AiDomes | Geodesic Dome Home Kits

Most people today understand the serious environmental issues we now face and are actively involved in doing their part to help protect the environment in any way they can. Over the past few decades, this has caused a virtual sea-change in the way people look at new home and building construction, which has changed the construction industry forever. Building “Green” is not just an option anymore, it has become the new standard for quality builders and contractors.

In 1976 American Ingenuity realized it wanted to manufacture a housing kit that would utilize environmentally friendly materials and energy saving design features.  This desire lead to the development and patenting of a prefabricated component panel in 1983 and the development of our panelized building system.    The panel consists of center core of 7″ Expanded Polystyrene R-28 Insulation (not Styrofoam!), exterior is ¾” thick concrete reinforced with fibers & galvanized steel mesh with interior of 1/2″ Georgia-Pacific DensArmor Plus High-Performance gypsum drywall board (which is moisture resistant, mold resistant gypsum and noncombustible).  None of the materials in the panel contain a food source for mold growth. All the panel materials are noncombustible.  To read about the history of American Ingenuity concrete dome building kits, click on History.

Due to the strength of the triangle and aerodynamic shape of the dome, it withstands 225 mph winds and F4 tornado resulting in no need to replace the roof or exterior walls; thus conserving materials.

Over time, demand for green building materials and systems have increased dramatically, so the cost of materials has now come down. Major technological advances in the materials themselves, along with advances in manufacturing them, have now made them extremely cost effective to use and in most cases they will now actually save you money over time. That, combined with the strong desire by most consumers to have environmentally or eco-friendly homes, has spurred the shift to make using these materials relatively commonplace. Today, building “Green” has pretty much become the conventional standard among quality builders.

For decades now, American Ingenuity has been one of those leaders in not just Florida but throughout the USA and internationally by bringing the latest in Green design, building methods and materials for home construction.  Ai  has been a firm advocate of building greener, more energy efficient homes. When you want your new dream home to be as green and eco-friendly as possible, we can thoroughly discuss the Ai panelized kit system.  Either assembly the kit yourself by being an owner builder or hire a local contractor. Either way consider hiring the independent kit assembly consultant to supervise the workers during kit assembly.

So exactly what is green building? Green building is defined as using environmentally responsible and energy efficient materials and methods to create a home that will continue to be energy efficient throughout its lifetime. Building in this way minimizes the environmental impact of the building process and ensures that the home owner will have minimal utility bills through continued energy savings. The home will also be a healthy environment, as the use of potentially toxic chemicals and processes is minimized. This is particularly significant if your family includes children, the elderly or anyone with a respiratory condition or weak immune system.

Green Home Insulation Methods

Other advances in building greener homes are in insulating them and come in the form of improved expanding block foam insulation in the walls.  Ai utilizes seven inch blocks of expanded polystyrene insulation to cut specific panel dimensions and angles to produce the center core of the prefabricated panel.  To view energy bills showing that a 34′ dome 1,100 sq.ft. can be cooled for less than $30 in the hot Florida summer months, click on 34′ dome home.  To view info on an Aidome which won an Energy Star award, click on SC domes.

Green Home Window Installations

The windows you install are another important aspect of building Green. According to the Department of Energy, your windows can be the largest source of heat loss within your home and installing the proper windows can reduce heat loss by approx. 30% to 40%. Installing Low-E storm windows can save you even more energy. We always recommend using insulated Low-E windows at a minimum and impact glass if required in your area.

Solar Panel installation Melbourne, Florida

Energy-Efficient Appliances

When it comes time to choose the appliances for your dream home, this is another area in which there are many options to “build green”. Of course, choosing only energy-efficient, Energy Star® appliances, from your fridge to your air conditioning system, is the optimal way to build green while using much less energy and saving money too.

Green Landscaping

Construction of your home’s landscaping and driveway provides another great opportunity to build in a way that is environmentally friendly. Regular concrete is a hard, impermeable surface that interferes with the natural circulation of water and replenishment of ground water. Because water cannot penetrate concrete, run-off problems are created. The water picks up pollutants such as gasoline and trash as it flows over the concrete and erosion can occur where it finally reaches groundwater. Use of more environmentally sound materials, such as brick pavers and crushed gravel, allows water to quickly penetrate and return to the water table. Paver bricks come in a wide assortment of colors and styles and have come down in price quite a bit recently. We strongly recommend that all of our home customers use brick pavers for the driveway and walkways.

These are just a few of the ways in which green building techniques can benefit both you and the environment.  American Ingenuity’s team of experienced staff will be delighted to assist you.

If you’re renovating or remodeling your home, the government offers significant tax credits for installing features such as Energy Star appliances and energy-efficient furnaces and windows. If you need to purchase these items anyway, it makes sense to choose energy-efficient options that can save you money both on your taxes and your future energy bills. Modern energy-efficient appliances are just as stylish as other high-end models, so there’s sure to be one that will match your home’s style and decor. If you wish to save further on your energy bills, there are also tax credits available for installing solar panels, geothermal heat pumps and windmills.

