Earth-Sheltered Atrium Home

Ferid Abbasher, Architect

Total living space: 1568 s.f.

Some have it that in the future our resources will run so scarce that water will become the most valuable commodity on the planet. Earth, on the other hand, is still one of the most abundant materials on the planet. Thus, water collection, treatment and conservation, together with the fine insulating properties of earth, provide the principles on which the Earth-Sheltered Atrium design is founded. Earth-sheltered buildings protect against extreme temperature variations, storms, earthquakes, noise, etc..

Due to the oval shape of the inner atrium (the courtyard), the living room, the kitchen and dining and the bedrooms all face maximum sunlight, sometimes from the south, at other times from the east and the west; this allows passive solar heating for these spaces. The house would be ideally located in valleys and plains, and the excavated earth could easily be used to top the building. The windows oriented towards the sun attract maximum solar radiation during the cold season, but are also provided with external reflecting surfaces rigid insulating boards that are operated manually, which means that you can regulate the amount of sun needed throughout the day/year yourself, or shut them completely in the night to store the solar heat collected during the day, thus acting like shutters.

An atrium pond has been designed as a Zen Garden, but can be of any other design to meet your requirements. The atrium pond helps refresh the air but additionally accumulates solar heat for the building.

Masonry walls and foundations are made of recycled concrete blocks with recycled paper fillings. Recycled glass is used or floor insulation, as well. An insulating entry air lock has been provided, together with sliding doors with tempered, insulated glass. All windows are sliding, double-glazed, with the possibilities of the beadwall system inclusion. Water-saving toilets and other water-saving sanitary equipment has been used throughout the project.

First Floor

Starting at the top is the living room with a special windcatch feature, then proceeding clockwise around the atrium is the kitchen and dining room. The first bathroom is accessable from the corridor on the east side of the building. Next is one of three bedrooms, also accessable from this same corridor. An entryway into the corridor as well as a foyer into the atrium is accessable from the garage, as is the utility room. The master bedroom is at the end of the corridor on the west side of the building, and is also accessable from the atrium. The master bathroom opens into the end of that same corridor. A laundry space and third bedroom are accessable from the west corridor, nearer the living room. The central atrium provides an open courtyard/Zen garden, which is accessable from the living room, two of the bedrooms, the utility room and the foyer.


Building this EcoHouse would provide you with increased green areas on both building axes. The entire roof area can be used for planting vegetables or making a roof garden, thereby providing an independent food source for the occupants. 1) Upper greenery 2) Front and side greenery (e.g. creepers) 3) Front yard greenery
4) Heat sink greenery 5) Indoor greenery.



Surface water can easily be utilized in this EcoHouse design
to reduce the domestic water consumption expenses. Being
earth-sheltered, the water tank is protected from extremely
low or high temperatures. The earth falls around the tank
are profiled in such a way as to funnel the rainwater into the

The collected water is then thoroughly treated for domestic consumption using the state-of-the-art StormTreat System™ produced by StormTreat Systems, Inc. Rainwater is treated by 100% biological means and is 100% safe for domestic use.

The pond is envisaged to provide an additional home-made food source for the household: it is used for breeding algae, crayfish, and catfish. The softwater algae feed on crayfish excrement. The catfish eat the algae, and the occupants
of the house, in turn, may eat the crayfish. Please bear in mind, that if you are a vegetarian, or would not readily support such a food chain under your own roof, you can always use the pond as an internal fountain, or an aquarium instead!

An insulated vertical wind shaft, ending in a skylight, provides natural cross-ventilation and lighting of the living room and the bedroom above. 1) Sunlight reflected into the building in the morning/afternoon or the winter season 2) Protection against excessive sunlight

The windcatches provided for natural cross-ventilation are provided with skylights to serve as additional natural lighting sources. The skylights should be directed to face your prevailing winds and/or natural light sources. They are designed with an inner reflecting surface attached to to an insulating board. The former reflects sunlight into the home, the latter prevents heat losses from inside to the outside.

