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
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.