Earth sheltered houses
  Design concepts
  Energy efficiency
  Bush fire resistance
  Environmental sensitivity
Paul Mitchell Building Designer Paul Mitchell Building Designer
Welcome home

Underground for 25 years...
Over the past 25 years I have been involved with the design and building of around 20 Earth Sheltered Houses. kitchen interior
In the mid 80’s I was invited to present a paper covering my work in this field to the World Conference for Buildings with Earth Sheltered Protection in Sydney.

In the early days it was rare to see an Earth Sheltered House, but slowly and surely over the years we see them becoming more accepted by the general public, as their benefits become evident.

Early advocates gave energy efficiency as the reason they chose this form of housing, and indeed the principle of using the stored “coolth” of the ground mass was readily shown to be sound. In 1983 I was awarded the Energy House of the Year Award by the Housing Industry Association of Australia and the South Australian Energy Council.

Other home-builders saw the obvious safety aspects of a structure built from reinforced concrete and covered with soil. This included resistance to bush-fires, cyclones and earthquakes….collectively called “hazard avoidance”. Several Earth Sheltered Houses survived the horrendous Ash Wednesday bush fires.

external side view

Some environmentally conscience designers liked the softer visual impact that could be achieved, whilst others commented on their quietness and sense of serenity.

Whichever the reason, the Earth Sheltered House is becoming an accepted part of the Australian housing scene.

This site incorporates my experience and on-going development of this form of housing, and I hope it will help to inform those seeking information, and maybe dispel some myths.

2003 Paul Mitchell
Building Designer
Energy Efficiency • Hazard Avoidance
• Environmental Sensitivity
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