Welcome to the Earth Sheltered Site! This may be a personal site for everyone, but my main goal is to inform and give people some information on earth sheltering that they may be missing!
If you want to correct me in some information I included here, feel free to do so. I make this a freedom blog for everyone. After all, many heads are better than one. I am also the first to admit that I do not know everything, and what little I do know is simply based on my experience and my reading about the subject. But what is true is that I love the earth sheltering.
WHO AM I?
I am Michelle, the author of this blog. Basically, this blog started because I am obsessed with earth sheltering and I am constantly googling it, looking for current projects and current information. I want a place to store it all for my use later (selfish, right?), and with the good things it brought me, I want to share it with everyone in case they want to consider it too (haha! Got you there!).
Why do I want to build an earth sheltered home? Being surrounded by earth makes heating and cooling much easier. My plan includes finished concrete floors and at least 2 concrete walls (north and west). The concrete creates thermal mass which allows the temperature inside the home to stay more stable and not swing as fast. I plan to even extend this concept to garages in case people want to use it as an additional living space. With the addition of those garage doors now that are insulated and weather-stripped, homes could be protected from too much heat and cold – thus a more regulated temperature. Such garage doors are common already in Tempe, Tucson, and Chandler, Arizona.
WHAT HAVE I ACCOMPLISHED SO FAR?
This last summer, we went without central air (the first time since I was a child) and we survived. We did use a small unit in our bedroom for the nights so we could sleep well, but overall, it was only really hot a few weeks of the summer. I spent a lot of time in the basement with no problem. Especially that the location of our home is on top of a hill with zero shade (though we get a good cross breeze) we did pretty well. We don’t have great overhangs on our south side but with the use of some thermal drapes, the heat pretty much stayed at bay. With the proper planning next time, the summer should be no problem!
But what about the winter? The earth’s temperature stays in the 50s year-round. Plus with the 2 or 3 sides of the house, there is less contact for wind to penetrate the house. Throw in some hydronic radiant floor heating, I hope to stay cozy without using much energy. Plus, with a really well-insulated home, and a small floor plan, I hope we can produce some of our own heat off of appliances and bodies. I don’t know if we are the wood chopping type, so as of now, I have zero plans for a wood stove, but that would be another option. Oh, and let’s not forget about passive solar! This time my home will be oriented correctly and have most of its windows (if not all) on the south side of the home.
I’m not looking to go off the grid. I am not looking to be completely self-sustainable. (Although I greatly admire those that do both!) But there is no reason to not take energy savings into consideration on my next build. I also want a home that is built to last for generations, not just past the structural warranty! Mechanically, I want it as simple as possible.