Saturday, 25 January 2014

earth sheltering

The first 'eco-homes' in Nottinghamshire were those built at Hockerton. They were truly 'earth sheltered' with their rooms behind a glass conservatory that captured the sun's heat. The conservatory was a main living space and the remaining rooms behind (with no windows) being buried beneath earth and achieving consistently warm temperatures due to insulation within the protective coat of the earth.

A visit to Hockerton was (and remains) inspiring and left the head spinning, thinking about the possibilities.

Here we are, many years on from our Hockerton visit with our own 'eco-home' built to similar principles. Our building faces south so we have maximum opportunity for capturing sunlight and warmth - 'solar gain'. The north side of our building is 'earth sheltered'. Our building is super insulated and so it has proved difficult to calculate the added insulation value of the earth sheltering. One thing is certain, however, and that is that when completed and planting mature, we will have an impressive entrance to our home. Our work of many months is nearing completion.

Pat and Jill
Our finishing touches see the 'spoil' that has been used to create our banks graded out and then topsoil placed on top so that the banking can be planted.

In the photo you can see Pat (Jill's fave) working miracles in the digger.

And you can also see him and the chairwoman of his fanclub cutting the opening ribbon to show that the stonework around the front door is complete. In retrospect (and with money to spare) it would have been great fun to have a circular door, giving visitors the impression that they were visiting a dwelling in Hobbiton.

Our work on the western mounding is not yet complete - Monday's job.
Paved paths must be created.

And then the planting can start!!

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