Underground houses are an alternative to above ground houses for people who are into preserving the environment and minimize what above ground housing can do.
There are several benefits to underground housing that many people may not even think about when either building a home, or house hunting. Houses aren’t the only type of buildings that can benefit from being underground level; office buildings and factories are also types of dwellings that can reap the benefits of being underground, too.
Yes, underground houses are rare to find today, but outside the United States, there are many countries where underground living is still commonplace.
The Chinese often built their homes underground centuries ago, while today, some areas in Italy, Tunisia and parts of Australia, they are still constructing underground housing and it is the preferred choice for living. In fact, entire communities still exist in many countries with underground housing being the only type of dwelling you’ll find there.
Often times this type of housing is preferred in other countries when there is the presence of extreme weather conditions. While some underground houses or dwellings are entirely submerged below the earth’s surface, not all underground houses are. A home can still be considered underground with only a portion of the home being built below the surface.
Benefits of underground housing
There are many benefits to building a home underground. If you are not familiar with this type of housing, you may not be aware of the many benefits of underground living. Here are just a few of the most beneficial reasons to build a home under the earth’s surface:
- Quiet – When your home sits below the earth’s surface, it creates a natural insulation from the noises of the environment. You don’t hear the hustle and bustle of traffic or other distractions. Those who live in houses underground say it is a very peaceful lifestyle and enjoy being out of earshot of the rest of the world.
- Energy efficient – Unground housing is much more efficient than above ground housing. You can save 80%-90% on your heating and cooling bill in an underground house in contrast to aboveground dwellings. When you are underground during the winter, the earth insulates the home and holds the warmth in, while in the summer, the earth around you naturally cools the home. Simple measures such as opening the doors will allow enough cool air in and keep the home at a comfortable temperature throughout the day.
- Protected from weather – Underground, you are naturally protected from many types of bad weather, such as tornadoes, hurricanes and bad winds. Another bonus of underground living is being termite-free. One type of natural disaster you may have to be concerned about depending on where you live, is flooding. If your underground home is built in an area that is prone to flooding, this could be a significant issue and special pumping systems will need to be installed.
- Security – You have more security in an underground house than in an above ground home. There is limited access inside the home from unwanted intruders.
- Unobtrusive presence – If you like just blending in to the environment and living a quiet, peaceful life, underground housing will give it to you. In an underground house, its like sneaking off to your own secluded piece of the world. Those who like to be away from the outside world and hunker down in their own slice of the world, they will enjoy the seclusion underground living gives them.
How are underground houses built?
Underground houses are built in many different ways, using the earth and terrain around them. With the right builder who specializes in underground houses, you can find the perfect place to bury your home in the landscape. Underground houses use the landscape’s natural elements and outlay to be the base of your home.
Your home can be totally hidden away from the world, or partially hidden. By studying the landscape, you can determine what type of underground you want. Build your home into the side of a mountain, hillside, hidden below a field, or anywhere you can tuck a dwelling away from the world.
The design is up to your imagination and what you see for your home. There are a million ideas that can be constructed that really, the sky is the limit with what can be created using the landscape, environment, and modern day technology and tools. How deep do you want your home built into the hillside? How far above the hill do you want your home to extend?
Do you want a concrete dome with a moss roof, or glass walls for an obscured views of the world around you? Do you want a house using curved or straight lines? The materials used to construct each underground home will vary, too, depending on what you need for the superstructure as well as the materials used to create the final look of your home. The final design is all up to you and what your underground home builder is able to do.
Costs of an underground home
One thing that is significantly different from aboveground homes is the initial costs of building. Unlike aboveground homes, underground homes require more to get them started. Large equipment is needed to excavate land in preparation for construction.
This can be costly, especially if there is a lot of earth to move, or a side of a mountain that needs to be removed, or whatever the challenge may be to get the land ready for building. It is estimated that costs can range from 10% to 25% higher, however, many people say the costs can be recouped in energy costs.
If you are new to the concept of underground houses, you will probably be amazed at the beauty and uniqueness of each and every design. There are probably not two underground homes that look alike anywhere due to the ever changing landscape we live with, as well as the uniqueness of everyone’s imagination who embark on the underground home living adventure.
The following are 20 of the most amazing underground home designs.
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