Advantages – Strength | AiDomes

Jamaica 45ft & 34ft Aidomes in Runaway Bay.

Robert Stephens purchased the two Aidomes after the building kits were assembled.  He and his crew beautifully finished the exterior and interior.  The domes will be presented for short term vacation rental and small functions such as intimate weddings with max 80 guests.  To view their website explaining how to rent the dome, click on Runaway Bay Aidomes.

The floor plan layouts below were the original design; however the plans have been modified.   A 45′ dome can be designed with three to four bedrooms and 2 1/2 baths.  A 34′ dome can be a garage dome or a two bedroom two bath home.

The Dome building kits are shipped in containers from American Ingenuity’s factory in Rockledge Florida.  One 34′ dome can fit in one 40′ high cube container. One 45′ kit can fit in one 45′ high cube container and one 20′ container.  To obtain shipping quotes, email the receiving port name and Ai will contact a freight forwarder and obtain a shipping quote.  Email address is GlendaB.aidomes@gmail.com

At no cost to you, if you give your property address and building department name,  Ai will call the building department, email them a sample set of plans and find out what is required for them to issue a building permit on the dome.

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Florida Keys elevated 45’Aidome built on concrete platform, concrete columns, concrete decks and exterior concrete stairs with above ground basement. Due to increased labor costs & material costs in the Keys and the all concrete foundation with auguered footings, this foundation cost around $150,000 to install.   For a less costly foundation, Ai can design wood pilings, pressure treated wood platform, wood decks and exterior wood stairs.

The 45′ dome has two floors. The first floor of 1,461 sq.ft.contains two bedrooms and two baths. The master bedroom and bath and fourth bedroom with its private bath are on the second floor of 702 sq.ft. resulting in the dome having 2,363 sq.ft. The above ground basement is 984 sq.ft and contains spiral stairs to dome, parking and storage area.

Because of the coquina rock, the footers had to be auguered. Due to water surge the dome is elevated.

Louisiana 40′ dome elevated on wood pilings due to water surge from Gulf Of Mexico

This Ai dome was built in 1987. The property is adjacent to the Gulf of Mexico water. As a result due to hurricanes the water surge can be ten feet tall or more so the dome was elevated. The property owner chose to build with wood pilings in the ground and pressure treated wood platform and deck. This dome went through Hurricane Katrina with no damage; however the water surge pushed debris under the wood platform causing damage to one joist – which was later repaired.

The dome owner chose to move after 28 years because of required evacuations each time a tropical storm or hurricane occurred in the Gulf. A direct quote from the dome owner, Ms. Core: “I love my dome and miss it each day.”

 

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.

This 34′ dome linked to 22′ Aidome suffered no damage when Hurricane Jeanne ripped the roof off a neighbor’s house.  In the dumpster is neighbor’s shingles.  Entire house had to be gutted and remodeled due to water damage.

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.  This Ai panelized building system results in a super-strong house.
  • 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

 

 

 

 

 

The following info covers Ai Domes & Tornadoes.    In August 1992 American Ingenuity domes were put to the ultimate test of strength when they faced the wrath of Hurricane Andrew as it slammed into south Florida. Winds at the nearby Tamiami airport were clocked at 212 mph, spawning over 100 tornadoes within the storm and leaving practically everything in its wake leveled. Nearly 200,000 people become homeless overnight. Even a tower at the Turkey Point Nuclear Power Plant, designed to withstand 200-mph winds, was irrevocably damaged by this fierce storm. We were not surprised, however, when we learned that our domes survived – in great contrast to the thousands of conventionally built houses of their neighbors.

Menendez -exterior

45′ Dome went thru Hurricane Andrew & Tornado with no structural damage.

Above is picture of a 45′ American Ingenuity dome home built in 1989 that was in the direct path of the devastating storm, bearing the worst Andrew & a tornado could deliver; yet it suffered no structural damage. A two wide metal horse trailer was impelled against the dome leaving a paint skid marking on the dome where the trailer slide around the dome to the other side. The horse trailer caused a crack in the riser wall and a chunk of concrete to break loose. The dome owner, caulked the crack and mixed up fiber concrete and filled the chunk and then painted the area.

Due to the type and direction of the debris scattered around the dome’s neighborhood, an engineer from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (F.E.M.A.) surmised that a tornado had struck the area. The engineer’s own Alabama home had been hit by a tornado a few years ago, so he was impressed by the integrity of the dome on an emotional as well as a professional level. The dome structure had withstood not only the force of a hurricane but a tornado as well. The incredibly intense winds ripped open double entry doors and 12′ sliding glass doors, which had been covered with protective plywood sheathing. Even though the wood and glass doors of the entryways succumbed to the wind and allowed interior water damage from the rain, the dome itself stood strong.

