Home of the "PSP method" for building Underground, Earth-Sheltered and Earth-Bermed Housing,
Shelters and Greenhouses
Great How-To Book
This book illustrates and explains how to create an affordable underground house with far more
advantages than an above ground house. Explains step by step planning, materials, construction,
features, and some sample layouts to get you started. Along with much more. This is the book I plan to
use when I build my house.
GF113 - September 29, 2009 Amazon 5 out of 5 Stars
Beyond 5 Stars--Inspirational, Valuable, Practical
This book is phenomenally wise, useful, easy to read, and plain inspiing. I picked it
up this morning intending to get back to it tonight and ended up not putting it down at all.....
The book ends by discreetly recommending a (DVD) series on design as the key element
for success, and one that professional architects generally overlook (as we are all learning, the
"experts" in finance and other areas are really "credentialed" but NOT experts).
I LIKE THIS BOOK. As an afterthought, it is recommended by just about every major
alternative living, green energy, and sanity outpost (Vermont, Oregon, Washington State) reviewer. This
book is a "good deal" and inspiring to boot Robert D. Steele - September 27, 2008 Amazon 5 out of 5Stars
Mike is an original thinker/curmudgeon. Everyone interested in building with natural materials should
study his ideas. His DVD set is more complete than this book and incorporates 25 years of experience
building this way. Get them both.... Kyle B. - December 13, 2008 Amazon 5 out of 5Stars
This is the best book I have read on alternative buildings. The author is very sensible about the
whole project without being to much of a hippie. ....I HIGHLY recommend it!
Floyd Oathout - August 27, 2008 Amazon 5 out of 5Stars
Great Ideas Brilliant Research I enjoyed this book very much and used it
as a basis for designing an underground building for my plantation resort in India..... I haven't seen
anything else out there as good as this for underground building....if you do please let me know.
Michael Skowronski Author of Unforgettable: A Love and Spiritual Growth Story
April 27, 2008 Amazon 5 out of 5Stars
Excellent book to start planning your new home
In my opinion, this book is awesome!....The designs blew me away. Just remember, if you want the nuts
and bolts to building your new underground home, you need the DVD set.... Jason Jacobs - June
13, 2009Amazon 5 out of 5Stars
"I have fallen in love with this book because it is the answer to most of my
greenhouse problems. I was concerned about building an above ground greenhouse due to the fact that I
would have to run electricity to the building to heat/cool it. The earth berm concept is so painfully
smart am left wondering why more people don't practice this? A must buy right now due to the need for
sustainable living!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Lana Lambert, Amazon 5 out of 5Stars
The book covers the theory, design, and construction of the greenhouse (using
Mike's low-cost PSP ---post, shoring, polyethylene--- technique): glazing, insulation and ventilation;
beneficial critters and those that aren't so; solar energy input: the cold sink system; earth-tempering;
and thoughts on how to use the completed structure. …. keep in mind that this greenhouse functions with
no heat input in northern Idaho and carries hardier varieties through the winter. BackHome Magazine
"This design is so unique and so efficient, this is phenomenal …. an amazing greenhouse system"
Jane Nugent, Jane Nugent's Garden Talk, WPTT Radio – TV, Pittsburg, PA
"An interesting, quite complete and entertaining book. The author gives the reader the
benefit of many years of trial and error and some well-presented design elements that are not well
treated in many other greenhouse books …. He got into greenhouse design choices and did a very nice job
…. I liked the book. It was a pleasant read and the pearls of wisdom …. keep up the readers interest."
Tom Karasek, Hobby Greenhouse
"Every winter, gardeners dream of owning a greenhouse—a warm and sometimes sunny place to tend plants
and overwinter tropical favorites. If high heating bills have kept you from realizing that dream, this
may be the book that inspires you to dig right in. The author lives in an earth-sheltered home and
grows his own veggies in a working greenhouse that is heated by the sun. In chapters about glazing,
insulation, heat tubes and pest management, you'll learn the basics of a solar-powered greenhouse and
be treated to plans, photos and random notes about the process, including the use of rabbits as part
of the growing cycle. The solar heat idea will work best if you have a hillside and sunny location,
but you can harness the sun anyplace there is light and soil. The author also wrote "The $50 & Up
Underground House Book" and his home has been featured on HGTV and in various magazines. Even if you
never intend to grow a thing, the book is a fascinating look into the mind of a modern day rebel."
