Sunday, November 09, 2008

Building a dream

One of the purposes of this most recent set of travels is to arrive at the place where I expect to live for at least many years, if not the rest of my life. I had thought that this would be one location, but that has come under some scrutiny due to some difficulties with one of the owners of the land. So I am now looking at my second choice, which to be fair was a very close second anyway.

What this means for me is that I get to build the underground home I have wanted to build for some time now. I suspect that what most folks think of when they think of an underground home is something like a cave, or a dark damp basement. The plans I am developing will be neither of these.

As is my wont, I have read all that I could on the subject, and the most helpful as well an enjoyable book on the subject is The $50 & Up Underground House Book by Mike Oehler. He built his first U-home in 1971 and is still living in an expanded version of this same home, and expansion which cost $500.. making the home's total cost $550.. I have never even heard of any other home being built so inexpensively and yet still retaining efficiencies not found in the most expensive of homes today. Imagine cutting your heating and cooling costs by 80%!...

His own home still retains great views, and lots of light thanks to some ingenious placement of windows, and some ideas which ran/run counter to the expected, yet result in many great advantages, which elminating many of the major negatives which can come with some u-home designs.

Mike himself is obviously quite a character who very clearly expresses his opinions, not all of which even I can agree with, and thinks about building and living in ways long forgotten or overlooked by most of us. His writing is as charming as it is informative.

If you have any interest in building, in energy efficiency, in self-sufficiency, or even in green house growing, pick up his books The $50 & up Underground House Book and Earth Sheltered Solar Greenhouse Book.. both are a joy to read, easy to understand, and serve as a fine example of what we each can do if we start thinking for ourselves rather than just go along with what is expected.

I have just finished the basic layout of what I suspect will be the final design of my own U-house. There is a certain point in the design process when it feels that everything is coming together and the basic design feels like a final version. That is where I am. This does not mean that I cannot or will not tweak the design, only that I have a wonderful fairly detailed design from which to begin.

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