The Ai dome’s F4 tornado warranty covers the dome’s exterior shell and does not include windows and doors.  High speed tornado winds pick up debris which can be hurled through windows and doors.  As a result if you live in an area prone for tornadoes, consider building within the dome a safe room with concrete walls to protect your family from flying debris coming through windows and doors. At end of this article is definition of Tornado Alley.

 

free Wikipedia tornado

The tornado picture is from Wikipedia and is of tornado near Anadarko, Oklahoma. The funnel is the thin tube reaching from the cloud to the ground. The lower part of this tornado is surrounded by a translucent dust cloud, kicked up by the tornado’s strong winds at the surface. The wind of the tornado has a much wider radius than the funnel itself.

The following info came from www.livescience.com  Where is Tornado Alley?

The borders of Tornado Alley are not clearly defined. They vary, depending on the criteria used — frequency, intensity, or events per unit area. Generally, a tornado alley map starts in central Texas and goes north through Oklahoma, central Kansas and Nebraska and eastern South Dakota, sometimes dog-legging east through Iowa, Missouri, Illinois and Indiana to western Ohio.

While the “Wizard of Oz” still conjures up images of Kansas as a tornado-prone area, that state is not the most highly impacted state when it comes to tornadoes. According to the National Climatic Data Center, Texas reports the highest number of tornadoes of any state, although its very large land mass accounts for that status. Kansas and Oklahoma are second and third respectively when it comes to the number of tornadoes reported, but those states report more tornadoes per land area than Texas.

Convergence of conditions:
Tornado Alley has all of the weather conditions needed for a tornado to take shape. Tornadoes form when three different types of air converge in a specific manner: a layer of warm and humid air near the ground along with strong southerly winds; colder air along with strong west or southwest winds line the upper atmosphere; and a third layer of very warm dry air that hovers between the warm and moist air at low levels and the cool dry air above.

While not as familiar as Tornado Alley, the designation Dixie Alley generally refers to another part of the country that is likely to experience tornadoes — generally the upper Tennessee Valley and Lower Mississippi Valley.

Florida’s almost daily thunderstorms spawn a large number of tornadoes, designating it as the state with the with the highest number of tornadoes per square mile. However, a relatively small percentage of Florida’s tornadoes are considered high intensity.

Globally, latitudes between about 30 degrees and 50 degrees North or South provide the most favorable environment for tornadoes. The United States records about 1,000 tornadoes a year, by far the most prolific of any region in the world, with Canada ranking second at only 100 per year.

 

The following info is about Oklahoma Concrete Domes in tornado alley. Due to their home site being located in  tornado alley, the Marshalls’ chose to build  American Ingenuity domes because their steel reinforced concrete exterior resists F4 tornado winds.  Bruce Marshall was owner builder of their two domes and did a fantastic job based on the finished photos below.

The 48′ home dome on the left is linked to 40′ garage dome on the right.  The 48′ dome has 2,649 sq.ft. (1,646 sq.ft. on first floor with 1,003 sq.ft on the second floor.) Link is 150 sq.ft.  The 40′ dome has 1,823 sq.ft. (1,151 sq.ft. on the first floor and 672 sq.ft. on the second floor). Dome home is five bedrooms and 2 1/2 baths.  664 sq.ft. recreation room above garage.  Please see floor plan layouts below and two photo galleries of interior photos.  Coming soon will be construction photo gallery of their domes.  To view info about Ai dome and tornadoes, please click on F4 Tornado.

(Click on arrows left and right side of picture to view the next picture)

(Click on arrows left and right side of picture to view the next picture)

 

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Wood House burns in CA Silver Fire – home owner rebuilds with Ai concrete dome home kit.

The California Silver fire started on August 12, 2013 in southern California just south of Banning. By the time firefighters had contained the blaze, it had burned about 20,000 acres, forced thousands to evacuate their homes, injured eight people, and destroyed 46 structures.

One of the homes destroyed was a wood dome owned by the Berres’s. Because they loved the advantages of living in a dome home, strength, energy efficiency, etc. they chose to rebuild another dome; but this time instead of a wood dome with shingles they chose to rebuild utilizing an American Ingenuity dome building kit because its exterior is noncombustible steel reinforced concrete.

Below the photo gallery of the Berres dome under construction is an image of the burn scar left from the Silver fire and a YouTube video of the fire.

Photo Gallery of Berres 48′ Concrete Dome Kit Under Assembly

(Click the arrows or dots to change pics)

 Silver Fire Area

silverfire_oli_2013222Dark red color shows the burn scar when the California Silver Fire of 2013 burned about 20,000 acres,

forced thousands to evacuate their homes, injured eight people and destroyed 46 structures. 

