Note: The recent CNBC article linked to the wrong page. Here’s a link to Wójcik’s tree house.
Dr. Owen Geiger, expert earthbag designer and builder, recently posted the design of this Triple Dome Survival Shelter on his Earthbag House Plans website. It’s designed to house a family for an extended period of time – protected from nuclear radiation, earthquakes, fire, and yes… bullets.
While shelters like this are a dark topic many people prefer to avoid, I think there are an increasing number people, like myself, looking to learn more about what it takes to protect ourselves from threats like radiation. So I really appreciate folks like Owen sharing solutions like this.
This is an incredible design. It provides ample sleeping and storage space, as well as separate living spaces to help the occupants get some privacy from each other during long stays. It could also provide a safe place to sleep once radiation levels had lowered to levels that allowed visits outside.
I just have a few minor modification suggestions:
- A concealed secondary entrance. Redundancy adds options – just like multiple fire exits in any house.
- A 90-degree turn in the entrance hallways. Gamma radiation can’t turn corners, so adding a turn in a hallway can help protect the interior of structure. A simple modification in this design could be to thicken the entryway wall strait across from the door to block the radiation coming in from the doorway.
- A shower in the entryways. It’s essential to avoid ingesting or inhaling fallout because you’re pretty much stuck with it if it gets inside you. Fallout on your skin and clothes can be washed away with soap and water. So washing away fallout before entering the main shelter can keep everyone more insulated from radiation.
- More thickness at the top of the dome. The earthen sidewall berms and fill between the domes would provide ample shielding. But it looks like there is less than 3-feet of earth at the very peak, which is considered the minimum thickness of compacted earth for a fallout shelter.
- Ventilation with 90-degree turns. For the same reason I’d put a 90-degree turn in entry hallways I’d want the same in the ventilation system.
Overkill? Yes maybe.
It’s also important to point out that this kind of shelter is overkill for the very low levels of radiation we might experience from distant nuclear reactor meltdowns. It seems designed for much higher levels of radiation.
But it still leaves us wondering how much protection we might need. We know that conventional construction methods provide very little protection, and we know that the more mass we put between us and fallout the better.
So even a typical earthbag dome with 1-foot thick walls would provide far more protection than a normal house. There are lots of good reasons to build with dirt – radiation shielding might not be high on your list of requirements, but it’s nice to know a low-cost option is right under our feet.
Read more about this Triple Dome Survival Shelter at the Earthbag House Plans website. Very nice work Owen!