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Due to the number of calls we are receiving wanting us to compare American Ingenuity’s (Ai’s) dome building kit to the Air Crete process; here is an apple to apples comparison of Air Crete to Ai’s prefab panel & panelized building system.   We feel that American Ingenuity geodesic dome kits provide our clients a home that when completed is safe, secure, energy efficient, and environmentally friendly.

American Ingenuity has been in business for 40 years, we are a leading designer and manufacturer of concrete geodesic dome building kits.  Our kits have been shipped to 47 U.S. States, and 14 foreign countries. Ai’s dome kits (when erected), have withstood winds rated to 212 mph  windstorms and F4 Tornado, and carried heavy snow loads.  Ai has a limited windstorm warranty on our panels, an unheard of practice within the housing industry.

Domegaia- domes built using Air Crete

Domegaia is a company very new to the dome industry, having built some domes using his system in Thailand, and has a project going in Hawaii (within the last year).  One of Ai staff spoke with the owner of the business who designed the machine used to make these small-scale dome homes.  His design method uses blocks not panels (geodesic) or bladder (i.e. monolithic), he does not manufacture the blocks or build the forms. The client would need to build forms for the blocks. He does not have a design service to design plans, and at the time of the call had one plan in stock. Nor does he have architects or engineers on board, you need to find your own.  Air Crete is a fairly new building material that is fire resistant and insect resistant.

 Ai’s Panels vs. AirCrete block using Domegaia system

Air Crete is a mixture of concrete and foam, used to create walls that are insulated. The method the above company uses to build a dome is as follows. Air Crete blocks are stacked upon each other to create a dome shape, like building a wall using cinder blocks.  Concrete is used between the blocks to hold them together.  The insulating R-Value of Air Crete blocks that are 8” thick is 18. A 10” thick block has an R-Value of 25 (please be aware that the overall R-Value of the structure will be diminished due to the concrete mortar, lowering your energy efficiency.) It is finished with an outer coating of stucco, and interior dome walls need to be plastered.

  • American Ingenuity has sold over 800 kits into 47 states and fourteen foreign areas. Our kits are fire resistant, mold resistant, and insect resistant. Ai’s panels are a total of 8 ¼” thick consisting of a three/quarter inch thick concrete reinforced with galvanized steel mesh/fibers/admixtures, with center core of 7” thick EPS insulation (expanded polystyrene not Styrofoam), and interior ½” thick DensArmor drywall (DensArmor Plus® Fiberglass Mat Interior Panels for first-rate noncombustible, moisture and mold resistant drywall). The R-value of our dome kits (when erected) is R-28 (R-36 with 9” EPS available option). When the kit is fully erected the EPS butts alongside each panel, there is no mortar or wood between the EPS to cause loss of energy efficiency.  The exterior concrete is primed and painted (not stuccoed over); the interior DensArmor seams are finished with fiberglass tape and joint compound. To blend the seam area to the drywall, joint compound is skip troweled over the shell drywall surfaces.  You are not cutting, forming, and layering the exterior of the dome. You are not plastering the interior.  You or your builder is installing prefabricated panels.  This is labor saving, as well as economical, and provides a more finished looking product. Ai’s kits when completed are more energy efficient than an Air Crete Block.
  • The concrete on Ai’s prefab panel is manufactured from bags of Portland Cement type 1 or 111, masonry sand, synthetic fibers and two liquid admixtures. The same ingredients are shipped with the Aidome kit, so that the concrete mixed on site to apply into the panel seams and on the entryways and dormers has the same crack resistant, dense, rich properties that the prefinished concrete on the panel has.  The recipe is in the Building Plans and in the Assembly Manual.  The concrete is 3,000 psi concrete which is code required.

At the time or our call, functioning Floor plans are non-existent for the Air Crete block as a dome. You would need to find an architect to design your homes (each plan would be separate), and an engineer to a seal (if required by location).  This is then a custom project, one plan can run several thousand dollars.  Engineers familiar with dome structures, will also need to be familiar with the Air Crete product to issue their seal, this seal is often quite expensive. Many states now also require an energy report, to assure that the home will be energy efficient, the cost of this report is in addition to the architect and engineering fee. These items are needed to obtain a building permit. (The above-mentioned company does not have a plan design service or access to an engineer; their projects so far have been in areas that do not require either).

