conventional | AiDomes

Stairs in dome.  Free form, L shaped, Spiral. Below is Photo Gallery showing various ways that stairs are built within the American Ingenuity dome. Stairs can be free form as shown in the Connecticut dome, built in with storage underneath, spiral stairs, welded contemporary stairs to traditional oak stairs. If a cupola is installed at the top center of the 40′ or 45′ or 48′ in diameter domes then a small loft above the second floor is possible. Access the loft with a drop down ladder or a ships ladder.

(Click left/right arrows to change picture)

The following is a recap of American Ingenuity Domes and Acts of Nature like hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, tree impact, snow load and hail.  Since 1976,  American Ingenuity’s dome design and prefabricated concrete panel has proved itself by withstanding the following acts of nature:  Hurricane Irma’s 200 mph winds, Hurricane Maria’s 185 mph winds,  Hurricane Andrew’s 165-212 mph winds, a tornado that rolled up a steel horse trailer and slammed it against the Miami Florida dome, four hurricanes in 2004, Hurricane Katrina, 6.6 earthquake in 2006, sub-zero temperatures and heavy snow loads of the Northwest Territory of Canada, a 30″ in diameter 115 foot tall hickory tree impact, a lighting strike, Colorado hail storm and many other conditions.  To view engineering statement that Ai domes comply with 2009, 2012 & 2015 International Building Code, California Building Code and 2014 Florida Building Code 5th Edition, please click on Strong Concrete Home.  The dome kit when assembled comes with a 225 mph and F4 Tornado warranty. This warranty does not apply to a cupola, link, exterior doors, windows or exterior framed wall areas.

To view an article which covers why build a geodesic dome for your new home that summarizes the major info about the Aidome building system and component panel, please click on Why Build a Geodesic Dome.

34′ Aidome in British Virgin Islands built in 2007

withstood Hurricane Irma’s 200 mph winds & Hurricane Maria with no damage. 




withstood Two Category Five Hurricanes with no damage
Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Maria’s 185 mph winds
An Aidome owner in St Croix, US Virgin Islands, has emailed, called and sent pictures of their 34’ Aidome with 1,100 sq.ft. – two bedrooms & two baths.  Liz wrote: “I live in an Aidome on St Croix, USVI and in September was hit by not one, but 2 horrific hurricanes, Irma and Maria.  Let me tell you I was so happy to be in a dome with no roof to lift.  Maria hit St Croix with 185 MPH winds!!   The only damage at all was to our solar whole house fan on top of house.” 
She also called and told us: “Within 12 days we went through two category 5 hurricanes (Irma and Maria) where the area was destroyed.  The hurricanes took out our hospitals, airports and schools.  The Aidome stood strong and suffered no damage with only the solar fan broken.   Also she said they had mini tornadoes which blew their storage sheds apart.   Her husband is a Purple Heart Vietnam War Veteran who said the area looked like a war zone.   Click on St Croix  to view a photos of this dome. 


45′ Elevated Aidome in Florida Keys 

withstood 2017 Hurricane Irma with no damage

Category 4 Hurricane Irma made landfall in the Florida Keys and destroyed an estimated 50 percent of homes on the islands.


Exterior hurricane Jeanne Dumpster Domes

Domes built in 2000 suffered no damage from Hurricane Frances & Hurricane Jeanne

34′ (two bedroom and two bathroom) connected to a 22′ one car garage dome. A conventional house across the street lost its roof in Hurricane Jeanne. In the dumpster is house’s shingles and on the ground is its carpet.  The interior of the house was destroyed.  Roof and interior had to be rebuilt.

Q: Does American Ingenuity 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.


Hurricane Andrew 1992-sustained winds of 165 mph-with bursts of 212 mph-Category 5


8.18 Exterior pilings2 Mowery platform-edited2

Above 40′ Key Largo Dome Built in 1987 – Suffered No Damage in Hurricane Andrew


Menendez -exterior

Above 45′ in diameter dome (built in 1989)

was in direct path of Hurricane Andrew and Tornado

& Suffered No Structural Damage – Minor Damage Due to Horse Trailer Impact

In August 1992 American Ingenuity domes were put to the ultimate test of strength when they faced the wrath of Hurricane Andrew as it slammed into south Florida. Winds at the nearby Tamiami airport were clocked at 212 mph, spawning over 100 tornadoes within the storm and leaving practically everything in its wake leveled. Nearly 200,000 people become homeless overnight. Even a tower at the Turkey Point Nuclear Power Plant, designed to withstand 200-mph winds, was irrevocably damaged by this fierce storm. We were not surprised, however, when we learned that our domes survived – in great contrast to the thousands of conventionally built houses of their neighbors. On Key Largo, just 20 miles south of the eye of the storm, an Ai 40′ dome faced the brunt of the storm. Built on pilings near the Atlantic Ocean, it was exposed to relentless high winds and driving rain. Unlike houses and commercial buildings in the surrounding area, it sustained absolutely no damage.

Above is picture of a 45′ American Ingenuity dome home built in 1989 that was in the direct path of the devastating storm, bearing the worst Andrew could deliver; yet it suffered no structural damage. A two wide metal horse trailer was impelled against the dome leaving a paint skid marking on the dome where the trailer slide around the dome to the other side. The horse trailer caused a crack in the riser wall and a chunk of concrete to break loose. The dome owner, caulked the crack and mixed up fiber concrete and filled the chunk and then painted the area.

Due to the type and direction of the debris scattered around the dome’s neighborhood, an engineer from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (F.E.M.A.) surmised that a tornado had struck the area. The engineer’s own Alabama home had been hit by a tornado a few years ago, so he was impressed by the integrity of the dome on an emotional as well as a professional level. The dome structure had withstood not only the force of a hurricane but a tornado as well. The incredibly intense winds ripped open double entry doors and 12′ sliding glass doors, which had been covered with protective plywood sheathing. Even though the wood and glass doors of the entryways succumbed to the wind and allowed interior water damage from the rain, the dome itself stood strong.


Hurricane Katrina…category 4 wind speed 140 mph  

Hurricane Katrina caused many deaths and over $34 Billion dollars in damages making it one of the worst American Catastrophe. Ai had domes in its direct path.  The domes suffered no structural damage. To learn more about American Ingenuity’s warranty against 225 mph winds and F4 Tornadoes,  view Warranty.

According to information from the Insurance Information Institute, the 2004 Florida Hurricanes (Charley, Frances, Jeanne and Ivan) are among the 10 costliest U.S. catastrophes when measured by insured damages. At the time of the 2004 hurricanes over 123 Ai domes were built in Florida, not one of them suffered any damage due to these hurricanes. Ai had domes in the direct path of Charley in the cities of Port Charlotte and Fort Meyers. News reports stated that in 2004 one out of every five residences in Florida suffered damage due to the hurricanes. The following was taken from the Insurance Information Institute’s web site

Florida allows a wind mitigation form to be filled out by a certified engineer.  Ai domes that have had this form submitted to their insurance companies have paid greatly reduced prices for the hurricane part of their insurance.  One client’s hurricane premium went from $850 to $90.


Core Dome 02


40′ American Ingenuity Dome built from kit in 1987

Survived Hurricane Katrina with no damage to the dome. (cupola is built differently now)


Core Dome 01

40′ American Ingenuity Dome built from kit in 1987. 

The dome is built on wood pilings with the storage room below the dome built with break-away- walls.   This dome owner chose to build her platform with pressure treated wood joists. Or the elevated platform can be designed to be built from concrete.  During Hurricane Katrina, there was no damage to the dome but when the water level rose under her dome, debris damaged a joist.  Depending on your area and soil report, pilings can be wood or concrete with the above ground columns designed from concrete block.  To see latest design of concrete platform, with concrete columns, concrete deck & stairs, ask Ai for photos.


American Ingenuity’s Concrete Dome Homes Have Exceptional Strength

A dome shape has inherent strength that exceeds all other home designs as proven by Buckminster Fuller. Ai’s steel reinforced concrete dome home’s shell is able to withstand large wind and snow loads.

As home manufacturers American Ingenuity is confident of its housing kits and Ai offers a structural guarantee the dome shell will withstand 225 mph winds and F4 tornadoes. To read about Ai’s warranty, view Guarantee.

During the 2004 Hurricane system, Florida experienced four hurricanes. None of our concrete domes suffered any damage, even though some were in the direct path of Charley, Ivan, Frances and Jeanne.  Scroll down the page to view a recap hurricanes and other Ai dome strength info.

American Ingenuity has had its domes go through Hurricane Andrew (165 mph winds with burst of 212 mph winds…category 5) and a tornado spawned by Andrew and Hurricane Katrina (140 mph winds…category 4) with no structural damage. Hurricane Sandy had 90 mph winds and water surges.  Ai did not have any of its domes in Sandy’s path.  If  building near coastal areas, build your Ai dome on pilings and concrete platform to allow water surge to go under the dome.