Marianne Binetti, Seattle Post Intelligencer
Mike Oehler (1/2/1938 to 2/2/2016) -- our founder, an innovator in
self-sufficient living and the man who literally wrote the book on earth-sheltered housing for two
generations of underground builders.
His family will continue this website and sales of his popular books and training materials, and a
memoir just completed by Mike of his days in the vanguard of the hippy movement of the 1960s and '70s
will be released soon as well.
The Pioneer of Underground housing and “Tiny Underground Homes”, Mike self -published
The $50 & Up Underground House Book in 1978 (Mole Publishing Co),
and had tripled the size of his home/ underground office complex from 120 square feet to a palatial 370
sq. ft., including built-in root cellar and wall-to-wall carpeting. Though totally underground the
home/office has 25 windows, sunlight and good views. The original house went from a cost of $50 to $500
and then to $2,000 a few years later with the addition of a really good $500 wood stove and a modest
$1,000 solar electric system. To read the rest of Mike’s story click here
Heating costs 80%
Your family from:
Mobs, gunfire, blasts, and similar results of social disintegration
Build a home that is:
Easy to build
In tune with nature
Light, airy, sun and view filled
Underground housing is a concept whose time has come again. Its advantages
over above-ground housing are spectacular. It stays warm in the winter and cool in the summer.
It blends in with nature rather than rearing above it. It can double the yard space in a city.
To the neighbors it looks like a park. It is the most environmentally sound. It uses half the
building materials. It is the safest form of housing: it is fire resistant, radiation
resistant and is impervious to tornado and hurricane strength winds. It even does better in
Where are the traditional tornado shelters located? Where are the fallout
shelters? Where does an army go to defend itself? In a world that is increasingly hostile,
it’s really nice to know that Mother Earth herself is providing your safety.
The $15,000 Ridge House, now under construction on Mike Oehler's
Here is what Home & Garden Network (HGTV) had to say about Mike
Oehler's underground house, on a special called "The Subterraneans", which has aired
frequently. (Check your schedule for future airings):
"This guy literally wrote the book on subterranean housing
and sold more than (105,000) copies of The $50 & Up Underground House Book. He lives in
his own creation. It's a little snug but it's custom built and has all the creature comforts.
You can barely see it, a dream get away nestled deep in the mountains of scenic Northern Idaho
on 40 acres of land. Imagine it, all yours for $500. That's what subterranean pioneer Mike
Oehler created when he... built one of the nations first underground houses in 1971... Today
his little house in a hillside is a rustic gem... It's like having an underground log cabin...
and somehow eight feet underground there's still lots of light here. Mike has developed what
he calls an Up Hill Patio, a cut behind the house and into the hill, where plants can grow and
light and air flow through the house. MIKE: "I think I've got the only system in the country,
maybe the world where you get light, air and views from two or three directions in each and
every room in the underground house.'
"A beautiful mountain side, custom design, self-sufficiency and plenty of
natural light even though you're underground, and all for $500. And maybe best of all,
tranquility. MIKE: 'Its easy to heat, easy to cool, It's easy on your ears because it's much
more soundproof in there.'
So what's next for Mike Oehler? Well, he's writing a new book and he's
designing and building a new (1800 sq. ft. underground) home. It's got a patio, and a tree
house, and an underground pool and jacuzzi. And how much for this super house? $15,000.
Please read Countryside Magazine's article on Mike Oehler's work. Click here.
Only $19.95 NOW AVAILABLE! Order using our online form , by mail or by phone.
