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        posted
        Ir remember years ago when underground homes were getting a lot of press. The benefits, the costs, the building plans, etc........ But now I don't really hear much about it at all. Is anyone still building underground homes? Seems like places such as Oklahoma could really benefit from this.
         
        Posts: 25 | Registered: May 27, 2013Reply With QuoteReport This Post
        Picture of GardenSprite
        posted Hide Post
        This question brings back memories of the oil embargo in the 1970's and the proliferation of new ideas and the genuine concern for energy saving homes, vehicles and appliances.

        It also I think gave rise to prominence of magazines such as Rodale's New Shelter and Mother Earth. New Shelter had some very good articles on topics such as earth sheltered or bermed buildings.

        The only one I've actually seen and been in is an earth sheltered classroom building of a local community college. Contrary to what some might think, there was ample light and no feeling of being in a subterranean building. I tried to find photos of it but none were available.

        I don't know whether these types of structures are still under construction other than in some areas with higher than average concern for energy conservation, i.e., not the typical suburban homes. Sometimes these issues become fads which dissipate when the energy issues are temporarily solved.
         
        Posts: 1729 | Registered: Oct 06, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
        posted Hide Post
        Back in the 1970's a family built one near my parents house. It was a good design and 35 years later it still looks good, a challenge for contemporary design.

        I agree they'd be a good thing in tornado alley. The one in question wasn't the best design for tornado protection as the south side was completely open to the front yard and road, and was all glass. This house was built mainly for energy savings. I'd think in tornado country you'd want a courtyard design with the house looking inward towards a courtyard that was open to the sky but surrounded by walls.

        The house in question could probably be beefed up for storm protection by adding storm shutters. I do know if I lived in OK or KS or other states with a lot of tornados I'd have a basement or a storm shelter. There is no protection above ground when a storm like what hit OK last week comes blowing through your house.


        General Disclaimer

        Any advice given here is general in nature and is not necessarily valid for your given area. If in doubt check with your local codes enforcement department for what is required when doing electrical, plumbing or structural work on your house. Permits may or may not be required in your area and home owners may not be able to DIY some tasks. I have no way of knowing if you have the skills needed to complete the tasks you are asking about, when in doubt seek professional assistance.

        My advice may be worth exactly what you pay me for it. :-) For the record I did not stay in a Holiday Inn Express last night.
         
        Posts: 605 | Location: Cary, NC | Registered: Aug 17, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
        Picture of GardenSprite
        posted Hide Post
        I know nothing about construction standards in OK so I'm just speaking "off the top of my head", but it seems to me that it's way past time to mandate standards that address the tornado issues, as has been done with hurricane prone areas. Maybe a combination of earth sheltered houses configured as Sparky suggests plus upgraded standards (i.e., no glass fronts) is an appropriate method for dealing with the energy conservation as well as catastrophic loss issues.

        And although this would probably be anathema to developers, I think it's time to set aside high risk areas as no-build areas. How many times do people have to go through this, through the trauma of catastrophe and loss, before changes will be made?

        (Stepping down off the soap box now.)

        And as to shelters, I remember when people were building nuclear shelters during the Cold War, but I believe these were done as individual initiatives.

        This message has been edited. Last edited by: GardenSprite,
         
        Posts: 1729 | Registered: Oct 06, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
        posted Hide Post
        During the 1960s building a nuke shelter might have seemed a bit more rational as the old USSR leaders were certainly good at kicking up the saber rattling much like Lil' Kim in North Korea is today. I'm a little too young for "duck and cover" drills at school as I think they fell out of favor before I started elementary school in 1966. Tornadoes happen, I'm not sure you could figure out what is a high risk versus low risk area within tornado alley. We've had them here in NC, rare but they happen.

        I believe the town hit most recently in OK is considering requiring storm shelters when the community is rebuilt. The new schools have more storm protection built in than the elementary school that collapsed in the storm. Looking over the pictures it is surprising the death toll was as low as it was.

        In my area we were hit by Hurricane Fran back in 1996. It hit the Raleigh area as a category 1. The main damage was from falling trees, many of which were weakened by an earlier storm that saturated the soil making them more prone to getting blown over. Six years later we were hit by a pretty bad ice storm that took out a lot of the trees that Fran didn't take out. The solution for an individual homeowner is to look over the trees on their property and make sure the house crushers are removed. Most of the damage came from 100 foot tall pine trees, not great specimens for a yard. The fall before the ice storm hit my neighbors and I had a number of trees cut down, my one next door neighbor and I went through and chose the trees that could hit his house and had them taken out. When the ice storm hit, the trees we didn't remove came down by the weight of the ice, but none of them hit his house. Had we not acted that fall I'm sure several of the trees we took down would have crashed into his or my house.