Q: What wind and snow loads will the Ai dome withstand?
A triangle is the strongest shape known to man.  To view a video that explains this view Triangle.  Most of the American Ingenuity geodesic dome consists of triangle shaped panels which combined with the steel reinforced concrete exterior, makes the dome incredibly strong and easily enhanced to accommodate unusual requirements. The dome design will accommodate 225 mph. winds and 50 lb. snow loads.  To view load test on Ai panel, click on load test.

Two of Ai’s domes in Hawaii went through a 6.6 earthquake in 2006 and suffered no structural damage. To learn more about the earthquake, view ABC News Link and on MSNBC News Link.

Since 1976,  American Ingenuity’s dome design has proved itself by withstanding the following acts of nature with no structural damage: Hurricane Andrew’s 165-212 mph winds, a tornado that rolled up a steel horse trailer and slammed it against the Menendez dome, four hurricanes in 2004, Hurricane Katrina, 6.6 earthquake in 2006, sub-zero temperatures and heavy snow loads of the Northwest Territory of Canada, a 30″ in diameter 115 foot tall hickory tree impact, a lighting strike and many other conditions.

More about steel horse trailer impact: American Ingenuity warranties their concrete domes against 225 mph hurricanes and #4 tornadoes. Since our dome kit manufacturing business started, Ai has sold kits into 47 states and 14 foreign areas. Since then Ai does not know of any of our client’s domes suffering any damage due to hurricanes, earthquakes or tornadoes except for one dome during Hurricane Andrew. During Andrew a tornado slammed a two wide metal horse trailer against a 45’ Ai Dome.  A riser wall of the dome ended up with a hairline crack and a missing chunk of concrete. The dome owner caulked the crack, mixed up some fiber concrete to fill the chunk and then painted over the area.

Info about Tree Impact:


Above is photo of 40′ Aidome and Tree Impact due to Hurricane Irma .

Ai has heard from one of its dome owners whose steel reinforced concrete dome went through a tree impact caused by Hurricane Irma. The dome suffered no damage  – only a minor dent to a dormer.  This dome home was built in 2000 and is a 40’ dome linked to a 27’ garage dome located in Seminole County – central Florida.  Per the Orlando Sentinel  that area had 74 mph wind gusts with 50 mph sustained winds.  The following quote was emailed to Ai:  “I thought I’d send you this shot of a tree that landed on the dome during hurricane Irma.  My girlfriend was actually standing inside the doorway (inside the dome) when the tree hit and we both heard and felt the thud.  The tree is a Red Maple about 50’ tall. It uprooted from the ground and came to rest as you see in the photo.  It has a split trunk with a base dimension of 30” x 26”.  The two main trunks beyond the split are about 13” and  15” in diameter.  Once all of the smaller tree limbs were removed it was clear that the dome shell suffered no damage other than cosmetic paint scuffing and a minor dent in the edge of the dormer rim.  (fixable with Bondo or patching cement).  No cracks or other damage have been observed inside or out from the tree impact.  This is a testament to the strength of the dome!  I’ve also attached a shot of the tree with it’s branches removed so you get a clearer view of the tree itself without all the leaves and vines.  I’m still enjoying the dome living life after 17 years here now.”

More about the tree impact: There was no damage to the Brack’s 48′ Ai dome or its basement after winds in excess of 75 mph hit North Carolina in July of 1996. The real test came when a 115′ high, 30″ in diameter hickory tree was blown over and fell on their dome. The impact broke a 10″ diameter branch. The tree slid off the dome and landed on a deck post driving it and it’s 16″ square concrete footer 6″ further into the ground. The insurance agent who inspected the damage to the deck conveyed his amazement about the dome’s strength with this comment, “If that had been a frame house the tree would have ended up in the basement!”  Why the American Ingenuity dome could handle the tree impact is because the steel mesh from panel to panel is overlapped, locked & covered with fiber concrete. As a result the continuous mesh transfers the stress throughout the dome. In a conventional house the stress is confined to one area resulting in the tree probably coming through the roof of the conventional house.


More about the lightning strike: American Ingenuity’s 45′ office dome withstood another one of nature’s most powerful forces, a LIGHTNING STRIKE. The lightning hit the outer edge of an entryway and the only damage it did to the dome was to knock off a handful of concrete at the point of impact! A couple of our computers have not been the same since, but the cost to repair the dome did not exceed $30 in materials and labor.

More about heavy snow loads: In 1995 Mr. and Mrs. Carroll visited Robens and Tom Napolitan’s dome.  Robens was enthusiastic, but Tom was not. Tom explained to the Carroll’s, “its all HER idea, I didn’t want a dome.” Mary Carroll phoned the Napolitans in 1996.  Mrs. Carroll said you couldn’t keep Tom quiet this time.  He had nothing but wonderful things to say about the dome and had completely turned around about the wonders of living in an American Ingenuity dome…..ROOFS HAD COLLAPSED in their area under several feet of snow, but NOT HIS DOME!   Tom’s turnaround sold Mary and her husband on an Ai dome.

More about hail: 34′ Dome on full basement in Colorado that is 15 years old:  Toni told us: “I built the American Ingenuity dome for my retirement home and now that I am retired I am so glad that did. I love my dome.  In 2014 we experienced a hail storm that beat the paint off part of their dome & damaged a vent. There was no damage to the concreted panels. To warm the dome in the winter I designed the windows to face south to let the sun in, I installed baseboard heaters that are heated with hot water and I use propane to heat the water in the boiler.  For back up I have a small gas stove.”

Hurricane Irma in September 2017

This recap starts with the most current hurricane, Irma.  The following info came from Wikipedia:

Hurricane Irma was an extremely powerful and catastrophic Cape Verde type hurricane, the strongest observed in the Atlantic since Wilma in 2005 in terms of maximum sustained winds. It was the first Category 5 hurricane to strike the Leeward Islands, followed by Hurricane Maria only two weeks later. It was also the most intense Atlantic hurricane to strike the United States since Katrina in 2005, and the first major hurricane to make landfall in Florida since Wilma in 2005. The ninth named storm, fourth hurricane, and second major hurricane of the 2017 Atlantic hurricane season, Irma caused widespread and catastrophic damage throughout its long lifetime, particularly in parts of the northeastern Caribbean and the Florida Keys.    The storm caused catastrophic damage in BarbudaSaint BarthélemySaint MartinAnguilla, and the Virgin Islands as a Category 5 hurricane.


HURRICANE IKE, September 2008

third most destructive hurricane

to ever make landfall in the United States

Mr. & Mrs. Evans of Seabrook, Texas went through Hurricane Ike in an American Ingenuity dome home (48’ and 34’ dome).  Vicki states, “Our domes had no damage although we had significant tree damage on our one acre lot.  We slept through Hurricane Ike and only the next day realized how violent the hurricane had been.  Whole communities two miles away in the Galveston Bay area  were destroyed.  Our neighbors could not believe that we slept through the storm….they told us that they had been up all night due to the violent winds and noise. We did not have to replace or repair our roof. YEA!  Many of our neighbors have spent the last several months replacing their roofs.   Because of the aerodynamic shape of the dome, its steel reinforced concrete construction and its thick insulation, the hurricane sounds were not absorbed through the walls of the dome and our domes had no damage.  We are really glad that we built our domes back in 1991.”

The following info about Ike came from the Wikipedia dictionary.

Hurricane Ike was the third most destructive hurricane to ever make landfall in the United States. It was the ninth named storm, fifth hurricane and third major hurricane of the 2008 Atlantic hurricane season. It was a Cape Verde-type hurricane, as it started as a tropical disturbance off the coast of Africa near the end of August, then tracked south of Cape Verde and slowly developed. On September 1, 2008, it became a tropical storm west of the Cape Verde islands.  Ike made its final landfall in Baytown, Texas, United States as a Category 2 hurricane.

Ike was blamed for at least 195 deaths. Of these, 74 were in Haiti, which was already trying to recover from the impact of three storms earlier that year: Fay, Gustav, and Hanna. In the United States, 112 people were killed, and 34 are still missing. Damages from Ike in US coastal and inland areas are estimated at $24 billion (2008 USD), with additional damage of up to $4 billion in Cuba, $200 million in the Bahamas, and $60 million in the Turks and Caicos, amounting to a total of $28.26 billion in damages. Ike was the third costliest U.S. hurricane of all time, behind Hurricane Andrew of 1992 and Hurricane Katrina of 2005.


Catastrophe (year) Inflation adjusted losses*
Hurricane Katrina (2005)
$40.4 billion
Hurricane Andrew (1992)
$20.86 billion
Sept. 11 Attacks (2001)
$20.05 billion
Northridge, CA Earthquake (1994)
$15.93 billion
Hurricane Charley (2004)
$7.47 billion
Hurricane Ivan (2004)
$7.11 billion

Hurricane Hugo (1989)

$6.39 billion
Hurricane Frances (2004)
$4.59 billion
Hurricane Jeanne (2004)
$3.65 billion
Hurricane Georges (1998)
$3.36 billion
Tropical Storm Allison (2001)
$3.09 billion
Hurricane Opal (1995)
$2.60 billion
Hurricane Floyd (1999)
$2.22 billion

*Note: Adjusted to 2004 dollars by the Insurance Information Institute.

