Can solar energy be used with earth-covered dwellings?
In my opinion, the use of flat plate or concentrating collectors makes the most sense with earth-covered buildings. Solar energy is very expensive and will probably continue to be. However, that fact has more to do with the inefficiency of the buildings the solar systems serve than with the systems themselves. That is, our traditional low-mass buildings present such large and radically fluctuating needs for heating and cooling that a very great deal of air treatment of any kind is required . Fortunately, high-mass buildings (such as earth-covered) usually have only small and rather constant loads. For these, solar energy is economical at today's prices. The use of night-sky radiation systems for cooling may provide major cost savings.