I have a friend who has asked me to help her develop her newly purchased property in Craig Colorado in the Routt Forest, elevation 8,500 ft or more. She's been told the coldest it gets there is -40 below.
This property is more or less intended to be a fall out shelter, in case Ebola epidemic, or ww3, or nuclear fallout, etc... This would be a place to take refuge and possibly even stay living underground for extended periods of time. So she intends to build an underground home (she told me 20ft down under the earth it remains 40 degrees all year long) fitted with a radiation air filter and all. And also, the place is just a beautiful place to live, all asteroids and flying saucers aside
As a first order of business, she's asked me to research a greenhouse design that would work to grow food all year long. Im already thinking it would be really great to connect the greenhouse directly to the underground home, so you wouldn't need to go up above the surface to access. I'm seeing online there are a lot of options. So I want to consult with you and ask what is the best (functional) option?
Immediately, I start thinking about burying some shipping containers down deep in the earth, and fitting them up with the appropriate light, water, waste, features...
Is it feasible to bury a shipping container or structure, at 20ft below and then fit it with a sun roof/skylight? Or should I build the greenhouse closer to the surface so it's still earth sheltered, but has easier access to above ground light/air, and then just use a rocketstove, compost pile, & passive solar to keep it warm?
As far as the skylight goes, how do we prevent it from getting completely covered in snow and blocking out the sun?
And what would be the ideal solution to provide artificial light for the plants in the event that the sky is filled with ash, etc, for an extended period of time? I thought maybe an underground wood fired steam engine might produce enough energy to power lights, if we keep a large stock of lights underground in the greenhouse in case of an event like this... Doable?
The property has lots of aspen trees, I suppose this may be a potential resource for some applications. I haven't seen the soil yet so I don't know if there is clay, sand, DG, etc..
I'll see what images and other info I can get to share here. Please go ahead and ask any relevant questions so I can get the info. And also any links to good design plans will be appreciated. Thanks all.
Vincent A. : Right here in the Buildings forum take a look at the Wofati buildings, These are designed for Montana Winters and should be adequate for your needs !
You might want to look at a few books by rob roy who is very knowledgeable about underground and earth sheltered houses and living roofs ! He is an infrequent
contributor to these pages, and has some very good information on how to plan your build to build debt free !
You may also want to look into the rocket mass heater forums, and the 'rocket mass heaters in Greenhouses' forum threads!
First things first, the Donner party was an aberration in history, didn't happen in Colorado, and " Seven Brides for Seven Brothers" was a broadway play, and never
Most of the eastern 1/2 of Colorado is in the rain shadow of mountains further west. This means that as storms come from the west in order to get over the Rockies
they drop most of their snow on the western slopes of the Rockies, Usually the Real Estate people do not talk about the rain shadow thingy because they think every
-one moves to Colorado for the skiing !
A little research and time spent learning from locals will help you figure your probable winter snow load, heating season prevailing wind direction, and what roads to
take and what roads to stay off of when its snowing/nasty out. In a couple years you will know the local weather better than the guy in Denver !
You want to ask about the local geology, you probably are at a slight risk for Radon gas released from the local rocks, the air should be fine, again hopefully you are
in a rain shadow !
20' of earth over a shipping container that was never developed for that purpose is a bad idea, some containers can accept 5' or so or conditioned soil underneath a
ground level umbrella is a possibility !
While I am not a super surviver at least as a type, and this is not really a surviver information site. we will share what we can. I do know that moving in a lot of
equipment, and supplies and committing massive underground building is announcing your presence, or pining a target on yourself ! As much as possible you want to
convince people you are into building a Zero Energy, Passive solar house, and not a well stocked supermarket and gun store for a shit-hits-the-fan scenario !
If you ever saw that kind of snow fall you would want that skylight to open wide enough to let you get out ! There are special gaskets that get treated with silicone to
keep them from freezing together! It will be cheaper to store dry canned goods like beans and things in cans for the apocalypse than to use artificial light (and heat)
to grow your food if say The great Yellowstone Caldera pops! -NOT Doable !
If possible you want to be that low key monotoned drab and very boring none entity everyone ignores or moves away from to the locals, not an endless source of
speculation and wild rumors ! Good luck Big AL
Success has a Thousand Fathers , Failure is an Orphan
LOOK AT THE " SIMILAR THREADS " BELOW !
Acetylsalicylic acid is aspirin. This could be handy too:
Permaculture Playing Cards by Paul Wheaton and Alexander Ojeda