NOW ON DVD Available
also on VHS
We know of nothing anywhere which comes even close to matching the wealth of
knowledge found in this three-DVD, six-hour DVD set. The design course taught in DVD two alone is
worth, we believe, a hundred times the cost of the set in the increased light, air and views it will
afford your subterranean home, and in the home’s resale value. If you are just beginning to explore
the option of underground housing, The $50 & Up Underground House Book alone will suffice. But if
you are convinced you want to build below surface, or need more information to make up your mind,
you need this set. It is valuable to owner/builders, self-designers, architects and contractors
This is the same course author and instructor Mike Oehler has taught for
architecture departments at colleges and universities across North America and England, Scotland,
Belgum, the Netherlands and Germany. He has the material down pat and is able to anticipate your
confusion and questions. Unlike the live workshops, the videos allow you to study the material again
and again and to share it with your family and friends.
DVD 1 CONSTRUCTION
The first DVD explains the Post/Shoring/Polyethylene (PSP)
method of building underground with the warmth and charm of wood. The secret is a layer of plastic
which protects the wood from the damp of the earth. The original structure built by this method as an
experiment in 1971 is still in service. Instructor Mike Oehler invented it, built it and lives in it
today. He is now at work on the stunning PSP underground Ridge House with its twenty-mile views.
The second part of the construction DVD is a slide presentation showing construction and completion of
a number of underground homes built by this method. Construction costs can be as low as 1/10th the
cost of normal construction -- sometimes even lower.
DVD 2: DESIGN This is the heart of the
workshop. Using chalk board and the same scale models he hauled for years to universities
across North America and Europe, Mike Oehler teaches his revolutionary methods of underground
design. Rejecting for the most part the four common methods (the foolish four: skylights,
atriums, vertical window wells and the disastrous first thought design) he teaches instead
twelve methods which guarantee light, air and views from any and all directions of the compass
in each underground room. No more dark, airless, basement-like underground buildings! As Mike
likes to say, "An underground house has no more in common with a basement than a penthouse
apartment has with a hot, dark, dusty attic."
Students of the course actually design five underground homes during the screening of this DVD
using the included copyrighted design kit. These hands-on excursuses not only drill the
methods home, they are actually fun! Those who complete this course wind up with a better
concept of underground design than the vast majority of practicing architects today.
In the second part of this two-hour DVD, Mike takes you on a personal tour of the four
underground or earth sheltered houses on his land. You see real life applications of the Royer
Foyer, Hollywood Wings, Up Hill Patios, Basic Designs and more.
DVD 3 SHELTER This third DVD teaches
how to build an astonishingly inexpensive shelter which can take your family and friends through
nuclear fallout, tornadoes, hurricanes, raging fires and even earthquakes. After a catastrophe,
if surrounding above-ground houses have been destroyed, it may be lived in and used as the
starting point for an underground house. In normal times the shelter may be used for a root
cellar, spare bedroom, workshop, tool shed or kids play house. The cost of this 12x12 shelter
will run from $100 to $1500 depending on how many recycled materials are used and how much of
the work the owner does. Comprehensive shelter diagrams are included at no additional cost.
The second part of this DVD teaches how to design and build a spectacularly effective earth
sheltered greenhouse. The prototype for this, invented and built on Mike Oehler’s 40 acres in
mountainous North Idaho, 30 miles south of the Canadian boarder, has been in service for nearly
a quarter century. Without any other heat source than sun and earth this greenhouse takes
tomatoes into the second week in December and hardies like cabbage and kale clear through the
winter year after year.
The greenhouse is resistant to the ravages of gophers, moles, deer, rabbits and most other plant
predators. It can even collect its own irrigation water. A 10x30 greenhouse should cost between
$200 and $3000 depending upon materials and labor.
The third part of the shelter DVD continues the tour of the underground structures on Mike’s
land including the earth-sheltered greenhouse.
Ordering information Three-DVD,
six-hour combined Workshop & Seminar set: $95.00
Order now with our online form, or order by mail.
