conditioning | AiDomes

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American Ingenuity suggests that dome owners try to locate their fireplace toward the middle of the dome, rather than along the outside edge which would cause the flue to be very tall on the outside. This puts more of the flue pipe inside the house where it can radiate the heat.  However if needed the fireplace can be installed on an exterior wall.

Ai can custom design the location of a wood stove or fireplace in the dome, after given general desired location, flue pipe or fire place manufacturer and model number and flue pipe outside diameter.  During plans design the use of AutoCad’s three D layering allows for the location of the flue pipe to exit the dome minimum eight inches from the center of a seam.

How is the fireplace flue installed in the Ai dome? Contact Ai for a document that explains how to cut a hole in the panel, affix bolts to the dome, etc.

In the Ai Domes can I use a fireplace to heat them? Yes. Ai’s smaller sized domes (15′, 18′ and 22’) have such small heating and air-conditioning demands; it is practical to utilize a window air-conditioner and a space heater. 

Bear in mind in some states, including Florida, a permanent heat source has to be shown in your building plans and installed within your dome. This means a space heater would not be acceptable. You would need at least a baseboard heater installed to comply with the permanent heat source requirement.  Ask your building department if they have a permanent heat source requirement.

Can even your 45’ dome be heated with a fireplace? Yes if the heat from your fireplace is blown through your duct system to heat each of your rooms.  The following Home Power magazine article discusses how the Collar’s heat their dome with a fireplace.

What do you need when you are going to live in a high desert (7,500 ft. elev.) 40 miles from the nearest town with the winters reaching down 20 degrees below zero? That is where Jim and Mary Collar planned to build their solar retirement home. To extend electric power to their home site would cost $22,000.00 so the Collars decided to produce their power using photovoltaic solar cells with a back up generator. Their primary source of heat would be their fireplace.

In 1995 after researching many alternative-building methods, they found their home, an American Ingenuity 45’’Dome House and 30’’garage. The American Ingenuity dome kit was selected for its strength, energy efficiency and its affordability. They selected sub contractors for the construction of their two domes with Mary being the general contractor. Jim was commuting 40 miles to his job but on evenings and weekends they could work together. They were asked by the state of Utah to participate in “Utahs’1998 Tour of Innovative Homes” which is in conjunction with the American Solar Energy Society’s National Tour of solar Homes.

To view the complete article, click Utah Dome at 7,500′ elevation.


compare american ingenuity’s

dome building kit

to other housing kits

American Ingenuity hopes that you will research other housing kits. When you research other kit contents and other kit pricing, we believe that you will find that Ai’s kit provides more but its price is about one half less.

Why can American Ingenuity’s building kit provide more than other kits? It is far more practical to build a dome with concrete than wood and applying concrete and wall board to blocks of rigid seven inch thick expanded bead polystyrene (E.P.S.) insulation produces a panel that provides the structure, most of the exterior finish, the insulation and the interior shell finish.

Why is the American Ingenuity building kit about one half less in price than other housing kits? The Ai building kit is such a good price mainly because of the component panel design and its materials. The component panel consists of all the R-28 insulation, most of the exterior steel reinforced concrete finish and all the interior shell wall board. In conventional houses you will likely have to purchase roof trusses, plywood, roofing, exterior walls, siding, insulation, and ceiling/exterior wall drywall plus pay for the installation of the trusses, exterior walls, insulation, roofing, siding and wall board.

The following are other reasons why Ai’s kits have a better price than other housing kits.

  • Ai’s business philosophy of each person paying for only what they need results in a lower kit price as American Ingenuity does not have an 800 number, its literature prices are based on their printing costs, only its clients who need an engineering seal pay for one, etc.
  • Ai maintains a lower advertising cost and concentrates more on improving the design than pushing sales.
  • None of our staff is on commission.
  • Due to lower labor costs in Florida, Ai can manufacture in Florida and ship to almost any other location cheaper than it would cost to manufacture there.

What is the advantage of building a house from concrete instead of wood? Building a conventional house out of wood is difficult enough to get all the wood pieces to fit.  It is especially difficult to get all the wood pieces to fit for a geodesic dome due to the angles and dimension changes.

That is why the founder of American Ingenuity, Michael Busick, knew there had to be a better way to build a geodesic dome than with wood. He took the time to invent our component panel and receive a patent on it. Because of his choice of building materials, seven inch thick blocks of E.P.S. insulation, concrete, steel mesh and wall board, American Ingenuity has found its kit to be very forgiving. The E.P.S. insulation can be cut with a knife so some of the insulation can be removed easily if need be. During shipment if some of the insulation is broken, it can be glued back on with expanding foam or pieces of scrap foam can be used to fill the hole. Concrete can fill and cover whatever you need it to.

Can I assemble the panels myself? Ai’s kit was designed for do-it-yourselfers. So not only does American Ingenuity’s clients save money on the building kit they can also save money on the assembly of the panels by erecting the panels themselves. About 40% of our clients assembly their kit, many with no construction experience. The Component Panels, Building Plans and Assembly Manual come marked with numbers and letters. If you do not have the time or do not want to assemble the building kit, you can hire a local contractor to select and coordinate the subs for the typical jobs such as foundation, plumbing, electrical, framing, heating/air conditioning, installation of your locally purchased doors/windows, etc. For the shell assembly, you or your contractor/builder can hire a consultant who will supervise your laborers or  your builder’s subs and get the dome shell kit erected and then the Consultant goes home. To learn more about this service click on Kit Assembly Consultant.

If you hire all the work out, the finished price per square foot on the dome will be about the same as a conventional house in your area. Mainly because all the doors, windows, plumbing, electrical, flooring, kitchen cabinets, kitchen appliances, bathroom fixtures, lighting fixtures, etc. are the same as is needed for a conventional house….but you end up with so much more. The American Ingenuity Dome provides super-energy efficiency, super-strength, no wood in the shell for termites to eat or to burn, no shingles to replace, etc.


  • Superior Structural Strength and Integrity.
  • Energy Efficiency unmatched in homes costing 40% more.
  • Low Exterior Maintenance, all concrete.
  • A design that will not age with time. It will not become antiquated.
  • Fire resistant exterior.
  • Easier for a homeowner to build than conventional construction.
  • Low environmental impact. Less wood in construction. Less energy to maintain.


Concrete Domes:

  • American Ingenuity Domes: prefabricated component panels
  • Monolithic Domes
    • Inflate a fabric airform
    • Spray three inches of polyurethane foam insulation on the underside of the airform
    • Attach steel reinforcing rebar to the foam using horizontal and vertical steel rebar
    • Spray three inches of shotcrete concrete onto the interior surface of the dome covering the rebar

Fiberglass Dome

Wood domes with shingles:

Dome with steel tube frame and canvas cover: