earth sheltered home Probably some of the first earth-sheltered homes were those inhabited by cavemen in prehistoric times. Ever since then, people have gravitated toward the comfort and security of earth-sheltered homes. In this day and age, there are even more reasons to consider this architectural style of home: energy efficiency.

An earth-sheltered dwelling is one that is set into the terrain rather than on top of it. These homes are typically set partially in the ground, thereby using the earth to form some walls and the roof. Many modern earth-sheltered homes have walls constructed of concrete. Although windows are usually only on one side of the house, since the other side is set into the earth, the windows are expansive. Many of these homes incorporate skylights in the roof to allow even greater light inside the structure.

Advantages of an Earth-Sheltered Home

You may have never considered an earth-sheltered home for your family, but once you learn more about them, you may find yourself reconsidering. Here are a few advantages offered by this architectural style.

  • Energy efficiency: Earth-sheltered homes use the earth itself as an insulating blanket. The homes stay warm in the winter and cool in the summer. In fact, earth-sheltered homes are so energy efficient that many people report saving as much as 80% on utility costs.
  • Roofs and siding never needs to be replaced: Because the roofs of these homes are actually made of the earth itself, you’ll never have to replace the roof on an earth-sheltered home. Many new earth-sheltered homes have walls of concrete, which means never having to replace the siding either!
  • Fire resistance: Because you’re typically surrounded by earth on three sides in an earth-sheltered home, these dwellings are exceptionally resistant to fire.
  • Shelter from any storm: Earth-sheltered homes are usually tucked into a hillside. That, in combination with thick walls usually made of concrete or other durable material, provides ample protection from the elements, including wind, rain, storm, hail, sleet or whatever else Mother Nature sends your way.
  • Leak proof: Because the roofs are made of earth, you’ll never have to worry about leaks forming in an earth-sheltered home.
  • Earthquake resistant: Most homes sit on top of the earth, making them susceptible to damage in the event of an earthquake. But because earth-sheltered homes are actually a part of the earth, they move in a natural motion whenever the earth moves, making them an extremely safe option in areas prone to this type of activity.
  • Uniquely beautiful: Many earth-sheltered homes are designed in a uniquely beautiful manner, often with curved concrete walls and an abundance of windows and skylights. The roofs of these houses are usually covered with earth and whatever vegetation grows on it naturally, making for a striking appearance.

Considering the energy efficiency of earth-sheltered homes, it’s no wonder that they’ve become increasingly popular over the past several years. The next time you consider either building a new home or purchasing an existing structure for your family, remember the earth-sheltered home. For all kinds of reasons, it’s one of the “greenest” designs imaginable!

DSCN3813 | Flickr – Photo Sharing! : taken from – SaraYeomans