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The Anatomy of Earth Sheltered Homes

The Anatomy of Earth: Most suburban houses have four walls and a roof, but there are several additional methods to construct a home. In certain areas, “earth-sheltered” dwellings may be constructed underground or sunk into the ground.

Earth-sheltered house builders have found out how to build dwellings that are both storm-proof and environmentally friendly. Before beginning to construct, it is critical to understand the many types of dwellings and how they effect the ecology around them. Continue reading or see the infographic below to discover more about the many types of homes we provide.

The Anatomy of Earth Sheltered Homes

There are several types of subterranean houses.

An earth-sheltered structure may be designed in a variety of ways. One distinction between them is the extent to which they have evolved to adapt into Earthly existence. Differences in coverage have an influence on thermal comfort, environmental impact, and the appearance of items. Despite the fact that the terms “bermed” and “subterranean” are often used, we will concentrate on two more words that are sometimes overlooked.

  • Homes that have been abandoned in the dirt
  • A residence constructed on a concrete slab often has the following features:
  • The floor ends short of the earth-restraining walls.
  • Living roofs are becoming more common, particularly in cities.

The only exterior surface that can be accessed in a residence built into the earth is the roof. This sort of roof has been named many various names throughout the years. A “living roof” might consist of nothing more than bare ground or it could be filled with plants from all over the globe. Living roofs are common in earth-sheltered dwellings and other ecologically friendly structures.




A hillside residence with an earthen exterior may be identified by its distinguishing features.

  • You have the option of covering up to three walls.
  • One of the walls has a door and a window.

Because they are excavated into the side of a hill, in-hill residences are erected on stilts. From the street, just one wall is visible; the remaining walls and roof are buried underneath. The majority of these residences are designed in the shape of skyscrapers. Because there are windows in the exterior wall, it will gradually warm up during the day. The greatest residences are constructed into a hillside so that the south side faces the sun.

Bedrooms, kitchens, and living spaces, which need a lot of light, are often located closer to the outside walls. Closets and toilets, which do not need to be exposed to sunlight, are often located farther away from an exterior wall.




The following features are found in an earth-sheltered home:

  • Buildings may be constructed both above and below ground.
  • Earthen walls and ceilings are common.

A bermed home’s berm is formed by pushing soil up against the outer walls and, in some cases, the roof. Even while clay walls aren’t as excellent as other materials in insulating, they do a fantastic job of keeping heat where it belongs—inside the home. Storm water runoff may also be managed by placing soil against the walls that slopes away from the structure. If the plumbing system is inadequate, individuals may choose to have new pipes and drains installed.

The south-facing walls of a bermed house or a residence built into a hill generally face the sun. Some individuals install skylights in the northern region of their houses to increase light and circulation. Bermed dwellings may withstand humidity better than subterranean homes since they are constructed above or partially below earth.




A residence excavated into the earth has the following features:

  • It’s feasible that they’ll be erected near the surface or deep underneath.
  • Typically constructed on level ground
  • Make a plaza in the centre of the yard.

Most earthen-walled houses include a courtyard or atrium in the centre to bring in fresh air and light. The bedrooms and living rooms, which use the most energy, are usually placed in the centre of the house. No one can see into the occupants’ outdoor area since it resembles a keyhole. People who don’t want to live in a loud neighbourhood or who want more solitude in a congested region may want to consider purchasing a home with a basement.

This sort of ground-protected housing does not retain heat in as effectively as other choices since there is greater space between each unit. Because there isn’t enough heat in the structure, moisture and mould may form. Many individuals who reside in tropical locations want to construct their houses underground to avoid these issues.

There is no courtyard or atrium in underground dwellings. Instead, they include skylights and other means of bringing in fresh air. Another method for resolving heating issues is to use geothermal tubes. Below-ground dwellings are also known as subterranean or chambered homes.

There are many advantages to having your house underground.

In some respects, using earth as a construction material is beneficial for the environment. Another advantage of earth-sheltered dwellings is that they save both money and energy over time. Here are just a handful of the numerous benefits of constructing a house on the ground.


Environmentally friendly effects

Because they may be erect in their natural surroundings, earth-sheltered dwellings require less energy than ordinary buildings. Because the existence and expansion of traditional structures would harm the environment, removing them is a good idea. Read the bullet points below to find out why a secure house is beneficial to the environment.

  • Efforts to safeguard the natural environment and limit damage to the local ecology have paid off, according to a research conducted by Eastern Mediterranean University. Because they are make of earth, earth-shelter dwellings blend in better with their environment than other forms of housing. Including natural elements in a structure helps to safeguard native animals.
  • According to the National Park Service, green roofs are particularly beneficial for drainage because they collect precipitation, filter it through soil and plant detritus, and then allow the water to evaporate back into the air. Water may be take in, and the flow of water into drains and streets can be delay. Traditional roofs can only absorb around 25% of the rain that falls on them, but green roofs may absorb up to 80%.

The Anatomy of Earth Sheltered Homes


Earthen structures are the greatest at protecting people from the elements and withstanding terrible weather. Some house plans provide greater seclusion than others.

  • Living roofs survive longer than standard roofs because the soil and plants on them can withstand harsh weather. It protects the barrier, preventing water and other dangerous substances from entering the structure. According to British Columbia Institute of Technology studies, installing a “living roof” that can endure UV radiation and temperature variations may double or treble the lifetime of a roof. The region immediately next to the home is likewise secure.
  • A well-constructed earth-sheltered home may be more private than a standard dwelling. Outsiders can’t see much inside these subterranean dwellings, so the residents enjoy plenty of solitude..



Initially, building an earth-sheltered house may cost up to 20% more than building a conventionally constructed home of the same size. However, some study shows that dwellings dug into the earth may save money. Check out the various tried-and-true methods that individuals have devised to get their money where it belongs.

  • Because the traditional function of a roof is to retain heat inside, the earth surrounding these houses usually kept barren. Because the earth keeps outside air out, the inner environment is likewise more protected. Heating and cooling expenditures are reduce when a property maintains a consistent temperature throughout the year.
  • The case studies conducted by Energy Sage revealed that the efficiency of these dwellings was much superior than that of standard residences. The home under the case study’s overhanging roof maintained the temperature inside at a pleasant 70 degrees Fahrenheit. It also provided shade and kept the floors warm throughout the winter.
  • Earth-shelter dwellings, if built correctly, do not need much care once they are construct.
  • Clay houses are inherently quieter than other kinds of dwellings. This is particularly beneficial for houses construct in loud areas since it reduces the need to soundproof each room.
  • You may be able to save money on your homeowner’s insurance by installing “green” elements in your house, such as solar panels and energy-efficient appliances. These homes may be able to get reduce insurance premiums since they are less likely to be destroy by weather. The amount you save will be determine by factors such as the state in which your property is situate, local construction regulations, and your homeowner’s insurance policy.

Earth-sheltered dwellings

Earth-sheltered dwellings provide a variety of benefits in terms of cost, security, and sustainability when constructed properly. Building a secure house is a difficult undertaking that will need a significant investment in terms of equipment, contractors, and other materials. Check out our earth-moving equipment to assist you in creating your earth-sheltered home or doing other construction tasks.


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