dehumidifiers | AiDomes

 Ventilation Systems

The following came from their web site:  

http://energystar.gov/ia/new_homes/features/SupplyVent1-17-01.pdf 

The air within homes can become stale from moisture, odors, and pollutants that penetrate the home or are generated internally by human activity and out gassing from building materials and furnishings.  A constant supply of fresh, outdoor air can provide greater assurance of good indoor air quality and improved comfort. 

In most homes, ventilation is provided accidentally when air leaks through the building envelope.  Accidental ventilation is unreliable because it is dependent on a pressure difference between indoor and outdoor spaces caused by temperature or wind variations.  Too much fresh air often enters a house during cold weather, causing uncomfortable drafts and high heating bills.  Not enough fresh air may enter during mild weather which can lead to poor indoor air quality. 

Air leakage through the building envelope accounts for between 25 percent and 40 percent of the energy used for heating and cooling in a typical residence.  Many new homes are being air sealed to reduce this energy use.  Where tighter construction reduces air leakage and accidental ventilation, active ventilation systems may be needed to provide fresh air. 

Figure 1 shows how supply ventilation works in a small home.  Outdoor air enters through a single intake and is distributed through ducts to the living room and bedrooms.  Stale air is removed by leakage throughout the building and through exhaust fans located in the kitchen and bathrooms.  The supply air intake should be located away from sources of pollution, odor or dust—such as the ground, garages, driveways and plumbing or dryer vents.  Supply systems can be turned off when homes are not occupied. 

Fresh outdoor air is provided continuously regardless of weather conditions.  Indoor air quality is improved where fresh outdoor air, low in pollutants, mixes with indoor air, which has become stale from human activity.  Fresh air is provided to the living spaces within a house through properly sized and located vents without causing uncomfortable drafts.  Filters and dehumidifiers can be added to the system near the intake to further remove pollutants and provide humidity control needed in hot, humid climates.  Thus, they can be used safely with all types of heating and cooling equipment. 

Supply ventilation creates positive indoor pressure.  This is advantageous in moderate and hot climates because positive pressure avoids pulling hot, humid air into wall cavities where condensation problems can occur.  In cold climates, positive pressure can possibly lead to moisture problems if hot, moist air is forced into wall cavities where condensation is likely to occur.  In addition, supply ventilation systems avoid “back drafting” combustion gases from appliances and fireplaces into homes.  

Resources for this article: 

The Consumer Guide to Home Energy Savings (Wilson and Morrill), available from the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy at 510-549-9914

Moisture Control in Homes fact sheet available from the Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Clearinghouse (EREC), POBox 3048, Merrifield, VA 22116, (1-800-363-3732)

Heating & Air Conditioning an Ai dome.  Ai dome winner of Energy Star Award.

snow Kolb beautiful

American Ingenuity 40′ dome home linked to 27′ garage earned Energy Star rating.

Typical AC Ductwork Design:  The following info pertains to the chart below:

An air handler is the inside unit that forces cool air into the house. An air handler needs to have a plenum if installing two or more intakes.  A Plenum is a foam box made of special materials that are flame retardant designed for connecting ductwork at the bottom or top of the air handler also for splitting ductwork.  Cut a hole in the plenum to accept ductwork.  It could be done for an air intake grate or exhaust vents.  When installing an air intake in the second floor (Intake is where you put your Air Filter.  It is easier to put the air intake grate in a second floor knee wall.  Knee walls are usually large enough to support multiple duct work.  The grate size will be determined by the size air filter you want to install. Intake ductworks are about 10 to 12 inches large. Exhaust ductworks are usually 6 inches. (Exhaust is where the air comes out of vents in your walls, ceilings and even floors).  Ductwork can be run in interior walls or drop ceilings between floor joists and in knee walls.  If running ductwork in interior framed walls, the walls may need to be wider than normal to support the ductwork.  It is recommended that you install two Intakes one in the upper floor of your house and one in the lower floor of your home. The upper Intake will remove humidity and hot air and dust from the upper floors. The closer you have the Intake to a room, the cooler that room will be. The lower intake is doing the same job as the upper intake removing dust, moisture and hot air. Air needs to exit out of each room, your HVAC subcontractor may have you put a grill above a door or have a space below your door for air to exit rooms.   Mini-split ductless heat pumps can be installed in the dome.

