Keep Your Cool

A well designed solar house is both warm when you want it and cool when you want it; that is to say, the temperature tends to stay fairly even. Another good way to keep your cool is to dig into the earth. About six feet under the earth, you will find that the temperature varies by only a few degrees year round. While this temperature (about 50-55 degrees F.) might be too cool for general living comfort, you can use the stability of the earth's temperature to moderate the thermal fluctuations of the house. If you dig into a south-facing hillside to build, or berm the north part of the house with soil, you can take advantage of this. The part of the house that is underground needs to be well insulated, or the earth will continually suck warmth out of the house.

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Earth Tempered Tiny House
Angus Macdonald, Architect

Earth sheltering is one of the most reliable ways of conserving energy.  By reducing exposed roof and wall area, heat loss/gain is reduced.  By earth tempering I mean using this principle along with super insulation and specific materials for the building envelope to reduce heat gain/loss, conduct constant subgrade temperatures into the interior for cooling and supplement heating with passive solar orientation and design. We have designed homes using these principles that require no fossil fuel consumption for interior comfort year round. Enclosed area = 632 sq.ft.; Veranda is about 100 sq.ft.; Total footprint = 732 sq.ft.

For more information about this plan, and many others, visit our sister site www.dreamgreenhomes.com, where you will find a wide range of plans for sustainable homes, greenhouses, small buildings, garages, and food storage space for sale. Dream Green Homes is a consortium of outstanding architects and designers, who have pooled their talent and expertise for your benefit.

Specific Earthworks

solterra.info The Semrock's vision and ongoing constrcution of their earthsheltered home.

ourcoolhouse showcases a couples' exploration of earthberming.

marant1946.blogspot.com this blog is very informative about the construction of this Texas earth-sheltered home.

formworksbuilding.com shows interior and exterior images of several of their underground or bermed ferrocement buildings.

trendir.com here is wonderful example of underground architecture in Switzerland.

beingsomewhere.net a lovely example of using local natural materials to build a comfortable and beautiful home that is recessed into a hill.

Passive Annual Heat Storage

norishouse.com describes how a PAHS house can keep an underground house comfortable year round with no additional heat source.

diygreenbuildingwithjerry.blogspot.com a blog about building a year-round passive solar (traditional winter-centric solar and Annualized GeoSolar in the summer) house.


Seabird Island Project shows unique design for the solar heating of water and space through warm air collection and geothermal heat tubes.

Chart of Underground Temperatures

This Chart shows underground temperatures in the United States and around the world.


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I specifically disclaim any warranty, either expressed or implied, concerning the information on these pages. Neither I nor any of the advisor/consultants associated with this site will have liability for loss, damage, or injury, resulting from the use of any information found on this, or any other page at this site. Kelly Hart, Hartworks LLC.