I understand that not everyone wants to live in a hobbit house (My wife happens to be on of these individuals. I still love her of course). If you’re reading this you may be one of those individuals interested in living in a hobbit house. After completing the shed and analyzing the construction process I truly believe that this could be an economically viable way to build a house.
A hobbit house would be called an earth sheltered passive house.
A passive house (www.passivehouse.us) is a superinsulated home that has minimal air leakage, high performance windows, minimal thermal bridging, and an energy efficient heat recovery ventilation system. An earth-sheltered house is one that has a living green roof (see Earth Sheltered Homes by Rob Roy). These roofs are typically framed with wood and soil is placed on top. This type of home is the ultimate “Green Home.”
Passive and earth sheltered homes are all about minimizing the amount of energy used to heat and cool a house. Thus this type of home would typically not need a large mechanical system for heating or air conditioning.
The current energy situation is making a very strong case for this kind of a structure.
I’m starting to ramble at this point. Needless to say I have developed drawings for this type of home and have quite a few floor plans. Most are 2-3 bedrooms at about 1200 to 1600 square feet. Cost is still unclear but my guess at this point would be in the 150-200 dollars per square foot range depending on the finishes chosen and the degree of difficulty with the site and septic systems. Customizing the inside to look like Bag-End is a different story. Having a 100 million dollar plus budget to help get things the way you like can be a big help.
The advantages of living in an earth sheltered passive hobbit house are many and too numerous to list here. All you have to know is that you would be living in one of the coolest and most unique structures ever built on earth.