 

AC 2

 

Where are the AC and Heating Ducts installed in the dome? The ducts can be run in the interior walls, second floor joists, and behind the second floor perimeter knee wall.  Above is a HVAC diagram showing typical way system works.  Contact your local HVAC subcontractor for specific needs and air flow to rooms in your dome home.  Or ductless AC/heating units are available.

Ai does not specify which heating and cooling units to use within its domes because the needs vary by regions of the country. Heating and cooling systems that are practical or common in your area can be used in the dome. We have had clients use radiant heat in the floor. We have also had clients’ incorporate large spans of glass to let in the passive heat; usually this is not practical, as the dome is so energy efficient. The large amount of glass just lets in hot or cold air. Our clients have had great success with solar hot water heaters.

For a system that is best for your area, consult a local air-conditioning contractor. All types of systems will work but it would be important to consider what type of fuel is readily available, what type of units can be serviced locally and your own preferences. However, keep in mind that because of the superb energy efficiency of the dome, you can reduce the required size of your air-conditioning and heating system by about one third. Also the cost of heating and air conditioning will also be about half that of typical houses in your area and therefore the savings provided by super efficient units will be less. It is economical to select efficient systems but not very expensive systems.

Q: Are electric vents necessary at the peak of the dome as well as in the bathrooms to prevent moisture buildup?

A: Yes due to the tightness of the dome, water vapor from cooking, showering, doing laundry, breathing, etc. needs to be removed from the dome. Electric exhaust vents are installed in a vertical wall near the top of the dome, in top center of the dome, in bathrooms, in laundry room and above stove/microwave to exhaust water vapor.  In interior walls, use galvanized metal ducting that extends down the interior wall, through the floor joist and vents out under an entryway or door dormer framed wall or a hole can be cut in the concrete panel. Instructions in the Dome Kit Assembly Manual.  A heat recovery ventilator or energy recovery ventilator will probably need to be installed to remove excess water vapor. To view our web site info on heat recovery ventilators, click on HRV.

Can the smaller American Ingenuity domes be cooled or heated without central air conditioning or furnaces? Yes. The smaller sized American Ingenuity domes have such small heating and air-conditioning demands; it could be practical for you to use only a window air-conditioner and a space heater.  Please check your local building code, some building departments require a permanent heat source to be installed which does not allow a wood stove or fireplace as the permanent source.

What air conditioner size do you recommend for your domes?

34’ Dome: 1 ½ Ton

40’ Dome: 2 Ton

45’ Dome: 2 ½ Ton

48’ Dome: 3 Ton

Tell me about a ground water heat pump. A ground water (or water-to-air) heat pump is extremely efficient as it uses the constant moderate temperature of underground water to both heat and cool, instead of using outside air, it uses water from a well or underground loop to transfer heat through a concentric copper coil located inside your home. Besides being more efficient than air-to-air unit, it can produce heat when the outside temperature is below freezing.  Mini-split ductless heat pumps are available. Ask your local HVAC subcontractor what units he prefers.

Can Ai’s Domes be cooled without an air conditioner? Yes. Because the Ai dome is so super insulated, our clients who do not prefer air conditioning, have found the interior of the dome to be cooler than a conventional house.