Recycled exhaust and foul indoor air has been used to heat the cool outdoor air entering your EcoHouse. The ceiling runs the length from northern to southern wall respectively, so that the rising, hot indoor air heats up the incoming cool/cold air, using the principles of convection.1) Lower insulated ceiling surface 2) Metal divider 3) Southern wall of the EcoHouse 4) Northern wall of the EcoHouse 5) Upper insulated ceiling surface.

The windows oriented towards the sun attract maximum solar radiation during the cold season, but are also provided with external reflecting surfaces and rigid insulating boards that are operated manually. You can regulate the amount of sun needed throughout the day/year and close the shutters completely at night to store the solar heat collected during the day. 1) Reflecting position 2) Shading device position 3) Precipice protection position.

For more details and specifications for this plan see this PDF file.


When building a new home, you will need working drawings which provide hundreds of additional details. You can save time and money by purchasing these eco-home building plans, professionally designed and produced in English language to meet ISO and BS recognized building standards. Best of all, you will only pay a fraction of the original design cost because the design cost is shared by so many people all over the globe.

Working Drawings include:

* Site Plan:
Shows the proposed site layout of your eco-house and the corresponding design elements.
* Foundation Plan:
Show foundations with all load-bearing points and footings applicable to your eco-home.
* Floor Plan(s):
Show the placement and dimensions of all interior walls in your eco-house floor plans, materials, levels, specifications, etc.
* Roof Plan:
Show roofs with all constructional elements, specifics and dimensions applicable to your eco-home.
* Section(s):
Cross-sectional views of your entire eco-house, with materials, marked details, sectional labeling, dimensions, levels, roof pitches, etc.
*Wall details
* Joinery details:
Shows additional details and dimensions of elaborate ecological window and door designs within your eco-home building plans.
Rainwater treatment details
*Internal finishes details
*Structural Calculation
*Landscaping details
*Specifications of Eco-building materials and products
*Materials List
*Stand Alone Wind-energy Electrical Supply Schematics

When placing orders for plans you can choose between downloading your purchased plans from the Internet, and/or ordering plans printed in black and white on ISO A3 recycled, acid-free paper, containing a minimum of 50% recycled de-inked fiber paper, register airmailed to your
postal address. By expressing preference for the printed version of the purchased design, and including an extra-charge to cover the plotting and shipment expenses, you could not only have the CAD Working Drawings that you could modify to meet your requirements of your energy-efficient dreamhouse, but the printed version of the original, as well! The facility of black and white print on A3 format means that you can literally photocopy your EcoHouse plans to as many copies as required by your local building rules and regulations. Likewise, the structural calculations, the materials lists and the specifications, are all printed on Letter and A4 paper formats respectively, which further facilitates reproduction for your needs. Included with the printed plans is a business-card CD comprising the house plans in CAD and PDF format.

For ordering the CAD files only, once you have placed your order and your payment has been processed and approved, an email with your Internet download address is sent automatically to your registered email address. Each download address can be used once, and once only. Should you encounter any difficulties or inconvenience with the download, please contact us immediately.

CAD DXF files
Ferid Abbasher and Associates usually create designs on computers by using CAD (Computer Aided Design) software. The most common type of CAD files are the DXF files, which can be opened by various brands of CAD software. The DXF files downloadable for our designs give you all the features you would get from the blueprints for the same eco-house, and still have all the important details you need to build an eco-home. There are also software utilities available that let you convert a CAD file from one format to another. If you need a different file format we can sometimes provide other file formats. If you have a question about what version the CAD file will be, then please ask about this before ordering.
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Printed plans plus CAD file



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I specifically disclaim any warranty, either expressed or implied, concerning the information on these pages. Neither I nor any of the designer/architects associated with this site will have liability for loss, damage, or injury, resulting from the use of any information found on this, or any other page at this site. Kelly Hart, Hartworks, Inc.

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