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Building and the Environment

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Building and the Environemnt Caer Llan Berm House Introduction A berm house is a house that is banked with earth. The design and building methods that are used aid the building to require less energy being put into the building when construction is complete and the building is being used as its intended. Construction The Caer Llan berm house was "designed to be "massive" rather than "lightweight". The use of vast quantities of block, concrete, etc, is intended to act as a stabiliser, both structurally and thermally. For any berm house that is being built there needs to be consideration of some factors taken into account. These factors are location and soil type of site, regional climate, and also design preferences. The construction of a berm house means that most, if not all, of the exterior walls will be situated under ground. This will protect the walls from severe weather conditions. The earth surrounding the building will act as a natural sound proofing agent. The topography of the site will affect the ease of which the construction takes place. ...read more.


The earth will draw extra heat away from the building during hot weather and insulate the building during winter weather. The roof needs to be designed very accurately, due to the amount of weight that it needs to support the weight of the soil that is placed on top of the roof. In order to do this pre-stressed concrete beams were used, which contain reinforcing steel ropes. Once they are put into place a concrete grout is placed on top of the concrete beams. The roof then needs to be tanked and the tanking of the roof needs to be incorporated into the tanking of the perimeter structures. There is also a form of earth-sheltered building that is known as "Earthship". This form constructs houses that are built to be self-contained and independent. The design of such buildings allows food to be grown indoors, maintenance of water and solar electrical systems. Such buildings perform the environmentally conscious aspect by using unusual building materials. Materials such as, aluminium cans being used to fill non load-bearing walls. ...read more.


Heating of the building is obtained through the use of the windows located in the south facing wall of the building. Due to the south facing nature of the windows, they gain more heat from the sun during the year. This reduces the need for a separate heating system to be installed. The heat energy that is gained from the windows acts as the main source of the building's heat. Conclusion In conclusion, although the initial costs of the construction of a berm house are a lot higher than that of a conventional house build, there are advantages that are gained. These advantages include, susceptibility to the impact of extreme outdoor temperatures is lowered, there is a more stable internal temperature, and, the effects of external weather are not felt to such a degree in a conventional house. There is also the advantage of reducing the amount of menial tasks that need to be done. Such as the amount of guttering that needs to be installed and maintained being limited to just one external wall, and tasks such as painting external walls. There is some natural soundproofing, provided by the soil, and there is greater defence against high winds or extreme weather. ...read more.

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