  • Of course you would want to install windows and doors opposite of each other so that air will flow through the dome.
  • In the hot summer months, you may want to install a window AC to cool some areas and draw out moisture.
  • Standing fans can be used to move the air.
  • Install awnings out from the dormers and entryways to keep the sun from beaming into the dome.
  • To help maintain a cooler interior temperature you may want to consider installing underground cooling pipes which will bring air into the dome that has been cooled by the earth. To learn more about this read about Energy Efficiency under advantages.
  • Plus you can install pipes in the slab to run cold water through. A 45’ dome needs about 2 ½” in diameter cooling pipes that are buried 5’ deep and go out about 20’. You angle the tubes where condensation can be pumped out.

Does the HVAC diagram come with the Building Plans? No. The installation and routing of the heating and cooling ducts, electrical wiring and plumbing pipes can best be determined on site by the person making the installation. Ai has 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.

Do American Ingenuity’s building plans meet the new building codes requiring air exchangers? We are not sure what your code requires, if there is a minimal air exchange from the outside to inside, that requirement would best be fulfilled with an air to air heat exchanger sometimes called a heat recovery unit or energy recovery ventilator. These ventilation systems bring in fresh air and minimize the loss of heating and air conditioning. Please check with your local HVAC subcontractor.

What types of Ducts does your company recommend? Collapsible plastic inner and outer liners have insulating material between the inner and outer liners and a spiral wire that holds them round. Because the dome is all one cooled or heated space (no attic), the ducting does not need to be insulated. Sometimes building departments require insulated ducts.

How do you move hot air from the second floor to the first floor? In a vertical wall near the top of the dome install a bathroom exhaust fan that can be turned on to move hot air to the first floor. Use dryer ducting for the exhaust fan ducting. It extends down the interior wall, through the floor joist and vents out on the first floor. See above description describing possible  HVAC ductwork diagram.

How can I calculate the BTU requirements for Ai Domes? You can calculate the approximate amount of heat required for the different size Ai domes by:

  • Determine the difference in temperature from outside to inside. Say inside is 70 outside is -30, T= 100
  • Look up the Exterior surface of the dome you want to calculate (on back side of Price list) 40’ dome =2,645
  • On the bottom of same Specifications sheet get the K value for the insulation. 9″ K=0.0278
  • Multiply all of these numbers together. 100 x 2,645 x 0.0278 = 7,351 is the BTU’s required to make up what escapes through the dome surface.
  • Do the same thing with the windows. T= same, Add up the areas. For a double pane use K=0.3 or what ever the mfg. specifies.
  • Do the same thing with the floor and its insulation.
  • Add the three BTU values together and that is the approx. heat loss.

Heat & Cool Smartly: Save Energy, Save Money

Replacing old cooling and heating equipment with more efficient, ENERGY STAR qualified equipment is one way to save energy and money. However, your home’s heating and cooling equipment is part of a larger system. Heating and cooling your home smartly can include properly maintaining your existing equipment, using a programmable thermostat, finding and sealing air leaks, tightening up your ducts, and more. To view governments Energy Star web site, click on Energy Star.

Repair or Replace?
Changing out old cooling and heating equipment with ENERGY STAR qualified models can cut your annual energy costs by 20 percent.  Learn more about each cooling and heating product from links in the left column.

Finding the right contractor: 10 tips

10 Tips for Hiring a Heating and Cooling Contractor

1. Study up – Find out about license and insurance requirements for contractors in your state. And before you call a contractor, know the model of your current system and its maintenance history. Also make note of any uncomfortable rooms. This will help potential contractors better understand your heating needs.

2. Ask for referrals – Ask friends, neighbors, and co-workers for contractor referrals. You can also contact local trade organizations for names of members in your area.

3. Call references – Ask contractors for customer references and call them. Ask about the contractor’s installation or service performance, and if the job was completed on time and within budget.

4. Find special offers – A heating and cooling system is one of the largest purchases you’ll make as a homeowner. Keep your costs down by checking around for available rebates on energy-efficient ENERGY STAR qualified heating and cooling equipment. Begin your search at www.energystar.gov.

5. Look for ENERGY STAR – ENERGY STAR qualified products meet strict energy efficiency guidelines set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and offer significant long-term energy savings. Contractors should be able to show you calculations of savings for ENERGY STAR heating and cooling equipment.

