Advantages – Energy Efficiency – Heating | AiDomes

Colorado 40′ w’ 34′ Aidomes will withstand Colorado’s 90 lb psf snow load and 110 mph winds.

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This dome home was owner built. The exterior is finished with interior finishing occurring as we post this article. As we receive interior finishing pictures we will update this gallery.

The home is three bedroom 2 baths with half bath in the link. The 40′ dome has 1,140 sq.ft. on the first floor and 567 on the second floor for a total of 1,707 sq.ft. The link has 151 sq.ft. The 34′ garage dome is 827 sq.ft. on the first floor with a possible future second floor of 428 for a total sq.ft. of 1,255. The master bedroom and master bath are on the first floor with two bedrooms and bath on the second floor.

Due to the three foot frost line, a three foot stem wall was built from Fox Block to get the footer below the frost line.


Kaufman garage house 1536

Kaufman 45′ dome home linked to 34′ garage dome in Forest Ranch California

Utilizes Heat Recovery Ventilator & Geothermal Energy for Heating & Cooling

The following article was taken from the Summer 2009 Butte Environmental Council’s (BEC) News.   The geodesic dome home featured was built from American Ingenuity dome building kits.  BEC is a not-for-profit public benefit corporation.  Founded in 1975, BEC protects the land, air, and water of Butte County California through advocacy, environmental education, and information and referral services.

ChicoEco Highlights a Geodesic

By Nani Teves

Hidden among the trees in the mountain community of Forest Ranch is the most amazing example of living more responsibly by combining conservation and cutting edge.  Ron Kaufman and Marti Leicester spent four years planning and 14 months building their geothermally heated and cooled, concrete geodesic dome home, which, when all was said and done was approximately the same cost as building a traditional house of the same size.

A geodesic dome looks like the top half of a soccer ball, and theirs is two domes connected by a 12 ft length.  They used concrete as a building material because it is low maintenance, highly insulated, insect resistant, and most importantly for their area – fire resistant.  They built to optimize passive solar potential usinged double pane windows.

Throughout the house, renewable and reused building materials were used including the floor, which is made from Marmoleum, a durable linoleum made from linseed oil, jute and rosin.  For carpeted areas, 1ft by 2ft squares were used, making it possible to replace only damage areas.  Framing studs were reused to build the loft, the kitchen cabinets are bamboo and the stairs, window seats and baseboards are all make from a material called Evergrain, which consists of 50% HDPE (typically recycled milk bottles) and 50% wood fibers (typically old pallets).

One of the most fascinating things about this house is that it uses geothermal energy for heating and cooling.  The system was expensive but they wanted to push the technology forward by experimenting.  How the system works is heat is collected from the dome interior and then pumped into the ground during cooling, and reversed during heating.  They hired an out of state company (no one was available locally or even in California) to drill four 180ft deep holes.  Crystal Air in Weaverville installed the system by placing tubing surrounded by Bentonite in the holes.  A two-way pump is run using energy from PG&E and a back-up generator, and the extra heat from this system is used to preheat the water for their on-demand tankless water heater.

Another unique feature they included in the design is a Heat Recovery Ventilator (HRV) System.  The HRV brings in fresh air and exhausts stale air, while transferring a significant portion of the heat in the stale air to the incoming fresh air.  It also maintains a slightly positive air pressure in the dome so that pollen and dust are not drawn in through open doors and windows.

From the jars reused to hold screws, to the dome itself, this house is an example of how fun it can be to research, experiment and live outside the box.


Ai is sometimes asked – Which is more efficient a Heat Recovery Ventilator or Dehumidifiers to control moisture inside the dome?

One of American Ingenuity’s Missouri Dome Owners, Mr. Nicks, sent us the following email. “I was having trouble with winter humidity in my dome until this February 2006 when I purchased and installed a Heat Recovery Ventilator (HRV). Air quality is noticeable fresher and relative humidity is under control. The HRV has eliminated the need to run dehumidifiers during the winter for me. Additionally, small dehumidifiers are electricity hogs (costing more to operate than central air in the summer).


My home does have high cfm fans in all bathrooms and kitchen vent fans as well. I tied my bathroom vents to the HRV which has a humidistat that kicks it into high gear when the bath humidity hits it.


My dome is still a work in progress, but I love being the first and only one around here to “think outside the rectangle” in home design. The spaces in a dome have amazing character….anyway just wanted to share an idea that has helped me defeat the humidity in my dome.”


Ai asked him where and how did he install is Heat Recovery Ventilator?

He replied, “I installed the HRV in my utility room with an insulated intake duct through a joist space. The unit I installed was manufactured by Lifebreath (model 200 max). Depending on which standard is used it may be slightly undersized, but works fine. Three of my bathroom vent fans had previously come together in the utility room to exit through a single 6” vent (I had a box with dampers to prevent backflow). I connected the HRV to those three bath vents which allowed me to pull air from three different floors of my dome.


The HRV I installed has a humidistat in its exhaust air stream (household intake). When someone is taking a shower that humidity causes the HRV humidistat to switch the fan to high speed. I have mine set on low speed continuous as a default.”