 Hurricanes & The American Ingenuity Dome

Hurricane Katrina August 29, 2005…140 mph…category 4

American Ingenuity Dome Homes are located in:

  • The Louisiana cities of St Bernard, Baton Rouge and Slidell
  • The Mississippi cities of Purvis, Magee, Byhalia, Saucier, Pattison and Pulaski
  • The Alabama cities of Rainsville, Scottsboro, Enterprize, Dora and Madison

On September 5th, 2005 the Murphy’s in Purvis Mississippi called and said their 48′ dome shell was erected but the inside was not finished. Hurricane Katrina destroyed their conventional house so they moved into their unfinished dome. They had water but no electricity or gasoline for their generator.

On October 11, 2005 Ai heard from our dome owner in Slidell Louisiana. She purchased a 40’ dome in December 1987. She told us the following: “At first we evacuated to a hotel whose roof was blown off by the hurricane. So we had to move to another location. My 40’ American Ingenuity dome sits 8’ above sea level and was built on 10’ tall wood stilts with break-a-way basement walls. There was no damage to my dome structure. The water surge was 18’. Water splashed under a door but there was no water damage in my house other than a skylight leaked.” (Ai-no longer manufactures skylights…instead customer installs solar tubes or maxes out second floor dormers for additional light.)

Her dome was the only livable house in the area. Down the street the only thing left of her sister’s house was a concrete slab.

The water surge pushed a big object under her dome bending a beam under the platform and cracking one wood stilt. The surge of water washed away the break-a-way basement walls and all her electrical and plumbing from under the dome. All she needed to move back into her dome was to get the plumbing and electric reconnected.

The first time she visited her dome after Hurricane Katrina, a man was standing looking at her dome. This person had visited her dome during its construction back in 1988. He reminded her about the “Nay Sayers that told her she was building the wrong type of house.” She wondered, “What those same people would think now.”

Hurricane Ivan 2004

Florida Today’s headline for September 17th was titled “Pensacola in Pieces.” Part of the story read, on September 15, 2004 Hurricane Ivan came on shore at Gulf Shores Alabama but the northeast winds caused the most damage to cities in the nearby Florida Panhandle of Pensacola, Milton, Santa Rosa, ……….

A Client in Milton Florida purchased a 45’ and 30’ dome  March 1995. They were in the direct path of Hurricane Ivan. On Sept 16th John said, “We were in the middle of the eye and had the full blast of the winds plus there was a tornado in our area. The area looks like a war zone. Our concrete domes were wonderful and suffered no damage.” He told us, “Firefighters came by our dome and told us ‘You have the right house for hurricanes.’” He had not received any reports on the wind speed but it was probably 135 to 145 mph or more plus there was a tornado. Pine trees in his yard were stripped of their needles and their bark. Many of his pine trees were laying on a 45 degree angle. A 2×6 board hit the dome and ricocheted onto their screen dome breaking a rib causing the screen dome to collapse. (American Ingenuity does not warranty the screen domes against wind damage, and no longer manufactures screen domes.) Interstate 10’s Bridge over Pensacola Bay is missing a precast concrete segment on each end…whole electrical substations were blown up. Casinos in Biloxi were destroyed.

A client in Santa Rosa Beach Florida purchased a 48’ and 34’ domes in July 1996. Gary told us, “They had over 135 mph winds and their domes suffered no damage.” Their domes sit higher, at 56′ above sea level, than the surrounding houses.

Hurricane Charley

came on land at Port Charlotte and Punta Gorda August 13, 2004

A client in Punta Gorda purchased 40’ and 27’ domes in December 2002. They were in the direct path of Hurricane Charley coming on land in Florida. On September 8th, Trudy called to thank us for their dome. They had winds greater than 145 mph and their dome had no problem….one window got a crack from debris. She said that most of town was destroyed and all three area hospital’s roofs were blown off. Their domes are in Charlotte County near Lee County.

A client in North Ft Meyers purchased a 34’ dome home, and a 27’ two car garage in January 2003. Amy called us August 17, 2004 and said that they were 15 miles from the direct hit of the hurricane and had 117 mph sustained winds. Their domes stood strong, the only vulnerable part was their garage door that wanted to blow in. So they used 2×4’s, plywood and sandbags to hold it in place. The first thing Amy said to us was, “Thank you for our domes.” Their Domes are located in southern Charlotte County near Lee County.

A client in Geneva Florida (near Orlando and Sanford) purchased 40’ and 27’ domes in March 1999. His domes were in the path of Charley and Frances and suffered no damage. Charley’s winds were over 100 mph and Frances winds were 70 to 80 mph.

A client in Bunnell (near New Smyrna Beach) purchased a 40’ dome in February 1992. They were in the exit path of Charley and had 90 mph gusts. Their dome stood strong while houses in their neighborhood lost their roofs.

A client in Flagler Beach purchased 34’ and 27’ domes in January 1999. Their domes were 15 miles from Charley’s exit path. They had 70 mph sustained winds with gusts of 80 mph. During the hurricane they could hear stuff hitting their domes. In the morning they walked around their yard, picked up shingles and soffits from their neighbor’s houses and washed off their driveway resulting in their property and dome looking like no hurricane had occurred.


Hurricane Frances 2004

On September 5, 2004 Hurricane Frances came on land at Fort Pierce and Vero Beach with the north east winds slamming Ai’s County of Brevard.

A client in Ft. Pierce purchased a 45’ concrete dome  in June 1993. Frances’s eye wall sat on area for two hours so the category 2 hurricane did category 3 damage. Cecelia said they experienced 120 to 130 mph winds with no dome damage while the house across the street lost most of its shingles.

Exterior Office lots of green

American Ingenuity Dome offices (pictured above), dome factory and all of our concrete dome residences in Brevard County went through 100 mph winds of Hurricane Frances and suffered no damage. Many conventional buildings lost roofs or had roof problems.


A client in Flagler Beach purchased 34’ and 27’ domes in January 1999. Their domes not only went through Frances but went through the exit winds of Charley (70 mph) with no structural damage.

34 ft dome home linked to 22' one car garage dome.

Flagler Beach 34′ dome with 27′ two car garage domes


Hurricane Jeanne 2004

On September 26, 2004 Hurricane Jeanne came on land at Stuart Florida just below Vero Beach with the north east winds hitting Indian River County and our County of Brevard.

American Ingenuity Dome offices, dome factory and all of our concrete dome residences in Brevard County went through about 10 hours of 105 mph winds of Hurricane Jeanne and suffered no damage. Many conventional buildings lost roofs or had roof problems. None of our thirteen dome clients in Brevard County suffered any damage to their domes. One 34’ dome home and 22’ dome garage in Melbourne is separated from the Indian River on the east only by a street (Pineapple). The domes suffered no damage while a house to the south directly across from the dome lost its roofing. The picture on this page illustrates rolls of their carpet at the street and their shingles in a dumpster. Unfortunately, the house contents got wet and were destroyed.


Earthquakes and the American Ingenuity Dome

Ai. has shipped its domes into California. New construction in California requires CA engineer sealed building plans and structural calculations that include wind, snow and seismic loads for that construction site areas.

Two of Ai’s domes in Hawaii went through a 6.6 earthquake in 2006 and suffered no structural damage. To learn more about the earthquake, view ABC News  and view NBC News.   

Tree Impact and the American Ingenuity Dome

There was no damage to the Brack’s 48’ dome after winds in excess of 75 mph hit North Carolina in July 1996. The real test came when a 115 foot tall, 30 inch in diameter hickory tree was blown over and fell on their dome. The impact broke one of the tree’s 10” diameter branches. The tree slid off and landed on a deck post driving it and its 16” square concrete footer 6” further into the ground. The insurance agent who inspected the damage to the deck conveyed his amazement about the dome’s strength with this comment, “If that had been a frame house the tree would have ended up in the basement.”

Lighting Strike and the American Ingenuity Dome

American Ingenuity’s 45’ Office Dome withstood another one of nature’s most powerful forces, a lightning strike. The lightning hit the outer edge of an entryway and the only damage it did to the dome was to knock off a handful of concrete at the point of impact. A couple of our computers have not been the same since, but the cost to repair the dome did not exceed $30 in materials and labor.

The standard seven inch thick (R-28) expanded polystyrene insulation (E.P.S.)  in the American Ingenuity 22′ thru 48′ dome building kits can be upgraded to nine inch thick (R-36) E.P.S.  See below for pricing.  To view the detailed data and characteristics of E.P.S. insulation, please click on Panel Composition and scroll down the page to view the EPS data.

Cold northern climates like Vermont and Wisconsin, etc. are appropriate areas to build Ai dome kits with the thicker 9″ (R-36) insulation. If a 48′ dome’s insulation is upgraded, your shipment will require two semi-trucks for delivery.  The Ai dome with 7″ E.P.S. will easily out perform conventional housing with 10″ thick fiberglass insulation. Instead of purchasing thicker insulation from American Ingenuity consider applying the money for the thicker insulation to purchase thermal coverings for windows, triple panned windows and insulated doors.

