Uninsulated, unheated, underground house?

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daylen
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Location: Lawrence, KS

Uninsulated, unheated, underground house?

Postby daylen » Thu Mar 02, 2017 10:52 pm

Below the earth's surface is a consistent 55-65 degrees year around; therefore if one could get use to living in that temperature range, they could live in an underground house without any insulation or heating/cooling. Air circulation would still be required, of course.

The biggest challenge that I can think of would be water proofing. I would imagine that concrete walls with a water-proof coating, a plastic covering, a sand filled barrier for drainage, and a vegetation bed above would be sufficient (for at least my lifetime)? Some underground homes experience trouble with condensation, but this wouldn't be a problem since the inside isn't being heated (so the air is isotherm with the interior walls). Use of hot water would have to be vented though. Resale value would be bad, but the cost of building would help negate that. Not sure about how this would stand up to local zoning and codes.

Has anyone else considered this?

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Riggerjack
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Re: Uninsulated, unheated, underground house?

Postby Riggerjack » Fri Mar 03, 2017 12:56 am

Has anyone else considered this?
Yes, JRR Tolkien. But if you aren't a WWI vet, you aren't likely to think of a hole in the ground a cozy and comfortable.

Water will be a much bigger problem than you think. It's not just environmental, you are importing it with each breath. Solve this by digging into a hill, and being very specific with your drainage and ventilation plans.

Get a few army field manuals, you are just talking about living in a bunker. Go to some old forts, see if you like it. Here in WA, I'd recommend Ft Warden, or any of the old artillery forts. They built serious bunkers for ammo storage.

Alternatively, look at Mike Oehler. And here's a 213 page journal of someone who built and currently lives in his own underground house.http://countryplans.com/smf/index.php?PHPSESSID=2b536896f6c4e891e09f4ad650551a60&topic=151.0

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chenda
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Re: Uninsulated, unheated, underground house?

Postby chenda » Fri Mar 03, 2017 3:57 am

There's been quite a few successful underground houses built over the years - see the architect Malcolm Wells who did a lot of work on this.

Construction costs are typically higher than above ground construction, and you'll want a specialist architect and construction team with experience in this. More things to go wrong.

http://www.wowhaus.co.uk/2016/07/25/on- ... yorkshire/

An easier solution though would be to build a passive solar house which requires little to no grid energy to heat. We had a talk at work by someone who did this - the house faces south and has enough thermal mass to sustain it through the winter.

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vexed87
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Re: Uninsulated, unheated, underground house?

Postby vexed87 » Fri Mar 03, 2017 7:51 am

I'd be just about brave enough to store my potatoes in a root cellar... otherwise, if construction and design of your own property is on the table, had you considered building a passivehaus permacultre style.

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Sclass
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Re: Uninsulated, unheated, underground house?

Postby Sclass » Fri Mar 03, 2017 8:18 am

I lived in a basement for ten years. It was cold. 55 deg and damp didn't feel good. The home was dug into a slope so half of the house was underground and I had shoulder height window ports out front.

Lots of ants and termites at war with each other. A few rats ventured in. I bought huge amounts of rat poison blocks and tossed them into the open crawl space. I'd get one stink rat a year.

It was cool in the summer.

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daylen
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Re: Uninsulated, unheated, underground house?

Postby daylen » Fri Mar 03, 2017 11:26 am

A passive solar house was the steeping stone idea to this for me (thermal mass).

@chenda I was thinking that I would save money by designing it and building it myself. There is always an alternative to specialised equipment and methods, so what can an architect and construction team do that I cannot? I wouldn't mind failing, and time is not an issue.

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Dragline
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Re: Uninsulated, unheated, underground house?

Postby Dragline » Fri Mar 03, 2017 11:45 am

This first comes to mind: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rVTOtfZkVxk

Ok, so I have a strange mind. But we knew that.

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chenda
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Re: Uninsulated, unheated, underground house?

Postby chenda » Fri Mar 03, 2017 12:19 pm

@daylan - Unless you have you considerable experience in design or construction I would suggest doing it all yourself will at best be a false economy, particularly in such a specialist area. Doesnt mean you shouldn't get involved, but getting the design and construction method right before works commence will save you costly problems down the line.


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