FAQ's | AiDomes


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Kitchens, Cabinets, Islands, Appliance Garages

Almost any of American Ingenuity’s stock floor plans can be modified to increase the counter and cabinet space. To view sample stock plans showing kitchen arrangements for each of the ten dome kit sizes, click on Stock Plans.  If you do not see a stock plan to fit your lifestyle, Ai can modify or customize the plans from your descriptions or notes.   We would love to answer your questions about floor plan design within a dome home.  Please call us Monday – Friday 9-5 eastern time.

  1. American Ingenuity can move the bottom cabinets about 17″ away from the curved dome wall, add overhead cabinets to a 7 ft. partition wall and create appliance garages by extending the counter top to the dome shell.
  2. Kitchen cabinets can also be installed on an entryway wall. This will allow for a above counter cabinets and a window above the sink to be installed in framed entryway wall.
  3. If kitchen is designed along dome wall, a window dormer can be installed above the kitchen sink to allow for an opening window above the sink.
  4. Or kitchen cabinets can be hung on interior walls within the dome.

 

These two photos are of a kitchen in a 40′ dome with the sink and cabinets installed on an outside dome shell wall. A 2×4 wall is attached to the dome shell to make a vertical wall for the installation of the cabinets.

 

 

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This center kitchen has a counter 

 

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Kitchen in a 45′ Dome Kitchen in a 40′ Dome

 

Appliance Garages in American Ingenuity Dome Kitchens

To install kitchen cabinets along an outside dome shell, a vertical 2×4 framed wall is built. This results in a deep area behind the counter top which can be used to park appliances…keeping clutter off your counters.  Here the dome owner constructed vertical sliding doors to hide the appliances.

 

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This dome owner built their kitchen on an interior wall. Because they wanted appliance garages, they built deeper walls. The appliance garages are hidden behind the blue glass panels.

 

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Kitchen/dining area in a 40′ Dome
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Kitchen in a 40′ Dome

Heating & Air Conditioning an Ai dome.  Ai dome winner of Energy Star Award.

snow Kolb beautiful

American Ingenuity 40′ dome home linked to 27′ garage earned Energy Star rating.

Typical AC Ductwork Design:  The following info pertains to the chart below:

An air handler is the inside unit that forces cool air into the house. An air handler needs to have a plenum if installing two or more intakes.  A Plenum is a foam box made of special materials that are flame retardant designed for connecting ductwork at the bottom or top of the air handler also for splitting ductwork.  Cut a hole in the plenum to accept ductwork.  It could be done for an air intake grate or exhaust vents.  When installing an air intake in the second floor (Intake is where you put your Air Filter.  It is easier to put the air intake grate in a second floor knee wall.  Knee walls are usually large enough to support multiple duct work.  The grate size will be determined by the size air filter you want to install. Intake ductworks are about 10 to 12 inches large. Exhaust ductworks are usually 6 inches. (Exhaust is where the air comes out of vents in your walls, ceilings and even floors).  Ductwork can be run in interior walls or drop ceilings between floor joists and in knee walls.  If running ductwork in interior framed walls, the walls may need to be wider than normal to support the ductwork.  It is recommended that you install two Intakes one in the upper floor of your house and one in the lower floor of your home. The upper Intake will remove humidity and hot air and dust from the upper floors. The closer you have the Intake to a room, the cooler that room will be. The lower intake is doing the same job as the upper intake removing dust, moisture and hot air. Air needs to exit out of each room, your HVAC subcontractor may have you put a grill above a door or have a space below your door for air to exit rooms.   Mini-split ductless heat pumps can be installed in the dome.

 

AC 2

 

Where are the AC and Heating Ducts installed in the dome? The ducts can be run in the interior walls, second floor joists, and behind the second floor perimeter knee wall.  Above is a HVAC diagram showing typical way system works.  Contact your local HVAC subcontractor for specific needs and air flow to rooms in your dome home.  Or ductless AC/heating units are available.

Ai does not specify which heating and cooling units to use within its domes because the needs vary by regions of the country. Heating and cooling systems that are practical or common in your area can be used in the dome. We have had clients use radiant heat in the floor. We have also had clients’ incorporate large spans of glass to let in the passive heat; usually this is not practical, as the dome is so energy efficient. The large amount of glass just lets in hot or cold air. Our clients have had great success with solar hot water heaters.

For a system that is best for your area, consult a local air-conditioning contractor. All types of systems will work but it would be important to consider what type of fuel is readily available, what type of units can be serviced locally and your own preferences. However, keep in mind that because of the superb energy efficiency of the dome, you can reduce the required size of your air-conditioning and heating system by about one third. Also the cost of heating and air conditioning will also be about half that of typical houses in your area and therefore the savings provided by super efficient units will be less. It is economical to select efficient systems but not very expensive systems.

Q: Are electric vents necessary at the peak of the dome as well as in the bathrooms to prevent moisture buildup?

A: Yes due to the tightness of the dome, water vapor from cooking, showering, doing laundry, breathing, etc. needs to be removed from the dome. Electric exhaust vents are installed in a vertical wall near the top of the dome, in top center of the dome, in bathrooms, in laundry room and above stove/microwave to exhaust water vapor.  In interior walls, use galvanized metal ducting that extends down the interior wall, through the floor joist and vents out under an entryway or door dormer framed wall or a hole can be cut in the concrete panel. Instructions in the Dome Kit Assembly Manual.  A heat recovery ventilator or energy recovery ventilator will probably need to be installed to remove excess water vapor. To view our web site info on heat recovery ventilators, click on HRV.

Can the smaller American Ingenuity domes be cooled or heated without central air conditioning or furnaces? Yes. The smaller sized American Ingenuity domes have such small heating and air-conditioning demands; it could be practical for you to use only a window air-conditioner and a space heater.  Please check your local building code, some building departments require a permanent heat source to be installed which does not allow a wood stove or fireplace as the permanent source.

What air conditioner size do you recommend for your domes?

34’ Dome: 1 ½ Ton

40’ Dome: 2 Ton

45’ Dome: 2 ½ Ton

48’ Dome: 3 Ton

Tell me about a ground water heat pump. A ground water (or water-to-air) heat pump is extremely efficient as it uses the constant moderate temperature of underground water to both heat and cool, instead of using outside air, it uses water from a well or underground loop to transfer heat through a concentric copper coil located inside your home. Besides being more efficient than air-to-air unit, it can produce heat when the outside temperature is below freezing.  Mini-split ductless heat pumps are available. Ask your local HVAC subcontractor what units he prefers.

Can Ai’s Domes be cooled without an air conditioner? Yes. Because the Ai dome is so super insulated, our clients who do not prefer air conditioning, have found the interior of the dome to be cooler than a conventional house.

  • Of course you would want to install windows and doors opposite of each other so that air will flow through the dome.
  • In the hot summer months, you may want to install a window AC to cool some areas and draw out moisture.
  • Standing fans can be used to move the air.
  • Install awnings out from the dormers and entryways to keep the sun from beaming into the dome.
  • To help maintain a cooler interior temperature you may want to consider installing underground cooling pipes which will bring air into the dome that has been cooled by the earth. To learn more about this read about Energy Efficiency under advantages.
  • Plus you can install pipes in the slab to run cold water through. A 45’ dome needs about 2 ½” in diameter cooling pipes that are buried 5’ deep and go out about 20’. You angle the tubes where condensation can be pumped out.