  • Ai, has 129 stock floor plans for building kits ranging in size from 179 sq. ft. of living space to 2,900 sq. ft. of living space.  We have numerous fully functional floor plans for each size dome and offer our clients the option to customize their home plan (either through a modification of an existing plan or a custom design). Our CAD designer has worked on hundreds of plans over the years.   In addition, Ai works with several engineers who are familiar with our product and will seal the plans at a reasonable fee.  All states except Florida, the seal fee for one dome on a slab is $600.  In Florida the seal for one dome on a slab is either $450 or $500 – price depends on dome size.  And Ai can complete an Energy Report for one dome on a slab for $190 if needed. Ai’s standard foundation is a concrete slab; however Ai can design other foundations: basement, stem wall, pilings, etc.

Construction – although dome structures have been around for eons, most construction workers (and supervisors) are not familiar with building domes.  This often results in builders charging higher fees to construct, as well as additional labor fees waiting while the process is figured out.

  • Ai offers our clients not only 40 years of experience but also the availability of Kit Assembly Specialists (please note that Specialists are not employees of AiDomes, and are not general contractors, please read the information on our website for more details). This provides reassurance to your contractors, easing their mind that the home will be built correctly and within a timely manner. If you will be building more than one dome, once the Kit Assembly Consultant trains a supervisor (on one or two domes) – then the consultant does need not be hired for the rest of the assemblies.  In addition, Ai building plans (consisting of 15-20 blueprints) have complete details on how to install the foundation, secure the dome to the foundation, frame in entryways, window dormers and door dormers, etc.  Ai provides its owners with a detailed Assembly manual that covers every step of kit construction from start to finish. Plus our office can provide additional assistance should the need arise.

Finishing the home: Due to the uniqueness of the block, Ai is unsure on how windows and doors are added to this type dome, or how the interior would need to be finished. Without a manual and plans specifically designed to show how windows and exterior doors are installed, it would be need to be figured out as the building progresses.   Photos on the above companies’ website also show custom shaped windows (highly expensive).

  • Ai dome kit’s interior is finished the same as a standard frame type home.  Our kits use standard finishes, and use standard windows and doors NOT special orders. There is no need for special size and special shaped windows, or cabinetry.

I hope that this side by side comparison has proved helpful to you when moving forward with your project. We look forward to answering any questions you may have. Our Managers name is Glenda Busick.  She has worked with Ai over 20 years and is not on commission.  To view electric bills for our dome offices (45’ dome linked to a 34’ dome), click on Ai Office Dome Utility Bills.  She can be reached at our office number.

American Ingenuity
8777 Holiday Springs Road
Rockledge Fl 32955
321-639-8777 – Mon-Fri 9-5 eastern time.
Email: glendab.aidomes@gmail.com

 

 

 

 

 

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To run presentation that goes through each room, first click on the arrow button to play then click on the Camera icon in the lower left and then click the start arrow to see presentation. (may take a few seconds to load)  You can also see a list of rooms to zoom right in to.  (There will be a glove that appears as a mouse pointer for moving around)

Another shoes icon on the lower left also enables you to move through rooms.  (Use the glove that appears to drag the viewing angle around)\

Please note that the 3D software utilized to create these 3D Models does not show the first floor or second floor dome sloping walls. As a result  first floor layouts show incorrect window and door sizes and some second floor 3D layouts do not match the furniture layouts in the actual second floor plan layouts.  Beneath each 3D view is the floor plan layout with furniture with the second floor showing the perimeter five foot, six foot and seven foot height lines.  You can print out the layout and cut out the to-scale ruler to measure the length and width of the rooms.   We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause you.

The SECOND FLOOR CENTER HEIGHT slopes down to five feet on the perimeter.  

Second floor center height:

40′ – eleven feet seven inches
45′ – thirteen feet seven inches
48′ – fourteen feet 10 inches

To view 3D models for a few 27′, 34′ and 36′ stock plans, click on 3D.  

To view 3D models for a few 15′, 18′ and 22′ stock plans, click on 3D.

To view two dimensional stock plan layouts for all the ten size dome kits, click on Stock Plans. 

40 Alpha 11
PDF for Downloading & Printing

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40 Delta 17
40 Sigma 16
PDF for Downloading & Printing

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45 Alpha 16
PDF for Downloading & Printing

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45 Beta 17
PDF for Downloading & Printing

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45 Sigma 15 with 34 Garage
45 Tau 15
PDF for Downloading & Printing

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48ft Alpha 22
PDF for Downloading & Printing

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48ft Omicron 16
PDF for Downloading & Printing

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To run presentation that goes through each room, first click on the arrow button to play then click on the Camera icon in the lower left and then click the start arrow to see presentation. (may take a few seconds to load)  You can also see a list of rooms to zoom right in to.  (There will be a glove that appears as a mouse pointer for moving around)

Another shoes icon on the lower left also enables you to move through rooms.  (Use the glove that appears to drag the viewing angle around)\

Please note that the 3D software utilized to create these 3D Models does not show the first floor or second floor dome sloping walls. As a result first floor layouts show incorrect window and door sizes and some second floor 3D layouts do not match the furniture layouts in the actual second floor plan layouts.  Beneath each 3D view is the floor plan layout with furniture with the second floor showing the perimeter five foot, six foot and seven foot height lines.  You can print out the layout and cut out the to-scale ruler to measure the length and width of the rooms.   We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause you.