6. Expect a home evaluation – The contractor should spend significant time inspecting your current system and home to assess your needs. A bigger system isn’t always better; a contractor should size the heating and cooling system based on the size of your house, level of insulation, and windows. A good contractor will inspect your duct system (if applicable) for air leaks and insulation and measure airflow to make sure it meets manufacturers specifications.

7. Get written, itemized estimates – When comparing contractors’ proposals (bids), be sure to compare cost, energy efficiency and warranties. A lowest price may not be the best deal if it’s not the most efficient because your energy costs will be higher.

8. Get it in ink – Sign a written proposal with a contractor before work gets started. It’ll protect you by specifying project costs, model numbers, job schedule and warranty information.

9. Pass it on – Tell friends and family about ENERGY STAR. Almost one-quarter of households knowingly purchased at least one qualified product last year, and 71% of those consumers say they would recommend ENERGY STAR to a friend. Spread the word, and we can all make a big difference.

10. Get the ENERGY STAR Guide – For complete information on keeping your home comfortable year-round, get the ENERGY STAR   1-888-STAR-YES (1-888-782-7937).

Maintain your Equipment: A Checklist
Just as a tune-up for your car can improve your gas mileage, a yearly tune-up of your heating and cooling system can improve efficiency and comfort.

Use a Programmable Thermostat
Use an ENERGY STAR qualified model to adjust the temperature of your home when you are home or away. With proper use of the four pre-programmed temperature settings, you can save about $100 each year in energy costs.

Duct Sealing
It’s common to find gaps between duct joints, whether a home is new or old. Seal and insulate ducts that are exposed in areas such as your attic or crawlspace to improve your system’s efficiency and your own comfort.

Seal Air Leaks and Add Insulation (Home Sealing)
Air leaks in your home and a poorly insulated attic can lead to significant home comfort problems and high energy bills. By properly sealing those air leaks and adding insulation, you can improve comfort and cut your energy bills by up to 10 percent.

Consider a More Efficient Ceiling Fan
Upgrade to a more energy-efficient ceiling fan. ENERGY STAR qualified models are up to 50% more energy-efficient than conventional fans, with the most potential energy savings coming from those that include lighting. In the winter, set your fan to turn in the clockwise direction to help efficiently distribute warm air throughout your room.

Help Protect the Environment
Individual actions at home can add up to a lot of pollution prevention. If just one in ten households bought ENERGY STAR heating and cooling products, the change would keep over 17 billion pounds of pollution out of the air.

 

Kaufman garage house 1536

Kaufman 45′ dome home linked to 34′ garage dome in Forest Ranch California

Utilizes Heat Recovery Ventilator & Geothermal Energy for Heating & Cooling

The following article was taken from the Summer 2009 Butte Environmental Council’s (BEC) News.   The geodesic dome home featured was built from American Ingenuity dome building kits.  BEC is a not-for-profit public benefit corporation.  Founded in 1975, BEC protects the land, air, and water of Butte County California through advocacy, environmental education, and information and referral services.

ChicoEco Highlights a Geodesic

By Nani Teves

Hidden among the trees in the mountain community of Forest Ranch is the most amazing example of living more responsibly by combining conservation and cutting edge.  Ron Kaufman and Marti Leicester spent four years planning and 14 months building their geothermally heated and cooled, concrete geodesic dome home, which, when all was said and done was approximately the same cost as building a traditional house of the same size.

A geodesic dome looks like the top half of a soccer ball, and theirs is two domes connected by a 12 ft length.  They used concrete as a building material because it is low maintenance, highly insulated, insect resistant, and most importantly for their area – fire resistant.  They built to optimize passive solar potential usinged double pane windows.

