energy star | AiDomes

This page contains Ai Florida Dome Office Energy Recap and floor plan layouts.

Exterior office 34 with 45' with screen dome

American Ingenuity’s (Ai’s) 3,700 sq.ft. Office Domes
can be cooled for less than  $85 a month during Florida’s Hottest Months

To view Annual Electrical Bill Charts for Ai’s Dome Offices, click on links below named Ai Summary Electric Use. Our dome offices are a 45 ft in diameter dome linked to a 34 ft in diameter dome. Both domes are all electric with R-28 7″ EPS insulation.  For example the 2015 SUMMARY shows that it costs a monthly average of $84.85 to air condition Ai’s 3,700 sq.ft. Florida offices for each of the five hottest months of the year. The following describes how we came to this conclusion.  To view our office domes floor plan layouts, please scroll down to bottom of this page to find the pdfs to click on.

In March 2015 no Heat or AC were used, therefore the cost to run everything in our Office (computers, monitors, printers, backup power supplies, lights, well pump, refrigerator )  was $76.28.  To determine the monthly Air Conditioning costs, we subtracted $76.28 from each month’s electric bill to get that month’s Air Conditioning Costs. To obtain our 2015 monthly average Air Conditioning costs, we averaged the five hottest month’s AC costs.  The five hottest months in 2015 were June thru October to equal $424.26 divided by five to make an monthly average AC cost of $84.85 to air condition 3,700 sq.ft.during Florida’s hottest summer months. The thermostat was kept at 74 degrees 8 am -7pm  Monday thru Saturday and 77 degrees at night and on Sunday.

In 2013 we kept the thermostat at 76 degrees during the day not 74 degrees as we did in 2014 and 2015; resulting in increased 2014 and 2015 cooling costs.  Ai did not know it, but the air handler was not working properly during the summer of 2014 so we experienced higher AC costs than should have occurred. The air handler was replaced in December 2014 causing 2015 AC costs to be less than 2014 because the air handler was operating more efficiently in 2015.

FYI, heating Ai domes is even easier than cooling because when heating, the heat generated by computers, refrigerators, dishwashers, clothes dryers, sunlight, etc.  is used and does not need to be overcome as is done during cooling.

To view energy bills for a Florida 40′ dome of 1,985 sq.ft. of three bedrooms and two baths, click on 40′ dome.

To view info about South Carolina dome awarded EPA’s Energy Star, click on 40′ dome.

To view energy recap on a 34′ – 1,075 sq.ft. Florida Dome Home, click on Home Energy Recap. and scroll down the page to find the recaps.

As far as functioning in cold, snowy environment, American Ingenuity domes have been built in Canada, one built at 7,500 feet elevation in Utah and Aidomes have been built in all cold states in the USA except for New Hampshire, Rhode Island and North Dakota.

One of our customers in Pennsylvania built a 40′ dome on full basement. This is quote from them: ““We live in the mountains of PA. The winters up here can be brutal. Our Ai Dome is a 40ft with Link on a 9″ thick livable basement. {Den, Office/Computer room, Kitchenette} The entire interior, to include the mechanical room, is heated and cooled by a GeoThermal, Water furnace, Radiant floor system. Our zone controllers are set on 74 degrees winter and summer. Our sole power source, at present, is the grid. Our costs per month range from $99 to a high of $120. We were amazed that our cost now are less than when we lived in a 14 by 73 ft mobile home while building the Dome. Our decision to build an American Ingenuity Dome home was the best decision we have ever made.” To view pictures of their dome and other info, click on Charles Dome.

A picture of the dome at 7,500 feet elevation showing snow is one of the flashing pictures on our home page. The dome is off the grid and has increased EPS insulation from our standard 7″ R28 to 9″ or R36. Quote from the Utah dome owners: “Our house and solar electric system have met and exceeded all of our expectations. Our home is warm and spacious. Even with nighttime temperatures below zero, a fire in the masonry heater in the evening and a full day of sun warms the house to 70 degrees F. Our average summertime power consumption is between 150 and 200 kWh/month for 2700 square feet of living space. Wintertime consumption is somewhat higher. For comparison, our average pre-solar usage was near 600 kWh/month in our prior 2000 square foot suburban home.” To view info about Utah dome off the grid, click on Collar domes.

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.