E.P.S.- Expanded Polystyrene Insulation

E.P.S. is frequently mistakenly referred to as “Styrofoam”. Although they both come from the same “base” material, polystyrene, the two products differ in many respects. “Styrofoam” is the registered name of Dow Chemical Co. and refers to the extruded polystyrene insulation product produced and marketed solely by that company. “Styrofoam” is generally blue in color and has a minimum density of about 1.80 pounds per cubic foot. It has a different cell structure (like hollow bubbles) and has a marginally lower better R value, but is considerably more expensive, not only per board foot but even more so on a “cost per R” basis. E.P.S. is available from more than 100 manufacturers throughout the country in a variety of sizes, densities and forms. “Styrofoam” is only available from one company in a more limited range of sizes.

Seven inches of sturdy, rigid R-28 expanded polystyrene (E.P.S.) insulation forms the core of each American Ingenuity component panel. This insulation is permanent, chemically and thermally stable, and resistant to mildew, provides no nutritive value to animals, plants, microorganisms, is non-irritating to skin, and is Chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) and formaldehyde free. This E.P.S. insulation will not rot, shrink, absorb moisture, compact, or deteriorate due to age or weather. It also acts as a vapor barrier for your home, providing stable performance year after year.

The E.P.S. that Ai uses is sometimes referred to as bead board and sometimes incorrectly referred to as Styrofoam (Styrofoam is the trade name for extruded polystyrene manufactured by Dow Chemical Co). Ai does not use Styrofoam.

American Ingenuity uses the one pound per cubic foot density, closed cell E.P.S. which has a thermal resistance (R-value) of 4.17 per inch of insulation at near freezing temperatures. This also explains why it is a very common insulation used in housing and sold at hardware stores. Ai uses the 7” thick E.P.S. which has an R-value of about 28.

Ai chose the expanded polystyrene over the extruded polystyrene because the extruded polystyrene is almost twice the cost with only a slightly better R-value.

When should you purchase the 9″ thick E.P.S.? If you have five or more days a year where the temperature reaches zero degrees then you may want to purchase the thicker 9″ insulation. If you have hotter days than most climates, we leave it up to you whether you need the 9″ thick E.P.S.. On the price list go to the Building Options and look down the list for 9″ Insulation.

Ai does not recommend that you purchase the 11″ E.P.S. insulation unless you live in a severe climate like the Northwest Territory of Canada.

Insulation Comparisons:

  • 2×4 solid wood with 3 1/2″ fiberglass is about R-8.
  • 8″ Concrete Block, with 3/4″ air, 3/4″ Celotex is about R-9.
  • 2×6 Solid wood construction with 5 1/2″ fiberglass is about R-11.
  • 2×4 solid wood with 3″ urethane is about R-13.
  • 7″ E.P.S. insulation is R-28 and is comparable to 11″ of fiberglass insulation.
  • 9″ E.P.S. insulation is R-36.
  • 11″ E.P.S. insulation is R-44.

American Ingenuity’s component panels for the 22′  thru 48′ domes includes the R-28 insulation and most of the steel reinforced concrete exterior finish and all the interior shell wallboard. Typically, in wooden domes you will likely have to purchase the insulation, wallboard and roofing materials for extra costs.

Estimated 2018 Pricing For Thicker 9″  E.P.S. Insulation
call for pricing
call for pricing


If you upgrade your 48′ dome with 9″ EPS a second semi-truck will be required  for its delivery.  All Kits whose insulation is upgraded are considered Specialized Orders and are custom made for that Buyer.  These orders require a 50% deposit to start manufacturing.  If the specialized order is cancelled any payments made are non-refundable.

Q: Why are your dome homes so energy efficient?
You can save 50-60% on heating and air-conditioning costs with your American Ingenuity dome over a conventionally built home. Some of the reasons for this superb energy efficiency are:

  • Super insulation that does not degrade with time, moisture, or compaction.
  • Spherical shape means reduced exposed surface.
  • Airtight exterior virtually eliminates energy leakage.
  • Solid thermal envelope.
  • Uniform R-value. The insulation is not interrupted with structural members (e.g. 2X4’s roof trusses). The only breaks are for doors and windows.
  • Downsized heating and cooling equipment.

Your kit comes with lifetime R-28 E.P.S. insulation or if you choose, thicker R-36 E.P.S. insulation is available. Even in cold climates, you may find that a single ventilating wood stove can heat a smaller dome (22′, 27′ or 30′) will provide all the heat your home will need. Larger domes need a centralized ducting system or mini-split ductless unites to disperse the heated or cooled air throughout your dome.


The Expanded Bead Polystyrene (E.P.S.) Insulation that American Ingenuity utilizes is seven inches of sturdy, rigid R-28 modified E.P.S. insulation that forms the core of each component panel. The E.P.S is one pound per cubic foot density (pcf).

The E.P.S. insulation will not rot, shrink, absorb moisture, compact, or deteriorate due to age or weather. It also acts as a vapor barrier for your home, providing stable performance year after year.  The E.P.S. is:

·         permanent

·         chemically and thermally stable

·         resistant to mildew

·         provides no nutritive value to animals, plants, microorganisms

·         non-irritating to skin

·         Chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) and formaldehyde free.


Kolb prius domes

American Ingenuity Dome Owners are Concerned About the Environment

They build energy efficient Ai domes & drive energy efficient cars to save our natural resources.

This dome earned EPA’s Energy Star. To view more pics of this dome, click on Star

Question:  How did the American Ingenuity dome perform during the Energy Efficiency Study prepared for the U.S. Department of Energy?  Superbly. Test findings were released from a year long study prepared for the U.S. Department of Energy by the Florida Solar Energy Center, a governmental consumer agency, in cooperation with the University of Oregon and the University of Central Florida. This study compared an American Ingenuity dome with an energy efficient conventionally built structure and a super energy efficient Styrofoam house designed by Dow Chemical. It came as no surprise to us that our test dome far surpassed both the conventional house and the Dow test house in being the most energy efficient.

Although the test was conducted in a temperate locale (Florida) without summer and winter temperature extremes, the American Ingenuity dome out performed the other structures. In the summer, the energy savings for the dome exceeded 36% and during the winter, the energy savings exceeded 42%. In areas of severe cold and heat, savings would be expected to be considerably higher.

Also, the blower door test showed the dome to be 56% tighter than the conventional test structure and 29% tighter than the Dow house.

To see if air was passing through walls of the dome, tests using infrared were performed. Thermal irregularities in the dome were shown to be insignificant.

Some of the reasons for the American Ingenuity’s Dome’s super energy efficiency are:

  • Super insulation that does not degrade with time, moisture, or compaction.

  • Spherical shape means reduced exposed surface.

  • Airtight exterior virtually eliminates energy leakage.

  • Solid thermal envelope.

  • Uniform R-value. The insulation is not interrupted with structural members (e.g. 2×4 roof trusses). The only breaks are for doors and windows.

  • Downsized heat and air equipment.

The American Ingenuity Dome kit comes with lifetime R-28 Expanded Bead Polystyrene Insulation (E.P.S.), or if you choose, thicker R-36 E.P.S. insulation is available. In cold climates, you may find that a single ventilating wood stove will provide all the heat your 22′ – 30′ in diameter dome home may need.  Larger square footage domes (34′, 36′, 40′, 45′, 48′) need a ductless or ducted system where the heated or cooled air can be distributed evenly throughout the dome.  Heat recovery ventilators or exhaust fans remove interior water vapor from the dome.  The air conditioner or furnace will be one third smaller than is needed for the same square footage conventional house.

Insulation Comparisons:

  • 2×4 solid wood with 3 1/2″ fiberglass is about R-8

  • 8″ Concrete Block, with 3/4″ air, 3/4″ Celotex is about R-9

  • 2×6 Solid wood construction with 5 1/2″ fiberglass is about R-11

  • 2×4 solid wood with 3″ urethane is about R-13

  • 7″ E.P.S. insulation is R-28 (standard insulation with the Ai dome kit) is comparabel to 11″ of fiberglass batting.

  • 9″ E.P.S. insulation is R-36 (you can order this thicker insulation for colder climates.)

Have the AiDomes won energy efficiency awards?

  • Yes, our first office dome (40′ and 30′ garage) built in 1986 won the Aurora Award for Most Energy Efficient Home in the Southeastern United States and the Aurora Grand Award for the Most Energy Efficient Structure. This dome with standard R-28 insulation beat a passive solar home designed and built by Florida Power & Light, a nuclear powered Florida Utility Company.

Insulated Concrete Form Buildings Save Energy*

A study, conducted by Dr. Pieter VanderWerf of the Boston School of Management and sponsored by the Portland Cement Association, revealed that homes built with insulating concrete forms (ICFs) consume, on average, 44% less energy to heat and 32% less energy to cool than conventional wood-frame homes.  (Ai’s dome has 30% less surface area than a conventional shaped house and the insulating concrete panels are not interrupted by wood, as a result the Ai dome gives a 50% to 60% reduction in heating and cooling costs versus a conventional box shaped house heating and cooling bills.)

