mud room and pantry with a large country kitchen and to spoil ourselve a two person walk in doorless shower in the master bedroom and a jetted tub for the wife in the bedroom right in front of the large windows. Our biggest grief so far is building placement on the slope and dryer placement within the home. Dont want to vent the dryer up hill.
    Attic fans, window placement and LOTS of south facing windows will solve the ventilation issues. Moisture is the biggest concern if you ask me. To help solf this we will be cutting into the hill at an angel much like the "our cool house" link above. This will greatly improve drainage.

    We plan on building this on an extreme budget with NO mortgage over the course of about 5 years.

    hope the links above help, let me know If I can help further.

    Gimpy
     
  4. chickflick

    chickflick Well-Known Member

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    http://www.undergroundhousing.com

    I have read the book and the videos are waiting for me to watch this weekend. I also spoke w/Mike Oheler on the phone. He holds building seminars/hands on sometime in summer in Idaho. (He was on HGTV's Extreme Homes last spring).

    There is a lot to it. I think his main thrusts are doing it cheaply as possible AND, his design ideas are wonderful compared to some dark dank hole in the ground:):) check it out.
     
  5. Thumper/inOkla.

    Thumper/inOkla. Well-Known Member

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    I also have Mike Oehler book, (his last name is pronouced Ae-ler, I asked) the vidieos are on the way to me. I think our first project will be a chicken house.

    I love the book, I was crying as I read the Old Chief's letter to the President.
     
  6. farmmaid

    farmmaid Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Everyone: THANK YOU, Thank You, thank you...Joan :) :) :)
     
  7. We built our ES home almost 20 years ago. Dug in to within 1 foot of the roof on the West (garage) side sloping to the East where it is about 3 feet above ground, windows in the bedrooms on the North (emergency exits) and lots of windows on the South. Big mistake!! If I could do it over I would face it any direction BUT South. Being in the ground we don't get much benefit from cooling breezes, and while we have shade, is doesn't help all that much. I did a lot of calculating and built enough overhang that the summer sun never shines directly through the windows, but it is still so hot that it is miserable without AC. These houses are so easy to heat that it really makes no difference which way they face, unless you are going for totally passive solar heat. Our house is 34'X74 ' including the garage. It has a brick wall between the kitchen/dining room and the living room with a fireplace in it, there is a small Buck stove insert in the fireplace and it keeps the whole house comfortable. We live in Missouri so this may not apply in your location, but the farther South you live the worse it is likely to be. One other unforeseen consequence of being so far in the ground, mice, they can easily get on the roof and come in through the various vents etc. it is a constant battle to keep them out. Other than this we love the place. Just a bit of what our experiences have been in an ES home.
     
  8. chickflick

    chickflick Well-Known Member

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    Yes. Unfortunately,, "Old Chief" hit the nail on the head, didn't he? :waa: :no:
     
  9. We have a 2100 sq.' 6 year old earthship facing a bit east of south - it works great. About two weeks out of the year it gets to -10 to -15 here near Pueblo, CO. We burn a half of cord of wood per season and stay comfortable into the low teens outside and 67 inside using NO heat at all. Summer use a swamp cooler cause it does get warm - but utilities never more than 30.00 a month electric and 10 a month propane. We have instant on propane water heater, propane gas dryer and cook stove. Use compact florescent lighting thru out. It works FOR SURE - http://www.earthship.tk/ our place
     
  10. okiemon

    okiemon New Member

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    I purchased 2000 used cinder blocks in hopes of building a bermed home. I am very interested in the dry stack method and was wanting more info. Can anyone help with publication names or web sites?

    Okiemon
     
  11. mamasaanan

    mamasaanan Well-Known Member

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