The SECOND FLOOR CENTER HEIGHT slopes down to five feet on the perimeter.  

Second floor center height:

27′ – nine feet one inch
30′ – eight feet four inches
34′ – nine feet nine inches
36′ – ten feet

To view 3D models for a few 15′, 18′ & 22′ stock plans, click on 3D.

To view 3D models for a few 40′, 45′ & 48′ stock plans, click on 3D.

To view two dimensional stock plan layouts for all the ten size dome kits, click on Stock Plans.

27ft Sigma 11
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27ft Sigma 17
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34ft Omicron 15
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34ft Dome with 22ft Attached Garage
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36 Delta 11
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36 Kappa 11
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36ft Pi 12
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For those of you wanting to compare the Aidome Building Kit vs Deltec Home Kit, please take time to read and analyze info listed below.  Please compare kit costs and contents of each kit.  Instead of building a home from a Deltec wood kit,  consider building an Ai prefabricated concrete home dome kit.  To warm up the exterior & interior of the American Ingenuity (Ai) concrete dome; 1) paint the dome exterior light green or light tan.  2) install rock or wood on the framed walls under dormers & entryways and on the riser panels. 3) Install wood decks off the first floor entryways.  4) Install trellis with vines to conceal the fire resistant concrete. On the interior adhere oak to the dome shell drywall and install wood flooring, wood cabinetry.

We understand that it is important to compare various companies when it comes to designing and building your home, and that you may want to compare our concrete kit to Deltec homes.

Ai would like to do a comparison between both of our companies, so you can determine which home would be best for you. We want to offer you a comparison showing that Aidome building kits will offer you more for your money, be more energy efficient, offer better defense from the elements and have lower maintenance costs over time.

Please be aware that both AiDomes and Deltec do not install a foundation. That work is completed by a local foundation subcontractor near you. In Ai’s building plans are foundation pdfs detailing foundation dimensions.

Please note in the information below we are simply pointing out the differences in our products.  Deltec makes a fine product, but we at Ai feel we have superior home product.

Let us start with the kit:

DELTEC HOMES AMERICAN INGENUITY (AiDomes)
Standard Shell Kit Standard Shell kit
Wood Frame home, w/shingled roof

No mention of insulation, or drywall for home’s exterior walls

Does not include exterior

siding and shingles

Exterior Concrete reinforced with galvanized steel mesh & fibers;

7” thick R-28 Value expanded polystyrene insulation

throughout the exterior walls & roof of the home;

½” Georgia Pacific DensArmor – moisture resistant/mold resistant Gypsum Drywall

 

·         2” x 6” x 8’ wall panels

·         Double 2” x 10” headers in all wall panels

·         5/8” CDX plywood sheathing

·         Complete half scissor truss roof system

·         Typar House Wrap

·         Pre-cut roof sheathing & Typar surround

·         Fascia / pre-cut soffit materials

·         1’-9” overhang (3′-9” shown)

·         9 Upper level steel floor support pole (two story)

·         Web-tec floor system for upper level (two story)

·         Compression ring and tension collar

 

Each wall & roof prefab panel consists of a

·         Outer covering of ¾” concrete reinforced w’ galvanized steel mesh & fibers

·         7” thick EPS insulation

(w/a R-28 value)

·         ½” interior DensArmor drywall

by Georgia Pacific (meets 2014 building code)

·        Galvanized Steel Cables are included with the kit (for standard riser panel height design)

 

*Rods & Z plates for second floor are at a nominal charge per plan

 

The Deltec kit: As you can see their system is wood frame, it requires that the house exterior be finished with some sort of siding, and the roof shingled. Per their website, there is no mention of the inclusion of insulation, or drywall for the shell and attic area (there is mentioned as one of the top upgrades (i.e. additional cost) some sort of energy barrier for north & south facing areas of the home, not throughout the home).  Being wood, the wood exterior is subject to fire, rot and termites. 

With an Ai dome Kit:  When assembled, the prefabricated panels produce all the structural components, the concrete roof, all the insulation and all the interior drywall for the dome shell’s exterior walls and roof.  In addition, the dome shell carries a 225 mph wind and F4 tornado guarantee.  Ai’s panelized system does not contain wood or steel framing (ribs) to interrupt our standard R28 insulation. There is no exterior wood to burn or rot or for termites to eat.  As an added bonus, there is no roof to blow off in high winds, and has a noncombustible fire resistant concrete exterior.  (Pressure Treated wood is used to frame the walls under the entryways and dormers to accept your locally purchased doors and windows.  During Kit Assembly a temporary wooden rib system is installed to support the panels. However once the seam areas between the panels and the entryways and dormers are concreted, the Aidome is self-supporting and the rib system is removed.)

