As I find the time, I will post descriptions of our earth sheltered house and keep you updated as the construction progresses.
I designed the house using VectorWorks 2008 and its predecessor.
|Approximate Top View of the Earth Sheltered House|
Here is a rough top view of the 2400 square foot earth sheltered house. The north arrow points to the right at about 20° above horizontal. The structure's reinforced concrete ceiling is 11'-0" high. Suspended 10'-6" and 9'-6" ceilings will be installed in most of the rooms as indicated in the drawing.
|Southeast View of the Earth Sheltered House Under Construction|
The earth sheltered house is nestled into the southeast-facing hillside. A Mansard-type roof hides a 5' high parapet wall along the south and east sides of the house that retains the soil covering the roof. The final graded terrain will be about a foot below the top edge of the 6' tall Mansard roof.
|North View of the Earth Sheltered House Under Construction|
Numerous tubes and a masonry stove chimney can be seen protruding through the soil in this top view of the earth sheltered house. An insulated umbrella and two additional feet of soil must be added to this image before the final grading is completed. Except for the tubes and narrow Mansard roof, the house will have a green footprint of grass, flowers, and garden.
|Rough-In Window Openings in the South Side of the Earth Sheltered House|
Taken in April, 2010, this image shows the rough-in window openings along the south side of the earth sheltered house. The net window glazing area will be more than 20% of the floor space. Marvin windows, with low U value and high solar heat gain, will maximize solar heating in the colder months. Deployable awnings will block direct sunlight from the windows in the warmer months. These windows do not qualify for an energy efficiency tax rebate, even though they will save more energy than those that do; this earth sheltered house has no conventional furnace, but uses a masonry stove for supplemental heat.
|View of the Kitchen and Away Room From the Southeast|
This photo was taken from the southeast corner of the Great Room (standing in the Living Room area.) An 18" high curved soffit divides the Kitchen and Away Room from the Great Room. Suspended ceilings in the Great Room will be 10'-6" to accommodate the high transom windows. Suspended ceilings in the Kitchen and Away Room will be 9'-6" to allow for ductwork. The glow of a light tube can be seen in the middle of the kitchen, even though the sun was already below the tree-line. A 10" by 10" support column stands at the end of the Kitchen/Away Room wall. One of two 14" diameter support columns, defining the corners of the Foyer, can be seen in the right edge of the image.
|Temp-Cast Corner Masonry Stove with Bake Oven|
The Masonry Stove is located in the Entry Room at the north end of the earth sheltered house. It is primarily a backup to the Passive Annual Heat Storage (PAHS) system. A plenum, containing a 3-ton air conditioning coil, is installed behind the brick wall to the left of the stove. Ductwork, running the full length of the house, will evenly distribute heat from the stove when needed. The air conditioning coil, although not connected to anything at the moment, may be used as a backup to the PAHS system, which will have its own natural air conditioning capability. The PAHS air conditioning feature, based on a suggestion in John Hait's book, "Passive Annual Heat Storage, Improving the Design of Earth Shelters," will be described in a later post.