Our green homes are built with a modular system, each module measuring 24 or 28 feet square (inside measurements) and each having its own domed roof. Each module is one continuous pour of concrete and steel for exterior and interior wall and domed ceilings.
Our monolithically-poured system of walls and ceilings is not only sustainable, but it is stronger and more cost-effective than any other building system, including wood-frame, steel-frame, ICF, cinderblock, tilt-wall, or poured-walls.
These domed ceilings curve upward four feet higher than the side walls, adding spaciousness and providing a weight load-bearing capacity that is twenty times greater than that of a flat roof. These green homes are engineered to support in excess of nine feet of earth, allowing for more of the earth's temperature moderating effect and creating greater energy savings and family safety. Engineered weight calculations are 50,000 pounds per square foot, so they're capable of incorporating a parking area or garage on top of the home.
Building an Earth Sheltered Home opens up a huge array of design possibilities - you're limited ONLY to your own imagination. Some possibilities include access to earth roof above for garage with screened porch, barbeque pit, putting green, play area, etc.
The building SITE has one engineering specification - that the home has to be built on native soil, NOT fill. Our construction methods on any of the three major soil types are more cost effective than wood-frame construction methods.
Earth Sheltered Homes are constructed in three basic methods or styles: the Berm, the Atrium, and the Elevational style.
A Berm-style home is built on flat land or a very small hill and earth-covered to form your own mountain. A Berm green home could have one face open and three faces covered. It could have covering from side to side and the top only, leaving the home open in the front and rear, a "see-through home". Or a Berm home could have one side earth-contact, so that the top and three sides of the home are open.
An Atrium-style home is normally configured in some type of a U-shape. It could also be called a "courtyard" style. There could be a literal courtyard, or it may be a private enclosed area with a swimming pool. Another use for the Atrium style home would be for lots referred to as "trash" lots. This type of home is normally lower than the road elevation, so that the top of the house is earth-level or slightly above the road in order to put a garage and second entrance to the house on top of the house. This would also enable to the top of the house to be used as a second play area, as a covered porch, or as a garden.
Elevational design is an Earth Sheltered Home that is built into the side of a hill, which is normally larger than the home. This type of green home often has only one side open and three sides and the top covered. It is the most energy-efficient design because there is more thermal mass (more dirt) surrounding the home.
Many options are available depending upon floor plan and type of architectural style you choose. For instance, if the entrance comes from above, a garage and more living space can be added above the house. This allows for a superstructure, creating more space (a second and even third floor) and direct access to the garage up a flight of stairs - or even an elevator.
You'll also get more cooling due to the shade of the structure at the surface, AND you can take advantage of the "chimney effect" which draws hot air up and out, cooling and ventilating your whole house. It's also possible to store heating or cooling energy in the thermal mass by taking advantage of natural ventilation features, resulting in even better energy savings. That’s “green”, sustainable living.