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Underground vs Basement House

 
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My plan is to build a basement into a south facing hillside, put a super insulated roof over it and use skylights to bring light to the back of the house and an attached passive solar greenhouse on the front. Definitely not as good as what Mike Oehler did with an earth roof but should be extremely energy efficient and much simpler to build since the roof is the biggest challenge in an underground house. Am I missing anything here? Thanks!
 
master gardener
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I have not read the text you are referring to.  I have read others that had similar comments.  There are two underground  homes near me that I am familiar with. My take is that it is a matter of degrees.  Simply putting a hole in the ground is not a true underground home.  That is probably running out of money after the basement is built. Too many other things should go into it.  Passive solar comes to mind. Roof design.  Access.  Ventilation.....
 
Paul Ladendorf
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John F Dean wrote:I have not read the text you are referring to.  I have read others that had similar comments.  There are two underground  homes near me that I am familiar with. My take is that it is a matter of degrees.  Simply putting a hole in the ground is not a true underground home.  That is probably running out of money after the basement is built. Too many other things should go into it.  Passive solar comes to mind. Roof design.  Access.  Ventilation.....



Sorry, what I was really looking for was feedback on the concept not the semantics of what constitutes an underground house.
 
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I think you're on the right track.  A durable insulated roof over a partially buried house seems pretty robust, insurable and resalable to me.  Especially if someone could remove the roof and put a first floor on it in the future.  
 
pollinator
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To say that a underground house has nothing to do with a regular above ground house or a basement house, sounds like a statement used just for emphasis, but not to be taken as 100% accurate.

I think he was trying to say that his design has the entire 'north wall' completely exposed to sunlight, so all of those rooms get real light and ventilation. And the south wall/downhill has windows, so from inside it does not feel like it is dark, damp, poor place. Instead it is a bright, fresh artistic space that speaks of connections, thermal inertia and self-expression. The design also fixes the problem of leaking roof, water inflitration, mold, and a host of other things when compared to a basement house.


I like your idea of a R-40+ on the all the walls, roof and floor. Hopefully you have radiant heating too with PEX-piping, and cool things like ERV. I like earth berm on flat land and PSP with a greenhouse patio uphill on a slope.
 
pollinator
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i have a similar idea, but a little more complicated where you would then build a tiny house on top of that, only not directly over it, but only half way covering it. extend the top roof of that, and use the other half of the "basement" ish area like a porch/sunroom/greenhouse.

i like the combination of  part cave, part underground /earth bermed, and a big cap...with solar/greenhouse and all light that sticks up from an underground house. i like it all smooshed together like that. the cave balances out the solar, with a lot of thermal mass to store that solar.

fi your curious, i made a post with the design in it -->

https://permies.com/t/53140/epic-greenhouse-built-virtually-sketchup

but basic gist is  build something similar to what you are describing, ans embed a tiny house over it, but only covering half of it. then have an all encompassing roof the covers all of it much higher up. so this is a tiny house embedded in a greenhouse, basically...with with half the basement are underneath and half on the higher ground. levels .
the other half is open to the greenhouse /porch/ open area.
 
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