If you are planning on building a new home, someone might suggest the idea of going in for an earth berm home. The concept is not very novel and berm homes have been around for a long time. The one major advantage usually highlighted in these homes below the ground is that they help you save energy costs. It is claimed that berm homes can keep you cool through the summers and warm during the winters in a natural way. However, the berm home problems far outweigh this or any other benefits they offer.
Berm Home Cost of Construction
To begin with, you will have to shell out more pounds or euros in building the earth berm home of your dreams. A rough estimation is it could be higher by as much as 20%.
You may have to spend all that money yourself since it may not be easy getting a normal house construction loan if the plans are for an earth berm home.
You will have to engage specialist construction companies with prior experience in building berm homes. They may also charge you a premium for the expertise. Some people claim the insurance companies don't offer policies for earth berm homes. Maybe you won't get a cheap policy and again, have to pay more by way of premium.
Add to this the problems you may encounter if you wanted to sell the house for any reason. You won't find a buyer very easily and even if you found one, you can't be sure to get a reasonable price.
Berm home health issues
One of the many berm home problems is the excess dampness felt in these underground houses. This can become a huge issue during the rainy days when the humidity levels go up. If you happen to build your berm home in an area prone to flooding, then you will be inconvenienced beyond imagination. Floodwaters can easily enter the homes.
Such a moist environment can result in health problems for some people. The floors and walls are concrete and they tend to retain the moisture more than the wooden or glass ones you are surrounded by, in the regular residential properties.
The Issue of Fungus (Mould)
This is a constant complaint from people living in earth berm homes. In a way, it is linked to the previous point on the humidity and the moisture in the atmosphere. The fungus problem is also caused due to leaks that are common with the earth berm homes. Even the best-constructed structures seem to develop leaks and depending on which part of the house has the leak, the mould can get formed and make your life miserable.
Not Easy to Carry Out Repairs
Another problem with berm homes is that you will find it very difficult to access some areas for doing repair work. If you have built air conditioning ducting and the materials used are the same as you would in the normal houses above ground, there could be issues. The ducting material, usually galvanised steel, can get rusted and even collapse after some time. Getting to remove them and re-fixing new ducting can be very problematic.
The Energy Bill Argument
Those advocating earth berm homes as an alternative accommodation generally cite the savings on account of energy usage in the berm homes. Even this argument is being countered by many. If that is the only consideration, just install a solar panel on your ceiling and if you plan it well, you may not have to pay any energy bill at all.
The Series of Compromises You Have to Make
So whichever way you look at it, the earth berm home problems appear to stand out and warn you not to make the mistake. As seen from each of the points highlighted above, it may become one huge compromised living inside a berm home than a cosy and comfortable life you had imagined. There are even stories of people missing out on nice landscaping around their homes. They had to keep the lawns above their homes dry to stop the leaks and stopped watering them.
You will have to make a balanced decision on choosing a berm home. You can explore the possibility of a basement in your regular home that will be the best of both worlds.