SunTerra--the Sun and Earth combined for comfort! This is the blending of the SunTerra home with its site to help achieve a low profile in addition to providing energy savings.
By building the home with subgrade construction, the whole profile of the home is decreased. This contributes directly to reducing heat loss and heat gain for the home because less wall area is directly exposed to the seasonal variations of the elements, primarily wind and temperature.
Since heat loss and heat gain are directly affected by the difference between indoor and outdoor temperatures, the earth berm acts as a buffer when seasonal temperature extremes occur.
Not only do you gain the benefit of reduced energy costs, but the exterior maintenance of your home is also reduced. Less exposed wall area results in less required maintenance.
SunTerra chose earth berming or earth sheltering over building a home that covers the roof with earth. With sub-terranian construction, additional structural and water-proofing considerations add substantial cost to the price of the home. The result is that this extreme type of construction does not prove to be a cost-effective alternative when applied to the SunTerra home.
The alternative is the use of earth berming whereby the exterior walls are partially covered with earth. This method provides protection without the expensive design considerations necessary with covering the roof with dirt. Earth berming, and building below grade, does not require a sloping home site. By building the home with sub-grade construction, the excavated dirt can be used to provide the earth berm. Savings also result from not having to haul the excavated dirt away.
Considering the benefits of earth berming, as well as the aesthetic appeal gained by conforming your home to the landscape. SunTerra has chosen this method as an effective design consideration if appropriate when building a new home.
Smart planning and design leads to improved comfort, better liveability, money and energy savings. A home that will serve your enjoyment for years to come.