Due to spam filters your email requests may not make it to American Ingenuity and our email replies may not make it back to you.  If you email Ai and do not receive a reply in one to two days, please call us – 321-639-8777.  While you are on the phone, we will send you a test email and have you send your email to us.

The first pdfs are recaps by year showing each month’s electric bill amount.  Our utility company is named Florida Power & Light.  In 2017 the cost per KWH was 11cents.  

2010 Summary Electric Use

2011 Summary Electric Use

2012 Summary Electric Use

2013 Summary Electric Use

2014 Summary Electric Use

2015 Summary Electric Use

2016 Summary Electric Use

2017 Summary Electric Use

To view the individual Florida Power and Light electric bills for 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 & 2017.  click on the three links below for each year

2013 Florida Office Monthly Electric Bills
Jan. – April
May – Aug.
Sept. – Dec.

2014 Florida Office Monthly Electric Bills
Jan. – April
May – Aug.
Sept. – Dec.

2015 Florida Office Monthly Electric Bills
Jan. – April
May – Aug.
Sept – Dec.

2016 Florida Office Monthly Electric Bills
Jan. – April
May – Aug.
Sept – Dec.

2017 Florida Office Monthly Electric Bills
Jan. – April
May – Aug.
Sept – Dec

To view the floor plan layouts for our Office Domes, please click on the pdfs below.  The first floor layout is named Ai Office Dome Floor 1.  The second floor plan layout is named Ai Office Dome Floor 2. 

PDF for Downloading & Printing

Online Viewing – Opens in Browser

Concrete Home & Concrete Garage in South Carolina.  Kolb 40ft Dome Home (three bedroom two bath) with 27ft Dome two car garage.

40′ Dome first floor is 1,271 sq.ft.  2nd floor is 370 sq.ft. For total of 1,641
27′ Garage dome has 550 sq.ft. on first floor & 130 sq.ft. in its attic storage area.

This Geodesic Dome Home built from American Ingenuity’s standard dome kits with R28 insulation is super energy efficient with a low environmental impact.  It has been tested by a third party independent testing company (Home Energy Partners) and was subsequently certified as an ENERGY STAR HOME by EPA. The home actually uses 61 percent less energy than a comparably sized home.  He installed a geothermal cooling & heating system.  Klaus’s 2003 total monthly average energy bill was $49. This includes the electricity and propane costs for his entire 1,600 sq.ft. – 40 ft. dome.

The Energy Star label can only be placed on completed houses. The label cannot go on a Building Kit. Some of American Ingenuity’s clients have had their completed dome homes rated and received the Energy Star label. To find out how your dome home can receive an Energy Star Label, call the EPA Energy Star hot line 1-888-782-7937 and ask for a company in your area that can rate your home.

To view more info about Energy Star and this dome, click on SC Dome Five Star.

To view info and pics about South Carolina dome’s geo thermal heating and cooling system and water furnace, click on GeoThermal.

Online Viewing – Opens in Browser
Kolb Floor Plans 1st Floor
Kolb Floor Plans 2nd Floor

please click on arrows to view the photos.

 

Below is YouTube Video

 

The following information covers the U.S. EPA’s Energy Star Program
with a South Carolina Ai dome earning the EPA’s Energy Star.

Please click on arrows to view the photos.

Above is photo gallery of Kolb’s 40′ dome home linked to 27′ two car garage dome
which earned EPA’s Energy Star

The Energy Star label can only be placed on completed houses. The label cannot go on a Building Kit. Some of American Ingenuity’s clients have had their completed dome homes rated and received the Energy Star label. To find out how your dome home can receive an Energy Star Label, call the EPA Energy Star hot line 1-888-782-7937 and ask for a company in your area that can rate your home.

Klaus Kolb’s South Carolina Ai concrete dome house earned EPA’s Energy Star.  Home Energy Partners certified his home used 61% less energy than in comparably-size housing.   He installed a geothermal cooling & heating system. To view pictures & info about his geothermal system, click on System.  Klaus’s total monthly average energy bill was $49. This includes the electricity and propane costs for his entire 1,600 sq.ft. – 40 ft. dome.

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.

To view a  fantastic YouTube Video of American Ingenuity 48′ dome with 34′ garage in Albuquerque, New Mexico, click on Gorgeous Dome.  To view Ai’s Energy FAQ’s, click on Efficient Ai Dome.

What does the Energy Star label signify?