The study analyzed statistics from 29 ICF homes and 29 wood-frame homes. All of the homes were less than six years old. “We wanted to approach this study as an ‘apples to apples’ comparison,” said VanderWerf, “so we paired each ICF house with a comparable frame house.”

The paired houses were located near each other and were of similar square footage. VanderWerf adjusted the energy consumption of each house to account for differences in size, design, foundation, number of occupants, thermostat setting and HVAC equipment. “We tentatively concluded that these rates of savings should be fairly constant, regardless of location (or local climate),” said VanderWerf.

Although most of the homeowners participating in the study liked there dwellings, regardless of the type of construction, the reasons they gave for their satisfaction were quite different. The ICF homeowners most often cited functional advantages, such as comfort (including evenness of temperature and low air infiltration), sound reduction, energy efficiency, solidity and strength. Several ICF homeowners said they liked their low utility bills. Owners of the wood-frame homes most often cited advantages unrelated to the home’s quality of construction, such as location, floor plan and inclusion of the owner’s preferred features. VanderWerf added that “not many of the owners of frame homes considered it superior construction.”

Superior construction is one of the main reasons for the continuing upsurge of ICF construction in North America over the past several years. PCA market researchers report that in 1994, only 0.1% of new home construction (1,110 homes) was built using ICF. But, researchers predict that by 2000, nearly 7% of all homes built in the country (about 68,000 homes) will use ICF construction.

*Source: Portland Cement Association

 Testimonials American Ingenuity dome owner quotes and photos:

July 12, 2018 Testimonial from an Aidome owner in Texas

I am glad for the use of such a secure dwelling.  I purchased my Aidome building kit in 1995 and have been in the safest structure I could hope for short of a Monolithic Poured Bunker.  My trip with Dome building did not start with Aidomes.

Instead it started years before I made my purchase, my Dome adventure started in the Military when I had so little money to pay my living expenses. Rent was fixed but the monthly cost of utilities could swing wildly depending on my location, roommates and the weather in my location.

I looked at this as a simple problem of supply and demand. Utilities were not a constant so it became my job to peg a way to limit the swings in my finances. Living without AC in the Coastal regions of the south was not fun but pick the right spot and the sea and surf could offer relief in the summer. In the winter a wood burning fire place required a lot of work but I had a known reserve and a way to control cost.

This sounds pretty simple and a way to limit the Grid’s impact on my lifestyle was needed. Except I could be transferred at a moments notice and all my reserves and plans would go out the door. Even an inconsiderate roommate could blow your budget and my credit rating. I once shared a place on a nice southern Island. It was heated by kerosene and this was one way to control cost. It takes planning and a bit of work to make it from one pay day to another using kerosene but with self-control and a willingness to sleep with a load of wool blankets you can save a lot of money. Unless you go on an operation and your roommate runs out of fuel and you come home to a large electric bill due to said roommate using the electric oven to heat the rent property.

A major expense slammed my check book when I returned home. At least the other roommate knew what to do and we convinced the third person that he needed to seek other quarters. This and other experiences over the years suggested there must be a better way.

Of course, the structure you live in is the base of your expense and another item is the location as well as the geographical plot. After years of roaming the world I returned home to a warm and dry area. Shade trees were not for me as the proof of my travels that weather itself can destroy trees, be it cold, drought or a fire all your plans could be changed by Mother Nature.

I knew a little about Buckminster Fuller and his many experiments. His inventios were based on geometry and the use of the geodesic dome as a lifestyle that controlled the cost of living be it private or commercial.

The geodesic dome was my choice for a well-built storm-resistant structure. And the search was on for what I hoped would be the last structure I would live in. Plans were found for a DIY dome. These were complete plans with information on how to cut the foam and what to do during assembly. The problem I saw was the labor-intensive construction and the piecemeal way of assembly. Given one bad storm in the middle of the assembly process and the dome could be gone with the wind.

With this knowledge I shifted to a design of a Monolithic Dome. I did find a company to build a Monolithic Dome and thought that was the way to go. Half way through the Monolithic Dome build I concluded the Company I had contracted for the build did not have an Engineering Staff and it was more time and trouble than I could control from 285 miles away. I did complete that dome and decided I needed a better design so back to the Geodesic Dome.

I contacted Aidomes and found a lot of information and help. Being careful I went to their Headquarters and liked what I saw. A model dome was on site and their factory was close too. The system would allow a contractor familiar with concrete construction to build a dome with the aid of schematics and a fully developed construction manual. Information was provided about cost, building styles and thermal efficiency. Thickness of the geodesic panels can vary and are selected by the owner in a best described as you “Get What You Pay For” in home comfort and cost of utilities.

Sure, I had a few problems along the way but that was with the Contractor and the need to have 8 foot vertical walls due to the Deed Restrictions. AI helped in each stage from scheduling the delivery to being available for consultation as needed. We had to modify the Schematics a couple of times but with the prints in a AutoCad based system that was promptly taken care of.

I now have a 45 foot structure like no other I have seen. A full Cupola with casement windows which provides complete ventilation. The Concrete skin of the panels have proven their worth over the years. I live in a Hail Zone and the homes that were built with conventional shingles have been replace 3 times. Only steel roofs and those with concrete tile have survived. Even then some damage was experienced by my neighbors. Yes, I am happy with my choice 23 years later.

  1. Buckminster Fuller | American engineer, architect, and futurist


March 30, 2018 Ms. Harbus commented on an Aidome Facebook Post:  “I have one of those! I absolutely love it.”  She purchased an already existing 34′ Aidome home whose kit was purchased in 2005. 


3/28/18 Mrs. Jewel commented on an Aidome Facebook post: “We love our dome home. No damage during Irma. Safe and sound.”  She and her husband purchased an already existing 34′ Aidome home whose kit was purchased in 2000. 


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15 year old – 34′ Dome on full basement in Colorado

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Colorado 34′ Dome’s kitchen & partial view of second floor

34′ Dome on full basement in Colorado which is 15 years old:  Toni told us: “I built the American Ingenuity dome for my retirement home and now that I am retired I am so glad that did. I love my dome.  In 2014 we experienced a hail storm that beat the paint off part of their dome & damaged a vent. There was no damage to the concreted panels. To warm the dome in the winter I designed the windows to face south to let the sun in, I installed baseboard heaters that are heated with hot water and I use propane to heat the water in the boiler.  For back up I have a small gas stove.”  Above are two pictures of her dome.


Twenty-five year old Florida AiDome Home Built in 1992

Three dome complex consists of 40′ dome home linked to a 30 garage dome with separate 22′ work shop dome (not visible on the right).  In an 8/2/17 Florida Today article, the reporter wrote:

But perhaps one the best selling points, the couple added, is the home’s safety features. Terry explained that the geodesic home is built to endure up to 225 mph winds, and is energy efficient. The couple said they have not paid more than an $80 electric bill since living in the home. 

“We’ve never had to evacuate (during a hurricane),” said Terry. “And we’ve never had any hurricane damage.”


Pictures below are of this 45' dome on full basement.

Oliver 45′ Dome on full basement in Missouri – 21 year old dome

Dome Sold in 2011

Building the dome was a labor of love. We had visited your offices and researched every model and floor plans of every kit manufacturer in the US and, as you know, chose American Ingenuity’s kit. It was a wonderful experience constructing it. We appreciate all the guidance and support we received from you folks. We are available for testimonials and recommendations to any and all interested parties. Ralph Oliver. To view more pictures of their dome, please click on Oliver dome.



Charles exterior

Charles 40ft Dome

Charles living pic1Charles 40′ Dome in Pennsylvania

One of American Ingenuity’s Pennsylvania Dome Owners Roger & Jeanne Charles installed radiant floor system in their basement and dome first floor.   To view pictures of their dome, please click on Charles Dome

This a quote from them and above 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.”


Whaley good kitchen Pic034

Whaley 34′ dome kitchen view. 

From R. Whaley, Florida: “Once the dome is initially heated or cooled, the temperature remains constant. Just think of when you take your soda pop to the beach on the hottest day of the year in an inch thick foam cooler. Once the house gets cool or hot as desired, it retains that temperature and stays constant.” In 2004 their dome went through two hurricanes. The following is their comments on the storms: “We live in a 34′ dome one block from the ocean. Our domes went through Hurricane Frances and the exit winds of Hurricane Charley. During the hurricane we could hear things hitting the domes. In the morning we walked around the yard and picked up shingles and soffits from other people’s houses and washed off our driveway. It was as if nothing had happened at all.” (34′ dome home and 27′ dome garage)


From the Mathes, Florida: Their 34′ dome home with 30′ garage dome utilize a solar water heater and photovoltaic panels to power their lights and refrigerator. Although, their A/C, washer, well pump and TV are still connected to the meter, their total electric bill was less than $150.00 for the year. The owner/builder also states, “This has been a wonderful experience that I would not trade for ANYTHING!”


