green building | AiDomes


40′ Assembled Aidome in Trinidad: when finished w’ local materials is three bedroom/two bath.

Ai has had inquires asking if we can make our dome kits using hempcrete. Although hempcrete is a lightweight material (that many people confuse with concrete), it is not a structural component, it is an insulating component. It cannot hold the weight needed to support even a traditional building on its own. As opposed to our panels which provide structural support, prefinished concrete exterior, insulation, and interior ½” drywall finish for the shell of the home.

The following is a statement from American Lime Technology:

It is not used as a structural element, only as insulating infill between the frame members though it does tend to reduce racking (The movement of structural elements out of level or plumb by forces such as stress, wind, or material shrinkage or expansion.). All loads are carried by internal framing.”  

 Once all the panels of the kit are assembled, the Ai dome is self-supporting.  There is no wood to interrupt our insulation. And no internal framing is needed to support our dome.   

 Users of Hemp Crete need to apply to the hempcrete wall an exterior coating -plus a finish to the coating, interior ½” drywall and an insulated roof.  The material is finished on the outside with a hard render coating about 20mm (1”) thick to protect it with a final colored topcoat finish added.”  (needs to be a lime-based coating, which is expensive and hard to find).  To achieve an R-Value of 23 (Ai’s insulation is R-28) you would need 12″ thick walls. So, a home built with hempcrete would have 13″ walls (after coating and prior to drywall), have a frame (wood or steel) structure that would interrupt your insulation.  And you still need to install a roof and insulate the roofline of the home.

Ai’s dome kits come with 80% of your exterior (3/4” prefinished concrete reinforced with galvanized steel mesh and fibers), 95% of your insulation (entryways and window/doors openings only, will need to be insulated), as well as ½” special Georgia Pacific DensArmor drywall that meets international building code. Once erected, you need only prime the concrete and then paint the exterior concrete with elastomeric house paint.

Although hempcrete is durable, and can withstand high winds (174 mph), you would still have a roof that could blow off and needs replacement.  Our domes have no roofline to blow off or needs replacement, and can withstand 225 mph winds!

Hempcrete needs to be imported, it is not produced in the United States (due to federal regulations). In addition, the estimate to build a home (not a commercial structure) with hempcrete was over $225 per square foot (in 2012) not including finishing the interior (i.e. cabinetry, plumbing, electric, appliances etc.). That is over $350,000 even before you start working on the inside of your home. A 1,532-sq. ft. hempcrete home erected in 2014 cost $65,000 for the hempcrete alone, this did not include the cost of framing, interior drywall, or exterior coating.

In comparison, a 40’ Aidome building kit that is comparable in size has an estimated cost of $44,879 and includes insulation, drywall (for shell) and our durable galvanized steel mesh concrete exterior (which you paint with standard elastomeric house paint). The cost to build one of our structures is comparable to a traditional home. As an example the estimate construct a dome with the same square footage in Central Florida would be $200,000.  


22′ Aidome Kit Being Assembled – when finished with local materials

is a Tiny Home of 370 sq.ft. – one bedroom/one bath.  Ai has ten size kits from 172 sq.ft. to 3,000 sq.ft.


Building Green with Aidomes, kit homes.  The American Ingenuity (Ai) dome was green before green became a name to signify a home that was energy efficient , included solar hot water panel and utilized less building materials.

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.

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.