  • Although all homes require exterior maintenance, an Ai dome (when erected), simply requires painting – there are no shingles to replace. Whereas a traditional home, as well as the Deltec kit would require repair and/or  replacement of the roof, as well as maintenance/repair and/or replacement of the siding.
  • In regards to the cost to build, both Deltec and Ai are kits, they are not complete houses, they are the shell of the structure,  this is done by local contractors (Ai knows of an  Independent Kit Consultant to assist your contractors with shell assembly).

Please give us a call so we can provide information and answer questions for you – 321-639-8777 Mon – Fri 9-5 eastern time.

image_pdfimage_print

To run presentation that goes through each room, first click on the arrow button to play then click on the Camera icon in the lower left and then click the start arrow to see presentation. (may take a few seconds to load)  You can also see a list of rooms to zoom right in to.  (There will be a glove that appears as a mouse pointer for moving around)

Another shoes icon on the lower left also enables you to move through rooms.  (Use the glove that appears to drag the viewing angle around)\

Please note that the 3D software utilized to create these 3D Models does not show the first floor or second floor dome sloping walls. As a result first floor layouts show incorrect window sizes and some second floor 3D layouts do not match the furniture layouts in the actual second floor plan layouts.  Beneath each 3D view is the floor plan layout with furniture with the second floor showing the perimeter five foot, six foot and seven foot height lines.  You can print out the layout and cut out the to-scale ruler to measure the length and width of the rooms.   We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause you.

The SECOND FLOOR CENTER HEIGHT slopes down to five feet on the perimeter.  However on the 15′, 18′ and 22′ domes there is very little attic area or the domes are built with no attic area.  The second floor panels are too small on the 15′, 18′, 22′ and 30′ domes to accept window dormers. As a result, no bedrooms can be designed in these attics or second floor areas.

Second floor center height:

15′ – four feet ten inches
18′ – six feet four inches
22′ – six feet ten inches

To view 3D models for a few 27′, 34′ and 36′ stock plans, click on 3D.

To view 3D models for a few 40′, 45′ & 48′ stock plans, click on 3D.

To view two dimensional stock plan layouts for all the ten size dome kits, click on Stock Plans.

15 Alpha 17 – option 4

 

 

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18 Alpha 17 – option 4

 

 

PDF for Downloading & Printing

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22′ Beta 17

 

Please note the above 3D model is incorrect.  No bed can be designed in the loft because there is no fire egress window.

PDF for Downloading & Printing

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22ft Eco Cottage v2

 

 

PDF for Downloading & Printing

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Approx.Finished Costs: http://aidomes.com/approximate-finish…
Owner Builder: http://aidomes.com/diy-prefab-dome-ho…
Local Builder: http://aidomes.com/choosing-a-contrac…
Independent Consultant: http://aidomes.com/kit-assembly-consu…
Ten Steps to Building AiDome: http://aidomes.com/10-steps-to-your-n…

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The following article compares the American Ingenuity (Ai)
Concrete Dome Building Kit to Canvas and Wood Yurt Kits

So many factors go into building a home, and cost is a major consideration.  However, strength, durability, fire resistance and energy efficiency of your new home should weigh above cost in the long run.   

Ai likes to understand our competitors’ products, methods, costs and construction so we can provide our potential clients an overall viewpoint on why we consider our product superior.  This is especially true of a yurt.  We recently did some investigation into yurts, the following contains info from several articles, one blog and Ai contacted one company which sells solid wall yurt kits, to compare costs. When all is said and done, an AiDome is far more secure, storm resistant, and energy efficient, even factoring in cost to build.

Below you will find a chart comparing a concrete American Ingenuity (Ai) dome kit to a solid wood yurt kit.  The cost to purchase, pay shipping on the kit and build one of Ai’s  dome kits is about the same price as a solid wall yurt but you receive more from the Aidome.  The Aidome exterior is steel reinforced concrete versus the yurt’s wood exterior. The Ai dome is more wind resistant – solid wood Yurt has 100 mph wind warranty when Ai dome has 225 mph wind & F4 tornado warranty.  Plus because the Aidome has no wood in or on the dome prefab panels and no wood interrupting its insulation, the exterior is resistant to fire and insect infestation, and the Ai dome overall will be more energy efficient.  To view photos and utility bills of an Ai dome home, click on 34′ dome.