Does the HVAC diagram come with the Building Plans? No. The installation and routing of the heating and cooling ducts, electrical wiring and plumbing pipes can best be determined on site by the person making the installation. Ai has found if the layouts are included, then the inspectors require the subcontractors to follow the diagrams when the subs like to design their own layouts.

Do American Ingenuity’s building plans meet the new building codes requiring air exchangers? We are not sure what your code requires, if there is a minimal air exchange from the outside to inside, that requirement would best be fulfilled with an air to air heat exchanger sometimes called a heat recovery unit or energy recovery ventilator. These ventilation systems bring in fresh air and minimize the loss of heating and air conditioning. Please check with your local HVAC subcontractor.

What types of Ducts does your company recommend? Collapsible plastic inner and outer liners have insulating material between the inner and outer liners and a spiral wire that holds them round. Because the dome is all one cooled or heated space (no attic), the ducting does not need to be insulated. Sometimes building departments require insulated ducts.

How do you move hot air from the second floor to the first floor? In a vertical wall near the top of the dome install a bathroom exhaust fan that can be turned on to move hot air to the first floor. Use dryer ducting for the exhaust fan ducting. It extends down the interior wall, through the floor joist and vents out on the first floor. See above description describing possible  HVAC ductwork diagram.

How can I calculate the BTU requirements for Ai Domes? You can calculate the approximate amount of heat required for the different size Ai domes by:

  • Determine the difference in temperature from outside to inside. Say inside is 70 outside is -30, T= 100
  • Look up the Exterior surface of the dome you want to calculate (on back side of Price list) 40’ dome =2,645
  • On the bottom of same Specifications sheet get the K value for the insulation. 9″ K=0.0278
  • Multiply all of these numbers together. 100 x 2,645 x 0.0278 = 7,351 is the BTU’s required to make up what escapes through the dome surface.
  • Do the same thing with the windows. T= same, Add up the areas. For a double pane use K=0.3 or what ever the mfg. specifies.
  • Do the same thing with the floor and its insulation.
  • Add the three BTU values together and that is the approx. heat loss.

Heat & Cool Smartly: Save Energy, Save Money

Replacing old cooling and heating equipment with more efficient, ENERGY STAR qualified equipment is one way to save energy and money. However, your home’s heating and cooling equipment is part of a larger system. Heating and cooling your home smartly can include properly maintaining your existing equipment, using a programmable thermostat, finding and sealing air leaks, tightening up your ducts, and more. To view governments Energy Star web site, click on Energy Star.

Repair or Replace?
Changing out old cooling and heating equipment with ENERGY STAR qualified models can cut your annual energy costs by 20 percent.  Learn more about each cooling and heating product from links in the left column.

Finding the right contractor: 10 tips

10 Tips for Hiring a Heating and Cooling Contractor

1. Study up – Find out about license and insurance requirements for contractors in your state. And before you call a contractor, know the model of your current system and its maintenance history. Also make note of any uncomfortable rooms. This will help potential contractors better understand your heating needs.

2. Ask for referrals – Ask friends, neighbors, and co-workers for contractor referrals. You can also contact local trade organizations for names of members in your area.

3. Call references – Ask contractors for customer references and call them. Ask about the contractor’s installation or service performance, and if the job was completed on time and within budget.

4. Find special offers – A heating and cooling system is one of the largest purchases you’ll make as a homeowner. Keep your costs down by checking around for available rebates on energy-efficient ENERGY STAR qualified heating and cooling equipment. Begin your search at www.energystar.gov.

5. Look for ENERGY STAR – ENERGY STAR qualified products meet strict energy efficiency guidelines set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and offer significant long-term energy savings. Contractors should be able to show you calculations of savings for ENERGY STAR heating and cooling equipment.

6. Expect a home evaluation – The contractor should spend significant time inspecting your current system and home to assess your needs. A bigger system isn’t always better; a contractor should size the heating and cooling system based on the size of your house, level of insulation, and windows. A good contractor will inspect your duct system (if applicable) for air leaks and insulation and measure airflow to make sure it meets manufacturers specifications.

7. Get written, itemized estimates – When comparing contractors’ proposals (bids), be sure to compare cost, energy efficiency and warranties. A lowest price may not be the best deal if it’s not the most efficient because your energy costs will be higher.

8. Get it in ink – Sign a written proposal with a contractor before work gets started. It’ll protect you by specifying project costs, model numbers, job schedule and warranty information.

9. Pass it on – Tell friends and family about ENERGY STAR. Almost one-quarter of households knowingly purchased at least one qualified product last year, and 71% of those consumers say they would recommend ENERGY STAR to a friend. Spread the word, and we can all make a big difference.

10. Get the ENERGY STAR Guide – For complete information on keeping your home comfortable year-round, get the ENERGY STAR   1-888-STAR-YES (1-888-782-7937).

Maintain your Equipment: A Checklist
Just as a tune-up for your car can improve your gas mileage, a yearly tune-up of your heating and cooling system can improve efficiency and comfort.

Use a Programmable Thermostat
Use an ENERGY STAR qualified model to adjust the temperature of your home when you are home or away. With proper use of the four pre-programmed temperature settings, you can save about $100 each year in energy costs.

Duct Sealing
It’s common to find gaps between duct joints, whether a home is new or old. Seal and insulate ducts that are exposed in areas such as your attic or crawlspace to improve your system’s efficiency and your own comfort.

Seal Air Leaks and Add Insulation (Home Sealing)
Air leaks in your home and a poorly insulated attic can lead to significant home comfort problems and high energy bills. By properly sealing those air leaks and adding insulation, you can improve comfort and cut your energy bills by up to 10 percent.

Consider a More Efficient Ceiling Fan
Upgrade to a more energy-efficient ceiling fan. ENERGY STAR qualified models are up to 50% more energy-efficient than conventional fans, with the most potential energy savings coming from those that include lighting. In the winter, set your fan to turn in the clockwise direction to help efficiently distribute warm air throughout your room.

Help Protect the Environment
Individual actions at home can add up to a lot of pollution prevention. If just one in ten households bought ENERGY STAR heating and cooling products, the change would keep over 17 billion pounds of pollution out of the air.

The American Ingenuity Dome and sound reduction from exterior hurricane wind sounds.

48' dome showing door dormer above standard entryway with sweeping stairs on right.

48′ dome showing door dormer above standard entryway with sweeping stairs on right.

Even with large areas of walls full of glass,

outside noise stays outside due to aerodynamic dome shape.

How sound resistant is the American Ingenuity Concrete Dome?  The dome exterior deflects noise easily.  Due to the aerodynamic shape and seven inch thick EPS insulation, there is exterior noise reduction from coming into the dome. The only way Ai can describe the noise reduction in its dome is by an example. An Ai dome has Interstate 95 freeway in its back yard. I-95 traffic creates substantial noise. When in the dome you can barely hear the traffic. The sound like wind flows easily over the dome.

Before the interior walls and second floor are installed within the American Ingenuity Dome, sound will reflect back toward the center. After the second floor and the interior walls are installed, this characteristic is eliminated. Sounds inside the dome are absorbed by the rigid polystyrene insulation.  To reduce sound from carrying from floor to floor, insulate the second floor interior walls and floor joists if needed with Suppress sound engineered drywall. (see below)

To reduce the sound of music from carrying from the basement up into the dome, you can install a sound proof basement ceiling or install a drop ceiling in the basement, etc. Whatever you could do in a conventional basement to stop sound from going up into a house, you can do in the dome.

