vivienda sostenible enterrada

Down a dirt road and between thickets of trees, Paul Queen lives inside a grassy, man-made hill. Deer try to stroll across his rooftop. Gopher tortoises attempt to tunnel into the walls. But inside, Queen can barely hear the rain — or deer hoofsteps. His home is earth-sheltered, meaning it's not exactly underground but is surrounded and insulated by a massive mound of soil. National builders of the obscure style, which first grew out of hillsides and rural grasslands during the energy crisis decades ago, say that amid concerns about power bills and natural disasters, more people are burrowing into the earth, reports the Orlando Sentinel. Although Queen estimates the building style reduces his cooling bills by 40 percent and says he will probably never have to evacuate for a hurricane, the housing concept remains rare in Florida. "Until you're really in one, you really don't realize how wonderful they are," Queen, who works in marketing, said of his Oviedo-area home. "The way it's laid out, it has as much light as any house." Most municipalities contacted in Central Florida couldn't name any earth-sheltered homes in their areas, but besides Queen's, they include a home under construction in DeLeon Springs and a St. Cloud home built in 1986.

Stephanie Thomas-Rees, a research architect with the Florida Solar Energy Center, said the state's sandy soil and high water table make managing moisture difficult in an earth-sheltered home. Others suggest that without hills, which provide a natural construction site, it's harder to find good locations for such homes here. But for auto electrician Travis Campbell, the earth-sheltered style was the solution to another problem — frequent worries about evacuating his mobile home. "Every storm or tornado or fire that came along, we were scared for where we were going to live," he said. He started building several years ago and hopes to finish the home on his small DeLeon Springs farm by Christmas. He is so involved in the process that he's offering consulting services to others interested in living under the earth and plans to open it up for tours when finished. Dale Pearcey, president of Formworks Building Inc. in Colorado, designed Campbell's 4,000-square-foot home and said prices are on par with traditional homes, though mortgages often are paid off faster because of reduced heating and cooling bills.

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