Exterior solar Pineapple garage

34′ dome linked to 22′ one car garage dome – 12 year old domes.

Interior kitchen island 34' Pineapple

34′ dome kitchen built on entryway wall

From G. Busick, Florida: “During the hot summer months (May thru August), we can cool a 1,075 sq.ft. dome for less than $27 a month. We maintain an interior temperature of 76 degrees when home and 79 degrees when not.  To view electric bills & other 34 dome pics, click on Energy Efficient.

During Hurricane Jeanne, our neighborhood had 80 mph winds. The Ai domes had no damage, but a neighbor across the street lost her roof.. The entire interior of her house had to be replaced due to water damage.” (34′ dome home and 22′ garage dome) See info on Hurricanes.



Exterior harlock showing both domes cor gb

 40′ dome linked to 30′ Garage Dome – 30 year old domes.

Interior dining room screen dome patio

From M. Ferral, Florida:  dining room in 40′ dome.  All electric home.  Three bedroom two bath 40′ dome average summer AC costs is less than $50.  I-95 abuts the back of this property.  When sliding doors are closed cannot hear traffic.  These domes won the award for “Most Energy Efficient Residence in the Southeastern USA.”



48 foot diameter (48 Delta 22 floor plan) approximately 2,600 sq. ft.

three bedroom, two bath American Ingenuity two story,

steel reinforced concrete dome home in Edgewater Florida.

Per Eric, “The Dome 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. The house is designed for very little maintenance.”

Features of the dome:
1. 3 ton 13 seer central AC system.
2. All windows are 7/8 low e argon filled dual pane glass.
3. The 10 foot sliding door is 1 inch low e argon filled.
4. The concrete exterior is painted with elastomeric paint.
5. Has 4 skylights and a transom window…all low e.


From the Sparrows, Florida Keys: “We call our home ‘Sparrows’ Nest’…it’s pretty strong. It may look small from the outside, but…there’s a lot of room. The house is a rock.” (30′)

From the Clarks and Sayles, Ft Pierce Florida: “The eye wall of Hurricane Frances sat on us for two hours so the category 2 hurricane did category 3 damage. We experienced 120 to 130 mph winds with no dome damage while the house across the street lost most of its shingles.”

From the Woods,  Florida: “We were in the direct path of Hurricane Charley. We had winds greater than 145 mph and our dome had no problems. One widow got a crack from debris. Most of our town was destroyed and all three area hospitals had roof damage. Thank you for our dome.” (40′ dome and 27′ garage dome)

From the Vandebergs and Delongs, North Ft. Meyers Florida: “Thank you for our dome. The eye of Hurricane Charley passed only 15 miles from our dome. We had 117 mph sustained winds. Our domes stood strong. The only vulnerable part was our garage door. We used 2×4’s, plywood and sandbags to keep it from blowing in.” (34′ dome and 27′ garage dome)

From the Drybolas, Milton Florida: “Our neighborhood looked like a war zone. We were in the direct path of Hurricane Ivan and had the full blast of the winds plus there was a tornado in our area. Our concrete domes were wonderful and suffered no damage, despite winds of over 135 mph. Pine trees were stripped of bark and needles and many were lying on a 45 degree angle. Firefighters came by our dome and told us ‘You have the right house for this storm.’ We’ve had over 200 people stop by and see our dome. Believe me your product has never been shown off as good! Wish more people by the beaches, who lost everything would come by, sure wouldn’t have to worry anymore.” (45′ and 30′ with 34′ screen dome)

From the Hendersons, Santa Rosa Beach Florida: “We had over 135 mph winds from Hurricane Ivan and our domes suffered no damage. Our domes are close to the Gulf and sit about 56′ above sea level. This is higher than the surrounding houses so we received the maximum of any wind force, yet we received no damage. (48′ and 34′)

From L. Sawh, Florida: “It’s hard to believe, but we finally finished this house of ours! It’s taken us a good year and a half but its all been worth the hard work and challenges. We began with some designs on paper, added some features of our own, took a few suggestions from other dome owners and with a lot of sweat and pain, not forgetting our subs and the folks at the bank, here we are!!!” (40′ and 27′ Garage dome)


From R. Napolitan, Idaho: “The dome is snug and warm. We heat it mostly with a woodstove that’s in the basement. Our staircases are open so the heat rises. It stays about 68 degrees without much effort, with our lowest outside temp…5-6 degrees. (2,000+ sq.ft. with basement, 34′)

From B. Gates, Illinois: “I’ve never been too much of a conventional person. I thought this was a pretty neat design, very energy-efficient. I like to keep things environmentally nice. It’s almost an organic feeling, being surrounded by curves instead of by rectangles. It seems to be a more relaxing environment to be in.” (48′)

From D. Partlow, Indiana: “The dome is ‘awesome’, ‘beautiful’ and ‘breathtaking’. At least that’s what visitors say. It is and it’s also a very comfortable home to live in. Our June electric bill was $107, we are total electric! We still love the house and the great savings on energy!!!” (2,400+ sq.ft.; 48′)

From S. Mumphrey, Louisiana: “We’re three years in our dome…we still pinch ourselves every morning thinking its a dream. But, it’s REAL and we love it.” (45′)

From L. Gillis, Michigan: “I don’t see how a city can ignore one of the great architectural breakthroughs of the 20th Century. A city without geodesic domes, is not thinking about progress. It’s thinking about replicating the past. A city cannot be a world-class city, unless it has some geodesic domes.” (45′)

From H. Willis, Mississippi: “I like the openness. You can see the kitchen, dining room, living room and bedroom loft when you walk in the front door.” (34′ with 25′ screen dome)

From L. Covington, North Carolina: “Doing everything on my own, not too bad when I think that it will save me $25,000 in labor costs for doing everything outside and inside….The folks that ride by are trying to break their necks gawking at the dome. A curiosity for folks I guess and a few have stopped for more info and a lot come back from time to time to check the progress….” (30′)

From J. Chang: “Thank you again for being the great company that you are! Keep us in the loop with information on finishing touches.” (48′)

From K. Millar, South Carolina: “What this house is about is alternatives.  We decorated it with an Oriental theme, even painting the floor with an Asian motif and we surrounded the house with a Japanese garden.” (40′)

From R. Scripps, Texas: “I like to thank you again for the advice you have given me and Dale.” (Two 45′ domes on full basements)

From J. Holden, Texas: “We just love our four domes, even after 15 years!” (40′)


RayMesa Snow-4

Utah 45′ Dome Home linked to 30′ Garage Dome


16.40 custom RayMesa-interior3

Utah 45′ Dome Home Living Room

From J. Collar, Utah: “My wife, Mary, devoured articles and books about straw bale, rammed earth, poured adobe, earthships, log, and any other unconventional building systems. Finally, Mary announced to me that she had found our house; a precast concrete and eps geodesic dome kit! Although I wasn’t wild about the look of a dome house, as an engineer I was excited about the sheer practicality. I quickly ran some heat loss calculations and found that at -20 degrees F, we could expect to keep the 2700 sq.ft. of living space at 70 degrees F using little more than 30,000 btuh, about 1/3 the size of a conventional home furnace. With judicious use of a large solar window and a masonry heater fireplace, we could limit our use of propane for backup heating.” (45′ and 30′ Garage dome)  

Jim Collar’s Utah Ai concrete dome buildings operate off the grid by using photovoltaic’s, masonry heater fireplace and passive solar water tubes. To learn more, click on Off the Grid.

This article covers Cisterns & Rain Barrels. Rainwater coming off the dome can be caught in troughs and carried to your cistern. One of American Ingenuity’s clients in Tortola British Virgin Islands installed a cistern.

The following information came from the web site

The application of an appropriate rainwater harvesting technology can make possible the utilization of rainwater as a valuable and, in many cases, necessary water resource. Rainwater harvesting has been practiced for more than 4,000 years, and, in most developing countries, is becoming essential owing to the temporal and spatial variability of rainfall. Rainwater harvesting is necessary in areas having significant rainfall but lacking any kind of conventional, centralized government supply system, and also in areas where good quality fresh surface water or groundwater is lacking.

Annual rainfall ranging from less than 500 to more than 1,500 mm can be found in most Latin American countries and the Caribbean. Very frequently most of the rain falls during a few months of the year, with little or no precipitation during the remaining months. There are countries in which the annual and regional distribution of rainfall also differ significantly.

For more than three centuries, rooftop catchments and cistern storage have been the basis of domestic water supply on many small islands in the Caribbean. During World War II, several airfields were also turned into catchments. Although the use of rooftop catchment systems has declined in some countries, it is estimated that more than 500 000 people in the Caribbean islands depend at least in part on such supplies. Further, large areas of some countries in Central and South America, such as Honduras, Brazil, and Paraguay, use rainwater harvesting as an important source of water supply for domestic purposes, especially in rural areas.

