How to build a semi-earth-sheltered small home in Northern Minnesota?

Asked by Steve Hage
Lakeville, MN

I would like to build a retirement home in Northern Minnesota using earth sheltered concepts; my simple plan is south-facing/into a hill, but can you suggest a builder in MN to work with regarding poured or block concrete, etc.? Less than 1300 sq. ft.; for two people.


Jason Kliwinski

Answered by Jason Kliwinski

Lambertville, NJ

The Green Living and Building Center

March 20, 2011

I don't have green builders in MN to recommend, but I suggest you look at the Hemicycle House by Frank Lloyd Wright and many earth berm homes designed by Malcolm Wells.

In lieu of poured concrete I suggest you look at some alternate products that are more sustainable and insulating, such as:

  • ICF,
  • Superior Wall, and
  • recycled-content CMU.

Be sure to design for humidity control and adequate daylighting.

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