Throughout the house, renewable and reused building materials were used including the floor, which is made from Marmoleum, a durable linoleum made from linseed oil, jute and rosin.  For carpeted areas, 1ft by 2ft squares were used, making it possible to replace only damage areas.  Framing studs were reused to build the loft, the kitchen cabinets are bamboo and the stairs, window seats and baseboards are all make from a material called Evergrain, which consists of 50% HDPE (typically recycled milk bottles) and 50% wood fibers (typically old pallets).

One of the most fascinating things about this house is that it uses geothermal energy for heating and cooling.  The system was expensive but they wanted to push the technology forward by experimenting.  How the system works is heat is collected from the dome interior and then pumped into the ground during cooling, and reversed during heating.  They hired an out of state company (no one was available locally or even in California) to drill four 180ft deep holes.  Crystal Air in Weaverville installed the system by placing tubing surrounded by Bentonite in the holes.  A two-way pump is run using energy from PG&E and a back-up generator, and the extra heat from this system is used to preheat the water for their on-demand tankless water heater.

Another unique feature they included in the design is a Heat Recovery Ventilator (HRV) System.  The HRV brings in fresh air and exhausts stale air, while transferring a significant portion of the heat in the stale air to the incoming fresh air.  It also maintains a slightly positive air pressure in the dome so that pollen and dust are not drawn in through open doors and windows.

From the jars reused to hold screws, to the dome itself, this house is an example of how fun it can be to research, experiment and live outside the box.

 ++++++++++++++++++++++++

Ai is sometimes asked – Which is more efficient a Heat Recovery Ventilator or Dehumidifiers to control moisture inside the dome?

One of American Ingenuity’s Missouri Dome Owners, Mr. Nicks, sent us the following email. “I was having trouble with winter humidity in my dome until this February 2006 when I purchased and installed a Heat Recovery Ventilator (HRV). Air quality is noticeable fresher and relative humidity is under control. The HRV has eliminated the need to run dehumidifiers during the winter for me. Additionally, small dehumidifiers are electricity hogs (costing more to operate than central air in the summer).

 

My home does have high cfm fans in all bathrooms and kitchen vent fans as well. I tied my bathroom vents to the HRV which has a humidistat that kicks it into high gear when the bath humidity hits it.

 

My dome is still a work in progress, but I love being the first and only one around here to “think outside the rectangle” in home design. The spaces in a dome have amazing character….anyway just wanted to share an idea that has helped me defeat the humidity in my dome.”

 

Ai asked him where and how did he install is Heat Recovery Ventilator?

He replied, “I installed the HRV in my utility room with an insulated intake duct through a joist space. The unit I installed was manufactured by Lifebreath (model 200 max). Depending on which standard is used it may be slightly undersized, but works fine. Three of my bathroom vent fans had previously come together in the utility room to exit through a single 6” vent (I had a box with dampers to prevent backflow). I connected the HRV to those three bath vents which allowed me to pull air from three different floors of my dome.

 

The HRV I installed has a humidistat in its exhaust air stream (household intake). When someone is taking a shower that humidity causes the HRV humidistat to switch the fan to high speed. I have mine set on low speed continuous as a default.”

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 in some areas install a heat recovery ventilator or energy recovery ventilator to remove moisture.

 

 

 

Wood Star on exterior Dome Wall.

Wood Star on exterior Dome Wall

The American Ingenuity dome owner is conscious of what materials are used to finish

the interior of their dome. Natural sold oak was used for the stair case

and wood star.  Very warm and cozy.

 

Healthy Dome Living Questions & Their Answers

Q: Does the interior shell wall board that American Ingenuity utilizes support the growth of mold and mildew?

A: No. The 1/2″ Georgia Pacific Dens-Armor Plus drywall that Ai utilizes showed no mold or mildew growth when tested per ASTM D 3273. The drywall is adhered to the E.P.S. insulation with wallboard adhesive. The Dens-Armor employs fiberglass mat facing instead of paper on both sides of the board. The inorganic core provides excellent moisture resistance, fire resistance and adhesion properties. It doesn’t provide fuel for an accidental fire. It isn’t even damaged by multiple immersions in water. It won’t harbor spores that create sick homes.

