Inhabitat recently posted an article exemplifying innovative underground houses around the globe. As a green contractor Eco Brooklyn is continually using cutting-edge ideas to improve upon Passive House designs. Underground housing can provide New York State with low energy housing at reasonable prices without sacrificing the aesthetic appeal of living above ground.
Structures built underground are protected from large temperature swings and extreme weather. At depths below 3 feet the ground maintains an average temperature of the yearly climate. In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, the benefit of home protection is priceless. The greatest benefit to homeowners is one that benefits their wallet. These buildings utilize the earth’s natural insulation and thus require less energy to heat and cool. Besides saving energy, subterranean buildings provide security though access limitation. They exist within nature instead of disrupting the environment. Under-grounding takes up less space and is less environmentally invasive. Unlike standard housing, driveway and backyard space are unnecessary as those amenities are provided directly above the structure.
One of the novel designers of earth-sheltered housing was Malcolm Wells. His underground designs merged iconoclastic principles with modern architecture. The New York Times stated it best:
“…his designs incorporated the land. He designed some homes (and other buildings) that seemingly burrowed into hillsides, and others whose main living space was subterranean, perhaps with above-ground lean-to roofs or atria and skylights to let in the sun. In general, his roofs were covered with layers of earth, suitable for gardens or other green growth.”
Much of Malcolm Wells’ design incorporated concrete and Eco Brooklyn suggests using rammed earth or tires to add structural support to underground buildings. Gennaro has also developed a design to alleviate the stress of the barrier walls by engineering a bowl-shaped structure with a one-to-one slope.
Eco Brooklyn is currently working with Michael Reynolds to develop an earth-sheltered home just north of New York City, so check back for updates on our Underground Housing