Q: What are the advantages of the dome shape?
A: The dome, or partial sphere, is a geometric form that encloses the greatest amount of volume with the least amount of surface area. Historically, massive domes constructed of stones, brick or concrete were common in ancient Greece and Rome. In modern times, Buckminster Fuller was the first to formulate geodesic principles for constructing a spherical surface by triangular subdivision.
During the past decade the home buying public has experienced a substantial increase in the cost of construction, the cost of energy and the cost of borrowing. As a result, there has been increased interest in the use of technology to help address these concerns. In the last decade, many people have discovered that the dome home design offers a viable solution.
As a residential building concept, geodesic dome home construction translates into a highly comfortable and livable home that has a maximum of floor area enclosed by a minimum of materials. These features combine superior strength and cost-effectiveness in a single structure. In short, the building concept of a dome home expands the range of simple and economic housing options.
Manufactured dome homes are constructed using a triangular network to form a spherical shape. This method provides for a free span, self-supporting structure requiring no internal supports such as roof load bearing partition walls. This allows for maximum flexibility of floor plan design and utilization of interior space.
As an architectural form, the dome is one of the strongest structural forms devised and built by man. Domes that were built centuries ago enclose many of the great cathedrals of Europe. Domes are structurally superior to rectilinear enclosures. The partial sphere is an aerodynamic shape that is very stable in high winds and can withstand heavy snow loads. For these reasons, residential domes greatly exceed the structural requirements of the major building codes in the United States.
One of the most exciting architectural environments ever designed, a dome brings its best attributes to your home. It delivers a rewarding living experience filled with warmth, light and open space to those who accept the challenge to build and live in their own dome.
Q: Do you have an engineering statement about your dome panels that can be submitted to my building department?
A: Yes, to view the statement click on Engineering.
American Ingenuity warrants only the structure and is not liable for the loss of personal property, life, or limb. In the event of natural disasters, the occupants should evacuate when advised to do so by local authorities. To read about a load test which proves the strength of the Ai component panel, click on Load Test. Prior to hurricanes, glass doors and windows should be protected with code approved shutters.
The founder of American Ingenuity, Michael Busick, manufactured and built his first concrete dome in 1976. Since then no American Ingenuity Dome has suffered any structural damage due to hurricanes, tornadoes or earthquakes. As a matter of fact, only one of our domes has suffered any damage during this time due to a hurricane, earthquake or tornado. And that was in 1992 during Hurricane Andrew when a tornado slammed a two wide metal horse trailer against a 45′ American Ingenuity Dome. Minor damage occurred, a hairline crack and small chunk of concrete was broken loose. The dome owner caulked the crack and mixed up the special fiber concrete, filled the chunk and painted over the area.
In 2008, Hurricane Ike destroyed the Texas coast. The Seabrook, Texas dome owners slept through the hurricane and had no damage to their dome while their neighbor’s homes suffered damage and the families could not sleep during the howling winds.
In 2005, Hurricane Katrina devastated Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. One Ai dome owner could have moved back into her dome but the neighborhood did not have water or electricity. Another family called and told us that their conventional house was destroyed so they moved in to their dome while it was under construction. The shell kit was assembled but the interior had not finished.
The following is taken directly from the American Ingenuity Conditions of Sale:
- American Ingenuity warrants to the original Buyer that their triangle & riser panels will remain free from structural damage directly attributable to hurricane winds of up to 225 mph and category 4 tornadoes, when completely assembled and installed in accordance with: American Ingenuity’s specifications, Professional building practice, Applicable building codes. This warranty does not apply to a Cupola, link, exterior doors, windows or exterior framed wall areas.
- In the event such structural damage occurs: The Buyer shall notify American Ingenuity promptly of such damage. After receipt of notification, American Ingenuity shall repair or, at American Ingenuity’s option, provide the necessary replacement components at no charge to the Buyer. The buyer shall be responsible for freight charges and/or reasonable travel and living expense of American Ingenuity personnel for travel to the site, if necessary.
- Disassembly and reassemble of any damaged component shall be the sole responsibility of the Buyer.
- This structural warranty shall not apply if the products or components have been subjected to abuse, abnormal wear, corrosive environmental conditions, or improper maintenance by the Buyer.
- This structural warranty shall not apply to any glass, utility domes, or related components, exterior doors, framed walls under entryways and dormers, cupola or link.
- American Ingenuity warrants only the structure and is no way liable for the loss of personal property, life, or limb. In the event of natural disasters, the occupants should evacuate when advised to do so by local authorities.
- In no event shall American Ingenuity’s liability arising out of this agreement or use of the products or components provided by American Ingenuity exceed the amount paid by the buyer. American Ingenuity shall not be liable for any special, incidental, or consequential damages.
The following information came from the Federal Alliance for Safe Homes – FLASH, Inc. is a non-profit, 501(c)3 organization dedicated to promoting disaster safety and property loss mitigation. Their web site is http://www.flash.org
What is a Hurricane? A hurricane is a powerful tropical storm that measures several hundred miles in diameter. Hurricanes have two main parts. The first is the eye of the the hurricane, which is a calm area in the center of the storm. Usually, the eye of a hurricane measures about 20 miles in diameter and has very few clouds. The second part is the wall of clouds that surrounds the calm eye. This is where the hurricane’s strongest winds and heaviest rain occur.