The glass mats embedded into the core on both faces, results in dimensional stability and prevents warping. The glass mat is encapsulated with a coating which reduces skin irritation from exposed glass fibers. The moisture-resistant inorganic core has superior mold, mildew and fire resistance.

The following info was taken from Georgia Pacific’s 1/2” Dens-Armor Wall board data sheets:

Dens-Armor wall board features an inorganic glass mat embedded into a water-resistant treated gypsum core. The combination of glass mat surfacing and a treated core renders Dens-Armor wall board more resistant to delamination from water than paper-faced gypsum products. Comparative testing has demonstrated Dens-Armor wall board’s supremacy over such alternatives as perlite and fiberboard. Its engineered features make Dens-Armor wall board the obvious substrate for housing membranes. Resists delamination, deterioration and warping, puncturing and other job site damage and resists rot.

Fire Protection: Because of its noncombustible core and surface, Dens-Armor wall board offers greater fire protection than other conventional products. Dens-Armor wall board, when tested to ASTM E 84, has achieved a rating of 0 flame spread and 0 smoke developed. Noncombustible when tested in accordance with ASTN E 136.

Properties of Dens-Armor: Noncombustible, Water Resistance, Dimensional Stability, Decay Resistance, Resistant to Warping, Rodent and Fungus Resistance, Torch Safe, High Compressive Strength.

Fire Classification: UL Class A, ULC S-102; UL 1256, ULC S-126; UL 790; ULC S-107.

Flame Spread/Smoke Developed: per ASTM E 84 – 0

R-Value: as tested in accordance with ASTM C 518 (heat flow meter) -.28

Surface Water Absorption, grams: per ASTM C 473- 2.5

Mold & Mildew Resistance: per ASTM D 3273- No growth

The wallboard finishing includes applying joint compound and tape on the seams and painting the wall board. To blend the seams, mix some vermiculite into your paint.

You can purchase the building kit without the interior wall board. If you do not purchase the optional interior wall board, on site you can trowell either plaster or stucco directly to the E.P.S.

Q: Do any of the materials utilized in your panel – EPS (Expanded Polystyrene insulation), Galvanized Steel Mesh, Fiber Concrete or Georgia Pacific DensArmor – contain any food source for mold growth?

A: No. The materials are not a food source for mold growth.  Algae can sometimes be mistaken for mold.  It contains no spores and is not mold. Algae will grow on materials if exposed to water and sunlight. Algae is removed with combination of bleach and water or oxygen/bleach and water.

Q: I have allergies. Does your product promote allergic reactions?
A:
We have had a individuals contact us who are allergic to chemicals, etc. Feel free to us at 321-639-8777 Monday thru Friday 9 to 5 eastern time with your questions or click on Contact Us and email your questions. One of our clients has had to live in a stainless steel trailer due to reactions to conventional building materials. She investigated our dome and  built two of Ai’s small domes for her permanent residence.

The best way to see if you would be allergic to our shell materials is to purchase a small sample of a panel. Then ask someone to place the sample in a brown paper bag and without you knowing when, have them put it under your bed. Let them remove it at a later date and put back an empty paper bag and see if you have any reaction at any time during the test period.

The E.P.S. insulation Ai uses was expanded with steam, no chemicals. The quality of your indoor air will be determined by your interior materials such as flooring, upholstery, cabinet composition and whether an energy recovery ventilator or heat recovery ventilator and exhaust fans have been installed in your dome.  Please ask your local HVAC subcontractor for his recommendations for how to bring in fresh air for your area.

American Ingenuity has been manufacturing dome housing kits since 1976, during that time we have not heard of any of our domes having “sick building syndrome” due the following:

  1. Dome Homes always have doors and windows. Double paned windows are only an R-4 so air moves back and forth through the glass and or the windows are opened to let in fresh air.
  2. Dome owners have central air conditioners, furnaces or dehumidifiers or energy recovery ventilators or heat recovery ventilators that serve the purpose of removing the moisture within the dome.
  3. To exhaust the moisture out of the top of the dome, exhaust fans are installed in top center of the dome, in each bathroom, above stove and microwave, in the laundry room.

