An Underground Home For Safety
The concept of underground homes has actually been around
for thousands of years. Our ancient
ancestors often used caves to live in, at least during the winter months
(contrary to accepted wisdom, these people actually lived in tents in the
caves). Other people, usually those
living in hot climates have either burrowed into rock faces or dug beneath the
surface to provide cooler accommodations.
The present day Australian town of Coober Pedy is about one third below
the surface to escape the hellish 125 F summer temperatures. However, underground homes have several other
advantages when it comes to dealing with tornadoes, earthquakes, or other
Underground homes are considerable stronger than conventional
above ground homes. They are usually
constructed of reinforced concrete, which is sometimes mixed with fiberglass
for extra strength. Although many people
think a hillside is necessary for the construction of an underground home, it
is also possible to build one on a flat stretch of ground. The shell is put up and then dirt is just
piled over and around it.
When a tornado makes a direct hit on a frame home, there is
generally nothing left afterward but a pile of rubble. Even a house that has been anchored to the
foundation and has hold down straps on it will be unable to withstand the full
force of this storm. However, an
underground house will be basically untouched by the tornado – the winds simply
will not be able to destroy it as the funnel will pass over the mound covering
People who are interested in underground homes will often be
concerned about the safety of an underground home during an earthquake. However, as these homes are made from
reinforced concrete, they are able to withstand the shaking and shifting much
better than an above ground home. If
anything, the underground home will tend to move with the surrounding earth,
and be able to return to its normal position after the quake as passed.
Some sections of the country are subject to wildfires,
especially during a dry period in the summertime. These fires are greatly destructive of
everything in their path and entire communities can go up in flames. Once again, an underground or earth sheltered
home will prove to be the safe choice as the flames will merely pass over the
home without doing any significant harm to it.
Earth sheltered homes will also provide protection from
radiation, just like the old ‘fallout shelters’ of the 1950s and 1960s.
The loss of electric power can have serious consequences at
almost any time of the year. During the
winter, a power outage will generally mean that no heat is available for the
duration of the outage. This can be a
potentially serious problem as regards hypothermia. Likewise, a power outage during a heat spell
can leave people with health problems vulnerable to heat stroke or
dehydration. However, an earth sheltered
house stays basically the same temperature year round, so losing electricity
will not greatly impact the interior temperature of the home.