I usually avoid posting about projects that involve the use of lots of cement, but this underground homestead has many other features that are worth exploring.
When Al Schwarz moved from upstate NY near Dallas, TX, he wanted a home with low energy bills and protection from extreme weather, so he dug into a hillside, inserted cement domes and buried them again with enough earth and rock to guarantee protection.
He spent 10 years stacking 230 tons of rock as a retaining wall and planting grass and trees atop the home. The final home is heavy enough to guarantee a steady temperature. “A normal house weighs about 46 tons,” explains Schwarz. “This one weighs between 600 and 700 tons, so it cannot change temperature rapidly – only about a degree in 24 hours. Therefore, it’s very easy to keep the inside comfortable.”
His 7 acres cost $49,000, though he took out a loan to build the domes which was not easy to find for such a non-conforming property. He finally found one that had financed other dome homes in the past.
With a greenhouse of vegetables and potatoes, and a lake in his backyard for fishing he is nearly entirely self-sufficient. The home is powered by solar and often feeds back into the grid.
His earth-sheltered home has also become a refuge for neighbors during extreme weather. One neighbor was so impressed they have installed their own prefab dome for private protection from storms.
You can watch the video at www.youtube.com