Although most yurts are tent like structures, there are some that have solid wood walls, in order to compare them to Ai’s dome building kits, Ai searched and found a company that sells sold wall (wood) yurt kits.  Below is a comparison of wood yurt kit to an Ai dome kit, including cost to build. Ai called a solid wall yurt kit company in Washington States.  Yurt is made from wood with a  wood foundation.   Kits range in size equal to American Ingenuity’s 22 ft to 34 ft dome kit sizes in sq. ft.  No insulation or Sheetrock is included in their kit vs the Ai dome kit comes with prefab panels containing seven inches of rigid, nontoxic R28 Expanded Polystyrene Insulation, ½” Georgia Pacific drywall w’ steel reinforced concrete exterior.  The wood yurt kit  has a warranty to 100 m.p.h. wind with 3 second gusts and class D seismic rating versus Ai dome kit is warrantied to  225 mph wind and F4 tornado and class D seismic rating.

Per their website “The best I can suggest as a general rule of thumb to figure the final cost per square foot  (not knowing the complete picture of how you will go about the project and not including  infrastructure) would be to take the price of the yurt kit you would like and figure somewhere between twice and three times that cost. The infrastructure (foundation/floor, well, power and septic) would be an additional cost and can easily cost you the price of the yurt kit. All this considered your yurt home will cost you twice to 4 times the cost of the yurt kit depending on all the factors above.”

The following example includes the cost to purchase and build a 30’ solid wall yurt to a comparable size American Ingenuity 27’ dome at 737 sq. ft.  The Yurt installs insulation in 2x 10 wood framing versus the Ai dome’s insulation is already installed in the prefab panel with no wood interrupting its R28 insulation.

 27′ American Ingenuity (Ai) Dome Kit estimated cost (including parts): $22,660

Plans 3 sets w/seal $1,551 (stock plans) energy report available if needed

Finished or Build cost approx. $104,000

Approx. shipping from Rockledge Fl to Kansas City Mo. 1,270 mi @ $2.70 a mile or $3,483

Concrete Ai Dome approx. total including sealed plans, kit w/build and shipping  – $109,034

 

Soild Wood Yurt kit from Washington State price: $29,239

Plans 3 sets w/seal $1500-$2500 no energy report available

Finished or Build cost approx.:  $103,000 (per website)

Approx. shipping from Seattle, WA to KC MO. 1,836 miles @ $2.70 mi or $4957

Wood Yurt approx. total including sealed plans, kit w/build and shipping –  $109,457

The cost to purchase, pay shipping and build one of Ai’s  dome kits is about the same price as a solid wall yurt but you receive more from the Aidome.  The Aidome exterior is steel reinforced concrete versus the yurt’s wood exterior. The Ai dome is more wind resistant – solid wood Yurt has 100 mph wind warranty when Ai dome has 225 mph wind & F4 tornado warranty.  Plus because the Aidome has no wood in or on the dome prefab panels and no wood interrupting its insulation, the exterior is resistant to fire and insect infestation, and the Ai dome overall will be more energy efficient.

The following is from a blog Yurt Drawbacks and Advantages on traditional “canvas” yurts:

“So you have looked at modern yurts, and are convinced that you would love to live in such a structure.  The salesman tells you all of the great things about the yurt (there are many), and you are more enthused than ever.  The price tag is presented, and you learn that yurts cost anywhere from one tenth to one fifth of a similarly sized bungalow. You are told that a yurt can be assembled within a couple of days.  So, knowing that you will be mortgage-free the instant that the home is erected, and you will be living in this space-age creation (that was first constructed several thousand years ago in the Slavic and Mongolian regions), you jump at the chance to go minimal with this unique idea.  But, there’s a lot more to be considered before you buy!

While yurts do hold great appeal, and while yurt living has a lot of advantages, there are myriad drawbacks, impediments and disadvantages to consider, as well as significant design and sizing options, depending on your region and geography.

Before we look at design considerations, reflect on a few of the more obscure issues that become very significant once you have moved in.  In our locale, for instance, we commune with nature in a very intimate way, with black bear, deer, raccoons & skunks, wolves & coyotes, weasel, mice, squirrels, an army of insects, garter snakes, birds and so on.  This interaction with nature is, for the most part, enjoyable.

When the skunks, weasels and squirrels take up residence under the building, there goes the neighborhood.  Consequently, an effective mesh screen and lattice barrier is vital to keep the predators and vermin away.  Sure, the weasel will eradicate the mice, but that leaves the problem of a noxious weasel!  Skunks are fairly easily relocated, since they do not care to be in close proximity to us.  It is reciprocal.  Squirrels offer greater resistance and, like raccoons, can wreak havoc on the tarpaulins.  Our yurt integrates so well into its surroundings that a raccoon family has torn holes in the roof tarpaulin, merely by climbing onto it.  Squirrels leave only pin-sized holes, but more of them.

The basic yurt design lends itself to several drawbacks.  Flexible wall yurts, for instance, have walls that are less than two inches thick.  Even with the space-age bubble and foil insulation employed, you will experience more rapid heating and cooling variations inside this building.  However, a solid wall yurt can be constructed of conventional studding, and insulated to higher levels using fiberglass mat insulation as well as bubble & foil or Styrofoam foil combinations.  On the other hand, a yurt, because of its circular design and open concept, heats and cools much more effectively than a similarly sized bungalow.  For example, our 600 square-foot yurt can be heated during minus 25 temperatures with a small radiant propane heater (4-6,000 BTUs), and a 20 pound tank will last nearly a week.  A 600 square foot house would require triple that amount of fuel and still have cold and hot zones.

