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Old 01-03-12, 10:24 AM   #4
Piwoslaw
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A good idea is to build on the southern slope of a hill. That way you still have maximum solar gain from the exposed South, but the back and sides can be partially dug into the mountainside. IMO the soil isn't actually an insulator, but acts as thermal mass, reducing the temperature gradient through the (buried) walls during winter. You can get away with less insulation, but you have to make sure everything is protected against water. Also, building on the sunny side of a hill puts you in the windshadow of any chilly winds from the North.
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