Earth Berm House


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Categories: Homesteading, Power Solutions, Inspiration, Energy, Education

 

Allan Shope has sent us images of his incredible carbon neutral, solar-powered earth-bermed house in upstate New York. First featured on Bob Vila's TV show, the house is cradled by the earth to ensure comfortable indoor temperatures come rain or snow, and it boasts an exciting selection of all-recycled building materials. But that's not all. Pushing the limits of his own former practice, Shope installed a rooftop photovoltaic array.... no moving parts, and years of energy production with no future expense or harm to our planet.  

Shope explains that earth-bermed houses are the most energetically efficient since they maintain the ambient temperature of the earth regardless of air temperature, so that it requires less energy to heat and cool them. They don’t receive a lot of light or ventilation, however, but Shope has compensated for these constraints with tall glazed windows and a air exchanger on the roof.

 

Here’s what is so exciting about this house: everything is recycled. The roof is made from melted down copper plumbing, the facade is made from recycled metal sheets from a nearby factory and the timber framing and interior slabs are comprised of black cherry trees harvested, treated, and sawn onsite. Naturally not everybody can afford to build a home quite like this, but they should.  It will last longer, produce its' own power, is extremely efficient and requires little heating or cooling, and if homes were priced based on cost per year of use, a home like this could factor among the lowest cost options over time.  

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