I am buying land in the South Carolina Low Country to build a homestead. I've been wondering how to build a root cellar on flat land. I've read about burying an old refrigerator or freezer. I've also read about burying a septic tank to use as a storage area.
The land I'm buying has a section that will be behind the planned house location that is heavily wooded. Would a 20' shipping container located under the trees and covered with three or four feet of earth maintain a good temperature here in the south? Don't really have to worry about freezing, just keeping the temp down during the summer.
I say it all the time to folks, and students...look to the vernacular (traditional) methods for your area. In general, John E. is correct. I do not support or condone "basements," of any kind...now for the paradox...I love "root cellars," which is where most old "basements" came from. We today have basements because folks did not know what to do with "Grandma's Root cellar" under the back of the house (usually where the kitchen was...how about that.) So I would say, look to the big picture of the house, build traditionally (which usually means naturally anyway) and incorporate the "root cellar" when you build. If you do have a "high water table" and digging is out (like it is in many areas) yes you can build a traditional root cellar above ground and there are many styles, and methods.