America's first Earth-sheltered building coming to east Tennessee

By: Conroy Delouche Email
By: Conroy Delouche Email

ATHENS, Tenn (WVLT) - The country's first earth-sheltered building is coming to east Tennessee.

The new structures could save businesses and homeowners big bucks.

The fiberglass building in Athens resembles an igloo and is still under construction. But Jessica Proffitt sees her "Keep McMinn Beautiful" office.

She will be the only one working in the earth-sheltered building, with plenty of company because it's right in the recycle center parking lot.

"And being at the recycle center, it's gonna be a great location for outreach to people that come in and recycle," said Proffitt.

Athens applied for a grant to obtain the first type of this structure in the country. It's not only an experiment, but will save the city money.

"It won't have any electricity to it, it will all be solar-powered. And the only bills they'll have to pay is internet and water usage," said Shawn Lindsey, the city's Public Works Director.

Once it's done, they're going to lay about two feet of dirt on top of the entire structure to keep it cool in the summertime, and warm in the winter.

"You have dirt on top of it, and grass, and really kids are gonna think it's a cool building to come check out and hopefully they'll learn more about the environment while they're here," said Linsey.

There will be an education room to learn about the building and the importance of solar energy.

"Hopefully this will draw people and we can educate them about the environment, and the effects of littering," said Proffitt.

If this works out well for Athens, we could see these as homes across the country.

Construction should be finished in about a month.


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