Wednesday, April 13, 2005
My Dream House
I thought I had lost the link to this awesome abode a long time ago. But through the magic of google (magic being anything that takes less than five seconds to accomplish), I rediscovered this incredible house. It looks like it's still for sale. Now if only I had the half million dollars...!
"This patented steel-reinforced concrete earth sheltered structure, properly called a thin-shell dome, is built to withstand almost any natural or man-made disaster you can name. And that's not just an idle promise. These buildings have withstood tornadoes, hurricanes, and earthquakes - some measuring over 7.0 on the Richter scale - and in every case they have come away with no structural damage at all. Unlike monolithic domes, and all other types of home construction, only Formwork's concrete domes can be completely buried deep underground.
The house has 2472 square feet, with an additional 800 square feet in the attached 24' x 36' underground garage. The main floor of the house consists of a large living room, two bedrooms, two baths, a kitchen, pantry, and laundry closet. Upstairs is a loft and two multi-purpose storage/sleeping rooms. The house currently has ten beds (that is, beds, futons, and sleeping bunks) in seven different rooms. There is lots of additional space for other cots or bedrolls. It would be very accommodating for an entire extended family during a prolonged national emergency or global crisis. The safe room also has a ¾ bath with shower. A 22' long x 6' wide hallway leads to the garage. This hall is lined on one side with 18" deep shelf units, providing a considerable amount of quick-access storage. The other wall of this hall is a convenient place to store larger items, such as skis, bicycles, or a vacuum cleaner, that wouldn't fit on the shelves. Additionally, a large storage attic is found above the garage.
The living room's high-domed ceiling gives the room an open, spacious feeling. A custom steel stairway leads from the loft to a cupola perched on top of the house. Light from the cupola gives the same effect as a skylight, but without any loss in security. The four windows in this "lookout" allow for a 360-degree view of the surrounding property. In addition to the four windows in the cupola, there are six additional windows in the house; each bedroom has a window, and the living room has another four windows. So the living room, open kitchen, and loft all receive light from eight different windows (the four in the cupola, and the four in the living room). Because the windows are on the small side, and also because the two bathrooms, the two upstairs multi-purpose rooms, the garage, and, of course, the safe room are all windowless, the house is somewhat darker than most conventional houses. However, the large solar system provides plenty of power to run electrical lights. The lack of large windows is one of the main reasons the house is so secure. Unavoidably, there is a trade-off between lots of natural light and security. It is simply impossible to adequately secure a house with numerous large pane windows. If one wants to further fortify the house, hardened steel shutters can be locked in place over all the windows. In this “mode” the inside of the house has no outside light at all. But again, the oversized solar electric system has plenty of power for lights.
"Energy efficient" implies extra insulation and double pane glass windows to most people, but this type of earth home has proven itself to be the ultimate in energy efficiency/heat retention. With no heat at all, the inside temperature will not drop below 50 degrees F., even in extreme, prolonged winter conditions. For comfort, however, there is a Harmon wood/coal freestanding stove, along with a back-up propane heater. In the summer months, the house temperature stays pleasantly cool.
Every appliance throughout the house was specially manufactured for use in solar electric homes. The kitchen has a Sun Frost refrigerator/freezer, a Peerless propane range with "no-glow-bar" oven, and a Staber 2000 clothes washer, while the garage has a chest-style freezer.
Outside, a 1,000 gallon above-ground propane tank is extremely well hidden and protected from potential vandals. Just in case, there is an additional 1,000 gallon underground propane tank. The generator, water heater, kitchen range and oven, wall heater, and clothes dryer all use propane, but the 2,000 gallons of stored propane should supply all of these appliances for a very long time. In an all-out national crisis, it would be a simple matter to heat water with the back-up wood-fired water heater, and to dry clothes with an old fashioned hand wringer and clothesline. Also, as a back-up to the propane range, there is a Stanley-Waterton wood stove and range."
Follow the link to read about its other features. Call it a paranoid's dream, but it looks solid as a mofo. (Mofo being a technical term in the 'Super Solid Yo!' industry)