How Hurricanes Form: Hurricanes need warm tropical oceans, moisture and light winds above them. If the right conditions last long enough, a hurricane can produce violent winds, incredible waves, torrential rains and floods. Hurricanes rotate in a counter clockwise direction around an “eye.” Hurricanes have winds of at least 74 miles per hour. There are on average six Atlantic hurricanes each year; over a three-year period, approximately five hurricanes strike the United States coastline from Texas to Maine.
Tropical Depression: A tropical depression is an organized system of clouds and thunderstorms with a defined surface circulation and maximum sustained winds of 38 mph.
Tropical Storm: A tropical storm is an organized system of strong thunderstorms with a defined surface circulation and maximum sustained winds of 39-73 mph.
When a Hurricane Strikes: When hurricanes move onto land, the heavy rain, strong winds and heavy waves can damage buildings, trees and cars. The heavy waves are called a storm surge. Storm surge is very dangerous and a major reason why you MUST stay away from the ocean during a hurricane warning or hurricane.
The Saffir-Sinpson Hurricane Scale is used to rate a hurricane’s present intensity. The scale ranges from one to five and uses sustained wind speed to estimate the potential property damage and flooding from a hurricane landfall.
- Category One — Wind Speed 74-95 mph. Damage: No real damage to building structures. Damage primarily to unanchored mobile homes, shrubbery and trees; also some coast flooding and minor pier damage. Examples: Irene 1999, Allison 1995.
- Category Two — Wind Speed 96-110 mph. Damage: Some roofing material, door and window damage to buildings; considerable damage to vegetation, mobile homes and piers. Coastal and low-lying escape routes flood in two to four hours before arrival of the center of the storm. Small craft in unprotected anchorages break moorings. Examples: Bonnie 1998, Georges 1998 and Gloria 1985.
- Category Three — Wind Speed 111-130 mph. Damage: Some structural damage to small residences and utility buildings with a minor amount of curtain wall failures. Mobile homes are destroyed. Flooding near the coast destroys smaller structures with large structures damaged by floating debris. Terrain continuously lower than five feet above sea level may be flooded inland eight miles or more. Examples: Keith 2000, Fran 1996, Opal 1995, Alicia 1983 and Betsy 1965.
- Category Four — Wind Speed 131-155 mph. Damage: More extensive curtain wall failures with some complete roof structure failure on small residences; major erosion of beaches. Major damage to lower floors of structures near the shore. Terrain continuously lower than ten feet above seal level may be flooded requiring massive evacuation of residential areas as far as six miles. Examples: Katrina 2005?Andrew 1992, Hugo 1989, Donna 1960.
- Category Five — Wind Speed 155 ++++ Damage: Complete roof failure on many residences and industrial buildings. Some complete building failures with small utility buildings blown over or away. Major damage to lower floors of all structures located 15 feet above seal level and within 500 yards of the shoreline. Massive evacuation of residential areas on low ground within five to ten miles of the shoreline may be required. Examples: Mitch and Gilbert in 1988.
American Ingenuity Dome went through Hurricane Andrew & Tornado with no structural damage.
Tornado picked up two wide steel horse trailer & slammed it against the dome. Only damage was hairline crack & small chunk of concrete missing. If the trailer had impelled conventional house, typically the trailer would cause a hole in the house to let wind in to lift the roof off the house. The Ai dome stood strong.
What is a Tornado? Tornadoes are the most sudden, unpredictable and violent storms on earth. Tornadoes aren’t like hurricanes that are born over open waters and can take days to reach land. Tornadoes are spawned from thunderstorms that form when warm humid air meets a mass of cool, dry air. Only one in a hundred thunderstorms produce a tornado. They can happen quickly and often stay on the ground for only a few minutes. While Florida gets the most tornadoes of any state, a strip of land that extends from northeast Texas through Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska and Missouri has more tornadoes than any other place in the United States. That area is called “Tornado Alley.”
The dangers of tornadoes: During the last century, more than 10,000 Americans died in tornadoes. About 1,000 tornadoes are recorded each year in the U.S. — over 10 times more than in any other country. Tornadoes can happen in any state, at any time — on the plains, in cities or forests, early in the morning or late in the evening. They can start in an empty field, or in a busy city, picking up homes, cars and businesses, leaving nothing but destruction in their path.
Ranking a Tornadoes Strength
The Fujita Scale: The Fujita Scale is used to measure tornado wind speeds and damage.
- F0 Gale Tornado: Light damage, winds less than 72 mph. Some damage to chimneys, branches broken off trees, shallow-rooted trees uprooted, signboards damaged.
- F1 Moderate Tornado: Moderate damage, winds 73-112 mph. Surface peeled off roofs, mobile homes pushed off foundations or overturned, moving autos blown off road.
- F2 Significant Tornado: Considerable damage, winds 113-157 mph. Roofs torn off frame houses, mobile homes demolished, large trees snapped or uprooted, light objects become missiles.
- F3 Severe Tornado: Severe Damage, winds 158-206 mph. Roofs and some walls torn off well-constructed houses, trains overturned, most trees uprooted, heavy cars lifted off the ground and thrown.
- F4 Devastating Tornado: Devastating damage, winds 207-260 mph. Well-constructed houses leveled, structures with weak foundations blown-off some distance, cars thrown.
- F5 Incredible Tornado: Incredible damage, wind 261-318 mph. Strong frame houses lifted off foundations and swept away, automobile-sized missiles fly through the air more than 100 yards, trees debarked.