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Dome Consultant link from Video

How Does The American Ingenuity Geodesic Dome COMPARE TO THE MONOLITHIC DOME?

What is the outside of the Aidome consist of versus the monolithic dome exterior?  The exterior of the Aidome is fire resistant concrete reinforced with galvanized steel mesh that will not burn.  The standard exterior of the monolithic dome is an air form that can be damaged by fire.  Per their web site as of April 2018, “The outside cover fabric can be damaged by fire. It can be covered using coatings, but if you are building in a high fire area, we recommend that the exterior of the dome get a 2” coat of concrete as well.”  This means after you have paid for “three inches of polyurethane foam to be sprayed on the underside of the airform and installed a  grid of steel rebar to the foam and sprayed Shotcrete that ranges from 4 inches at the top to 8 inches at the base over the rebar” you then spray 2″ of additional concrete over the exterior fabric to make the exterior of the monolithic dome fire resistant.

Are Aidomes as sturdy as Monolithic domes? Yes, our domes are as sturdy as Monolithic domes and Ai’s has a rigid noncombustible  concrete exterior vs Monolithic Dome has an outer membrane.   To view video of monolithic dome and a fire and info about Ai dome’s fire resistant concrete exterior, click on Ai Concrete Exterior.  The Aidome exterior comes with a 225 mph wind and EF4 Tornado Warranty.  One of Aidomes withstood the impact of a 30″ in diameter hickory tree impact with no damage.  An Aidome withstood Hurricane Andrew and a tornado at the same time with no structural damage – only a hairline crack and small piece of concrete broken when the tornado slammed a two wide steel horse trailer on the dome.  To view  strength info about Aidomes, click on Acts of Nature.   Why did Ai stop guniting concrete on to the exterior of its dome – too labor intensive and a waste of concrete.

The Ai dome exterior walls cost 50% to 100% less than a Monolithic dome exterior.  Although you have not asked, Aidomes are equally if not more energy efficient. Ai’s dome kit contains seven inch thick insulation which is comparable to eleven inches of fiberglass batting.

The assembly of the monolithic dome requires expensive concrete spraying equipment and is not a do-it-yourself project. The American Ingenuity Dome Kits were specifically designed for the owner builder. All of the panels are premarked with numbers and letters which are described in the Assembly Manual and on the Nomenclature Blueprint in the Building Plans.  Ai’s dome kits can be assembled using a mortar mixer, conventional cranes, man lift or hoisting mechanisms with no need to spray concrete over the entire dome surface. The Ai component panels already have 80% of the exterior prefinished concrete reinforced with galvanized steel mesh and fibers on the exterior. The Aidome kit requires less on site concrete work because it is only the seam areas between the component panels and the entryways and dormers which require concreting. The seam area between the panels is about 5” wide and 3” deep with the on site seam concrete application averaging two inches thick.  To view info about being an owner builder, click on DIY.

In 1976 American Ingenuity built its first geodesic dome utilizing reinforced concrete over expanded bead polystyrene (E.P.S.) insulation. Road mesh was hand tied onto propped up E.P.S. panels, the concrete was then gunited or pumped over the propped up E.P.S. insulation. Each time Ai built a dome this way, we knew there had to be a better way resulting in a prefabricated component panel being invented and receiving a patent.  Countless designs and manufacturing construction techniques were analyzed in the early years as Ai developed a new generation in dome housing. Ai has outgrown two previous models as we progressed to a five dome office and factory complex.

Spraying concrete on a structure 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 Ai geodesic 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 finish the concrete as it is curing. Also a continuous sprayed concrete structure will cause the concrete to cure all at once.  Preconcreted panels allow for the panel concrete to cure prior to the seam concrete being applied.  For those homeowners who do not want to assemble the American Ingenuity dome kit themselves, the homeowner can hire a local builder who hires the independent kit assembly consultant to supervise the builder’s workers during the kit assembly.  To view our web site info about the Specialist/Consultant, please click on Specialist.


Generally speaking, in a home, thermal mass is the amount of stuff inside the house that retains heat. Although thermal mass accounts for the fact that some things have a greater “thermal capacity” to store heat than others, to understand its effect you can think of it as the total weight of everything contained in the house. With more thermal mass (heavy stuff) inside your house more heat will have to be added or removed to change the temperature. Expressed another way, if heat is not being added the temperature will be slower to change. Does Thermal Mass affect the energy efficiency of the house? NO.  As heat in the house is lost through walls, windows etc, the temperature drops.

The thermal mass releases (loans) heat into the house slowing down the temperature change. When the heating system turns on it must replace heat lost to the outside and it must also replace (pay back) the heat given off by the thermal mass. There is no long-term gain or loss; all of the heat given off by the thermal mass must be replaced. The amount of heat required to maintain the temperature inside a house is solely dependent on the amount of heat that escapes to the outside. All houses have walls, floors, and usually fixtures, appliances and stuff that will retain heat. A large amount of thermal mass can cause long on/off cycles of the heating system when shorter cycles would stir the air more frequently providing more comfort and uniform temperatures inside.

The recent generation of thermostats are a proven money saver by lowering the inside temperature (which lowers the heat loss to the outside) during those hours you are away at work, etc.  A large thermal mass makes it much harder to change the temperature; therefore reducing the savings.

Why is the Ai dome so energy efficient?  

Ai’s kit has standard 7″ thick EPS R28 insulation. The cost to build one of our kits runs about the same to build as a traditional home but our home has insulation comparable to 11” of fiberglass batting!  (using the 7″ EPS).  A traditional house would require 2×10 to come close to our dome….but it would have wood interrupting the insulation.  The thick insulation, reduced exterior surface area (30% less surface area than conventional shaped home) and uninterrupted insulation causes low cooling and low heating bills.

As far as functioning in cold, snowy environment, American Ingenuity domes have been built in such cold climates as Canada, at 7,500 feet elevation in Utah, 3,400 feet elevation in North Carolina, South Dakota, Minnesota, Montana, Wisconsin, Vermont, New York and all cold states in the USA except for New Hampshire, Rhode Island and North Dakota.  It is easier to heat an Ai dome that to cool one. To heat the furnace does not need to overcome heat generated from sunlight, clothes dryer, dish washer, body heat, light fixtures.

Below are examples of heating and cooling info on Aidomes.

  1. To view Glenda’s 1,075 sq. ft. dome home’s electric bill please view 34′ Dome Home Energy Recap   (total electric house with solar hot water panel – has actual copies of the electric bills).  I can cool my 1,075 sq.ft house for less than $27 a month in the hot Florida summer months.  (76 degrees when home and 79 degrees when not). As we discussed the Ai dome is even easier to heat than to cool.  To Heat you do not have to overcome sunlight, heat generated by the clothes dryer, dishwasher, computer, etc. This generated heat is utilized.
  2. Ai’s dome offices of 3,700 sq.ft. can be cooled for less than $85 a month (you can view actual electric bills at this link) in the hot Florida summer months to 74 degrees during the day Mon-Sat and 77 degrees at night and on Sunday.
  3. One of our domes built in South Carolina received the Energy Star  It has geothermal pipes.  Home Energy Partners certified his home used 61% less energy than in comparably-size housing.   The dome owner installed a geothermal cooling & heating system. To view pictures & info about his geothermal system, click on System.  Klaus’s total monthly average energy bill was $49. This includes the electricity and propane costs for his entire 1,600 sq.ft. – 40 ft. dome.
  4. Here is a quote from the Charles family about their PA 40 dome on full basement with Geothermal and radiant floor heating:  Mr. & Mrs. Charles: ““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.”
  5. Jim Collar’s Utah Ai concrete dome buildings (45 linked to a 30’) operate off the grid by using photovoltaics’, masonry heater fireplace and passive solar water tubes. To learn more, click on  Off The Grid.
  6. Per Eric Brindley, “Our 2,600 sq.ft. 48’ dome located in Edgewater Florida is very efficient and strong. It has been hit by several hurricanes and tropical storms with no damage at all. My neighbor’s conventional house was severely damaged by the storms. I keep the house at 72 degrees in the summer and warmer in winter. My electric bill is around $100 a month with no water/sewer bill because I’m on well/septic.”
  7. If a person does not need to air condition their home, then if window dormers or windows within entryways are placed opposite each other cross ventilation can occur and cool the dome.  Our factory has three Ai domes which are not air conditioned.  In the heat of the Florida summers, you can walk in the domes and they are cooler than the outside air.  Floor fans circulate the air.  The super insulated dome is cooler inside with no air conditioning than a conventional house.
  8. Glenda owned a 34’ dome built at 3,400 feet elevation that could reach -8 degrees in the winter. Its south facing high profile entryway allowed sunlight to come in the dome.  When we wanted to carry wood and burn the fireplace, the fireplace and the sunlight from the entryway was enough to heat the dome.  At night we utilized a kerosene feed heater set at 68 degrees and the fire place for heat. During the winter we would use around 100 gallons of kerosene.
  9. Yes a fireplace can be installed in the dome.  Just let us know about where you want it located and our CAD department with use its 3D elevation view to locate the flue pipe’s exit from the dome.  It needs to be 8” from the center of a seam. On site a hole can be cut in the prefab panel.  Instructions on how to cut the hole are in the Assembly Manual.