On August 10, 2013, the Operational Land Imager (OLI) on Landsat 8 captured this false-color image of the burn scar left by the Silver fire, which burned in southern California, just south of Banning.

The image was made with a combination of shortwave infrared, near infrared, and green light collected by OLI. Shortwave infrared is between near infrared (seen in infrared photography) and thermal infrared light (used by temperature sensors) on the electromagnetic spectrum. Shortwave infrared light is reflected by some surfaces (like bare soil), and emitted by very hot objects (lava or fires). Burned areas appear dark red. The lighter red area in the upper left of the image is a burn scar from a previous fire. Dark green areas are forests; light green areas are grasslands, golf courses, or yards.

Over the last decades, California fires had charred an average 5.7 million acres by August 22, according to statistics published by the National Interagency Fire Center.


 

 

How does the American Ingenuity dome withstand tree impact & snow load versus truss roof house?  Very well based on three actual dome owner’s experiences.  To view info about Aidome withstanding Hurricane Irma’s 200 mph winds and suffering no damage please click on Hurricane Irma

Exterior basement snow 0272

For those of you who are researching what type house to build in a forested area, please consider the advantages of an American Ingenuity concrete dome versus a log home with a truss roof or a conventional house with a truss roof.

One of American Ingenuity’s perspective kit buyers emailed this question: “When I was living in the deep woods and any kind of wind storm or even a bad ice storm came up it was a major concern/fear of a large tree branch hitting the house.  How does the Ai steel reinforced concrete dome roof compare to truss roof for tree impact & heavy snow load?”    Based on two actual Ai dome home examples, the Ai concrete roof is so strong it can resist 30″ in diameter tree impact and the weight of several feet of snow. 

Homes built in a forested environment run the risk of having a tree fall on the roof or if in a cold climate a possible ice storm can cause ice loaded tree branches to fall on the roof. The steel reinforced concrete roof in an American Ingenuity dome is resistant to tree impact damage. However a wood truss roof is likely to be damaged from a tree branch or tree falling on the roof.

The strength of the Ai dome is evident in this example of a tree falling on the American Ingenuity dome. There was no damage to the Brack’s 48′ American Ingenuity dome after winds in excess of 75 mph hit North Carolina in July of 1996. The real test came when a 115′ high, 30″ in diameter hickory tree was blown over and fell on their dome. The impact broke a 10″ diameter branch off the tree. The tree slid off the dome and landed on a deck post driving it and it’s 16″ square concrete footer 6″ further into the ground. The insurance agent who inspected the damage to the deck conveyed his amazement about the dome’s strength with this comment, “If that had been a frame house the tree would have ended up in the basement!”

The American Ingenuity dome could handle the tree’s impact due to the triangle panel shape being the strongest shape among all shapes and because the steel mesh from panel to panel is overlapped, locked & covered with fiber concrete. As a result the continuous panel mesh transfers the stress throughout the dome. In a conventional house the stress is confined to one area resulting in the tree probably damaging the roof or coming through the roof.

Hurricane Irma winds caused tree to uproot and fall on Aidome

The following two photos are of 40′ Aidome – dome had no damage just dent in a dormer 

Ai has heard from one of its dome owners whose steel reinforced concrete dome went through a tree impact caused by Hurricane Irma. The dome suffered no damage  – only a minor dent to a dormer.  This dome home was built in 2000 and is a 40’ dome linked to a 27’ garage dome located in Seminole County – central Florida.  Per the Orlando Sentinel  that area had 74 mph wind gusts with 50 mph sustained winds from Irma.  The following quote was emailed to Ai:  “I thought I’d send you this shot of a tree that landed on the dome during hurricane Irma.  My girlfriend was actually standing inside the doorway (inside the dome) when the tree hit and we both heard and felt the thud.  The tree is a Red Maple about 50’ tall. It uprooted from the ground and came to rest as you see in the photo.  It has a split trunk with a base dimension of 30” x 26”.  The two main trunks beyond the split are about 13” and  15” in diameter.  Once all of the smaller tree limbs were removed it was clear that the dome shell suffered no damage other than cosmetic paint scuffing and a minor dent in the edge of the dormer rim.  (fixable with Bondo or patching cement).  No cracks or other damage have been observed inside or out from the tree impact.  This is a testament to the strength of the dome!  I’ve also attached a shot of the tree with it’s branches removed so you get a clearer view of the tree itself without all the leaves and vines.  I’m still enjoying the dome living life after 17 years here now.”

