Get Green with Style Blog

Green Book Review – Earth Sheltered Residential Design Manual

by Hilary Sopata, LEED AP

Earth Sheltered Residential Design Manual
Prepared by:
Underground Space Center
University of Minnesota
Dr. Raymond Sterling, William T. Farnan, and John Carmody

Earth Sheltered Residential Design Manual is all about the ultimate green roof – the concept of building your home partially or mostly underground!  Earth sheltered homes offer additional protection from natural disasters like tornadoes and other storms when compared to traditional home building techniques.  They also provide protection from external noises, are easy to maintain, and greatly reduce the need for heating and cooling.

Earth sheltered homes are not suitable in all regions, as the book explains.  There are many considerations when determining if this type of house is right for you.  That is the beauty of this book – it explains all of that!  Open your mind to a different type of building – one that has been around for a long time.

Landscaping is an integral part of building and maintaining an earth sheltered home.  Considerations, diagrams, and information on landscaping are included.  It’s not like landscaping your back yard.  you have to consider the container shapes and sizes, drainage (different from every day landscaping), and your watering system as well as insulating and waterproofing your home.

Summary:  This is an exciting venture to consider!  Building a home partially underground can be better for the environment.  If you’re interested, read this book and make sure you have experienced professionals to help you work through the details.

Sterling, Dr. Raymond; Farnan, William T.; and Carmody, John. (1982). Earth Sheltered Residential Design Manual.  Van Nostrand Reinhold Publishers. ISBN 0-442-28678-3


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