Technical Description

A rainwater harvesting system consists of three basic elements: a collection area, a conveyance system, and storage facilities. The collection area in most cases is the roof of a house or a building. The effective roof area and the material used in constructing the roof influence the efficiency of collection and the water quality.

A conveyance system usually consists of gutters or pipes that deliver rainwater falling on the rooftop to cisterns or other storage vessels. Both drainpipes and roof surfaces should be constructed of chemically inert materials such as wood, plastic, aluminum, or fiberglass, in order to avoid adverse effects on water quality.

The water ultimately is stored in a storage tank or cistern, which should also be constructed of an inert material. Reinforced concrete, fiberglass, or stainless steel are suitable materials. Storage tanks may be constructed as part of the building, or may be built as a separate unit located some distance away from the building. Figure 1 shows a schematic of a rooftop catchment system in the Dominican Republic.

All rainwater tank designs (see Figures 2a and 2b) should include as a minimum requirement:

  • A solid secure cover
  • A coarse inlet filter
  • An overflow pipe
  • A manhole, sump, and drain to facilitate cleaning
  • An extraction system that does not contaminate the water; e.g., a tap or pump
  • A soakaway to prevent spilled water from forming puddles near the tank

Additional features might include:

  • A device to indicate the amount of water in the tank
  • A sediment trap, tipping bucket, or other “foul flush” mechanism
  • A lock on the tap
  • A second sub-surface tank to provide water for livestock, etc.

The following questions need to be considered in areas where a rainwater cistern system project is being considered, to establish whether or not rainwater catchment warrants further investigation:

  • Is there a real need for an improved water supply?
  • Are present water supplies either distant or contaminated, or both?
  • Do suitable roofs and/or other catchment surfaces exist in the community?
  • Does rainfall exceed 400 mm per year?
  • Does an improved water supply figure prominently in the community’s list of development priorities?

If the answer to these five questions is yes, it is a clear indication that rainwater collection might be a feasible water supply option. Further questions, however, also need to be considered:

  • What alternative water sources are available in the community and how do these compare with the rooftop catchment system? – What are the economic, social, and environmental implications of the various water supply alternatives (e.g., how able is the community to pay for water obtained from other sources; what is the potential within the community for income generating activities that can be used to develop alternative water sources; does the project threaten the livelihood of any community members, such as water vendors?)
  • What efforts have been made, by either the community or an outside agency, to implement an improved water supply system in the past? (Lessons may be learned from the experiences of the previous projects.)·
  • All catchment surfaces must be made of nontoxic material. Painted surfaces should be avoided if possible, or, if the use of paint is unavoidable, only nontoxic paint should be used (e.g., no lead-, chromium-, or zinc-based paints). Overhanging vegetation should also be avoided.

Water Barrels

The following information came from Aaron’s Rain Barrels web site

A rain barrel is a rainwater harvesting system that is connected to a down spout tube from a house or building. We make quality rain water barrels that collect, store and divert rooftop runoff during a rain shower.

An Aaron’s Rain Barrels is a better designed rain barrel. We offer you our #1 selling recycled plastic barrel or a traditional whiskey barrel. Our preferred rain collection barrel connects directly to your rain gutters down spout tube, has an overflow valve and is only made from the best quality parts so they last a lifetime.

There is more to making rain barrels then just adding a spigot to a barrel. If things are not done just right your rain barrel will leak within a few weeks.

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Colorado 34′ Dome Second Floor – bedroom & library


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Colorado 34′ Dome – second floor library w’ bedroom to right

(see picture above for the bedroom that is to the right of the library)

Library is above first floor kitchen

Typically dome building kits do not contain riser panels. American Ingenuity decided to supply four foot tall riser panels with its Building Kit. This means the first row of panels of the dome shell are rectangular shaped panels and triangle shaped panels complete the rest of the shell. This vertical wall allows for convenient placement of furniture around the perimeter of the first floor and gives more head room and useable square footage on the second floor.

What is the ceiling height under the second floor?

The four foot tall riser allows for a first floor ceiling height of 7’ 6” in the 22’ thru 34’ domes and an 8’ tall ceiling in the 36′ through 48′ domes.  To increase first floor ceiling height where a second floor is above, on site install a one foot tall or two foot tall perimeter wall to increase the height to 8’6″ or 10’.

How can I relate to the first floor and second floor square footages in your domes? 

You can relate to the room sizes within any of American Ingenuity’s stock plans by cutting out the ruler on each stock plan.  Use the to-scale ruler to measure the width and length of each room and compare those room sizes to the room sizes in your current home. You know whether you want your new home’s rooms larger or smaller than your current room sizes.

The square footage of living space shown with each stock floor plan indicates the square footage space available on the first floor, second floor and third floor loft (if available for that size dome). The square footage of each room is included along with to-scale furniture to help you visualize the size of the space, and does not include any closets or utility areas.

How much of the second floor has 6’ or taller ceilings?

The second floor square footage consists of all the usable floor space to the knee wall although part of this space will have reduced headroom, as shown by the ceiling height lines that are drawn on each plan. To determine the second floor square footage that is taller than 6′, cut out the to-scale ruler in the back of the Stock Floor Plan Booklet and measure between the 7′ and 6′ second floor height lines.


Max refers to whether you maximize the second floor square footage by enclosing four fifths of the second floor and only having one fifth of the second floor left open; thus causing high vaulted ceilings over only one fifth of your first floor. Typically dome owners tend to leave one half of the second floor open thereby having high vaulted ceilings over half of their first floor rooms. On the Ai Stock Floor Plans, the Second Floor Square Footage includes the perimeter areas starting at five feet.

How is the second floor square footage determined in the American Ingenuity domes?

  • On the Ai Building Plans, the second floor square footage includes the area starting at five feet. The Tax Assessor uses these numbers, so taxes will be less.
  • On the Ai Price List, the Second Floor Square Footage includes the area starting at five feet.
  • On the Ai Stock Floor Plans, the Second Floor Square Footage includes the areas starting at five feet.

Should I build any of the large American Ingenuity Domes and not install the second floor?  Yes, is entirely up to you whether the second floor is installed.

If I do not want to access the second floor using stairs, what do I use?  Install a chair rail on the stairs or install a winch powered lift or install an elevator. See Handicap Accessible for more info.  Click on Lifts/Chair Rails to learn more. 

Is there more usable square footage in your dome than a conventional house?

Yes, in a conventional house there is an attic which rarely gets used. To us it is just a space that holds hot or cold air which is waiting to leak into your house. In a dome you get to use the second floor space that would normally be an attic in a conventional house. So even if some square footage around the second floor perimeter cannot be used there is still more usable square footage in the American Ingenuity dome (due to the four foot tall riser panels) than a conventional house.


Dome on basement with ramp.

Dome on basement with wheel chair ramp. Three standard entryways one screened in.

Yes, most of our building plans can be made handicap accessible with either 32″ or 36″ doorways, correct wheelchair turn radius, ramps, rail chairs or interior lifts, etc. For Ai to quote a price to design the floor plan handicap accessible, give us the size dome and floor plan name you are considering. To email info, please click on Contact Us. Or fax your plan needs to us at 321-639-8778.  If you fax or email your plan changes, please call our office at 321-639-8777 and assure that we received all your email or faxed pages and that they were legible.

To clarify, if you fax or email American Ingenuity and you have not heard from us in two to three business days, please call our office at 321-639-8777 and confirm that we received your fax or email.

We handle all the floor plan designs via telephone, fax and or email.

Because of the shape of the dome, a second floor is a natural. It is most cost effective to utilize the second floor for a guest room or storage.  However, any of our domes can be built without a second floor.


In a conventional house there is an attic which rarely gets used. To us it is just a space that holds hot or cold air which is waiting to leak into your house. In a dome the second floor space is useable versus being an unused attic space.


On the second floor of our domes even though you cannot stand all the way to the perimeter, there is ample useable square footage. To visualize the second floor useable space use the to-scale ruler in the back of the Stock Floor Plan Booklet (which is in the Planning Kit). Each mark is one foot. Cut out this ruler and use it to measure the second floor square footage that is six foot or higher from the dome shell. Note on the floor plans we have drawn in five foot, six foot and seven foot height lines around the second floor perimeter.

For example if you want to see how many feet on the second floor has six foot or higher ceilings, put the end of the ruler at the six foot height line on one side of the second floor and measure across the second floor to the other six foot height line and you will see how many useable feet is between the two six foot height lines.


If you choose a floor plan which maxs out the second floor and only leaves one fifth of the first floor open to the dome shell, you can have the following second floor useable square footages: 27′-225 sq.ft.; 30′ – 424 sq.ft.; 34′ – 614 sq.ft.; 40′ – 886 sq.ft.; 45′ – 1,127 sq.ft.; 48′ – 1,278 sq.ft. Generally most of our clients want only one half of the second floor installed. Therefore there are high vaulted ceilings over one half of the first floor, generally over the living room and dining room.


If you do not want to access the second floor by walking up the stairs, you could install a rail chair or a lift instead of an elevator. Your contractor would install an electric winch powered lift versus an elevator.

This way you can easily access the second floor rooms.


