You may not remember the name Mike Oehler, but if you around in the 70s or 80s you may have seen one of the houses he inspired. It was Oehler who built what is considered to be the first “underground house” in the U.S., and he sparked an interest in the concept of eco housing. Hi book, The $50 and Up Underground House Book sold almost 100,000 copies – not too shabby!
The structure in this – which I’ll say right now is very, very bad – video is the house Oehler wrote about in The $50 and Up Underground House Book, and while the property is home to six underground houses in total, this one was his primary residence for more than three decades. Oehler admits that using the word ‘underground’ in his book’s title was a mistake, and since the book was written, people have taken to calling this type of building is now known as “Earth sheltering.”
The benefits of earth sheltering are numerous. They include: taking advantage of the earth as a thermal mass, offering extra protection from the natural elements, energy savings, providing substantial privacy, efficient use of land in urban settings, shelters have low maintenance requirements, and earth sheltering commonly takes advantage of passive solar building design.