This web site page contains info on American Ingenuity’s Stock, Modified, Custom Plans

utilized to build an Energy Efficient, Super-Strong concrete dome home.

Interior kitchen Kaufman 1543

If your family does not find a stock floor plan to fit your lifestyle,

the American Ingenuity Design Team can design a custom plan

based on your sketches and notes. 

Above is a kitchen that was custom designed in a 45′ dome.

Besides manufacturing geodesic dome building kits, American Ingenuity (Ai) designs residential or commercial building plans that are used to obtain a building permit.  To view stock floor plan layouts for ten different size domes from one bedroom/one bath to four bedroom/three bath home, please click on Tiny Homes and  Larger Dome Stock PlansOnce you are on the page, scroll down to find the plan’s hyperlinks to click on. If you do not see a stock plan that fits your needs, Ai has flexible plans which can be modified or customized to fit your life style.

Currently all stock, modified and custom building plans are discounted. To view plan’s pricing, click on Plans Discount and scroll down the page to view the Plan’s Regular and Sale Pricing.

This file contains several pages of information, so please scroll down this page to view the info.


One of the reasons American Ingenuity has been in business since 1976 and is very reputable, is that we try hard to treat all our customers the same and produce a quality dome home kit. Our business philosophy and product is unique to the housing industry. Ai believes that each person should pay for only what they need. As a result, Ai’s dome kit’s pricing is usually one third to one-half less than other housing kits. Click on Tiny Home Kit Prices and Larger Dome Kit Sale Pricing to learn more.

 What causes American Ingenuity’s dome building kit to be so reasonable in price?

  • Each client pays for their Building Plans, engineer seal, structural calculations, energy report instead of Ai burdening the price of these increasing the price of the Building Kit.
  • None of Ai’s staff is on commission.
  • Unique panel contents allows for reduced manufacturing waste.
  • About 50% of Ai’s clients do not need engineer sealed building plans or structural calculations or an Energy Report in order to obtain a building permit. As a result these items are purchased separately from Ai.
  • Each person who wants to research American Ingenuity’s building kit further can do so by purchasing the Planning Kit which includes DVD.  If Ai gave out a Planning Kit and DVD to 100 – 200 people a month, that cost would be paid by the Building Kit buyer.  If you want samples of stock plans, mailed to you call Ai at 321-639-8777 for printing costs and mailing costs.
  • To view the DVD for free click on DVD.  To view free info, click on Free Info. To view photo gallery showing dome kit assembly, please click on Kit Assembly.

Why do I need entryways and dormers to install windows and doors? At specific locations around the perimeter of the dome, triangles and riser panels can be left out to provide openings where you or your framer installs your locally purchased doors and windows. To compensate for the triangle and riser panels being left out, these “structural awnings” – entryways, dormers, cupola and link  have to be installed.  The following diagram identifies possible locations of entryways and dormers.