Q: Does the insulation Ai manufacturers with support the growth of mold and mildew?
A:
Based upon a FHA test, expanded bead polystyrene insulation, E.P.S. ,will not support bacterial growth or fungus growth. It also contains no food value to any living organism. Its lack of food value means that although termites, ants and rodents could tunnel through it, there is no other attraction. The following is other information taken from the E.P.S. data sheets.

  • OUTGAS: The E.P.S. is made from expandable polystyrene beads. These spherical beads contain a blowing agent such as pentane, which causes the beads to expand up to 40 times their original volume in the presence of steam. After the expansion and long before the panels are shipped, virtually the entire blowing agent has escaped.
  • DEGRADING INSULATION VALUE: This rigid foam insulation does not compress, absorb moisture, deteriorate or degrade like fiberglass and many other forms of insulation.
  • Water Absorption: The E.P.S. insulation American Ingenuity uses is closed cell and will not absorb more than 2.5% of water based on volume. It is often used as flotation for docks because it will not absorb water. Insulation materials that absorb water have a significant loss of performance because water is a good conductor of heat. This is particularly true with fibrous materials, which must be positively protected by an efficient vapor barrier. There are two ways in which, moisture can effect insulation materials: water absorption from contact with damp surfaces or from condensation of water vapor. EPS is a closed cell material that has minimal water absorption and low water vapor transmission.
  • BREATHABILITY: The amount that a material will breathe or the amount of water vapor that will pass through the material is measured in “Perms” or sometimes “Perm inches”. EPS will breathe enough to allow moisture trapped inside of it to dry out but at the same time it is tight enough to also serve as a good vapor barrier.
  • In the American Ingenuity dome, the inside of the rigid insulation is covered with wallboard. Wallboard does not interfere with the drying process but will offer protection from fire. If the E.P.S. gets hot enough it will burn.
  • EPS will dissolve in gasoline or similar solvents
  • EPS does not become brittle at sub-zero temperatures.
  • EPS – HEALTH HAZARDS:
  •   Ingestion: May act as an obstruction if swallowed
    • Inhalation: Minor respirator irritation possible from dust particles
    • Skin Contact: No hazard is known
    • Eye Contact: Minor eye irritation possible from dust particles
    • Carcinogenicity: NTP: No IARC: No OSHA: No
    • Symptoms of Overexposure: Respiratory irritation may occur from dust particles
    • Medical Conditions Aggravated by Exposure: None known.

Q: Is there a web site that recommends building materials for sensitive individuals?
A:
Yes, we have learned of a site called Healthy Home Designs. It has a listing of “Recommended Healthy Building Resources.” Their web site is www.healthyhomedesigns.com The following info came from the healthy home designs web site:

  • What makes a home healthy? A healthy home is one that incorporates healthy design elements, non-toxic building materials, and proper construction techniques. It “breathes”, emits no toxic gasses, and is resistant to mold.
  • Our criteria for a healthy home include the following attributes:
  • Reduction of exposure to chemicals (such as formaldehyde in insulation and particleboard; volatile organic compounds in adhesives, sealants and paints; and pesticides, fungicides and heavy metals used to treat wood) through use of non-toxic building materials and products.
  • Mitigation of mold and rot by employing proper building techniques and materials from foundation to roof.
  • Utilization of passive airflow, day lighting, and fresh air exchange through proper placement of windows and doors.
  • Location of areas of high toxicity and combustible materials (such as the garage and utility room) away from bedrooms and primary living spaces.

The benefits are homes that are safer, quieter, more comfortable, and require less maintenance. A healthy home is also more energy efficient, and therefore incurs lower monthly operating costs.