earth covered

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earth covered

Postby kimhender » Tue Sep 02, 2003 10:10 pm

i know that a dome can be earth covered so i have a few questions. in high school, the principle of the local technical school had a earth covered home which he said was very energy efficient. since a dome is already very energy efficient, how much more energy efficient would it be? would it be possible to have normal windows so you can see the dirt and all the little creatures living in the dirt? if the weight of the dirt would make the windows collaspes would it be possible to have windows such as banks have, that are strong enough that bullets can not penetrate? if there was to be skylights, how would they not be covered by dirt? does the dome need something on the airform the protect it from all the moisture? how about moisture inside, is it increased? if you want your dome constructed as normal then have it covered, where would someone find enough dirt to cover a dome? i do not like the idea of digging a hole then constructing and finally covering it back up. i want people to know where the house is located and for passerby's to notice, but i also like the idea of it being covered. if i wanted only three places where earth would not be covering the dome, how would you stop the dirt from going onto the places that are to be exposed?
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Postby Anonymous » Wed Sep 03, 2003 7:55 am

Are you looking for added efficiency through burying your dome, or just looking for something that will look interesting?

One thought could be to cover your dome in grass (or whatever natural ground cover your lot has) for a "green roof". It should require very little soil, and won't add as much strain on your dome as burying it would. Mowing may be a bit tricky, however. :wink:

If you're just looking to blend your dome into its surroundings, I kind of like
this idea I just came across on monolithic.com.

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Postby Cloud Hidden » Wed Sep 03, 2003 8:28 am

There is no special energy advantage that comes from burying a dome. They are already so far ahead of frame construction re energy usage, that any incremental benefits would be rather modest if at all. You'd both gain and lose some advantages. In my opinion, the building site is what determines this. Often the best answer is partial berming, and there are numerous ways to do this.

No, you can't (at least per code) have a window like you describe. Waterproofing and maintenance would be the problems. Technically I'd guess it could be done with lexan, but no one would put it under warranty, I'm fairly certain.
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earthcovered domes are more energy efficient than above grnd

Postby Anonymous » Mon Jan 05, 2004 1:30 pm

The benefits of well designed earth covered domes are enormous when compared to above ground insulated domes. Foremost is far lower, (perhaps eliminated) heating, ventilation, and cooling related utility bills. Please refer to this link to the Rocky Mountain Research Center for more info. http://www.earthshelters.com/

Think about it. You want to maintain 76F in your dome. While outside the dome it is 95F in summer, and maybe -10F in winter above ground, while below ground it is a constant 50F all year round; a much smaller temp differential. Add misc. internal heat sources (lighting, TV, etc.), which increase your house a few degrees and you can maintain 76F inside without any heating or cooling bill at all. Does this make sense?
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Re: earthcovered domes are more energy efficient than above

Postby djv » Mon Jan 05, 2004 1:46 pm

collinar wrote:Think about it. You want to maintain 76F in your dome. While outside the dome it is 95F in summer, and maybe -10F in winter above ground, while below ground it is a constant 50F all year round; a much smaller temp differential. Add misc. internal heat sources (lighting, TV, etc.), which increase your house a few degrees and you can maintain 76F inside without any heating or cooling bill at all. Does this make sense?


You are forgetting that an MD dome is insulated on the outside. So the additional insulating factor of burying an MD dome, doesn't necessarily save you enough to cover the expense of burying an MD dome. Maybe in Alaska, it would.
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earthcovered domes are more energy efficient than above grnd

Postby Anonymous » Tue Jan 06, 2004 1:12 am

The smaller temp differential associated with burying a dome means less heat is transferred through the foam and concrete into or out of the interior. If the buried vs above ground structures both have equal thickness of foam and concrete, the annual utility bill to maintain a constant 75F in the interior will be less for the structure exposed to the smallest temp differential. Please let me know if you disagree. Perhaps my description is inadequate in some way.
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Postby djv » Tue Jan 06, 2004 8:33 am

Read this. Note what was burning and the last sentence of the caption.
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Postby Anonymous » Tue Jan 06, 2004 11:23 am

If you are burying the dome for efficiency purposes the best way to go is to make a large insulation umbrella structure in the dirt above the dome. This keeps everything dry and warm. It will also quickly drive most of the creatures out of the dirt around the dome so your windows will be boring and probably actually worrying for the people inside. People usually don't like to be underground but if you can make it bright enough and hide the fact well enough they don't tend to notice.
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Postby Cloud Hidden » Tue Jan 06, 2004 1:13 pm

If you are burying the dome for efficiency purposes the best way to go is to make a large insulation umbrella structure in the dirt above the dome.


I've been reading about this recently under the term PASH (Passive Annual Solar Heating) or something comparable. It's an interesting concept, and I'm studying it further. Like other approaches, there are some things that seem to be advantages and some that seem to be disadvantages. It'd work better on some sites than others. Often with things like this, and even domes, you're trading off one cost for another; one advantage for another. The trick is to pick the best approach for your needs and circumstances.
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bury a dome

Postby DBS » Fri Jan 09, 2004 11:40 pm

Be sure and read the R Fairy tale on the Monolithic.com website. It gives you explanations about the insulation. Also read underground homes on the same website.

Today I hosted an architect who designed and helped build many underground homes. It was interesting that he found the same answers I have found. Underground homes can be lovely but they are more often nightmares.

Codes are tough to comply with on underground homes. But we have built quite a few and they can be made to work. DBS
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Postby mija » Sat Jan 17, 2004 2:52 am

Re: "i want people to know where the house is located and for passerby's to notice, but i also like the idea of it being covered. if i wanted only three places where earth would not be covering the dome, how would you stop the dirt from going onto the places that are to be exposed?"

Keep in mind there are other reasons to bury a dome besides energy considerations. When we build we will be totally underground. We are aspiring survivalists. We want to be underground to be harder to find, to make it easier to protect ourselves from people or things outside, and a buried home is much safer in a nuclear "accident" or mishap if you've taken precautions with air filtration etc. Some may disagree but I believe we are living in the end times. Things will get much uglier and more dangerous in the next decade. There may come a time you don't want someone to be able to instantly see your home. Consider that. If you do though, a simple fence or landmark can identify your property.

As for keeping the dirt on three sides in place, any garden retaining wall can do that. That's simple. :wink: Here is one example of an underground dome....http://www.monolithic.com/gallery/homes/young/

I agree with the others who said a window underground would be against code and impractical. You can get bulletproof glass, skylights, doors. You can get radiation proof, flood proof or blash proof doors. It all depends on how much you want to spend.
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