American Ingenuity Domes designed with flexibility, allows you to create your own personal home. Standard size doors & windows are purchased locally and installed onsite within the entryways and dormers using locally purchased materials. * For additional light, max out the second floor window dormers & door dormers. Install a tall window instead of a door within a door dormer. Or a solar tube can be installed onsite within a panel. (Do not cut within 8” of a seam).



At no cost to you and with no obligation to us, Ai can call your building department:  show them our web site, discuss the Ai panel design and inquire what is required to issue a building permit. For us to do this, please give us your property address or property tax ID number, building department name and phone number.

Q: Does American Ingenuity have an engineering statement about your prefabricated dome panels that can be submitted to my building department?

A:  Yes, to view the statement click on Engineering.

What is included in American Ingenuity’s Residential Dome Building Plans? American Ingenuity’s Building Plans are new and improved. The building plans consist of two sets of blueprints that include the basic drawings for the dome that are needed when acquiring a building permit with dome built on concrete slab. Or Ai will design custom foundations; i.e. basement, columns with concrete platform, pilings, stem wall, etc.

Plus Ai emails your building plans pdfs to you so that you can have additional sets plotted locally. The plans are composed using the AUTOCAD program on our computer aided drafting system as stock plans, or Ai can modify a stock plan or design a custom plan from your sketches for a reasonable fee.

Our Building Plans contain all of the typical drawings and details. Which blueprints are included in your plans is based on the type of entryways, dormers and foundation that are designed in your plans. Some of the Blueprint names are:

  • Cover Sheet
    • Legend Sheet
    • First Floor Plan
    • Second Floor Plan
    • Dome Panel Nomenclature
    • Exterior Elevations
    • 1st Floor Electrical Plan (shows location of electrical outlets, lighting fixtures, ceiling fans, smoke detectors)
    • 2nd Floor Electrical Plan  (shows location of electrical outlets, lighting fixtures, ceiling fans, smoke detectors)
    • Foundation Plan
    • Foundation Details
    • 2nd Floor Framing Plan
    • Typical Dome Section
    • Standard Entryway Details
    • High Profile Entryway Details
    • 1st Floor Window Dormer & Door Dormer Details
    • 2nd Floor Dormer Details
    • Stair Details

Q: What is the standard foundation included with the stock plans?

A: Concrete slab. For Ai to design a basement or concrete columns or stem wall or pilings, etc. an engineer fee is added to the Plans Quote to cover the cost for a structural engineer to calculate the load of the dome and the load of the two floors within the dome and give joist/edge beam size/spacing and foundation design to our CAD department to incorporate within the plans. Please call for engineer pricing.

Some of the pages in the Building Plans are a 3-D elevation and a 3-D perspective view. The floor plan sheets have interior walls dimensioned.  The concrete slab foundation plan has dimensions and angles.  The wood joist/edge beams are dimensioned. These plans include all the structural drawings, show the placement of the electrical outlets, light fixtures, plumbing fixtures; however, they do not have the electrical, plumbing, HVAC layouts. We have found if the layouts are included, then the inspectors require the subcontractors to follow the diagrams when usually the subs like to design their own layouts.

 How do I view American Ingenuity’s Residential stock floor plans? There are three ways:

  • Or click on PDF and view and print out Ai’s Stock Floor Plans for each size dome at no cost.
    • If you want the stock plans mailed, call Ai (321-639-8777) for printing costs and mailing costs.
    • Or purchase the stock plan layout for some of the plans in DXF format if you would like to manipulate and edit the stock plans to fit your desires.

What diameter domes do you have stock plans for: 15′, 18′ 22′, 27’, 30’, 34′, 36′, 40’, 45’ and 48’ domes. After the listing of 48′ dome plans is a listing of the garage dome plans for the 22’, 27,’ 30’, and 34’. 

What do Ai’s Building Plans cost? To view Plans Pricing, click on Discount & then scroll down the page to see the chart for regular and sale pricing on plans. Just to clarify, because 50% of our clients building departments do not require an engineer seal or Energy Report to obtain a building permit, Ai;s Plans pricing does not include the cost for an engineer seal or the cost for Energy Report. Click on Plans FAQ to learn more. Please call our office at 321-639-8777 for current engineer seal and Energy Report pricing.