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More about heavy snow loads: Mr. and Mrs. Carroll visited Robens and Tom Napolitan’s dome. Robens was enthusiastic, but Tom was not. Tom explained to the Carroll’s, “Its all HER idea, I didn’t want a dome.” Mary Carroll phoned the Napolitans during a cold spell where they experienced heavy snow fall. Mrs. Carroll said you couldn’t keep Tom quiet this time. He had nothing but wonderful things to say about the dome and had completely turned around about the wonders of living in an American Ingenuity dome…..“ROOFS HAD COLLAPSED in their area under several feet of snow, but NOT HIS DOME!” Tom’s turnaround sold Mary and her husband on an Ai dome.

How does the Ai prefab home dome stand up to high winds, ice storms, several feet of snow & forest fire?  American Ingenuity performed a load test on our largest 48′ triangle.  The triangle shaped component panel withstood 170 lbs. per sq. ft.  load.  A 120-mph wind will exert a pressure of 30 lbs. per sq. ft. on a vertical wall and a snow load exceeding 90 lbs. per sq. ft. is rare. Typically snow loads are 20 to 50 lbs. to 90 lbs. per sq.ft.  Engineers have assisted Ai’s design team to design the dome to withstand 90 lbs per sq.ft. snow load.  Recently dome building plans were designed for Colorado at 90 lb snow load and 110 mph wind speed  which were engineer sealed for Colorado.

The strength of the concrete Ai dome makes it resistant against tree impact, heavy snows and fires making it ideal to build for a vacation home or a retirement home where the home is not occupied year round. If the dome home is built in a cold climate, there will be times when the family may want to live in a warmer climate during the winter. As a result the home owner wants to build as resistant a home they can against heavy snow load or tree impact or fire.   For info about fire and Ai dome, click on  forest fire.

Greater Exterior Wall & Roof Strength – the concrete American Ingenuity dome exterior comes with 225 mph wind and F4 tornado warranty. An Ai dome went thru a tornado & Hurricane Andrew at the same time with no structural damage. An Ai dome went through Hurricane Katrina with no structural damage. To read a recap of the Ai Dome & Acts of Nature, click on Recap.  To read a recap of Ai prefabricated home dome kit advantages, please click on Summary.

When deciding which building kit to purchase, please compare apples to apples which means please compare the contents of the log home kit or the traditional home kit vs the contents of the Ai dome kit and compare kit costs. The Ai panelized system has proven to save our client’s labor time, as well as a reduction in material waste and material costs vs a log home kit while having numerous advantages over log cabin home —- fire resistant concrete exterior, tree impact resistance, able to handle heavy snow load.  For log home kit comparison to the Ai dome, click on Log Cabin Home.

The process of overlapping/locking the steel mesh of American Ingenuity’s prefabricated panels to adjacent panels and filling the seams with special fiber concrete produces 1) the structural components of the home; 2) the finished concrete exterior surface; 3)all the shell R28 insulation is installed; and 4) all the dome shell 1/2″ drywall is installed. There is no need for material costs and labor costs to install roofing plywood, tar paper, shingles or interior attic & wall insulation and shell drywall (or wood panels).  To view photos of Kit Assembly, click on Assembly.

The American Ingenuity dome is very energy efficient because it has 30% less surface area than a conventional house and has R28 EPS insulation that is not interrupted by wood…expect heating and cooling bills to be 50% to 60% than your neighbors.  Ai’s standard 7″ Expanded polystyrene insulation is comparable to 10″ of fiber glass batting.  If desired the Aidome insulation can be upgraded to 9″ thick expanded polystyrene (EPS) resulting in R36. In conventional houses the vertical walls have one R value and the roof has another R value requirement.  In the Aidome because all the panels which make up the walls and roof have the same R value, this means the Aidome will pass an Energy Report.  If your floor plan has four or five entryways with the glass maxed out, to pass an Energy Report the glass may need to be triple panned instead of the typical double pane glass.

Here are some quotes about Ai dome and energy efficiency:

As far as functioning in cold, snowy environment, American Ingenuity domes have been built in Canada, one built at 7,500 feet elevation in Utah and Aidomes have been built in all cold states in the USA except for New Hampshire, Rhode Island and North Dakota.

One of our customers in Pennsylvania built a 40′ dome on full basement. This is quote from them: ““We live in the mountains of PA. The winters up here can be brutal. Our Ai Dome is a 40ft with Link on a 9″ thick livable basement. {Den, Office/Computer room, Kitchenette} The entire interior, to include the mechanical room, is heated and cooled by a GeoThermal, Water furnace, Radiant floor system. Our zone controllers are set on 74 degrees winter and summer. Our sole power source, at present, is the grid. Our costs per month range from $99 to a high of $120. We were amazed that our cost now are less than when we lived in a 14 by 73 ft mobile home while building the Dome. Our decision to build an American Ingenuity Dome home was the best decision we have ever made.” To view pictures of their dome and other info, click on Charles Dome.

