This week's book giveaway is in the General Computing forum. We're giving away four copies of Arduino in Action and have Martin Evans, Joshua Noble, and Jordan Hochenbaum on-line! See this thread for details.
And ... now to really throw another whammy in here ... there is a theory that if you extended rubber lining and added insulation, a few windows and a front door, you would have a home that no longer needed heat ...
And so I start to get these ideas that if you have a few acres of land with lots of trees and a bit of slope, you can build something really fast. And it's cheap because you can get a lot of the materials from the land - instead of trucking it in.
So you might start to think it could be like living in a basement - so I present:
So back to the roofing ... what about replacing the felt and pond liner with newspaper and polyethylene? The felt is to keep rocks and sticks from poking holes in the pond liner. I think a quarter inch thick (or more) layer will probably do that and do some of the job of the pond liner.
And as for insulation, what about replacing that with sawdust/straw/pine-straw? The trouble with it is moisture/rot and flamability. But there will be 8 inches of dry soil between the home and the sawdust/straw.
Figure out how I can get free high-speed Internet and a good monthly calling plan with no roaming charges and then I don't mind shelling out a few bucks for a back hoe. To be honest, I'm totally down with the hoes.
I notice the article says "Special skills and materials are required to prepare the roof for the turf topping" but it doesn't go into details. I wouldn't be surprised if there are standards in the Norwegian building codes for grass roofs now.
So speaking of building codes -- you can't build something to live in, in one day, and get all the inspections mandated by essentially all jurisdictions in the US. Even if you took the time to get the inspections, I think it would be quite a challenge to pass them. When you build something that's so outside of established norms, how do you get the authorities to sign off?
I'm half Norwegian, and I was born in a tiny village where roofs like this used to be common. My dad used to build them. He also builds traditional Norwegian log cabins, if he's asked to. And saunas. And stuff... I think he's in Alaska now, but he could probably be convinced to come help you build it if you feed him while he's there
So you are looking for a low priced, well insulated house with geothermal heating/cooling?
I dont like the idea of creating a complex system and "bury" it.
That would make the house less maintainable and extendable.
Have you considered yet to build a strawbale house and just bury a flexible tube for geothermal heating?
The simplest way to build a strawbale house is to just lay the bales like brickstones and blaster with clay.
For the heating i've seen constructions where the tube is wrapped around a basket-like structure. The advantage of this is that you only need a hole like for a well and you can use machines for well drilling.
I've studied straw bale designs for about 15 years. In fact, I was designing something with straw bale when I encountered this.
The funny thing with straw bale is that it generally takes a lot more time to build than a conventional home. In fact, I have heard it described as "building the house twice." - once for the support structure and once for the straw. You might argue that you can build load bearing walls out of straw - but that opens up a whole lot of other problems, including getting specially packed straw bales that are packed so tight that they have lost a fair amount of their insulation gain. The R-value per inch of straw isn't very good to begin with (it is actually the thickness of straw bale that gives it most of its insulation value) but when you compress it that tight, you lose a lot of the air spaces that gave it such great insulation.
Further, the price of straw has become rather high.
Further still, now you need to come up with a roofing system. Metal, perhaps? And insulation. And a vapor barrier. And .... layers on layers on layers ... not cheap!
So you end up with a house costing about 30% more than a conventional stick home.
With this "soil home" idea, the cost is about 70% less than a conventional stick home. Nearly all of that expense is going to be plumbing, wiring and inner walls.
Joined: Mar 21, 2003
but i think that it is like a lottery to keep your investment (money and labor) safe from watercoursess and mold if you bury it into the ground.
One would situate such a house most likely at the foot of a hill but this is also the most likely place where water finds it way to.
If you have any issues with watertightness you've got to apply new layers of insulation material at places most complicated to reach.
The costs you spare now you'd have to spend x-times more in the future.
I'd never do it. To be down to earth is ok but not further
Do you know the ideas and the work of Nader Khalili ?
Heating was not his main focus though and i don't like the plastic bags very much. But he literally build homes from "dirt".
And i like this micro village style. My dream home was a set of small strawbale buildings with load bearing walls (without upper floors) around a little "village square". With flat roofs for the installation of solar panels. An architecture like this ancient village in Mesa Verde or in Greece. But these are dreams and i'd have to emigrate to a warmer country first where rain is something precious.
If i'd build a strawbale house here i'd cover the top of the box the same way like the walls. With straw bales. And put a single pitch roof on top.
Chris that image is way too big for me. You must have some sort of super, 9 screen display.
watercourses: EXCELLNT point! Oehler's designs address that exceptionally well.
mold: another excellent point! (assuming you mean that the inside of the structure stays soooooo cool in the summer and summer air tends to be loaded with water which can condense inside the house) I think the umbrella designs address that exceptionally well since the walls then don't get "too cold".
hill placement: I would think mid-hill would be optimal.
Joined: Mar 21, 2003
I was surprised myself how big this image is and changed it to a link.