It is impossible to use standard glass windows in a flexible wall yurt.  Consequently, the norm is to install single-sheet heavy plastic windows, which transmit a great deal of the heat or cooling between interior and exterior.  A solid wall yurt, on the other hand, can accommodate standard window units (smaller sizes).  Doors pose similar issues, and, more so, because most yurt vertical walls are 6’6” to 7’ – less than standard door frame height.

Other infrastructure poses challenges, too. All wiring must be routed through conduit, as it is installed on the outside of the walls framing, rather than through it.  An option is to use low voltage wiring and inverters throughout the building.  Plumbing, too, is installed in plain view.  Of course, this method of installation is much easier and quicker.

Due to the open design of these homes, privacy is impacted, and closet space is at a premium.  Creative layouts can offset these concerns.

Other considerations include safe heating systems.  Open flame is very risky in fabric yurts.  With solid wall designs, flame retarding materials and fire-rated wall boards can be installed.  Yurts may be purchased with mounting for chimney egress, but pay close attention to sparks that may burn through the roof tarpaulin!

Other problems that may arise include condensation issues in cold weather, when warm, moist air rises and contacts the thinly insulated ceiling materials, condensing and falling inside the building.  If tarpaulins (particularly roof tarpaulins) are not skin-tight, wind causes the tarp to billow which, in turn, packs down any matt insulation used and reduces that R-value. While the wind effect against a yurt is minimized because of the round design, this means that there are no leeward sides or areas next to the yurt, where you can huddle against the cool breeze.  That also allows smoke and loose sparks to migrate around the building during the winter.

Yurts, almost always, do not meet zoning demands of any urban jurisdiction, and, therefore, do not qualify for permits.  If you are building in remote locations, this will not be an issue, and some solid-wall designs, indeed, can obtain engineer certification.  Proper design and construction practices should be employed regardless of whether the building meets code. The yurt offers a wonderful escape and alternative to conventional housing, but be prepared for the drawbacks, as well as the advantages.” (end of quote from Yurt Drawbacks and Advantages)

We hope you will compare apples to apples when researching the contents and advantages of solid wood Yurt Kits and Canvas Yurt Kits to the contents & advantages of American Ingenuity’s dome building kits.  To view information on the composition of American Ingenuity’s prefabricated panel, click on Prefab Panel.    To view stock plans for each of Ai’s ten dome kit sizes, click on Stock Plans.  If you do not find a stock plan to fit your life style, Ai can modify or customize a plan to fit your desires.  Ai dome plans are flexible to meet your criteria.  On our Stock Plans post there are blank floor planners, elevation views and to scale furniture which can be used to design custom plans.   We look forward to hearing from you and hope you are having an enjoyable life.

 

 

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Ai Concrete Dome vs Shipping Container Home

After reviewing several sites regarding converting a shipping container into a home and what the American Ingenuity (Ai) Dome Building Kit offers, we have the following comparison to share.  When comparing companies housing products, please compare apples to apples, not just the container cost.  