A picture of the dome at 7,500 feet elevation in Utah showing snow is one of the flashing pictures on our home page. The dome is off the grid and has increased EPS insulation from our standard 7″ R28 to 9″ or R36. Quote from the Utah dome owners: “Our house and solar electric system have met and exceeded all of our expectations. Our home is warm and spacious. Even with nighttime temperatures below zero, a fire in the masonry heater in the evening and a full day of sun warms the house to 70 degrees F. Our average summertime power consumption is between 150 and 200 kWh/month for 2700 square feet of living space. Wintertime consumption is somewhat higher. For comparison, our average pre-solar usage was near 600 kWh/month in our prior 2000 square foot suburban home.”  To view pictures and other info about the dome at 7,500 feet elevation, click on Collar Domes.

The Aidomes are even more energy efficient when heating is required instead of cooling. When cooling, kilowatts have to be used to overcome heat from clothes dryer, dishwasher, sun light, etc. When heating those heat sources are used.  Ai’s 3,700 sq.ft. office domes can be cooled for less than $55 a  month in the hot Florida summer months.  A Florida 1,200 sq.ft. 34′ dome can be cooled for less than $22 a month in the hot Florida summer months.

 

 

For those of you who are wanting to compare the Ai Dome Kit vs Log Home Kit, please take time to read and analyze info listed below the two pictures.  Please compare kit costs and contents of each kit.  Instead of building a log cabin consider building an Ai prefabricated 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.

Interior living room starburst Oliver

Exterior stone front w wood deck2

The Ai dome is ideal for a get-a-way, vacation home,

cabin in the woods, retirement home, primary home or a starter home. 

When deciding which building kit to purchase, please compare apples to apples which means please compare the contents of the log home kit vs the contents of the Ai prefab home dome kit and compare kit costs. The Ai panelized system has proven to save our client’s labor time, as well as a reduction in material waste and material costs vs a log home kit while having numerous advantages over log cabin home —- fire resistant concrete exterior, tree impact resistance, able to handle heavy snow load, greater energy efficiency.

The process of overlapping/locking the steel mesh of American Ingenuity’s prefabricated panels to adjacent panels and filling the seams with special fiber concrete produces 1)  the structural components of the home; 2) the finished concrete exterior surface; 3)all the shell R28 insulation is installed;  and 4) all the dome shell 1/2″ drywall is installed. There is no need for material costs and labor costs to install roofing plywood, tar paper, shingles or interior attic & wall insulation and shell drywall (or wood panels).

The cost to build a custom home varies by location. On one log home companies web site was a cost calculator to build a turnkey log home (finished). When we entered 1200 sq. ft., this calculator gave an estimate of $133 per sq. ft. or $160,000 for Raleigh North Carolina. When we entered 1200 sq.ft.& the zip for Raleigh into www.Building-cost.net, the website program Ai uses to get an approximate cost to build a turnkey Ai dome home, it came up $133 per sq. ft. as well. So in the end, both the log home kit and the American Ingenuity dome kit will run you about the same price per sq.ft. to build but you receive more with the Ai dome kit…greater energy efficiency, greater roof strength, greater exterior  fire resistance and lower exterior maintenance. This pricing does not include the cost of land, land development, driveway or utility hook ups for either product.  At the bottom of our web page Finished Cost is a description how to use the building-cost calculator.

We took time to look at various log cabin home companies to see an approximate cost for a kit. The biggest variable that we found is that some log companies include the windows and doors for the units, which Ai has determined is more cost effective for you the client to purchase locally. The log home pricing does not include the construction of the building or the build out or finishing of the log house (kitchen, bathrooms, plumbing, electric, etc.), the same as Ai. So when you see an advertised price of $78,000 for a 1300 sq. ft. kit, remember this is not a finished price, it is pricing for components that need to be assembled and finished just like the American Ingenuity dome kit needs to be assembled and finished.

Most log companies are selling their kits for around $65,000 to $80,000 for a 1200 to 1300 sq. ft. cabin. American Ingenuity’s 34′ dome kit (which gives same sq. ft. of space), is currently on sale for $32,870. The dome’s $32,870 price includes:

  1. an estimate for dormers and entryways. However the floor plan you select may have less dormers and less entryways, as a result the price could be lower. After Ai sees your floor plan selection we can give you a more accurate total kit pricing. To view Ai’s stock plans click on Plans.
  2. all the structural components to complete the dome exterior shell – walls & roof  (insulated panels, parts list items etc.), including bonding agent, and concrete fibers and other items.
  3. Kit Assembly Manual, 2 sets of Building Plans, Engineer Seal on the plans by an engineer licensed for your state and Energy Report – except for CA & WA.  California and Washington state have their own energy reports that are completed by a company in that state.  (if seal and energy report are not required by your building department subtract $790.00)
  4. Wood 2×4’s for the  temporary wood rib system which are cut to specific lengths, pre-drilled and painted. Optional purchase, if wood is cut and drilled onsite subtract $1,088 from kit price.

