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$50 & up book question

 
Chuck Freeman
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Location: Southcentral Alaska
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I found this forum while researching UG housing. I have and have read Mike's book the $50 & up underground house book. I have a question about the up-hill patio. Our land is mostly on a south facing slope that will put the patio on the north side. We also live in an area of Alaska that has high snow fall 6' to 8' on the ground. The two things I'm thinking about  are first won't the patio create a void for cold air to settle in during the winter and second is there a way around the snow issue? I understand the reason and the need to have the up-hill side opened up I just can't seem to come up with  way to deal with the cold and high snow level.
 
paul wheaton
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Won't the uphill patio curve around to the side of the house?  So when the cold air comes there, it will sorta "flow" around and continue down the hill.

South slope:  the DVD's go into a LOT of detail on this.  Including how to get sun and air flow from all four directions.  Very good stuff.   

Take a look at page 46.  Assume that that is on a south facing slope.

Another item - see page 37.

As for the high snow - how do you deal with that with a conventional stick home?  Do you build the home up on stilts?

You could make the gable on page 46 freaky big - so big that it ends up higher than the highest snowfall.

As for understanding the uphill opening:  drainage.  The uphill opening takes all of the water in the area and moves it around the house.  Other underground homes have all sorts of problems with drainage.  Mr. Oehler's solutions are, in my opinion, rather genius when it comes to drainage.





 
Kathleen Sanderson
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One thing that mike oehler said could be done with those uphill patios was cover them with glass and make a greenhouse out of them.  IIRC, in the book you should find a few pictures/drawings of this idea.  It looks like you would want to build a long shed roof with the higher end uphill, and the upper portion, over the uphill patio, would be covered with glass or clear fiberglass.  Use heavy framing for your snow-load. 

Kathleen
 
paul wheaton
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So I went to Oehler's place a few days ago.  All of his uphill patios are much smaller than I thought they would be.

 
Kathleen Sanderson
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Paul, has he covered any of them to make a greenhouse, like he talks about in his book?

Kathleen
 
paul wheaton
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Well, he did write that greenhouse book - so there was a greenhouse there.  But, no, there were no uphill patios converted to a greenhouse on his property (that I saw).

 
Brian Adams
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paul wheaton wrote:
So I went to Oehler's place a few days ago.  All of his uphill patios are much smaller than I thought they would be.


Is there a reason they were so small, other than all the extra labor to dig?  I always pictured them as kinda big in my mind.
 
paul wheaton
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bradonw wrote:
Is there a reason they were so small, other than all the extra labor to dig?  I always pictured them as kinda big in my mind.


I suspect that the reason is 100% because they are all dug by hand.

 
                              
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If I remember right, his book says that he spends the winters in motels.
 
Brian Adams
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brewswane wrote:
he spends the winters in motels.


I think he was referring to the fact that he usually travels in the winter time teaching classes.  Thus he stays in motels.
 
                              
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bradonw wrote:
I think he was referring to the fact that he usually travels in the winter time teaching classes.  Thus he stays in motels.


Exactly!
 
paul wheaton
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He spent many winters up there.  But then his knees starting giving him trouble and he started staying in a "normal" house at the foot of the mountain.

 
Kathleen Sanderson
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paul wheaton wrote:
He spent many winters up there.  But then his knees starting giving him trouble and he started staying in a "normal" house at the foot of the mountain.




That was one thing I've always wondered about with his original cabin -- it wouldn't be a good place for anyone who had difficulty with steps and different levels. 

Kathleen
 
Glenn Kangiser
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Not a real beauty, but here is a pix of our greenhouse covered uphill patio. The back of the greenhouse is a strawbale wall for insulation.  The glass is tempered door glass and starts on top of the roof of the cabin.  My shop is behind the strawbale wall.

 
Glenn Kangiser
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Kathleen Sanderson wrote:
That was one thing I've always wondered about with his original cabin -- it wouldn't be a good place for anyone who had difficulty with steps and different levels. 

Kathleen


We have lots of steps and different levels, Kathleen, but our south side has a door the opens to a lower ground level and we can drive the car around and down to that level.  Our roof slopes east and west then drains to the south as my wife wanted the south open for her "view".
 
Kathleen Sanderson
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That would help.  I just think of my daughter, who is mentally handicapped and has trouble with stairs (she can manage them, but is slow -- I think she has really poor depth perception).  And then there is my grandmother, who has had a knee replaced and again, while she can still do stairs, she's slow and certainly wouldn't want to be going up and down very much.  Who knows what condition my legs and knees will be in by the time I'm her age (she's 96)!  In some respects, all the different levels serve some very useful purposes, but my definite preference is to have everything on one level!  If the house was built on flat land, or on a shallow slope, I think that could be done and the house would still work well.  Just have to berm and put an earth roof on it, rather than digging it in below ground level.  That also solves some of the potential water issues.

Kathleen
 
Glenn Kangiser
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The Royer foyer could be used to get into a one level underground house, Kathleen, (lower side entrance) or seems you mentioned a low side gable.  You couls keep it on one level and longer if you wanted rather than up and down hill so much.

Another Royer  Foyer or exit through the uphill patio could give you a second way out.  Also an offset room could possibly help with accessibility.  It all depends on site conditions.
 
paul wheaton
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So, your oehler-style-structure is built on a south facing slope, right? 

And your greenhouse is uphill of the rest of your house, right?

 
Glenn Kangiser
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Yes, very slightly southwest and the green house faces the same way.  Not far enough off of south to make much difference.

 
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