A self-sufficient house with free air conditioning thanks to the thermal inertia of the subsoil
Have you ever wondered if it is possible to live underground and take advantage of the Earth’s temperature to keep your home cool in the summer and warm in the winter? In this article, we’ll tell you the story of a couple who decided to build their home using buried shipping containers and how they achieved a sustainable and affordable lifestyle.
As a boy, Steve Rees played in caves and learned to cool himself with the earth. As an adult, he buried two dumpsters and built a retirement home where he and his wife, Shirley, lived.
After a few years camping on their 7-acre parcel in Northern California, they bought two containers, rented a bulldozer, and got to work. He did most of the work himself, and the house cost him $30,000 (including solar).
Although it is cheaper than traditional construction costs, the savings only start with construction. With a solar-powered well, some propane, and solar tubes for most of the lighting, they haven’t had to pay a water or electric bill since 2002. The winter temperature at home (even -6ºC outside) never drops below 16ºC (an RV catalytic heater is sufficient for heating). Even when the temperature outside rises to 43ºC in summer, the temperature in your house does not exceed 27ºC.
When he asked the council for a permit, he was told that “they didn’t have permission to bury the container, They have passed inspections since their home was completed, but not for a single family home. ,We have a licensed septic system, a licensed well, everything is in order as far as that goes, it’s just that it’s a non-compliant type of building that they really don’t know what to do with us Is.,
Life Underground: How to Take Advantage of the Earth’s Temperature in a Container House
The design of the house is based on the idea of using the constant temperature of the subsoil to control the indoor climate. The underground structure provides natural insulation that keeps the home cool in the summer and warm in the winter. In addition, the use of solar tubes allows the entry of natural light, which creates a bright and pleasant atmosphere.
Prevention of dampness and corrosion was also taken into consideration in the construction of the house. Styrofoam panels and drainage gravel were installed around and below the cans to prevent water accumulation and keep the metal dry. In addition, innovative solutions were devised for the installation of walls and shelves to avoid unnecessary drilling that could lead to corrosion.
The house has all modern conveniences including electricity, gas and water, although due to the underground nature of the construction the entrance to these services is through the roof rather than the ground.
The total cost of construction was around $30,000, which works out to just under $50 per square foot. house 60m2, Although the price may seem high, you have to consider the savings on utility bills and the convenience provided by the constant temperature of the subfloor throughout the year.
This underground home is an inspiring example of how it is possible to live in a sustainable and eco-friendly way using the resources we already have. Freight containers, which are often left unused, have found a new purpose here, being transformed into a comfortable and energy-efficient home.
Being buried, the containers take advantage of the thermal inertia of the subsoil, keeping the house at a pleasant temperature year-round. The house remains cool even in hot summer days.
Lighting is another important element in this house. Despite being underground, the house is bright thanks to the use of solar tubes. With a prism at the end and a reflective interior, these tubes capture sunlight and direct it into a home’s interior, providing surprisingly effective daylighting.
In addition, the house is designed to prevent moisture and erosion, which are two of the most common problems in underground construction. Measures have been taken to ensure good ventilation and avoid accumulation of water, thus protecting the metal containers.
You can do a virtual visit with this video:
This underground house demonstrates that it is possible to live in a sustainable and comfortable way, taking advantage of the resources already available and the natural properties of the subsoil. With a little bit of ingenuity and creativity, this couple has managed to create a home that is not only eco-friendly, but also affordable and enjoyable to live in. His story is an inspiration to all who are looking for alternative forms of housing and a life in greater harmony with nature.
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