Steel hubs are rented from Ai, with a $800 deposit returned to you once the hubs are returned to Ai after kit assembly.  Ai believes you should not pay the shipping costs for a second semi-truck to receive doors, windows or interior items because these items can be competitively sourced and purchased locally.   Please call 321-639-8777 and Ai will email you a document named Approx. Total Kit Pricing which lists the items included in the $32,870 price. To view our web site file that explains, what is included in the kit, please click on Kit Contents.  To view our web site page that covers finished cost in more detail, please click on finished cost.

The finished cost per square foot for the log kit or the American Ingenuity dome kit is the same, but you receive more advantages with the American Ingenuity concrete dome kit. Those advantages are:

  • Greater Energy Efficiency – because the insulation is not interrupted by wood and the dome has 30% less surface area than a box shape there are less exterior walls in the dome for your heating and cooling to pass through. The EPS insulation Ai utilizes does not lose its R value, does not deteriorate over time, does not compact and is non-combustible. As a result the Ai dome will cost less to heat and cool than a log home. This lower utility bill savings will be experienced each month of the year.  To view utility bills for 34′ dome home, click on 1,200 sq.ft. dome home.
  • Greater Exterior Wall & Roof Strength
    • the concrete dome exterior comes with 225 mph wind and F4 tornado warranty. An Ai dome went thru a tornado & Hurricane Andrew at the same time with no structural damage. An Ai dome went through Hurricane Katrina with no structural damage. To read a recap of the Ai Dome & Acts of Nature, click on Recap.
    • One of our customers dome homes had a 30” in diameter hickory tree fall on it during 75 mph winds. The tree slide off the dome and tore up their deck. No damage to their dome. The insurance agent said if the home had been a conventional house the tree would have torn a hole in the roof and fell into the home.
    • During ice storms tree branches get heavy and fall.  Conventional roofs and shingles can be harmed by the tree branch impact.
    • Superior exterior strength to handle heavy snow loads without the dome roof collapsing.
  • Lower Exterior Maintenance – no shingles or roof to blow off in high winds. No wood in or on the shell to rot or for insects to eat. The concrete exterior is primed and painted.
  • Woodpeckers Cannot Harm the Dome’s Exterior Concrete –   Even though the logs are treated, wood peckers can peck holes in the wood and make a lot of irritating noise while they are pecking.
  • Fire Resistant Concrete Exterior – the dome’s concrete exterior contains no wood or shingles to burn. The concrete is not combustible and is fire resistant. Our company is committed to providing you with the best design, energy efficiency, and durability (when completed) with our panelized system for geodesic concrete homes for an affordable price.
    •  Log homes have exterior wood walls and have a traditional roof. Wood can rot, be vulnerable to termites and other insects, and can potentially burn. Traditional Roofs can collapse under heavy snow, or blow off during windstorms. Ai’s dome prefab panels contain no wood in them or on their exterior. The concrete exterior is fire resistant. There is no wood in the dome exterior to rot or to be infested by termites or to burn.
    • What are the American Ingenuity triangular and rectangular shaped panels made from? Center core of non-combustible 7″ Expanded Polystyrene R-28 Insulation (not Styrofoam), exterior is ¾” thick fiber concrete reinforced with 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 is noncombustible). The steel mesh extends out all sides of the prefabricated panels. When two panels are set side by side, the steel mesh (of one panel) overlaps the mesh of the adjacent panel, and then locked with “C” rings. Special fiber concrete, mixed on site is hand troweled in the seam areas in two applications —bonding agent is applied between the two layers. The seam areas are about 3″ deep by 5″ wide with concrete averaging 2″ thick. To view our web site file that explains about panel composition, please click on Concrete Prefab Panel. 
  • Does the Log Home walls and roof contain any items that are a food source for mold growth?  The Ai dome panel’s galvanized steel, concrete, EPS and drywall contain no food source for mold growth.
  • Does the companies kit have a finished exterior, or do you need to finish with a vapor barrier, attic insulation and either shingles, siding or stucco?  Ai’s dome’s exterior is 3/4″ fiber concrete reinforced with galvanized steel mesh. Only the seams (about 3” deep by 5” wide) between the panels & the entryways & dormers are concreted on site. You do not concrete over the entire shell. After kit assembly the concrete is primed and painted. To view Ai’s web site file showing Kit Assembly, click on Assembly. To learn about hiring Kit Assembly Consultant to supervise your dome kit assembly, click on Consultant.
