One of the greatest home expenses over time is the price of energy. Going down under is one way to combat this cost. No, I am not talking about Australia!
Going Down Under With Your House
One of the best ways to spend less on utilities it to build a home that takes advantage of the surrounding terrain. 1 option for really brining this to fruition is to go nearly or even completely below grade. Better called an underground structure, this approach drastically cuts the cost of utilities over the living of the property and gives you a chance to build something very creative.
When you go down under with a house, you can have depths from 10 inches to almost the full height of the house. We are not talking about a house under a lawn. One of the most popular designs for these structures could be the atrium layout.
The atrium home is essentially a four sided structure facing an open atrium in the middle. The particular outer walls of the house are positioned flush to the ground or built up berms. The major living areas all face into the atrium. Windows and cup doors are used to facilitate heating along with passive solar energy. Access to the ground plus garages are provided through stairways. Through this approach, the house has the benefit of becoming protected from wind, is temperatures regulated by the ground in an indirect geothermal gain strategy and has a good open atrium that can be used for just about anything at all.
The interesting thing about this method is the appearance above ground. The top of the house is flush or nearly flush with the ground. This provides defense against wind and an escape from noise pollution.
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The design also provides you with a lot of area to get creative with landscaping. Most people will put in exotic landscaping to take advantage of the situation. Japanese gardens, small forests and so on have been used to striking impact.
One area where you need to be cautious with an underground house is draining. Pumps should be sufficient to remove almost everything, but you need to plan for it first. You don’t want to be sitting in a very costly pool after that first rain.