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.
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.