For information on rail chairs click on


For information on lifts click on


The following information came from Jazzy Electric’s web site.

This vertical platform Lift is an interior or exterior lift that can be used for lifting persons with physical disabilities from the ground up-to the main floor of their home or outside lifting up to the porch or the steps. Lift can also be used in commercial applications such as restaurants or office buildings. The lift is designed to meet U.S. and Canadian safety standards and can easily be adapted to various situations.


Versatility is a key to this lift. Can be used to stop at 3 different heights. Can lift from 14″ up to 144″. Designed for easy installation. Smaller units 52″ and down can be installed in 30 minutes.


The lift described sells for around $3,500.


This Lift is smooth and provides quiet performance. Dependable and Versatile Unit is Perfect for Residential or Commercial Application. All lifts can be configured to meet the AME A 17.1 or A 18.1 depending on the options selected. This lift also meets ADA requirements in most states.


Listed below are some of the features of this versatile lift:

    • Weight capacity of 550 pounds
  • Unit uses standard 110v/15a wall outlet.
  • Straight though platform is 54″ long x 34″ wide
  • Keyed call send stations available
  • Keyed Emergency stop to control use of lift
  • Soft Touch Control Pads designed for easy operation.
  • Direct Drive Worm-Gear
  • Maintenance Free Operation
  • Standard Metal Platform has a diamond grill that allows for full visibility under the platform


American Ingenuity’s design team, can design the layout of your home to match your lifestyle.

Just give us a list or a sketch of what you desire – sauna – jacuzzi…..

and Ai will design in your ideas to fit the dome geometry

The interior framing of the dome is built much like conventional housing and can be either wood or metal. Some of the second floor will be supported by first floor load bearing walls…such as walls in a bedroom and bath. Plus some of the second floor can be hung from the dome concreted seams by suspension rods allowing for very “open” first floor plan designs. These suspension rods and plates can be purchased from Ai.

The American Ingenuity dome is capable of supporting a weight from the dome shell. This weight is suspended by threaded steel rods which anchor into the concrete seams and extend vertically down into the dome. 3,000 lbs. can be supported by a 5/8″ threaded rod suspended in one of the concrete seams. The location of the suspension rods is determined by your floor plan selection.

The Building Plans will show the suspension rod’s positioning. When the dome shell kit is assembled install the suspension plates and rods into the dome shell seams. The suspension rod with nut sets on a 3″x 7″ steel plate, which is embedded in the concrete seam. The seam is reinforced with #4 rebar & two layers of galvanized steel mesh. The second floor can support at least 55 pounds per square foot, the same as other houses. We can easily design for a more demanding second floor load such as for waterbeds, whirlpool tubs, spas, libraries, etc.

Almost all of the electrical and plumbing will be contained in the interior frame walls and installed in the same manner as conventional housing. To install electrical wiring in the exterior dome walls: simply cut a groove in the E.P.S insulation and wall board and insert the wire or conduit to run the wire through. To install electrical boxes, conduit or plumbing pipes: cut the E.P.S. insulation and wall board slightly larger than needed, insert the box or pipe and fill in the opening with spray expanding foam. The spray foam will harden in about half an hour, holding the box or pipe secure.

AC/Heating Ducts: We leave the AC ducting diagram to your subcontractor, but generally the ducts run through interior walls, in the second floor joists and or behind the second floor knee wall. In the perimeter second floor knee wall a grate with filter can be installed to return second floor air to the air handler.  A separate duct brings cool air to the second floor.  The vents are either in the interior walls or in the floor of the second floor.  Exhaust Fans are installed in various places in the dome; top center of the dome, in each bathroom, for stove, microwave and clothes dryer.

Shell Wall Board:  The interior of the Ai prefabricated panel consists of Georgia Pacific 1/2″ DensArmor Plus adhered to the E.P.S. with drywall adhesive. It employs fiberglass mat facing instead of paper on both sides of the board. The core is fiberglass treated gypsum providing excellent moisture resistance, Fire resistance and adhesion properties. It doesn’t provide fuel for an accidental fire.

To learn more about the drywall’s properties click on DensArmor Plus.

The glass mats embedded into 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.

How is the Shell Wall Board Finished: Use tape and joint compound in the seams with joint compound skip troweled over the drywall to hide panel seams.  Or sand or vermiculite can be mixed in paint to blend seams to the panel. Info to blend the seams is included in the Manual.

Will l feel closed in, in the dome? No. In Ai’s dome you can install an abundant number of windows and doors. Your budget and your floor plan selection determines the number of doors or windows. There can be up to five entryways on the first floor and up to five window dormers or door dormers on the second floor of our three frequency domes – 34, 36, 40, 45, and 48.

On site construct a 2×4 or 2×6 wall within the entryways, dormers and cupola to install locally purchased standard doors and windows. For example under a 40′ entryway you could have:

    • Up to three French doors
    • Or a door and a picture window
    • Or a large picture window
    • Or 12′ of sliding glass doors, etc.

In other words on the first floor of a 40′ dome you could have a maximum of five entryways with each one containing 12′ of French doors.

Click on Window and Door Sizes to see what window and door sizes will fit in window dormers and door dormers.

45' dome kitchen side view.

45′ dome kitchen side view

45' dome Kitchen area with high profile entryway in back ground

Different view of above kitchen in 45′ dome. High profile entryway in back ground.

Q: How are electrical wiring and plumbing pipes installed in the dome shell?

A: The electrical and plumbing will be contained in the interior frame walls in the same manner as conventional housing. Plumbing pipes typically are installed in the foundation and come up out of the foundation into the first floor interior framed walls. During foundation installation, conduit or pipe can be installed in the footer or slab to bring in natural gas, or wiring.  Or during kit assembly install conduit or pipe between two panels before the seam is concreted.

Grooves are cut in the 1/2″ DensArmor & EPS for electrical wiring with router, circular saw, chainsaw, etc. To install electrical wiring, electrical boxes, conduit to run wiring in, or plumbing pipes in the dome shell: cut through the wall board and E.P.S. insulation slightly larger than is needed, insert the box or conduit or pipe and fill in the opening with spray expanding foam. The spray foam will harden in about one half hour, holding the box or conduit or pipes secure. Use fiberglass tape and joint compound to finish the areas. Those seams and the other interior shell seams are finished with typical joint compound and fiberglass joint tape.  To blend the taped areas to the DensArmor, apply joint compound to the DensArmor in what is sometimes called a skip trowel finish, apply primer and then paint.   Or glue molding over the interior seam areas between the panels.   The Kit Assembly Manual contains a document covering drywall finishing. Or ask for Drywall Finishing doc to be emailed.  Call Ai 321-639-8777 Monday – Friday 9-5 eastern time.

During kit assembly always align the interior drywall/wallboard of one panel to next panel’s drywall versus aligning the exterior EPS of the two panels. This way less joint compound is needed to fill the interior seams. 

Bring the wiring to the second floor through the first floor framing, or through the second floor joists or use the area behind second floor perimeter knee wall areas for wiring and ducts.

Q: How are heavier light fixtures or ceiling fans hung from the dome shell?

A: Install threaded rods in the concrete seams as the dome shell is assembled. The threaded rod extends into the interior of the dome shell and is used to hang the light fixture or ceiling fan. To install the electrical wiring to the light fixture or fan cut a groove through the shell wallboard and the E.P.S. insulation, insert the wire and fill the groove with spray expanding foam, then joint compound and tape to finish.  Or see document in the Assembly Manual for how to install a light fixture or ceiling fan after the panels are assembled.

Q: How are plumbing vent pipes installed in the dome shell?

A: A hole can be cut in the prefab panels, just do not cut within 8″ of the center of a seam.  Some exhaust pipes can be routed sideways through the interior framing and can sometimes be joined together before they exit the dome. Where the vent pipe is to exit through the dome shell,  cut a hole through the panel concrete in the appropriate location, extend the pipe through, concrete back up against the pipe, caulk and paint. The plumbing vent pipes are sealed to panel concrete dome with caulk, e.g. urethane or butyl rubber. A plumbing boot like the type used on shingled houses is not used.  Assembly Manual has info on cutting hole in the panel.  Or ask & we will email doc.

Q: Does Ai’s building plans contain the electrical, plumbing, HVAC diagrams?

A: American Ingenuity’s building 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 the subs like to design their own layouts.

Q: If I use an Ai Dome for a commercial building, how do I install water sprinklers?
Any of the dome sizes can be used for commercial purposes. Being commercial will have to comply with possible commercial requirements like running the electrical in conduit, installing water sprinklers, etc. If so the water sprinklers can be designed within the interior walls or grooves can be cut in the EPS to insert the conduit or sprinkler pipes then spray foam is applied to fill the grooves. Some building departments may require screws be installed thru the wallboard into the EPS with expanding foam.

Q: 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 install a heat recovery ventilator or energy recovery ventilator to remove moisture.  The Dome Kit Assembly Manual contains documents that cover vent installation.  To view our web site file that covers HRC, click on Heat Recovery Ventilator.