Prior to purchasing Building Plans, please assure you have answers to the following questions:

  • Does your land’s deed have any restrictions for alternative housing or domes?
  • Inquire whether there is a Home Owners’ Association governing your land, if there is check with them and make sure a dome can be built.
  • You can ask your building department, “What are the requirements for a residential building permit? Are there any additional requirements to build a geodesic dome? Is an Architect’s or Engineer’s seal required on the plans?”
  • Is your financing secured?

To learn more click on Planning Process.

Can Ai modify any of the stock plans?  To view info to assist in custom plan design, click on these four links: Getting Started, Floor Planner Guidelines, Revising Stock Plans and Things to Consider.  

Yes. Modifying a stock plan that is close to your dream dome allows you to adapt one of our stock plans to meet your needs. While it does incur a charge, it is much less than the expenditure of custom design work. Any of the Stock Plans may be modified to provide for such structural changes as:

  • Building a Mirror image.
  • Rearranging rooms, moving walls, or adding closets.
  • If the stair location is the same on both floors – combining the first floor from one plan with the second floor of another.
  • Adding or subtracting entryways, door and window dormers, or balconies.
  • Adding bathrooms.
  • Fortifying a floor structure to accommodate special furnishings such as a waterbed, hot tub, or weight room.

What is the easiest way to determine room dimensions based on square footage?

Once you narrow down your floor plan selection to one or two plans, the CAD department will review the layout and add a to-scale ruler and to-scale furniture around the perimeter.  This way when the plan is printed out the ruler, furniture and plan are the same scale. Cut out the ruler and measure length and width of rooms to see if the room sizes fit your needs.  If not make a list of changes or mark of the plan to show desired changes and email the list and changes to Contact Us. Please include your phone number.  Due to spam filters Ai may not receive your email, if you email and do not receive a reply in one to two days, please call us at 321-639-8777.

On each stock plan, Ai designs a to scale ruler.  Cut this ruler out and use it to measure the length and width of the rooms. Compare the dome room sizes to the room sizes in your current home. You know whether you want the rooms larger or smaller than the current home you are in now. The room sizes will determine what size dome will fit your needs. The scale is 1/10″ equals one foot. To learn more click on Square Footages

Can American Ingenuity provide custom design building plans based on my sketches? 

Yes. What Ai has found works best is for you to sketch out your ideas on a stock plan or on the floor planner pages located after the stock plans in each dome diameter grouping in our web site file, Geodesic Dome Home Plans. Email the sketch and your notes by clicking on Contact Us  or fax them to us at 321-639-8778.  After your email or fax, please call our office at 321-639-8777 to assure that Ai received your email or fax and that all your pages were legible.  Please include your name, address, telephone number and best time(s) to contact you. 

One of our CAD staff will:  

  • review your sketch
  • possibly call you with questions
  • email your plan’s price quote to you

Once we receive payment in full for the Building Plans, engineer seal, energy report, etc and receive acceptance of the Plans Quote, Ai schedules your plans for production. 

How long does it take to receive the stock plans?

It can take about two to four weeks depending on the time of the year. Ai does not keep the stock plans printed out for a couple of reasons:  

  1. Ai is constantly making improvements to the building plans. So before we print out a stock plan, we review the plan and make all the improvements.
  2. Blueprints change color over time…Ai wants your prints to be fresh and bright.

How long does it take to receive modified or custom designed plans?

Stock plans are delivered in 2 to 4 weeks.  Allow at least 5 weeks for modified plans and 10 weeks for custom plans.  Once we start the design of your plans, Ai will email  up to six proofs that you review and make changes on and email them back to us. After you approve the final draft, Ai designs your structural blue prints and completes your building plans.  

How do I send my drawings or sketches & descriptions to American Ingenuity?

You can email them if they are in the following format: 

  • pdf
  • or if you are using AutoCAD we can accept the documents in dxf format or dwg format. Please save the file in CAD 2013 or older version.

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