  • Do you have to purchase and install insulation under the attic? All the dome exterior shell panels which when assembled produce the side walls and roof of the dome. The panels contain all the 7″ R28 insulation already installed.  The dome height allows for a useable second floor in the 27′, 34′, 36′, 40′, 45′ & 48′ sizes. There is no attic containing wasted space in the dome.
  • Do you need to purchase and install drywall (or wood panels) on the exterior walls?  Do you need to install drywall on the ceiling below the attic?  The Ai dome prefabricated panels have all the interior 1/2″ drywall installed. No need to purchase drywall, cut it to fit and adhere to the walls and ceiling.
  • What maintenance is needed for the home exterior? The entire exterior of the Ai dome shell is a continuous layer of concrete, so there is nothing to rot, rust, shrink, warp, or be eaten by termites. Without shingles, gutters, or exterior trim to maintain. It only requires an occasional pressuring washing and painting. There is no roof to replace every 11-12 years.
  • Does the kit contain insulation? What type, and what is the overall R-Value for energy efficiency? Of the companies I contacted, none provide the insulation under the roofline, an added expense, and one company claims the wood shell is about an R-19 (per the department of Energy the R-value of a log home is a R-8).  Our kit’s riser and triangle panels come with 7″ thick Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) insulation already installed producing an overall R-Value of 28. An option is available for 9″ insulation R-36 value. In addition, our exterior triangle and riser panels have no wood ribs interrupting the insulation resulting in continuous insulation. There is no need to install insulation in the American Ingenuity dome exterior walls, saving you drywall costs, labor costs to install the insulation, and less product waste.
  • Does the insulation recommended for the attic contain HBCD, TCPP, CFCs and formaldehyde? The EPS insulation (that Ai uses) contains none of the above chemicals. It is not Styrofoam (that is combustible). The EPS that Ai utilizes has a flame retardant added to it therefore the EPS is noncombustible. The 1/2″ DensArmor drywall is also non-combustible and provides the Code required 15-minute thermal barrier.  If the EPS is exposed to flame it does not produce Cyanide gas.
  • How is the interior of the home shell finished? Do you have to buy, cut, nail or glue drywall or wood (that you have purchased) to the interior of the exterior walls & under the attic? This is very labor intensive and expensive. Our kit’s triangle and riser panels come with ½” thick drywall (Georgia Pacific DensArmor) The drywall has fiberglass mat on both sides with gypsum being moisture resistant and mold resistant. During kit assembly, rain will harm conventional sheet rock causing the gypsum to crumble and the paper matting to mold…rain does not harm the DensArmor. The drywall is adhered to the EPS with wallboard adhesive. There is no cutting and adhering of the drywall needed for the interior of the dome shell. When the kit assembly is finished, drywall joints are taped along the seams. It is then finished like traditional drywall. (To blend the seam areas to the drywall, apply joint compound in a skip trowel effect.)
  • Do they offer in house building plan design? Are the plans fully executable (full detail), and permit worthy? Do they use a knowledgeable licensed engineer, for design calculations and engineer seal if needed? If seal is needed what is the cost (received quote of $1.00 Per sq. ft.)  Can they produce an Energy Report if needed? Is a complete Assembly Manual provided?
    Ai’s cad designer works to create a home layout that is unique, whether using existing stock floor plans or one that is designed to your specifications. Our plans are in full detail (13- 17 sheets), fully executable, and permit worthy. We work with engineers who are knowledgeable about geodesic structures to do specialized load bearing designs and seal our plans (if needed). If your building department requires the building plans to be engineer sealed by an engineer licensed for your state, that seal can be purchased through Ai. The engineer seal fee for one dome on a slab is $600 (regardless of dome size). If your building department requires an Energy Report to issue a building permit, the energy report can be completed by Ai after you provide exterior door and window R values. The Ai fee to complete an Energy Report for one dome on a slab is $190. Our assembly manual covers in detail the construction process of the dome (the manual can be shipped after a kit order is placed.) To view stock floor plan layouts for each size dome, click on Stock Plans.
  • Finally, do other companies back up their product against high winds, Tornadoes and Hurricanes? American Ingenuity offers a warranty up to 225 mile winds,  or an F4 tornado, see details on our web site.  There is no roofing to blow off in high winds or be damaged by falling tree branches or falling trees.
  • We here at American Ingenuity hope when finished comparing our concrete dome home kit against other building kits, you will see that our product is superior, and more cost effective than a log home kit. We look forward to speaking with you and answering any and all of your questions.   American Ingenuity,  321-639-8777 Mon-Fri 9-5 eastern time.