During Hurricane Charley in 2004 one of American Ingenuity’s dome clients (who owns a 40’ and a 27’ dome in path of Charley) reported the following: “We were in the direct path of Hurricane Charley coming on land in Florida. We had winds greater than 145 mph and our dome had no problem….one window got a crack from debris…. most of Port Charlotte was destroyed and all three area hospital’s roofs were blown off. ‘It was like being in a silent movie because when I was in the dome looking out I could see debris blowing about but I could hardly hear anything.'”

During Hurricane Ike in 2008 another of Ai dome owners, Mr. & Mrs. Evans (who own a 48′ and a 34′ domes in Seabrook, Texas) experienced not being able to hear the hurricane winds also.  Vickie stated, “Our domes had no damage although we had significant tree damage on our one acre lot.  We slept through Hurricane Ike and only the next day realized how violent the hurricane had been.  Whole communities two miles away in the Galveston Bay area  were destroyed.  Our neighbors could not believe that we slept through the storm….they told us that they had been up all night due to the violent winds and noise. We did not have to replace or repair our roof. YEA!  Many of our neighbors have spent the last several months replacing their roofs.   Because of the aerodynamic shape of the dome, its steel reinforced concrete construction and its thick insulation, the hurricane sounds were not absorbed through the walls of the dome and our domes had no damage.  We are really glad that we built our domes back in 1991.”

Remodeling and Upgrades/Home Theater

Supress Sound-Engineered Drywall can be added directly to the existing standard drywall on one side or on both sides of the wall assembly and to the existing ceiling–no demolition needed! No need to remove even the paint from the walls. (Of course, the walls need to be in average or reasonable condition before starting.) An existing room in your home, office or even a whole structure, for example, being converted from apartments to condos, can be easily upgraded. Commercial operators can even Supress existing noisy hotel and motel room walls and ceilings with a single layer applied directly. A truly cost-effective choice for cost-conscious owners and operators.

New Construction

New, sophisticated building codes require architects to create, and builders to produce, structures with exceptional strength and fire-resistance. Unfortunately, these very safe practices result in buildings that are also very efficient at transmitting unwanted noise and sound energy throughout, just like a network. Multi-family buildings are the most prone to these sound complaints due to the close proximity of neighbors, living adjacent, above and below.

Home theaters and living rooms with media centers are also great contributors to unwanted noise.

Building near a busy roadway or an airport? Supress has the answer: Use Supress, instead of regular drywall, in a single, easy-to-install layer on the interior surface of the wall facing the noise source. Want extra luxury performance? Use the next greater thickness of Supress.

Professional Installation

Builders, contractors and their subcontractors like Supress Sound-Engineered Drywall because it installs and finishes just like regular drywall, allowing them to keep their labor costs in line in today’s competitive market. And because Supress installs and finishes just like regular drywall, crews do not need to have extensive supervision and training to fit and install Supress in a production environment on the job site. Crews can also use their same familiar tools, saving project time and money.

How to Order Supress Sound-Engineered Drywall

Supress™ Sound-Engineered Drywall in 4’ x 8’ panels:

Product/Application

• 1/2” SED1248–Remodel/Upgrade from Apartment to Condo specs
• 5/8” SED5848–New Construction/Remodel/Commercial Upgrade
• 3/4” SED3448–Home Theater/Conference Rooms/Medical Facility (HIPAA)/Music Rehearsal Areas
• 1 ” SED4448–Professional Recording Studio/Digital Theater/Concert Hall

Supress™ Sound-Engineered Drywall is also available in 4’ x 9’ , 4’ x 10’ and 4’ x 12’ panel sizes.

*Supress panels are factory-fabricated, composed of a proprietary core encased in heavy natural-finish face paper on each side. The face paper is folded around the long edges to reinforce and protect the core, and the ends are square-cut and finished smooth. Long edges of panels are tapered, allowing joints to be reinforced and concealed with standard joint compound and tape.

How to Install Supress Sound-Engineered Drywall

Supress Sound-Engineered Drywall panels can be cut with a standard utility knife, eliminating the need for special tools, techniques and the installation headaches often associated with other acoustical panels. Supress can also be easily cut with standard commercial drywall routers and saws.

  1. Measure the space and cut the panel to size, minimizing the gaps between panels and with other surfaces. Due to the aggressive nature of air- and structure-borne sound, Supress recommends that any and every gap between the panels and any cut-outs or penetrations for electrical outlets, pipes, fire sprinkler nozzles, etc. be sealed with Supress Acoustical Sealant.
  2. After cutting, just place the Supress panel.
  3. After placing the panel in the correct position, use standard drywall screws, of the appropriate length for the material and job, to attach the panel.

It’s that easy.

Additional Supress Sound-Engineered Products:

  • Supress Sound-Engineered™ Shear Panel
  • Supress Sound-Engineered™ Subfloor
  • Supress Sound-Engineered™ Underlayment
  • Supress Sound-Engineered™ Channel

Miscellaneous Supress information:

  • Use Supress Acoustical Sealant at panel edges and around any cut-outs for electrical boxes, pipes, sprinklers, etc.
  • For commercial construction, Supress further enhances the acoustical performance of metal stud assemblies beyond those of traditional wood studs.
  • Supress installs easily in standard wall assemblies both in renovation/remodels and in new construction.
  • Only Supress provides STC 50 performance in a 1/2″ thick panel. For higher levels of performance, up to STC 75+, specify Supress in 5/8″, 3/4″ home theater or 1″ professional recording studio versions.
  • One layer of Supress Sound-Engineered Drywall has the acoustical performance of up to 8 layers of standard drywall.

The Company, Quiet Solution, also manufactures Sound Proofing Solutions

The company, Quiet Solution, manufactures cost effective wall, ceiling, floor, and window soundproofing solutions. To learn more about their products go to their site www.quietsolutions.com   Headquartered in Silicon Valley California, Quiet Solution develops and manufactures advanced materials for construction and other industries. Their patent-pending products perform better than old technologies, with less weight, less bulk, less material and labor cost. Quiet Solution sells its construction panels exclusively through authorized distributors.

Quiet Solution Introduces Quietrock 525 Soundproof Drywall with Score and Snap

QuietRock 525:

  • installs and finishes like standard drywall and requires no special tools or equipment.
  • weighs about the same as standard drywall and provides superior sound isolation at a lower total installed cost than other methods.
  • has STC values of up to 72, QuietRock 525 provides acoustic mitigation equivalent to eight layers of standard drywall, making it ideal for multifamily, home and commercial construction.
  • The patent-pending CPG composite technology in QuietRock QR-525 uses advanced viscoelastic polymers, ceramics and gypsum (CPG) in a constrained three-layer fabrication.

 

Sauna.

American Ingenuity’s design team, can design the layout of your home to match your lifestyle.

Just give us a list or a sketch of what you desire – sauna – jacuzzi…..

and Ai will design in your ideas to fit the dome geometry

The interior framing of the dome is built much like conventional housing and can be either wood or metal. Some of the second floor will be supported by first floor load bearing walls…such as walls in a bedroom and bath. Plus some of the second floor can be hung from the dome concreted seams by suspension rods allowing for very “open” first floor plan designs. These suspension rods and plates can be purchased from Ai.