  1. Do the other companies back up their product against Hurricanes and Tornadoes?  American Ingenuity offers a warranty up to a 225 mile an hour winds and or F4 tornado. Click on, Aidomes & Acts of Nature to learn more.
  2. To reach the 780 sq. ft. of living space (average 27′ dome)  will require two to three 40 ft. containers, at an average price for used containers (in good shape, another issue posted) of $2,000. New containers run between $4,500 and $6,000 that is $13,500 (for 3) minimum before shipping. The closest shipping (for this Florida example) for a container would be Miami.  Current shipping costs are about $800 per truck within Florida ($2,400).  So your investment before your retrofit would be over $15,900!   Adding the retrofit, insulation and drywall will add another $10,000 or more. (not including custom windows, doors, electric, plumbing etc.) For an estimated total of $25,900 (before sales tax). Remember material costs to finish a home is over 50% of construction costs. Prior to Florida Sales Tax, the American Ingenuity dome kit w’ shipping cost to a Florida site based on the 27’ Kappa 11 plan is $26,152, a difference of only $252 and you receive a home with greater strength – 225 mph wind & F4 tornado warranty on the dome exterior walls.   Please see Ai Pricing Chart below.
  3. When looking at  container conversion, how is the interior of the home finished?  Do you have to cut and solder the units for windows, entryways and multiple units?  Do you need to tear the flooring out due to possible contamination (another potential problem)?  Attach the insulation and wallboard? Ai’s kit’s triangle and riser panels come with the R28 insulation and ½” thick DensArmor gypsum wallboard (by Georgia Pacific) already adhered with wallboard adhesive. After the kit panels are assembled, the drywall seams are taped with adhesive mesh tap and joint compound.  To blend the drywall seams and the drywall surface, skip trowel joint compound over the dome shell drywall.
  4. Does the product or kit contain insulation? What type, and what is the overall R-Value for energy efficiency? Our kits have standard 7″ thick rigid, nontoxic EPS giving the structure an overall R-Value of 28. From what we have read container homes have major insulation problems with both keeping the home warm in winter and cool in summer, which may present a problem in your area.
  5. Does the companies product have a finished exterior? If using a container then will you need to seal the container with nontoxic paint adding siding or stucco (many containers have lead based paint that needs to be properly sealed so not to contaminate you). The American Ingenuity (Ai) dome’s exterior is 3/4″ concrete reinforced with galvanized steel mesh & fibers with the seams between the panels & the entryways & dormers concreted on site. You do not concrete over the entire shell. After kit erection the concrete gets primed and painted.
  6. Like a container conversion, Ai’s dome panels contain no wood in them.  They are steel reinforced concrete, as opposed to solid metal which will/ can rust.
  7. Will the companies that do the retrofitting call your building department and verify the structure can be built on your site?  At no cost to our Buyers, we call their building department, email a generic set of building plans and talk to the Plans Examiner to assure the dome kit can be built.
  8. Do companies that specialize in shipping container retrofits, provide you with building plans (Ai’s current sale price for 27 Kappa 11 building plans is $851), engineer seal for your state (Seal for one dome on a slab is $600) and energy report  (Ai price to complete the report for one dome on a slab is $190)?  If so what do they charge? If they don’t provide these services, please be aware you will need to hire an architect, and an engineer to seal your building plans.  Just last week, a Florida Resident visited our dome offices and said that engineer sealed building plans for a four container home built in Florida would cost $8,000.

Please keep in mind that the cost to build a finished moderately priced home varies from state to state. As an example in Central Florida (based upon figures from Building-cost.net) the average cost to build is about $138.00 per square foot for a home that is 750 sq. ft.  This is not including the cost of land, land preparations, permitting/impact fees, and utilities. It would include all your interior finishing including kitchen,  HVAC systems and appliances and monolithic foundation (slab). So a home that is 750 sq. ft. would run about $103,000 to build (this would include the cost of our dome kit). The cost to build one of our kits runs about the same to build as a traditional home but our home has insulation comparable to  11” of fiberglass and has super-strength.  A traditional house would require 2×10 framing (see Finished Cost) to come close to our dome….but it would have wood interrupting the insulation while the Ai dome has no wood in or on the shell to interrupt the insulation, or to burn or to rot or for termites to eat.

PDF for Downloading & Printing
27′ Kappa 11 plan
Online Viewing – Opens in Browser
27′ Kappa 11 plan

 

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The finished price per sq. ft. a home can be built for is dependent upon house square footage size, finishings, state (location within the state) and whether the dome is built by a local Contractor/Builder or is Owner Built.  Every area varies on what the finished cost per sq.ft. is because labor costs, site development costs and building code requirements vary by area.

You will find on smaller structures the cost per sq. ft. runs higher than larger homes. This is because all homes regardless of size will require a bathroom(s) and a kitchen – which are two of the most expensive rooms to build. On a larger home the cost to install the bathrooms and kitchens is spread out over a larger square footage area. On a small home with less square footage to divide the bathroom & kitchen into, will result in a higher cost per sq. ft. to build.

The Finished Cost below is an estimate based on the home being built by a Contractor/Builder and having a moderately finished home on a monolithic slab.  Total estimated finished cost on the dome includes onsite installation of the slab, dome kit, plumbing, electrical, doors, windows, HVAC, kitchen (cabinets and midline appliances) and baths, etc.

One 27′ dome kit or larger kit requires one semi-truck for delivery.  The kit includes the insulated prefab panels for the outer shell only, no windows, doors, interior finishes or utilities are supplied. We believe the Buyer should not pay shipping costs for an additional truck to receive these items because the interior items & doors & windows can be competitively sourced locally and purchased locally.

To view three actual dome kits pricing which Ai shipped recently, click on Actual.  To view an article which has four charts – one of which lists items which can be purchased from Ai and other charts estimating finished costs when the dome is Owner Built or by a Contractor, click on Approx. Finished Costs.

To look up an estimate for home finishing costs
for your state/area go to Building-cost.net
Click on start calculator and enter the following parameters for an estimate.

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The following is a Construction Cost Estimate Report
Utilizing building-cost.net and the above criteria

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American Ingenuity (Ai) – 8777 Holiday Springs Rd – Rockledge, Florida 32955

321-639-8777 –  Mon-Fri 9-5 Eastern Time – GlendaB.Aidomes@gmail.com 

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