        Nature happens. We need to build wisely. That gentle stream can and will become a raging river in a heavy thunderstorm. Make sure you're out of its path. Trees fall, use appropriate trees for landscaping so you don't have a house crusher near your home. If in hurricane country or along the beach build with the threat in mind.


        General Disclaimer

        Any advice given here is general in nature and is not necessarily valid for your given area. If in doubt check with your local codes enforcement department for what is required when doing electrical, plumbing or structural work on your house. Permits may or may not be required in your area and home owners may not be able to DIY some tasks. I have no way of knowing if you have the skills needed to complete the tasks you are asking about, when in doubt seek professional assistance.

        My advice may be worth exactly what you pay me for it. :-) For the record I did not stay in a Holiday Inn Express last night.
         
        Posts: 605 | Location: Cary, NC | Registered: Aug 17, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
        Picture of GardenSprite
        posted Hide Post
        Sparky, you and your neighbor represent the best of neighborly cooperation and prevention, and intelligent planning.

        Sadly, not everyone thinks ahead, and many trees are left to overgrow and become hazards. But these are individual issues. I was thinking more along the line of the type of community planning as you cited for the to-be built storm shelters, something a community or governmental unit can undertake on behalf of the citizenry, which other than the tree inventory you and your neighbor performed is generally beyond the capacity of residents.

        Perhaps this is more a larger issue of invidivudal vs. community/governmenal intervention, an ongoing discussion for decades.

        I do remember the nuclear raid drills in school. It was unsettling to think as children that we were that vulnerable. But those times were the first of what has become nuclear saber rattling by rogue nations to achieve their goals. It was new and frightening then.
         
        Posts: 1729 | Registered: Oct 06, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
        Picture of Frodo
        posted Hide Post
        i lived near and had a chance to see the house made out of spare discarded tires in ridgeway colorado. it was dennis weavers house
        he played mccloud and a limping cowboy chester on gunsmoke
        any way his house is half burried on the side of a hill, made out of tires and it looks good. his son did same thing also.


        https://www.youtube.com/*****?v=vn7bkncf1_E
         
        Posts: 3843 | Location: I live in southern mississippi | Registered: Jun 01, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
        posted Hide Post
        There is a guy I know in California that has built and lives in an underground house. I guess you could call him a Troglodyte . He has a post on another forum about the experience. It is rather lengthly as he has incorporated a lot of other material but if you would go to page # 1 and progress forward he will tell you how it was done and how it has endured the test of time to date. That site is

        http://countryplans.com/smf/index.php?topic=151.4800
         
        Posts: 1725 | Location: Applachain | Registered: Feb 27, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
        Picture of GardenSprite
        posted Hide Post
        Frodo, I remember houses being built out of recycled materials, including tires, but always wondered about the issue that tires aren't particularly environmentally friendly, and whether any of the materials would eventually wear off into the interior of the house, or cause some other pollution problems. Any insight on this from the Weavers' houses?


        Redoverfarm, there are some really interesting comments and photos on the link, including the one advising federal officers to stay out. Wow! There's a "whole 'nother world" outside of where I live.

        He does have some great looking zucchini plants though.

        This message has been edited. Last edited by: GardenSprite,
         
        Posts: 1729 | Registered: Oct 06, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
        Picture of Frodo
        posted Hide Post
        http://www.bing.com/search?q=p...3210127&ShowAppsUI=1

        dennis weravers house the earthship


        https://www.youtube.com/*****?v=vn7bkncf1_E
         
        Posts: 3843 | Location: I live in southern mississippi | Registered: Jun 01, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
        Picture of GardenSprite
        posted Hide Post
        Double WOW! That is one HUGE house.

        I still think there's merit in exploring these alternate house styles (not necessarily with tires), but I think commercial real estate development of subdivisions is a long way away, construction and permanent financing being one of the key issues.

        But we'll still see luxury houses with large carbon footprints. In fact, one of the local developers is in that field and from what I've read didn't suffer that much during the recession, while developers of smaller residential homes did.

        Thanks for the photos, Frodo. (I sure wouldn't want to have to clean Weaver's house!)
         
        Posts: 1729 | Registered: Oct 06, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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