The American Ingenuity dome is capable of supporting a weight from the dome shell. This weight is suspended by threaded steel rods which anchor into the concrete seams and extend vertically down into the dome. 3,000 lbs. can be supported by a 5/8″ threaded rod suspended in one of the concrete seams. The location of the suspension rods is determined by your floor plan selection.

The Building Plans will show the suspension rod’s positioning. When the dome shell kit is assembled install the suspension plates and rods into the dome shell seams. The suspension rod with nut sets on a 3″x 7″ steel plate, which is embedded in the concrete seam. The seam is reinforced with #4 rebar & two layers of galvanized steel mesh. The second floor can support at least 55 pounds per square foot, the same as other houses. We can easily design for a more demanding second floor load such as for waterbeds, whirlpool tubs, spas, libraries, etc.

Almost all of the electrical and plumbing will be contained in the interior frame walls and installed in the same manner as conventional housing. To install electrical wiring in the exterior dome walls: simply cut a groove in the E.P.S insulation and wall board and insert the wire or conduit to run the wire through. To install electrical boxes, conduit or plumbing pipes: cut the E.P.S. insulation and wall board slightly larger than needed, insert the box or pipe and fill in the opening with spray expanding foam. The spray foam will harden in about half an hour, holding the box or pipe secure.

AC/Heating Ducts: We leave the AC ducting diagram to your subcontractor, but generally the ducts run through interior walls, in the second floor joists and or behind the second floor knee wall. In the perimeter second floor knee wall a grate with filter can be installed to return second floor air to the air handler.  A separate duct brings cool air to the second floor.  The vents are either in the interior walls or in the floor of the second floor.  Exhaust Fans are installed in various places in the dome; top center of the dome, in each bathroom, for stove, microwave and clothes dryer.

Shell Wall Board:  The interior of the Ai prefabricated panel consists of Georgia Pacific 1/2″ DensArmor Plus adhered to the E.P.S. with drywall adhesive. It employs fiberglass mat facing instead of paper on both sides of the board. The core is fiberglass treated gypsum providing excellent moisture resistance, Fire resistance and adhesion properties. It doesn’t provide fuel for an accidental fire.

To learn more about the drywall’s properties click on DensArmor Plus.

The glass mats embedded into core on both faces, results in dimensional stability and prevents warping. The glass mat is encapsulated with a coating which reduces skin irritation from exposed glass fibers. The moisture-resistant inorganic core has superior mold, mildew and fire resistance.

How is the Shell Wall Board Finished: Use tape and joint compound in the seams with joint compound skip troweled over the drywall to hide panel seams.  Or sand or vermiculite can be mixed in paint to blend seams to the panel. Info to blend the seams is included in the Manual.

Will l feel closed in, in the dome? No. In Ai’s dome you can install an abundant number of windows and doors. Your budget and your floor plan selection determines the number of doors or windows. There can be up to five entryways on the first floor and up to five window dormers or door dormers on the second floor of our three frequency domes – 34, 36, 40, 45, and 48.

On site construct a 2×4 or 2×6 wall within the entryways, dormers and cupola to install locally purchased standard doors and windows. For example under a 40′ entryway you could have:

    • Up to three French doors
    • Or a door and a picture window
    • Or a large picture window
    • Or 12′ of sliding glass doors, etc.

In other words on the first floor of a 40′ dome you could have a maximum of five entryways with each one containing 12′ of French doors.

Click on Window and Door Sizes to see what window and door sizes will fit in window dormers and door dormers.



Windows can add a lot to a home’s character. But if they’re old and worn, they can also add to your heating and cooling bills.

From Better Homes and Gardens.

In older houses, faulty windows can account for a third of the total heat loss in winter and as much as 75 percent of interior heat gain in summer. Look for the following telltale signs that a window has lost its effectiveness:

  • Stand inside your house on a windy day with a lit candle near the window’s operative edge. If the flame flickers or goes out, your weather stripping might be damaged.
  • During the winter, if a window develops ice buildup or a frosty glaze on the interior of the pane, the ventilation in your home may not be adequate. Another possibility is that your window may not be providing enough insulation value, a situation that can make your heating bills soar.
  • If you need to prop open your window with a book or a stick, the window may have lost its functionality.
  • Sit near your window. If you feel cold air coming in during the winter or warm air during the summer, your windows have little insulation value. This means you’re paying more to heat and cool your house to compensate for the exterior air entering your home.
  • Do your windows get fogged with condensation? If so, you may have a seal failure and need to replace the glazing or the entire window.

In some cases, replacing broken panes and tending to loose or missing weather stripping may buy some time. If your windows are old and ill-fitting, however, you need more than stopgaps.

Replacement window options:

Wood is the choice of most homeowners. Wood is strong, insulates well, and has natural appeal and a warm look. It needs exterior maintenance, and interior surfaces can be painted, stained, or finished any number of ways.

Vinyl windows do not need to be painted or stainedóa plus on the exterior. They offer good insulation value and strength, making them a viable alternative to wood.

Aluminum windows have a stronger frame but poorer insulation than wood or vinyl. They’re fine in areas with a mild climate, and are also used for commercial applications.

Fiberglass combines the higher strength and stability of aluminum with the insulating properties of wood and vinyl. Fewer options are available at this time, as fiberglass is just beginning to show up in the window market.

Combination windows are available with wood on the interior and vinyl or aluminum on the exterior, combining the look of wood with a low-maintenance exterior material. This is known as “cladding” (as in vinyl-clad or aluminum-clad).

Features to consider:

Energy efficiency. Almost any good-quality window available today incorporates two pieces of glass with a sealed airspace between then as a buffer between indoors and out. Some windows are even triple-paned. You may have the option of argon gas instead of air between the glass to further the window’s insulating abilities. Most window manufacturers also offer such options as low-E glass, which reflects heat and screens out the sun’s rays.

Design. Windows are available in shapes ranging from quarter rounds to ovals. Consider an arrangement of smaller windows instead of one large one, or vice versa.

Ease of installation. The easiest type of replacement window is a frame-within-a-frame design that can be installed in an existing frame without disturbing walls or trim work. Some are sold in kit form, complete with hardware, for standard sizes. If your original windows have divided lights or panes, look for multipane replacements or snap-in grilles that match glass dividers on the old units as closely as possible. If your windowsills are rotting or damaged, however, you’ll need to replace the old frame as well.

Ease of maintenance. Weather-resistant materials will reduce your regular maintenance; vinyl or aluminum-clad exteriors need no painting. For ease of cleaning, choose windows that tilt in or open from the side. Many double-hung windows now come with tilting sashes so both interior and exterior glass surfaces can be cleaned from inside the house.

Function. Tempered glass is required by code for certain applications, such as glass doors and some window installations with low sill height. For more extreme conditions, such as coastal environments, consider laminated impact-resistant glass designed to withstand hurricane-force winds and the impact of airborne debris.

Hardware. Some manufacturers offer improved hardware for crank-out windows such as casements and awnings — specifically, collapsible or low-profile handles that don’t interfere with blinds or other window coverings. Others offer a variety of style options for latches and locks. To be safe, ask about these and any other convenience features before the units end up in your walls. Also, try the hardware in the showroom. Does the window lock, unlock, and open easily? This test gives you a feel for the window’s usability and its overall quality as well.

