want a house with natural insulation to keep your space warm in the winter and cool in the summer? higher air humidity [stays between 50-70% humidity] in the winter to counteract the dry heat from the heating system? with natural wind, earthquake, and fire protection? then the earth, [sometimes called the earth berm home] might be for you!
this type of architectural style has been around in rough form for a long time. it has been known that the earth is one of the best shelters from the weather. this architecture type re-emerged in a stronger and more modern form around the early 1900s. the structure was developed from using the earth as walls and ceilings [cave-like] to a structure built within the earth made by a series of concrete arches and walls with man-made insulation. the arches are constructed then blown with a spray concrete– making the rooms very round in shape. bubble shaped sky lights adorn the ceilings shedding light easily and abundantly in the rooms. earth homes no longer mean dark rooms and are typically built facing the south to capture even more natural light.
there are a few disadvantages of these homes. they require lots of planning, drawings, and structural engineering–which allows the owner to completely personalize this type of home but also means it may come with a bigger price tag. however, the price you pay up front will be made up for over the years in terms of energy savings. another down side are the round rooms. they make it hard to hang pictures or do other interior decorating. and, as mentioned previously, they contain natural humidity which is great in the winter but sometimes it can become too damp and require a dehumidifcation system to prevent mold.
whatever your style, these homes are great for the environment by keeping green spaces open and utilizing nature to the fullest.