All in a Day's Work

A Builder's Approach To Constructing An Earth-Sheltered Home

A home that is partially or fully protected by earthen materials will be more resilient to high winds than a standard home and may provide energy-efficient benefits that a traditional residence does not provide. An earth home builder will incorporate a piece of property's topography and organic materials into the building plans for a new residence.

The Depth Of Coverage

The topographical features and their location to where the sun will be shining during the day will help a contractor pinpoint where construction efforts will be most beneficial. The climate is a factor to consider when determining a home's door and window placements.

Northern and southern facing homes will each receive varying degrees of direct and indirect sunlight. Alternate setups will each benefit distinct climates and provide a home with sufficient insulation to keep a home's interior warm during the coldest months and at a moderate temperature during the hottest months of the year.

Soil, sand, clay, or other earthen materials can be used to form a barrier against one or more sides of a home. If the land is hilly, the excavation necessary to build a home that will be situated among the landscaping won't be as extensive as if a piece of property were flat. A flat property will need to be dug up and soil, sand, or clay barriers will be created.

A home's foundation and lower floor can be concealed underground. If less coverage is desired and a property owner prefers to have their home constructed aboveground, a contractor may use earthen materials for the concealment of one or two sides of a home. 

Groundwater Levels And Moisture Barriers

Groundwater sources will be inspected to determine the level of the water. If the water level will impede the construction of a residence, a drainage system may need to be installed. A drainage system will divert water from the area where construction will take place.

Since a sheltered home will be in close contact with earthen materials, moisture accumulation can become problematic. Building materials that are not moisture-resistant will be treated with waterproofing agents. Concrete and steel beams are often used to construct an earth-sheltered home's frame and interior components.

Wooden beams that have been treated can be used as light-duty building materials. A building contractor who specializes in the construction of earth-sheltered homes may recommend having moisture barriers installed on the premises. Moisture barriers will prevent construction materials from becoming damp.