Please scroll down the page to read Ai Dome Engineering Statement.  Domes are three-dimensional structures using stable triangles approximating spheres to create multiple load carrying paths from point of load to point of support. The triangle is the only arrangement of structural members that is stable within itself without requiring additional connections at the intersection points to prevent warping of the geometry.  In other words, apply pressure to one edge of a triangle, and that force is evenly distributed to the other two sides, which then transmit pressure to adjacent triangles. That cascading distribution of pressure is how geodesic domes efficiently distribute stress along the entire structure, much like the shell of an egg. 

For over forty years, American Ingenuity’s dome design has proved itself by withstanding the following acts of nature: Hurricane Hurricane Irma’s 200 mph winds in British Virgin Islands.   Andrew’s 165-212 mph winds, a tornado that rolled up a steel horse trailer and slammed it against the Miami Fl dome, four hurricanes in 2004, Hurricane Katrina, 6.6 earthquake in 2006, sub-zero temperatures and heavy snow loads of the Northwest Territory of Canada, a 30″ in diameter 115 foot tall hickory tree impact, a lighting strike and many other conditions. To view recap of acts of Nature click on Disaster Resistant.

The American Ingenuity dome is designed to be as safe and fireproof as possible, the dome exterior is entirely noncombustible concrete. Fire resistant concrete exterior: to view info about American Ingenuity’s concrete dome versus the Monolithic Concrete Dome and to view a YouTube Video of fire going over Monolithic concrete dome, please click on Fire Resistant Concrete Exterior.

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40′ in diameter dome kit when finished has three bedrooms & two baths on two floors. Small third floor loft under cupola.  Garage dome on the left.

Engineering Statement for American Ingenuity Dome Building Kits.  Geodesic domes are “an extremely efficient use of materials resulting in a maximization of interior spaces while minimizing exterior surface area and therefore creating a materially and energy efficient structure.” However because the dome is not very common, building codes do not cover dome construction. However within all building codes is a section that allows for alternative materials and methods for residential home construction per section 104.11 which covers the American Ingenuity dome.  As a result an engineering statement can be submitted to your building department stating American Ingenuity’s component panels comply with section 104.11.

An engineering statement and your building plans can be sealed by an independent  Professional Engineer (PE) licensed for your state if required by your building department. The fee for the engineer seal on your building plans depends on the number of domes in your plans and the type foundation.  For example the engineer seal fee for one dome built on a monolithic slab is $600; one dome on a basement is $900. This fee is for all size domes.   (Just to clarify these engineer seal fees are low versus Ai utilizing an engineering firm or architectural firm whose fees can be $1,500 to $3,000 to seal a set of residential new home building plans)

American Ingenuity utilizes a Professional Engineer (P.E.) to seal its dome building plans when required by your building department.  The following two engineering statements are provided by Thomas Mixter, P.E., one of the two engineers that Ai utilizes to seal its building plans.  Mr. Mixter has a license to seal residential building plans for 47 USA states.

Engineering Statement One:

To Whom It May Concern:

This letter is submitted as an engineering statement in regards to the panel composition of the geodesic dome buildings manufactured by American Ingenuity, Inc., 8777 Holiday Springs Road, Rockledge Fl.

The panel composition of the geodesic dome buildings are certified by me as being designed in accordance with and conforms to the intent of the 2012 International Residential Building Code, California Building Code and Florida 2014 Building Code 5th Edition as allowed alternative materials and methods for residential construction per section R104.11. Georgia-Pacific’s DensArmor Plus High Performance Interior ½” Gypsum Wallboard/drywall used as the interior face of the panels which meets the thermal barrier requirements of R316.4 as shown by third party testing.

I certify that as the evaluating engineer, I am independent of the manufacturer, American Ingenuity, Inc.

Thomas Mixter

Engineering Statement Two. The above statement was revised for a California Building Department to produce the statement below.

To Whom It May Concern:

I have been designing geodesic style domes with various materials for 19 years.  I have designed domes fabricated with steel, wood, aluminum and concrete with spans up to 390 feet in diameter.  There has never been a failure on any completed dome that I have designed in the several thousand that I have stamped throughout the United States and in many foreign countries.

The geodesic dome by its very design is an extremely efficient use of materials resulting in a maximization of interior spaces while minimizing exterior surface area and therefore creating a materially and energy efficient structure. But this configuration is not very common and therefore not considered by most components of the building codes.

In my opinion the dome referenced above (American Ingenuity Dome for specific California site address) meets the intent of the minimum steel provisions of ACI 318-11 section 10.5 and CBC 104.11 for alternative materials and provides a comparable or higher level of quality, strength, effectiveness, fire resistance, durability and safety.  The inherent strength of the geodesic dome configuration creates a minimalistic combination of materials that is less than the more common building materials and configurations considered by the building codes.  This style of dome has been successfully installed in many locations throughout the United States.

Thomas Mixter PE Licensed for California & 46 other USA states