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Paperback – 256 pages
7.5 Inches × 9 Inches (w × h)

Weight: 560 Grams
BISAC: ARCHITECTURE / Sustainability & Green Design
Publisher: New Society Publishers
ISBN: 9780865715219
Pub. Date: 2006-04-03

About the Author

Rob Roy

Rob Roy has been building, researching and teaching about cordwood masonry for four decades. Widely recognized as a world leading authority on cordwood construction, Rob started Earthwood Building School in 1981 to train builders in the latest cordwood building methods. He has authored and edited a dozen books on alternative and natural building including the first edition of Cordwood Building, Timber Framing for the Rest of Us, Earth-Sheltered Houses, and Stoneview. Rob has also presented four videos, including two about cordwood masonry and has taught cordwood masonry all over the world.

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Earth-Sheltered Houses

How to Build an Affordable Underground Home

by Rob Roy



An earth-sheltered, earth-roofed home has the least impact upon the land of all housing styles, leaving almost zero footprint on the planet.

Earth-Sheltered Houses is a practical guide for those who want to build their own underground home at moderate cost. It describes the benefits of sheltering a home with earth, including the added comfort and energy efficiency from the moderating influence of the earth on the home's temperature - keeping it warm in the winter and cool in the summer - low maintenance, and the protection against fire, sound, earthquake and storm afforded by the earth. Extra benefits from adding an earth or other living roof option include greater longevity of the roof substrate, fine aesthetics, and environmental harmony.

The book covers all of the various construction techniques involved including details on planning, excavation, footings, floor, walls, framing, roofing, waterproofing, insulation and drainage. Specific methods appropriate for the inexperienced owner-builder are a particular focus and include:

  • pouring one's own footings and/or floor
  • the use of dry-stacked (surface-bonded) concrete block walls
  • post-and-beam framing
  • plank-and-beam roofing, and
  • drainage methods and self-adhesive waterproofing membranes.

The time-tested, easy-to-learn construction techniques described in Earth-Sheltered Houses will enable readers to embark upon their own building projects with confidence, backed up by a comprehensive resources section that lists all the latest products such as waterproofing membranes, types of rigid insulation and drainage products that will protect the building against water damage and heat loss.

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