There are two different types of earth sheltered house :
COLD CLIMATE TYPE and HOT CLIMATE TYPE
They are different in the way they work . . . . and how they need to be designed.
COLD CLIMATE - suitable for the climates in Europe and the USA :
HOT CLIMATE - the Australian type :
So, let's be clear - the Cold Climate and Hot Climate types are completely different.
Northern Hemisphere practices will usually not fit our Australian conditions - there are exceptions, but they are rare.
There's a lot of information on the internet that's either out of date or not applicable to our climates or the Australian Building Codes.
We in Australia have terrific climates, from the temperate and alpine southern regions to the northern tropical and sub-tropical zones . . . most of the year we Aussies can spend a lot of time outdoors, and so we at ShelterSpace advocate the use of readily accessible outdoor living areas that capture the breezes and shield the occupants from harsh sunlight. We like to see them as being part of the overall design . . not a last-minute addition or just part of the landscaping.
Well integrated outdoor spaces can totally transform the way a house performs - well worth the effort and cost.
We in Australia should think of outdoor spaces as fundamental parts of any design.
A typical internal yearly temperature range within our homes is between 15 to 25 degrees.
My place once reached 26 degrees inside. . . . but it was 46 degrees outside, and it had been in the 40s for two week prior to that!
Usually in summer the inside temperature stays around 22 degrees.
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THE RADIANT HEAT EFFECT :
An earth sheltered house derives thermal stability not only from the stable ground temperature being conducted through the outer structure, and from there by convection through the air within the house . . . but also by the stable temperature of the surrounding ground and structure being directly transferred by radiation to the objects within it . . . and this of course includes us humans.
We feel this radiant stable temperature (we call it 'coolth') on our skin . . . inside our houses its usually around 17 - 19 degrees C - depending on your climatic region.
Now things start to get a bit more interesting . . . our epidermis can not only register the temperature of the air surrounding it, but as we've just seen, also the temperature of the radiant heat landing on it directly from the structure.
Our brain silently identifies the two types of temperature signals, analyses them, make a choice, and advise us to either put more cloths on . . . take some off . . . or stay the way we are!
In other words when you are inside an earth sheltered house you are being effected by two separate types of 'heat signals' both working together . . . and it is quite probable that the air temperature is one thing and the radiant temperature is another . . . in which case the brain usually 'prefers' the radiant signal if they are not too far apart.
It's what the meteorologists call "Feels Like".
The beauty of all this is that we don't have to adjust things . . . its working fine by itself . . . mainly because our Australian climates are within the human comfort range.
ShelterSpace earth sheltered house at Bendameer NSW