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

A: Yes. The electric exhaust vents are installed in a vertical wall near the top of the dome, in top center of the dome, in bathrooms and above stove/microwave to exhaust water vapor (from laundry, cooking, showering, etc.)  In interior walls, use galvanized metal ducting that extends down the interior wall, through the floor joist and vents out under an entryway.  And in some areas install a heat recovery ventilator or energy recovery ventilator to remove moisture.



One of American Ingenuity’s Pennsylvania Dome Owners Roger & Jeanne Charles installed radiant floor heating with Geothermal Water Furnace Synergy 3D heating and cooling system in their basement and dome first floor.   To view pictures of their dome & learn more about the system,  please click on Charles Dome

This a quote from them and below are two pictures.

“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” 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.”

Charles exterior



Charles living pic1

Colorado Geothermal Company.   American Ingenuity has learned of a respected Geothermal Company in Colorado named Major Heating.  Their main office is in Wheat Ridge 303-424-1622  and outlet in Steamboat 970-870-0983.

U.S. Dept of Energy,  Renewable Energy

The following came directly from the U.S. Dept of Energy web site:

Types of Radiant Floor Heating

    • There are three types of radiant floor heat: radiant air floors (air is the heat carrying medium); electric radiant floors; and hot water (hydronic) radiant floors. All three types can be further subdivided by the type of installation: those that make use of the large thermal mass of a concrete slab floor or lightweight concrete over a wooden subfloor (these are called “wet” installations); and those in which the installer “sandwiches” the radiant floor tubing between two layers of plywood or attaches the tubing under the finished or subfloor (dry installations).
  • Because air cannot hold large amounts of heat, radiant air floors are not cost-effective in residential applications, and are seldom installed.
  • Electric radiant floors are usually only cost-effective if your electric utility company offers time-of-use rates. Time-of-use rates allow you to “charge” the concrete floor with heat during off-peak hours (approximately 9 p.m. to 6 am). If the floor’s thermal mass is large enough, the heat stored in it will keep the house comfortable for eight to ten hours, without any further electrical input. This saves a considerable number of energy dollars compared to heating at peak electric rates during the day.
  • Hydronic (liquid) systems are the most popular and cost-effective systems for heating-dominated climates. They have been in extensive use in Europe for decades. Hydronic radiant floor systems pump heated water from a boiler through tubing laid in a pattern underneath the floor. The temperature in each room is controlled by regulating the flow of hot water through each tubing loop. This is done by a system of zoning valves or pumps and thermostats.


Provides an extensive listing of questions and answers relating to radiant floor heating.


The following came directly from their web site:

    • At Uponor Wirsbo we are committed to providing exceptional Life, Safety and Comfort Systems. Our quality Radiant Systems can deliver comfort and efficiency beyond compare.  Aquasafe is a clean, quiet and healthy plumbing system for your home and Aquasafe combines our plumbing system with fire sprinklers giving you fire protection and peace of mind.
  • Free Advice on Radiant Floor Heating Free advice on buying and repairing radiant floor heating from leading authority and Home and Garden TV personality, Don Vandervort.



Heating System

Dan & Rebecca Willis in Oregon purchased an American Ingenuity 48′ dome in March 2004. They installed a hydronic floor and heating system.


To see photographs of this system click on Hydronic Floor Heating System

Pouring the Foundation

Basic Layout

Heating Wood Solar Confirmation

Joist Layout



Utility Layout

Williams Monthly


Radiant Floor Order
Solar Tube Order
  • 2 – 7/8″ XL PEX 200ft coil
  • 4 – 7/8″ XL PEX 400ft coil
  • 150 – Heat Distr Fins 8×16″ aluminum sheets
  • 1 – Plate Forming Tool
  • 1 – 500 sq/ft roll aluminum reflective material
  • 1 – 4 loop manifold with supply side ball valves
  • 4 – Adaptor 3/4″ copper to 7/8″ XL PEX tubing
  • 2 – Coupling 7/8″ XL PEX to 7/8″ XL PEX coupling
  • 8 – Nylon Ties 100pk
  • 1 – Two Zone Control Kit SP-82 Relay and 2 thermostats
  • 1 – Low Volume Stainless Pump
  • 1 – Medium-high Volume Stainless Pump
  • 1 – 1″ Check Valve
  • 1 – Two Zone Manifold for stainless pumps
  • 1 – Seido 5-16 16 Tube Convex Absorber
  • 1 – Roof Mounting Kit
  • 1 – Gold Line GL-30 TD-GL & 2 temp sensors
  • 1 – 3/4″ Solar heat exchanger – stainless pump w/flanges – 2 3/4″ ball valves, 4 3/4″ female adapters
  • 1 – Solar EPK 3/4″ expansion & purge kit
  • 1 – 1″ mixing valve high volume

Williams Area

  • Nov Dec Jan Feb – Coldest Months – Wood Boiler
  • Jul Aug – Hottest Months – Solar Tubes
  • Mar Apr May June Sept Oct – Moderate Months – Solar Tube

Images of Parts Inventory