Survivalism & Self Sufficiency Topics > Homesteading and Self Reliant Living

Best Kinds of Houses for Survival

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Dude_from_the_Sud:
Hello everyone, I've been pondering this question for a while now and I think this is the right crowd to bring it up in.  What are your opinions on the best kind(s) of house for sustainable survival.  I have some property that I've been looking to build on for the past few years and now the rest of my family is seriously talking about getting the heck out of the suburbs and setting ourselves up a situation (would amount to two or three nuclear families).
 
I have two main concerns that I'm working around in trying to figure this out.  Sustainability is a key factor, since I'd like to be able to take us off the grid.  We've had generations growing food out there so it's good land, and in an area of the country that gets plenty of sun, so I'm definitely going solar as far as our power goes, and a well for water.  Defensibility is another matter that I'd want to address, since we would be within walking or biking distance of a fair sized metropolitan area and refugees could be possibly be streaming out of there if things went to pot.  As far as is possible, I would like to have a place that could be designed to take advantage of the situation, i.e passive solar, deciduous trees to shade during the summer, cross-breezes to cool. 

I've only within the past year or so begun to investigate survival and self-sufficiency in an earnest way, and this issue of housing has been on the back burner for a good bit of that time.  I've read about underground or partially underground houses, which appeal to me for several reasons.    I've also come across the idea of using alternative construction materials like earth-filled tires.  Are these ideas ludicrous in the survival situation?  Any help on the topic would be appreciated.

jeremya:
Considering humans have lived in earthen homes probably as long as their have been humans I do don't see anything absurd with the earth filled tire building method
or building an Earthship type home. Since they are built out of fairly common materials it should make finding materials for repairs
easier.

Plus once you learn how to build one it gives you a skill you can use for barter or employment in the PAW.

-- Jeremy

BigDanInTX:
Well, obviously the best type of home to keep you and yours safe would be something like a castle.  Given that this would be quite silly to build in this day and age, I do feel that some sort of home that provides geo-thermal warmth in the winter and natural cooling in the summer would be your best bet.  Either you could build a home that is half under-ground or you could look into Geothermal Pumps (no clue how expensive this would be, but I thought it was interesting).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geothermal_heat_pump

If you could hook up a pump like that to a solar cell, I think it could serve you for quite a while.

ModernSurvival:
The only concern with Earth Berm or any underground part of a home is being sure you don't have Radon in your area.  Radon sucks! 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:US_homes_over_recommended_radon_levels.gif

Don't be to lulled by the map either many of the low areas are where no one builds basements, no basement, not radon in the house.  That said I love the earth ship concept you just have to take precautions.

Beetle:
I like Yurts.

A yurt is a portable, felt-covered, wood lattice-framed dwelling structure used by nomads in the steppes of Central Asia. (here)

EDIT: Added description and link.

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