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Underground Dome Homes

Underground dome homes are becoming ever so popular especially within the last 10 years. They offer tremendous benefits to homeowners and they are interesting as well.


Underground Dome Home

There are two concepts for dome homes that use earth as insulation:

  • Underground Homes: These homes are completely covered by the earth on the top and sides.
  • Earth-bermed homes: These homes are partly exposed but the rest of the house has had dirt pushedagainst it.

The challenges with constructing an underground dome home are many, but they are all manageable with a little know-how and ingenuity. One of the advantages is the structural integrity of the dome itself. The shape of the house spreads the load so when burying it underground, the architectural integrity is not compromised.

The advantages of living underground are many, including structural soundness, lower operating costs, temperature control, lower utility bills, and increase security.

Extreme Benefits ...

One of the benefits that homeowners of underground dome homes love to brag about is the low cost of heating and cooling because the home maintains a constant temperature of 55 degrees within the earth. This means that the home is comfortable year-round even in the depths of winter and the intense heat of summer.

These dwellings do come with a few negatives as well. One of the negative aspects of this awesome feature is that the home tends to develop condensation on the walls from the moisture within the earth too. This creates a breeding ground for mold and mildew. The solution is easy with at least 3" of Urethane insulation or 6" of Styrofoam insulation. Installing a dehumidifier is also a very good idea.


Underground Dome House with South Facing Window

There is also the issue of code compliance. This is also manageable with planning. One major issue is that all sleep areas require egress windows of a size, height and distance from the floor that makes it easy for a person to gain access to the outside in case of emergency. The best and easiest construction decision is to build the sleep areas closer to the outside of the home at the front portion and placing other areas deeper inside the dome.

Danger Will Robinson ...

Another benefit that has great bragging value is that an underground dome home is less vulnerable to environmental or man-made dangers. Tornadoes, high winds, and earthquakes are less dangerous for those who live in underground domes. As far as man-made dangers such as crime or nuclear events, the underground dome is less noticeable to those who rob or burglarize other houses and access is harder. The insulation of the earth is less vulnerable to nuclear incidents if the home is build deep enough into the ground.

One other benefit that may be important to those who wish to reduce their carbon footprint is that the land and its resources are used more conservatively and a particularly fun aspect is that one can create a garden on the roof.

Conclusion

Planning an underground dome home will require some foresight regarding location selection, hiring a skilled and experienced contractor and good communication with local code officers. But it is all doable and worth it in the final analysis.


 
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