Cost guidelines:
Broadly, vinyl and wood are the least expensive, fiberglass costs more, and clad windows are even more. That said, a general price range for an average size (30-inch by 48-inch) window is $100 to $200, which will be higher in urban areas.

More featuresólike tilting versions and higher E-ratingsóincrease the cost, although sometimes as the price and quality increase, more options are included. Differences in the up-front purchase price of a window may eventually be offset by other factors. Energy efficiency and a no-maintenance exterior will offset the up-front cost difference over time. Second, installation and labor costs could actually be higher for an “economy-grade” all-wood window, if you factor in charges for painting, and how much sooner you may have to replace it than a window made from more durable material.

One way to keep your window costs from rising is to avoid special orders. Try to work with standard sizes from a manufacturer, and select from the standard styles and features that your local retailer stocks.

Great News for Florida Customers.  One of our perspective dome buyers has discovered two companies in south Florida who sell Florida approved impact glass doors and windows and shutters at a reasonable price.

The factory for the Impact Glass Windows and Doors is:

Curv-A-Tech Corp.  930 West 23rd Street Hialeah,FL. 33010    curvatechcorp@bellsouth.net     Phone: 305-888-9631

 

The company for Hurricane shutters & Glass is:

DEPENDABLE SHUTTER & GLASS   

Phone: 888-694-6698    Fax: 954.791.0840   4741 Orange Drive, Davie, FL 33314  www.dependableshutter.com

 

Please use this chart for size estimating only. During Plans Design Ai will email elevation views showing possible rough opening door & window sizes.

1st-fl-window-and-door

2nd-fl-window-and-door

From Better Homes and Gardens – what to consider when replacing windows & buying windows.

In older houses, faulty windows can account for a third of the total heat loss in winter and as much as 75 percent of interior heat gain in summer. Look for the following telltale signs that a window has lost its effectiveness:

  • Stand inside your house on a windy day with a lit candle near the window’s operative edge. If the flame flickers or goes out, your weather stripping might be damaged.
  • During the winter, if a window develops ice buildup or a frosty glaze on the interior of the pane, the ventilation in your home may not be adequate. Another possibility is that your window may not be providing enough insulation value, a situation that can make your heating bills soar.
  • Sit near your window. If you feel cold air coming in during the winter or warm air during the summer, your windows have little insulation value. This means you’re paying more to heat and cool your house to compensate for the exterior air entering your home.
  • Do your windows get fogged with condensation? If so, you may have a seal failure and need to replace the glazing or the entire window.

In some cases, replacing broken panes and tending to loose or missing weather stripping may buy some time. If your windows are old and ill-fitting, however, you need more than stopgaps.

Replacement window options:

Wood is the choice of most homeowners. Wood is strong, insulates well, and has natural appeal and a warm look. It needs exterior maintenance, and interior surfaces can be painted, stained, or finished any number of ways.

Vinyl windows do not need to be painted or stained. They offer good insulation value and strength, making them a viable alternative to wood.

Aluminum windows have a stronger frame but poorer insulation than wood or vinyl. They’re fine in areas with a mild climate, and are also used for commercial applications.

Fiberglass combines the higher strength and stability of aluminum with the insulating properties of wood and vinyl. Fewer options are available at this time, as fiberglass is just beginning to show up in the window market.

Combination windows are available with wood on the interior and vinyl or aluminum on the exterior, combining the look of wood with a low-maintenance exterior material. This is known as “cladding” (as in vinyl-clad or aluminum-clad).

Features to consider when purchasing windows:

Energy efficiency. Almost any good-quality window available today incorporates two pieces of glass with a sealed airspace between then as a buffer between indoors and out. Some windows are even triple-paned. You may have the option of argon gas instead of air between the glass to further the window’s insulating abilities. Most window manufacturers also offer such options as low-E glass, which reflects heat and screens out the sun’s rays.

Design. Windows are available in shapes ranging from quarter rounds to ovals. Consider an arrangement of smaller windows instead of one large one, or vice versa.

Ease of installation. The easiest type of replacement window is a frame-within-a-frame design that can be installed in an existing frame without disturbing walls or trim work. Some are sold in kit form, complete with hardware, for standard sizes. If your original windows have divided lights or panes, look for multipane replacements or snap-in grilles that match glass dividers on the old units as closely as possible. If your windowsills are rotting or damaged, however, you’ll need to replace the old frame as well.

Ease of maintenance. Weather-resistant materials will reduce your regular maintenance; vinyl or aluminum-clad exteriors need no painting. For ease of cleaning, choose windows that tilt in or open from the side. Many double-hung windows now come with tilting sashes so both interior and exterior glass surfaces can be cleaned from inside the house.

Function. Tempered glass is required by code for certain applications, such as glass doors and some window installations with low sill height. For more extreme conditions, such as coastal environments, consider laminated impact-resistant glass designed to withstand hurricane-force winds and the impact of airborne debris.

Hardware. Some manufacturers offer improved hardware for crank-out windows such as casements and awnings — specifically, collapsible or low-profile handles that don’t interfere with blinds or other window coverings. Others offer a variety of style options for latches and locks. To be safe, ask about these and any other convenience features before the units end up in your walls. Also, try the hardware in the showroom. Does the window lock, unlock, and open easily? This test gives you a feel for the window’s usability and its overall quality as well.

Cost guidelines:
Broadly, vinyl and wood are the least expensive, fiberglass costs more, and clad windows are even more. That said, a general price range for an average size (30-inch by 48-inch) window is $100 to $200, which will be higher in urban areas.

More features like tilting versions and higher E-ratings increase the cost, although sometimes as the price and quality increase, more options are included. Differences in the up-front purchase price of a window may eventually be offset by other factors. Energy efficiency and a no-maintenance exterior will offset the up-front cost difference over time. Second, installation and labor costs could actually be higher for an “economy-grade” all-wood window, if you factor in charges for painting, and how much sooner you may have to replace it than a window made from more durable material.

One way to keep your window costs from rising is to avoid special orders. Try to work with standard sizes from a manufacturer, and select from the standard styles and features that your local retailer stocks.

 

 

 

Click on the photo to enlarge it.  Please scroll down to view the Questions with their Answers. 

Image Image

Q: What makes your panel concrete so crack resistant?

A: The panel concrete is a special formulation containing synthetic fibers and liquid admixtures. These ingredients improve the concrete’s characteristics, create super toughness, extend durability, make concrete impervious to water, give higher tensile and compressive strength, provide elasticity for expansion, and improve freeze protection. The concrete in your dome out performs other exteriors because of its specially developed formula. Because of its exceptional composition, it actually gains strength over the years. The exterior panel concrete adheres directly to the steel mesh and the E.P.S. insulation without the need of a bonding agent.

Q: I understand when I mix concrete on site to fill the panel seams; the recipe includes the same liquid admixtures and fibers that American Ingenuity used in the panel concrete. Is this true?

A: Yes, Ai ships the same liquid admixtures and synthetic fibers with the Building Kit so the seam concrete that is mixed on site in a mortar mixer not a cement mixer will have the same properties as the panel concrete that was applied at the Ai plant.  Fibers in concrete work to reduce the formation of shrinkage, (cracks in concrete’s plastic state) while helping to improve shatter resistance and reduce water migration. The result: tougher concrete.

The liquid admixtures shipped with your dome kit are marked A and B.  One is an air entrainment and the other is a water reducer.

