In a pursuit of celebrating Earth Day I'm following the three "R's " on my posts this week; recycle, reuse and reduce. My first post focused on the creative reuse and conversion of the Lorton Reformatory to the Lorton Workhouse Arts Center.
Today it is my chance to revisit an unusual home I had the opportunity to market and sell in Prince William County. Tucked into a hillside and not visible from the street was an interesting and rare, by Northern Virginia standards, Earth Sheltered home.
With its weathered wood, glass front and clean, simple lines that meld with the large sculpted patio, mature trees and lush foliage, this home was reminiscent of the organic architecture championed by Frank Lloyd Wright but with a focus on energy efficiency.
With a roof covered with 12 feet of dirt the home maintained a consistent interior temperature all year long. Besides the benefits of a consistent year round temperature earth sheltered homes have a life cycle cost of about one-forth of a standard home. No roof to replace, no gutters to clean, no termites to exterminate and they are fire resistant.
At a time when utility costs are climbing this home offered a year round average utility cost for electricity of less than $100 per month. Earth sheltered homes were often considered dark and damp by anyone who hasn't spent anytime in them. Built by the "hippy" generation it has taken our current energy crisis for many to realize that this home was just slightly ahead of its time.
The new owners of this home have enjoyed the chance to live mostly off the grid and it gave me a chance to market a home that was unique to our area.