SOLAR GREENHOUSE BOOK
The Earth-Sheltered Solar Greenhouse Book has 230 pages with nearly
200 illustrations, photos, diagrams, lists, charts and drawings. It contains all the information
you need to struggle free from the pesticide, herbicide, fungicide, waxed, E-coli laden,
genetically modified and irradiated supermarket produce. It promotes organic food grown in the
closest local spot of all, your backyard. It does all this and saves you a bundle of money too!
The Earth-Sheltered Solar Greenhouse Book details the benefits of both passive solar
energy and earth sheltering in greenhouse design. This combination results in greenhouses which need
no heating. The captured sun's energy and that which is stored in the earth is enough for successful
year round harvest. Gone are costly heating bills. Gone is the squander of nonrenewable energy
resources and the resultant atmospheric harm.
Winner of the Nautalus Book Award
This is because above-ground unheated
greenhouses get natural heat at night from only one side, the floor. They lose heat from the other
five sides. The properly designed earth-sheltered greenhouse is naturally warmed at night -- and in
the winter -- from five sides and loses heat from only one, the carefully selected glazing. The ratio
is exactly reversed. This book tells all. It takes you step by step through the construction of an
inexpensive greenhouse which may be built with either newly purchased or salvaged building materials
at great savings. It explains the author's unique Post/Shoring/Polyethylene construction methods which
Countryside Magazine called “Revolutionary... innovative and ingenious... a totally different
concept.” The book deals heavily with design so that the reader may custom-build a greenhouse perfect
for the particular climate and needs.
Mike Oehler shows his Earth-Sheltered Solar Greenhouse to Paul Wheaton of Permies.com
It tells :
• How to use gravity to warm winter plants
• How to effectively capture and store the sun's heat
• How to make up for poor sunlight free of cost
• How to automatically vent without power
• How to choose the best glazing for your project
• Where to find free building materials
• When to use heat tubes and when not to;
• How to use a root cellar in tandem with the greenhouse
• Where to use insulation with wonderful effect (and where to absolutely avoid it)
• How to deal with plant pests organically
• What animals should be living in the greenhouse?
• And hundreds of more tips. Seasoned gardeners will immediately
understand the great
benefits of growing in a
greenhouse that needs little or no additional heat for year round
harvest. Beginning gardeners will discover the deep joys and therapeutic value of gardening -- without
the bitter disappointment of seeing their hard won plants freeze to death in the fall. All
gardeners will appreciate the year round healthful, flavorful food, food that is almost free of
cost. And all gardeners will greatly appreciate being able to work or lounge in the sun on the
bitterest winter day. It's like being in Florida or on the Riviera without the expense and
inconvenience of travel. With a little adaptation your greenhouse might serve as a storm shelter
also, seeing as part of it is eight foot deep. It could conceivably keep a family alive over a winter
when fuel was not available. And, of course, it could feed a family were food the food supply
disrupted. A year round therapeutic
hobby; basking in the sun on bitter winter days; gloriously healthy food; a corresponding decrease in
medical bills, not to mention food bills; plus shelter from the storm and civilization's failure are
compelling reasons for building an earth-sheltered solar greenhouse. Peter Andrews, founder of
Eco-Logic Books in the United Kingdom calls The Earth-Sheltered Solar Greenhouse Book a,
“Splendid, practical handbook -- essential reading for anyone looking to extend their growing season.
Only $24.95 NOW AVAILABLE! Order using our online form , by mail or by phone.
Order the 3 DVD set for $95.00 plus $6 shipping and get The $50 and Up Underground House
Book for less than 1/2 price: $9.95. Book ships free.
Total Cost Just $110.95
Book Savings $10.00. Shipping Savings $6.00
Order the 3 DVD set for $95.00 plus $6 shipping and get The Earth-Sheltered Solar
Greenhouse Book for less than 1/2 price: $12.45. Book ships free.
Total Cost Only $113.45
Book Savings $12.50. Shipping Savings $6.00
Order the 3 DVD set for $95.00 plus $6 shipping and get both The $50 and Up Underground
House Book and The Earth-Sheltered Solar Greenhouse Book each for
less than 1/2 price. Both books ship free.