The Concrete Mix recipe includes water, 1 bag Portland Cement (type 1 or 111), Admixture A, Admixture B, ¼ large bag fibers, Sand (called masonry or stucco sand….no rocks). The Assembly Manual includes the precise amounts for each of these items, and when to apply the admixtures.  During the assembly of the dome kit, the seam areas between the panels are filled with the special concrete in two applications.  In between the two applications of bonding agent, that is shipped with your kit, is applied on the first coat of concrete and onto the bonding ledge of each panel before the second coat of concrete is applied. Prior to the second layer of concrete being applied, decide the seam appearance, flat or curved.  The second layer is sponged so that its appearance is a “sponged sand finish” to match the sand finish, which is the finish on Ai’s prefabricated component panels. Prior to priming and painting the concrete allow the concrete to be rained on for one month to remove efflorescence. 

Prior to the application of concrete into the seams, all the prefabricated panel concrete or cured concrete around the area to receive the new concrete is watered down.  The “Old” concrete is kept wet while the new concrete is curing. Ai’s Assembly Manual explains step by step how to apply concrete in the seams and onto the entryway and dormer panels. 

Q: After all the seams between the component panels and building options are concreted, what is used to seal the concrete?

A:  Ai does not depend on the concrete to make the dome watertight. The dome is sealed with a concrete primer and two coats of good quality exterior concrete paint purchased locally.  Ai dome owners recommend the following paints:

  • Richards Paint: Rich Flex 245; use Rich Flex Alkali Resistant 100% Acrylic Masonry Coating for the primer.
  • Behr’s top of the line exterior latex paint is Marque. Seabrook Texas dome owner loves this paint. He uses semi-gloss. Marque has the most titanium in the Behr’s line.  – Home Depot
  • Sherwin Williams: Loxon XP Paint, Loxon Primer and Conditioner
  • Behr’s Premium Elastomeric Masonry, Stucco & Brick Paint –Home Depot
  • Seal Krete Paint (pigmented) –Home Depot
  • Ames Research Labs: Maximum – Stretch, at participating ACE & True Value Stores or can be purchased directly from Ames at 888-345-0809 (if using Ames paint, specific type sealants and primer need to be used.  TT3 sealant cannot be used.)

Q: I am considering applying elastomeric paint over the entire dome, should I do this?

A: Yes if the concrete was primed with concrete primer, if the paint is breathable and if interior water vapor is removed from the interior with Broan Bathroom Exhaust Fans, Top of dome exhaust fan, stove/microwave exhaust fans and use of Heat Recovery Ventilator or Energy Recovery Ventilator if needed in your area.  Water vapor accumulates in the dome from breathing, doing laundry and dishes, showering and should be removed from the dome. 

In northern climates, install a Heat Recovery Ventilator to remove moisture or check with your local HVAC subcontractor for latest solutions.  To read about Heat Recovery Ventilators click on HRV.

For an existing dome that has elastomeric paint applied to it, please do not remove the elastomeric paint.  Please call our office for the most current painting info for previously painted domes.  Phone 321-639-8777 Mon – Fri 9-5 eastern.

Q: What if I get a leak in the dome shell?

A:  Generally, it is easier to repair a leak in our concrete dome than it is to make a repair in a shingled roof. Applying EternaBond Tape (has MicroSealant) and textured knife grade patching compound is all it takes to seal the area if the concrete is bonded.  Call Ai’s office for more info (321-639-8777). 

Q: Where am I most likely to get a leak?

A: Where a passageway connects two domes, what Ai calls a link. A leak most likely will occur where the long flat roof of the link butts up to the curved surface of the dome shell. The expansion and the contraction associated with temperature changes produce the flex or separation at the link. The fall is the most likely problem time. Seal the area where the link meets the dome with the EternaBond Tape and textured knife grade patching compound and elastomeric paint.

Q: Explain why the use of a bonding agent helps prevent leaks.

A: Technology has developed now to prevent cold joints. The Assembly Manual that comes with the American Ingenuity Dome Kit explains how to utilize bonding agent and other techniques to join the concrete in the seams. Concrete, or a cement mixture, will not bond to a dry absorbent surface such as dry concrete. The reason is easy to understand when you examine the curing process of cement. When new concrete is applied over old, dry concrete, the moisture from the new concrete will be absorbed by the dry concrete especially at the surface where they meet. When the new concrete is robbed of its moisture at the joining surface it will not cure properly and therefore will not bond.

Bonding agents are designed to improve the adhesion between layers of concrete by acting as a glue and coating and sealing the dry concrete to prevent it from robbing the moisture.

Q: What else do I do during the seam concreting to assure that the second layer of concrete bonds to the concrete of the panels and to the first layer of the seam concrete?

A: This is discussed in detail in the Assembly Manual,  basically, wet the adjacent panels with water and allow them to soak up all the water they will before applying concrete into the seam areas. Plus apply bonding agent on the concrete ledge at the edge of the panel and on any concrete that has been placed in the seam before the second layer of concrete is applied.

Q: What other special features are designed into the panels of your kit to improve the bond and strength of your dome?

A: The pre-concreted panels have a ledge molded into the edge of the concrete where the seam concrete is most needed to bond. This ledge increases the bonding surface, thereby increasing the ultimate strength of the joint. The steel mesh, which extends from the old concrete to the new concrete is a small mesh which compliments the effect of the fibers in securing the joint.

Q: Can I spray concrete into the seams instead of hand applying it?

A: No. Ai does not recommend pumping or spraying the concrete into the dome seams because the equipment usually pumps faster than the seams can be finished. The over spray gets on the panels and unless it is washed off ASAP, it will harden and be difficult to remove.

Q: Why is it more beneficial to have pre-concreted panels instead of spraying concrete all over the dome on site?

A: A continuous sprayed concrete structure will cause the concrete to cure all at once.  Pre-concreted panels allow for the panel concrete to cure prior to the seam concrete being applied.

In 1976 American Ingenuity manufactured and then built its first geodesic dome prototype by utilizing reinforced concrete over E.P.S. insulation. Steel mesh was hand tied onto the propped up E.P.S. insulation, concrete was then gunited and troweled over the propped up E.P.S. insulation. Countless designs and manufacturing construction techniques were analyzed in the early years as American Ingenuity developed a new generation in dome housing. Ai has outgrown two previous models as we progressed to a five dome complex.

Ai does not recommend sprayed concrete structures because spraying concrete causes a waste of labor and concrete. The concrete ends up being 2″ thick in one place and 3″ to 4″ thick in other places. The concrete on the dome needs to be thick only in the seams and thin on the panels.  It is a waste of labor because it is difficult for the concrete finishers to stand in the concrete and try to finish the concrete as it cures.

Q: What is the curing time for the seam concrete?

A: The weather and the mix of the concrete (amount of water, etc.) will effect the curing time of the concrete. Usually by the time a complete row of panels is placed the next row can be assembled. If  a panel is placed above another panel and cracks start to form in the first coat of concrete, then the concrete has not cured long enough.  Stop placing panels until the concrete has cured and passes the “scratch test”.  Take a nail or screw driver and scratch the concrete if no indentation place the next row of panels.

The following is a listing of Insurance Companies who have insured concrete domes.

