The Thermal Benefits and Cost Effectiveness of Earth Berming
A number of advantages are claimed for earth sheltered buildings; the earth provides both insulation and thermal storage and also serves to reduce infiltration and noise. This paper seeks to quantify the thermal advantages of both earth sheltering and perimeter insulation by comparing the simulated thermal performance of an earth sheltered house, a house with perimeter insulation and a house with neither. The fuel savings are then compared to the estimated construction costs to determine cost-effectiveness. The major saving from an earth sheltered building is obtained in colder climates where the effective elevation of the frost line due to the earth berms considerably reduces the cost of the foundation.