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Underground livingrefers simply to living below the ground's surface, whether in naturally occurringcavesor in built structures.Underground dwellings are an alternative to traditionally built above-ground dwellings for some home seekers, especially those who are looking to minimize theirnegative impact on the environment. Some of the advantages of underground houses include resistance to severeweather, quiet living space, an unobtrusive presence in the surrounding landscape, and a nearly constant interior temperature due to the natural insulating properties of the surrounding earth. The greatest appeal for most is theenergy efficiencyandenvironmental friendlinessof underground dwellings. When combined with renewable energy sources, energy cost can be greatly reduced. Initial building costs are often low, as underground building islargely subtractive rather than additive, and because thenatural materialsdisplaced by the construction can be recycled as building materials. However, underground living does have certain disadvantages; such as the potential for flooding, which in some cases may require special pumping systems to be installed.Underground living has been a feature of fiction, such as thehobbit holesof the Shire as described in the stories ofJ. R. R. TolkienandThe Underground CitybyJules Verne. It is also the preferred mode of housing to communities in such extreme environments asItaly'sSassi di Matera,Australia'sCoober Pedy,Berbercaves asthose inMatmâta, Tunisia, and evenAmundsen–Scott South Pole Station. Underground living is even being considered for the design of a future base onMars. With today's technologies one candirect natural light into living spaces withlight tubes.Factories and office buildings can benefit from underground facilities for many of the same reasons as underground dwellings such as noise abatement, energy use, security, and community aesthetics.Often, underground living structures are not entirely underground, typically they can be exposed on one side when built into a hill. This exposure can significantly improve interior lighting, although at the expense of greater exposure to the elements.HistoryThere is only written documentation of Scythian and German subterranean dwellings. Remnants have been found in Switzerland,Meklenburgand southern Bavaria: "They had a round shape with a kettle-like widening at the bottom, from eleven
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