Marshall exter-2

During your research for an insurance company to insure your American Ingenuity concrete dome, feel free to have your insurance agent call us so we can answer any questions they may have.   Ai has found the following to be the best approach when talking to insurance companies:

  • When the insurance person asks “What are the exterior walls built of?” Reply, “Steel reinforced concrete.”
  • When the insurance person asks, “What is the roof made of?” Reply, “Steel reinforced concrete.”

Great news Legacy Insurance Solutions will insure domes in Florida, Georgia, Alabama and some other areas. As of October 2015, a Florida dome owner called and gave us info on this insurance company which insured their dome. Their agent is Justen Bell.  The agent  told dome owner they were excited about insuring concrete domes.  They have two offices in Florida. One in Tallahassee and one in Palm Bay. 850-728-5420.

Florida Dome Owners can purchase insurance through the Florida Residential Causality Joint Association at 1-800-524-9023 or visit Citizens Property Insurance Corporation.  Citizens Property Insurance Corporation is the State’s homeowners’ insurance safety net. It was created by the Legislature in 2002 to offer property coverage to Floridians without private insurance options. 

The State of Florida requires Insurance Companies to offer reduced rates to homes that have high wind mitigation features.  The American Ingenuity dome meets and exceeds these requirements.  One of our client’s hurricane insurance premium went from $850 to $90 after he had his concrete dome with exterior glass shuttered inspected and a Uniform Mitigation Verification Inspection Form was completed by a Qualified Inspector or Certified Builder.

The Insurance Information Institute’s web site www.iii.org has a feature where you can find the names of insurance companies in your state. Their web site tool allows consumers to select the state in which they live and the type of insurance they are looking for. It provides a random listing of insurance companies in their state.

Another helpful web site, maintained by the State of Florida, is ShopandCompareRates.  

The following are the names of insurance companies that have insured American Ingenuity Domes or concrete domes in the past or were considering insuring our domes. Bear in mind that the companies could have changed their minds or changed ownership and might no longer insure domes.  If you have any updated information about other insurance companies or these companies, please email us by clicking on Contact Us.

ALL STATE

  • Insured Ai dome in Homestead Florida that went through Hurricane Andrew with no structural damage. The agent was Richard Chorak, 954-963-2044.
  • Also All State insured an Ai dome in Ocean Springs Mississippi. The agent was Vernon McHan at 228-388-7223.

All State Subsidiary – NORTH LIGHT SPECIALTY INSURANCE

California:  In some zip codes in California which have the most risk of fires, the insurance companies are now refusing to write homeowner’s insurance.  One of American Ingenuity’s California dome customers, Mr. Kaufman, said after their insurance company would no longer insure their zip code, they purchased insurance through North Light. Here is their info.http://www.northlightspecialty.com/
2775 Sanders Road, Northbrook, IL 60062  1-866-745-6522

ALPHA INSURANCE

  • Insured Ai dome in Georgia.

BLANKENSHIP & ASSOCIATES INSURANCE SERVICESThe following quote came from Dia Blankenship in January 2011:

  • I want to confirm that I have reviewed the underwriting manual for farm owner’s policies and geodesic domes are eligible for either a farm or hobby farm policy.  (An application must be submitted prior to binding, but binding can usually be accomplished within 24 hours once all of the required documentation is submitted.)
  • My agency writes farm coverage in 11 states across the mid-Atlantic region (including Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Maryland, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennesee, Virginia and West Virginia), so I’d be happy to assist any of American Ingenuity’s customers who may be having difficulty finding insurance coverage in those areas.
  • We have also earned the Nationwide Agribusiness On Your Side Farm Certification, which requires extensive additional training about farm products so we can provide superior service to Ai’s clients.
  • A farm policy often provides better coverage than a homeowner’s contract because rural homeowners may need coverage for detached outbuildings, equipment such as tractors and or ATV’s, or non-building structures such as well pumps or free standing wind turbines which we can add to the policy to cover each individual’s needs.
  • For info contact Dia Blankenship, P&C Manager, Certified Farm Specialist at 866-326-1461

Citizens Property Insurance Corporation for Florida Residents

CORNER STONE INS

  • Was thinking of insuring a concrete dome. Agent is Gary Walker 804-542-4301 in Richmond, VA.

FARMERS ALLIANCE MUTUAL INS

  • Thinking of insuring a concrete dome in Kansas. The agent was Larry Gould, 1122 N. Main St, Mopherson KS 67460-2849; 816-648-1114

FEDERATED NATIONAL: www.fednat.com/home/contact/  Insured an American Ingenuity dome in Florida in 2013.  They are located in Sunrise, Florida. In August of 2014 an owner was tentatively approved, then denied. Per the customer part of the denial was due to it being a dome structure.  We are unsure of the full circumstances for the denial;  if the denial was done on an individual basis or if it is a regional/ countrywide policy practice. Please contact your local Federated National agent for additional clarification.

HANOVER INSURANCE

  • Insured Ai dome in North Carolina. Fortner Insurance Co 828-682-2147. Hanover also does Builders Risk Insurance during the construction phase.

LEGACY INSURANCE SOLUTIONS 

  • Agent is Justen Bell. As of October 2015 the agent told the dome owner they want to insure concrete domes.  They can issue policies in Florida, Georgia and Alabama and some other areas.  They have two offices in Florida. One in Tallahassee and one in Palm Bay. 850-728-5420.

PREFERRED RISK HOMEOWNERS

  • Insured Ai dome in Des Moines, Iowa 800-217-4176  

STATE FARM INS

  • Insured Ai dome in Lakeland Florida. The agent was Jan Butler 863-688-2613.  (As of 2/07, State Farm is not taking on any new Florida policies.)

UNIVERSAL PROPERTY & CASUALTY INSURANCE COMPANY

  • Insured Ai dome in Florida.   Agency is in Ft. Lauderdale, Fl. 800-425-9113

USAA  (Have to be present or past member of the military before you can be a member of USAA)

  • Insured Ai dome in Melbourne Florida 800-531-8111.  Currently USAA is not issuing home insurance in Florida.  But they set up a special agency that can possibly locate a insurance company to insure the dome.

USF & G

  • Insured Ai dome in North Carolina.

ZURIC Insurance

  • Provided Builder’s Risk to one of our clients in Tennessee.

 

FORT LAUDERDALE FL

 

Wood Star on exterior Dome Wall.

Wood Star on exterior Dome Wall

The American Ingenuity dome owner is conscious of what materials are used to finish

the interior of their dome. Natural sold oak was used for the stair case

and wood star.  Very warm and cozy.

 

Healthy Dome Living Questions & Their Answers

Q: Does the interior shell wall board that American Ingenuity utilizes support the growth of mold and mildew?

A: No. The 1/2″ Georgia Pacific Dens-Armor Plus drywall that Ai utilizes showed no mold or mildew growth when tested per ASTM D 3273. The drywall is adhered to the E.P.S. insulation with wallboard adhesive. The Dens-Armor employs fiberglass mat facing instead of paper on both sides of the board. The inorganic core provides excellent moisture resistance, fire resistance and adhesion properties. It doesn’t provide fuel for an accidental fire. It isn’t even damaged by multiple immersions in water. It won’t harbor spores that create sick homes.

The glass mats embedded into the core on both faces, results in dimensional stability and prevents warping. The glass mat is encapsulated with a coating which reduces skin irritation from exposed glass fibers. The moisture-resistant inorganic core has superior mold, mildew and fire resistance.

