Earth Sheltered Links
Here are a few new links to look at. There have actually been a few in Houzz lately, but I lost the specific links… Maybe I will find them again another time.
Kentfield House from Houzz.com
Messy Nessy Blogs about offbeat and unique things, including Earth Sheltered Homes. Here are two articles that were shared recently on the Malcolm Wells Yahoo group, but I think you can find more on the site if you dig around a bit..
This first one is about Englands abandoned Rock Houses. It appears that these homes were abandoned after hundreds of years of continuous use due to shutdown of the local industry. Many believe this underground villiage inspired Tolkein to include them in The Hobbit. The very old homes are still in great shape, although some are inhabited by endangered bats.
And this second one is about a hand-dug underground home and garden in California known as the Forestiere Gardens. The owner dug subway tunnels in NY at the end of the 19th century. He found the surface of Fresno to harsh (this was before air conditioning), so he started digging in his spare time. On his own, and without power tools, he dug out an estate of nearly 100 rooms, passageways and courtyards covering 10 acres.
This one is for a partially built earth sheltered home in California… This typical Terra-dome home is more bunker than beauty (to each his own), but the site is still interesting for seeing the construction process. Its also for sale, if you want to live in that area.
Here are some external “earth tube” links…
A Google search for “Earth Tubes” or “Cool Tubes” or “Air Earth Heat Exchangers” or “Ground to Air Heat Exchangers” or a variety of other terms can turn up many more
This is what Wikipedia has to say about it. One of these days, I should improve their content…
Using earth tubes (which he calls GeoAir Energy), Russel Finch heats his home and green house (he also grows and sells citrus).
Oranges in Nebraska; “Every time an expert tells me it can’t be done, I sit back, peel one of my oranges, and marvel at my ability to eat something that is impossible to grow in Nebraska.” ~ Russel Finch (A very similar article) (Citrus in the Snow website)
See the link for more images and details of this Earth Tube installation.
This is an “Earth tube Exhibit” done by the Clean Energy Exhibition. They talk about a study done on the tubes, but i have not been able to get any data. Still nice to see the pics of the install. In this case, they “saved money” by stacking many pipes in a single trench. Personally, I think this dramatically reduces the effect of the tubes, which is sad considering that digging the trench is probably the lowest cost portion of the project.
REHAU manufactures a system of pipes specifically designed as Earth Tubes (Ground Air Heat Exchangers). These include filters and other specialty sections.
Rehau is known as one of the few commercial Earth tube providers (they call them Ground Air Heat Exchangers and use the brand name “Ecoair”). This is a link to a story about one of their homes.
Earth Sheltered Links
I have collected quite a large number of links (found throughout this site) and will eventually add many of them here. Some are links to sites about earth sheltered homes, others are for specific homes or articles about homes…
Schematic from John Hait’s website
This is a classic site. John Hait is famous for this Umbrella idea, which we also plan to incorporate in our home… His site will help you understand a lot of what we plan to do. He also self published a book. His umbrella concept actually made it into Popular Science (Aug 86), which is quite an accomplishment. One of the main differences is that my design calls for “By-passive Solar” to avoid some of the problems associated with direct heat gain into the living space.
Note: I actually got the insulation umbrella idea from an older book published by the University of Minnesota in 1979 (which John Hait may also have seen before building his home)…
Cold Rolled Steel IBeam framework is the key element of a Formworks EarthShelter
Formworks appears to be one of the best companies out there for helping you build your own Earth Sheltered Home… Actually, I find their Facebook page to be even more interesting than their webset and well stocked with pictures. Unfortuneatly, they would not work with me. I can’t blame them, they have a stream lined process and I wanted to deviate from it in several areas. However, my home will use some similar concepts, such as cold rolled steel to support the rebar and shotcrete. Interestingly, apparently there was a split in the company (I don’t know the whole story) and the brother owns Performance Building Systems, which also builds similar earth sheltered homes.
The underside of a Terradome roof form
Terradome is another way to go… They use standard forms to create monolithic concrete units up to 28ft x 28ft. They actually have a trailer that lifts the ceiling form into place with a hydrolic ram. They pour the units one at a time, then move the form over and pour it again. The company has been around a while and built many earth shelters very affordably. I also like that you can get a good idea of the full cost, up front, on their site. However, I didn’t want to live in a box (or series of boxes) and I thought they looked too bunker like. I did imagine that it would be possible to build a nice earth/italiante style home with a nice square tower to access your roof lawn…
Bill Lishman built his house from Rebar sprayed with cement (shotcrete) and covered with earth. The forms are very organic.
The movie “Fly Away Home” was based on Bill Lishman (played by Jeff Daniels). I think the movie left out the part about him living in an undergound house because they didn’t want him to appear too kooky, or maybe because it would have been a tricky set to build… I think this is where I originally got the idea for building with shotcrete. However, it turns out that spraying from underneath results in a lot more mess (rebound) and no one wants to deal with carting out the mess by wheelbarrow. His house is also interesting because instead of using I beams to hold the shape of the rebar and shotcrete, he made custom trusses by welding together bits of rebar. Anyway, our home will not be much like this, but still an interesting site.
The reciprocal roof beams in this small home are stunning
Everyone has to find this hobbit style house charming… Simon Dale built it for less than £3000. I am not sure I would want to live in it, but it sure is gorgeous.
One of many homes designed by Peter Vetsch
Architect Peter Vetsch, is one of the most famous earth shelteted home architects in Europe. His homes are very organic looking. My main concern is that he doesn’t seem too worried about heat loss thru the concrete. Here in Michigan, where the climate is more severe, I need to be very careful about heat loss. When I first started down this path, I found his buildings and plans very inspiring.
Michelle’s own home has a very traditional Mansard style roof (parapet) to help it blend into her more “normal” neighborhood.
Michelle put this website together about her earth sheltered dreams. She ended up just buying one instead, but this site gets an A for enthusiasm, so I thought I would include it on my list. She has a series of links to other earth sheltered projects, and I have gone thru them all.
Messy Nessy Blogs about offbeat and unique things, including Earth Sheltered Homes. Here are two articles that were shared recently on the Malcolm Wells Yahoo group. This first one is about Englands abandoned Rock Houses. And this second one is about a hand-dug underground home and garden (Forestiere Gardens) in California. I think you can find more on the site if you dig around a bit.
Solar 101 Basics looks like a pretty comprehensive look at all things solar.
That is it for now… More to come later.