Editor, The Beacon:

It matters not the materials, or design — tornadoes across the country leave destruction and casualties in their wake.

In the westward population movement, the group called “sodbusters” had it right. With few if any trees to build homes with, they dug into the side of a hill and filled it out to living space, covering the wood roof with several feet of soil.

Earth is an excellent insulating material, reducing climate control costs. In essence, underground homes are a natural storm shelter; eliminating the repetitious destruction would lower home insurance costs and security risks.

Homes could be assembled using modules prebuilt in factories. Lightweight panels of Styrofoam mixed with concrete would provide moisture-proof exterior walls. Prefab modular rooms could be arranged to provide different floor plans.

Modules could be made from less expensive or recycled materials since they need not withstand storm conditions.

In Sweden, a company has devised a method to climate-control homes using the ground temperature. At 250 to 500 feet, the temperature is 55 degrees Fahrenheit.

By drilling down and inserting a 1.25-inch pipe down and back up, water will be cooled, then run through a heat pump to heat or cool the living space. Energy consumption is less than with currently used systems.

By combining these two systems, the production and operating costs can create affordable housing developments. Continuing with business as usual is environmental suicide.

If construction includes solar panels for electricity and water heating, a home could be nearly self-sufficient. Imagine a whole subdivision producing electricity contributing excess back to an underground grid. Less fossil fuel used by the power companies. It’s a win-win.

Tom Walker

DeLeon Springs


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