The following info was taken from Georgia Pacific’s 1/2” Dens-Armor Wall board data sheets:

Dens-Armor wall board features an inorganic glass mat embedded into a water-resistant treated gypsum core. The combination of glass mat surfacing and a treated core renders Dens-Armor wall board more resistant to delamination from water than paper-faced gypsum products. Comparative testing has demonstrated Dens-Armor wall board’s supremacy over such alternatives as perlite and fiberboard. Its engineered features make Dens-Armor wall board the obvious substrate for housing membranes. Resists delamination, deterioration and warping, puncturing and other job site damage and resists rot.

Fire Protection: Because of its noncombustible core and surface, Dens-Armor wall board offers greater fire protection than other conventional products. Dens-Armor wall board, when tested to ASTM E 84, has achieved a rating of 0 flame spread and 0 smoke developed. Noncombustible when tested in accordance with ASTN E 136.

Properties of Dens-Armor: Noncombustible, Water Resistance, Dimensional Stability, Decay Resistance, Resistant to Warping, Rodent and Fungus Resistance, Torch Safe, High Compressive Strength.

Fire Classification: UL Class A, ULC S-102; UL 1256, ULC S-126; UL 790; ULC S-107.

Flame Spread/Smoke Developed: per ASTM E 84 – 0

R-Value: as tested in accordance with ASTM C 518 (heat flow meter) -.28

Surface Water Absorption, grams: per ASTM C 473- 2.5

Mold & Mildew Resistance: per ASTM D 3273- No growth

The wallboard finishing includes applying joint compound and tape on the seams and painting the wall board. To blend the seams, mix some vermiculite into your paint.

You can purchase the building kit without the interior wall board. If you do not purchase the optional interior wall board, on site you can trowell either plaster or stucco directly to the E.P.S.

Q: Do any of the materials utilized in your panel – EPS (Expanded Polystyrene insulation), Galvanized Steel Mesh, Fiber Concrete or Georgia Pacific DensArmor – contain any food source for mold growth?

A: No. The materials are not a food source for mold growth.  Algae can sometimes be mistaken for mold.  It contains no spores and is not mold. Algae will grow on materials if exposed to water and sunlight. Algae is removed with combination of bleach and water or oxygen/bleach and water.

Q: I have allergies. Does your product promote allergic reactions?
A:
We have had a individuals contact us who are allergic to chemicals, etc. Feel free to us at 321-639-8777 Monday thru Friday 9 to 5 eastern time with your questions or click on Contact Us and email your questions. One of our clients has had to live in a stainless steel trailer due to reactions to conventional building materials. She investigated our dome and  built two of Ai’s small domes for her permanent residence.

The best way to see if you would be allergic to our shell materials is to purchase a small sample of a panel. Then ask someone to place the sample in a brown paper bag and without you knowing when, have them put it under your bed. Let them remove it at a later date and put back an empty paper bag and see if you have any reaction at any time during the test period.

The E.P.S. insulation Ai uses was expanded with steam, no chemicals. The quality of your indoor air will be determined by your interior materials such as flooring, upholstery, cabinet composition and whether an energy recovery ventilator or heat recovery ventilator and exhaust fans have been installed in your dome.  Please ask your local HVAC subcontractor for his recommendations for how to bring in fresh air for your area.

American Ingenuity has been manufacturing dome housing kits since 1976, during that time we have not heard of any of our domes having “sick building syndrome” due the following:

  1. Dome Homes always have doors and windows. Double paned windows are only an R-4 so air moves back and forth through the glass and or the windows are opened to let in fresh air.
  2. Dome owners have central air conditioners, furnaces or dehumidifiers or energy recovery ventilators or heat recovery ventilators that serve the purpose of removing the moisture within the dome.
  3. To exhaust the moisture out of the top of the dome, exhaust fans are installed in top center of the dome, in each bathroom, above stove and microwave, in the laundry room.

Q: Does the insulation Ai manufacturers with support the growth of mold and mildew?
A:
Based upon a FHA test, expanded bead polystyrene insulation, E.P.S. ,will not support bacterial growth or fungus growth. It also contains no food value to any living organism. Its lack of food value means that although termites, ants and rodents could tunnel through it, there is no other attraction. The following is other information taken from the E.P.S. data sheets.

  • OUTGAS: The E.P.S. is made from expandable polystyrene beads. These spherical beads contain a blowing agent such as pentane, which causes the beads to expand up to 40 times their original volume in the presence of steam. After the expansion and long before the panels are shipped, virtually the entire blowing agent has escaped.
  • DEGRADING INSULATION VALUE: This rigid foam insulation does not compress, absorb moisture, deteriorate or degrade like fiberglass and many other forms of insulation.
  • Water Absorption: The E.P.S. insulation American Ingenuity uses is closed cell and will not absorb more than 2.5% of water based on volume. It is often used as flotation for docks because it will not absorb water. Insulation materials that absorb water have a significant loss of performance because water is a good conductor of heat. This is particularly true with fibrous materials, which must be positively protected by an efficient vapor barrier. There are two ways in which, moisture can effect insulation materials: water absorption from contact with damp surfaces or from condensation of water vapor. EPS is a closed cell material that has minimal water absorption and low water vapor transmission.
  • BREATHABILITY: The amount that a material will breathe or the amount of water vapor that will pass through the material is measured in “Perms” or sometimes “Perm inches”. EPS will breathe enough to allow moisture trapped inside of it to dry out but at the same time it is tight enough to also serve as a good vapor barrier.
  • In the American Ingenuity dome, the inside of the rigid insulation is covered with wallboard. Wallboard does not interfere with the drying process but will offer protection from fire. If the E.P.S. gets hot enough it will burn.
  • EPS will dissolve in gasoline or similar solvents
  • EPS does not become brittle at sub-zero temperatures.
  • EPS – HEALTH HAZARDS:
  •   Ingestion: May act as an obstruction if swallowed
    • Inhalation: Minor respirator irritation possible from dust particles
    • Skin Contact: No hazard is known
    • Eye Contact: Minor eye irritation possible from dust particles
    • Carcinogenicity: NTP: No IARC: No OSHA: No
    • Symptoms of Overexposure: Respiratory irritation may occur from dust particles
    • Medical Conditions Aggravated by Exposure: None known.

Q: Is there a web site that recommends building materials for sensitive individuals?
A:
Yes, we have learned of a site called Healthy Home Designs. It has a listing of “Recommended Healthy Building Resources.” Their web site is www.healthyhomedesigns.com The following info came from the healthy home designs web site:

  • What makes a home healthy? A healthy home is one that incorporates healthy design elements, non-toxic building materials, and proper construction techniques. It “breathes”, emits no toxic gasses, and is resistant to mold.
  • Our criteria for a healthy home include the following attributes:
  • Reduction of exposure to chemicals (such as formaldehyde in insulation and particleboard; volatile organic compounds in adhesives, sealants and paints; and pesticides, fungicides and heavy metals used to treat wood) through use of non-toxic building materials and products.
  • Mitigation of mold and rot by employing proper building techniques and materials from foundation to roof.
  • Utilization of passive airflow, day lighting, and fresh air exchange through proper placement of windows and doors.
  • Location of areas of high toxicity and combustible materials (such as the garage and utility room) away from bedrooms and primary living spaces.

The benefits are homes that are safer, quieter, more comfortable, and require less maintenance. A healthy home is also more energy efficient, and therefore incurs lower monthly operating costs.