It is going to be difficult for me to eventually build a house because I like so many different design concepts! For instance, I really love the warm and natural appeal of the Low Impact Woodland Home with natural wood everywhere. On the flip side, I love the peaceful, tucked away feeling of the Villa Vals Earth House that incorporates a whole bunch of concrete.
Although I am currently in a quandary with so many options, by the time I finish all my house research, I hope I can incorporate many different aspects into one home. I guess time will tell if I am successful with my goal.
Since I am truly inspired with the idea of being more energy efficient and less intimidating to the layout of the land, I started researching Peter Vetsch, an architect who is a pioneer in earth houses. Vetsch creates sprayed concrete constructions that ignore right angles and incorporates a free flowing form that is more energy efficient.
The Earth House Is Insulated
The manner in which the earth houses are constructed, the shape of the concrete structures and the layer of polyurethane makes them airtight thus helping save the jingle in your wallet. As a matter of fact, there is a 50 percent savings due to the reduction in heat loss. Did you just do the math in your head? No? Well, I did and that much of a savings is impressive. The earth around the house acts like a large blanket which insulates the building and holds in the heat during the cold winter months.
House Giovannone in Luterbach, Switzerland
The Earth House Is Airtight
The earth house design is very air tight which has several desirable effects:
- Drafts are eliminated.
- The house feels more comfortable because there isn’t a constant layer of cold air at your feet. I wonder if I would have to wear my big, fluffy slipper boots any more? Hmmm…
- Goodbye to the humid air.
- Since less of the outside air gets inside the building, allergens and pollutants are also reduced.
- Great sound insulation.
Residence in North West Germany
The Earth House Is Protected
Obviously, an earth house is at least partially covered with earth. Actually, an earth house is often built inside an already formed hill. Because of the layer of earth that surrounds and covers part of the building, the earth house is protected from many of the natural elements. With the blanket of earth, the house is not exposed and thus protected.
House Guldimann In Lostorf, Switzerland
House Dubler In Waltenschwil, Switzerland
The Earth House Uses Versatile Energy Sources
I don’t know about you, but one of the most enjoyable experiences I partake of several times each day is a nice HOT shower and occasionally a HOT bubbly bath. Living in an earth house does not mean I would have to give up modern conveniences.
The earth house allows for energy from quite a number of sources per the information found on the website:
- Heat source – air: Ambient air is present in any amount and can be easily used as a heat source, free and without special permission.
- Heat source – earth: the energy stored in the ground can be exploited easily, either with one or more vertical boreholes.
- Heat source – thermal spring water: Because of its nearly constant temperature throughout the year, groundwater is suitable as a heat source for a heat pump heating. But also surface water from lakes, rivers, streams and waste water can be used as an energy source.
- Heat source – sun: The collector area is sufficient to cover 50-70 percent of annual demand of hot water for a family of four. In fog or clouds, the heating system provides the necessary additional warming.
It is hard to believe that the sun can provide 50-70 percent of annual demand of hot water for a family of four.
Dolder House In Widen, Switzerland
House Hotz In Urdorf, Switzerland
The Earth House Protects Against Weather
Since the earth house does not have 90 degree corners, but instead is shaped with soft and rounded rooms, winds during a storm cause little to no damage. The earth house is at least partially built in the ground, so the earth itself is a barrier to the harsh elements.
“The stability of the round shapes in combination with the Netzarmierung forms an ideal basis for protection against earthquakes.”
Since the main part of the building is constructed of concrete, the threat of fire is not as prevalent in comparison to wood framed homes.
Those were definitely three great ways that the earth house can protect against the harsh elements of weather.
House Vetsch In Dietikon, Switzerland
Leisure facility Chrüzacher In Dietikon, Switzerland
The Earth House Is Compact And Easy On The Eyes
Earth houses blend with the landscape with the gentle curves of the building and earth covered roofs. Without the wasted space of a 90 degree corner, the rooms feel cozy and have less wasted space to heat or cool.
In addition to the energy efficiency of the building, the earth covered roof not only protects the house, but also leaves the landscape uninterrupted by a huge building. Since grass and plants grow on the roof and around the earth covered house, the vegetation helps to replenish the oxygen.
Erdhaussiedlung Lättenstrasse In Dietikon, Switzerland
House Walter-Andreas Müller In Madetswil, Switzerland
The Earth House Is Bright And Well Lit
Although an earth house is partially built beneath the ground or covered by earth, the large windows provide a great amount of light to the space. In some models, skylights also are used to light a room. With the rounded nature of all the walls, candlelight would cast a lovely look and feel to the room. Of course, white walls and the use of mirrors can also enhance the light factor.
House Pallavincini In Arni, Switzerland
The Earth House Has A Balanced Humidity Level
The special construction of earth houses leads to balance in the climatic conditions. During the summer, the house is kept cool and in winter it is warm with a lot less effort and energy. Another advantage to an earth house is that the humidity remains pleasant and comfortable because it remains at a constant around 50 percent. In contrast, conventional houses during the winter tend to be dry and overheated because of the drafts and this leads to too low, relative humidity.
Swiss Residence In Flurlingen, Switzerland
House Leuzinger In Arni, Switzerland
I really didn’t find any negatives to this type of house. There are so many positive aspects of having an “Earth House” by architect, Peter Vetsch, that I wish I could go out tomorrow and buy one!
Such a beautiful view. I could sit and stare out this window for hours.