Products bearing the ENERGY STAR labels are more energy efficient than standard products, thereby saving energy and money. In general, ENERGY STAR qualified products including: appliances, HVAC equipment, office equipment, residential lighting, and even homes, reduce energy costs by at least 30%.

What is Energy Star?

ENERGY STAR is a government program that offers businesses and consumers energy-efficient solutions, making it easy to save money while protecting the environment for future generations.

Energy efficient choices can save families about a third on their energy bill with similar savings of greenhouse gas emissions, without sacrificing features, style or comfort. ENERGY STAR helps you make the energy efficient choice.

If looking for new household products, look for ones that have earned the ENERGY STAR. They meet strict energy efficiency guidelines set by the EPA and US Department of Energy.

EPA’s ENERGY STAR partnership for businesses offers a proven energy management strategy that helps in measuring current energy performance, setting goals, tracking savings, and rewarding improvements. EPA provides an innovative energy performance rating system which businesses have already used for more than 26,000 buildings across the country. EPA also recognizes top performing buildings with the Energy Star.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s ENERGY STAR® Program promotes the use of high-efficiency technologies and equipment. ENERGY STAR labeled homes use at least 30% less energy than homes built to meet the national Model Energy Code while maintaining or improving indoor air quality.

Many ENERGY STAR qualified new homes feature tighter construction than that of homes built to the Model Energy Code. Tighter house construction can improve the energy efficiency, air quality, and comfort of your home by eliminating unwanted drafts.

Environmental Protection – the following info came from their site.

Did you know that your home can be a greater source of pollution than your car? In fact, 16 percent of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions are generated from the energy used in houses nationwide.

Energy used in our homes often comes from the burning of fossil fuels at power plants, which contributes to smog, acid rain, and global warming. Simply put, the less energy we use in our homes, the less air pollution we generate.

Tighter home construction can offer you:

  • Improved comfort – reduces drafts, noise, and moisture.
  • Improved indoor air quality – keeps dust, pollen, car exhaust, and insects out of the home.
  • Lower costs – reduces escape of conditioned air.

Unfortunately, there are hundreds of penetrations through a typical home’s exterior (The Ai dome’s tight envelope does not have hundreds of penetrations.  The Ai dome was involved in a US Department of Energy Study on energy efficient housing. The blower door test showed the Aidome to be 56% tighter than the conventional test structure and 29% tighter than the Dow house.) These gaps and holes are often incurred during framing, and from penetrations for wiring, plumbing, and ducts. Air sealing the house’s envelope combined with proper ventilation, can reduce your energy bills and eliminate unwanted drafts and pollutants.

Reduced air infiltration combined with proper ventilation can not only reduces your energy bills but it can also improve the quality of your indoor air. Outdoor air that leaks indoor makes it difficult to maintain comfort and energy efficiency. In addition, air leakage accounts for 25-40% of the energy used for heating and cooling in a typical home.

Today, off-the-shelf technologies such as house wraps, sealants, foams, and tapes reduce air infiltration. In energy-efficient homes, builders use these tools to seal the myriad of cracks and gaps in framing along with hundreds of holes for plumbing, mechanical equipment, and electrical wiring.

These fact sheets are designed to help consumers learn more about the energy efficient improvements to their ENERGY STAR labeled homes. These fact sheets cover:

  1. Air Sealing
  2. Value-Engineered Framing
  3. Balanced Ventilation Systems
  4. Exhaust Ventilation Systems
  5. Supply Ventilation Systems

The following information came from The EPA’s web site http://energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=new_homes.nh_benefits

Benefits of Energy Star Qualified New Homes

Peace of Mind
Home buying is complex enough without having to know all the details of energy-efficient construction. Instead, look for the

government-backed ENERGY STAR label to easily identify homes that are truly energy efficient. Find the house of your dreams and enjoy peace of mind knowing that it also meets strict energy efficiency guidelines.

Lower Ownership Cost
Compared with standard homes, ENERGY STAR qualified homes use substantially less energy for heating, cooling, and water heating-delivering $200 to $400 in annual savings. Over the average 7 to 8 years you may live in your home, this adds up to thousands of dollars saved on utility bills. Additional savings on maintenance can also be substantial.

Better Performance
Properly installed energy-efficient improvements deliver better protection against cold, heat, drafts, moisture, pollution, and noise. An energy-efficient home helps ensure consistent temperatures between and across rooms, improved indoor air quality, and greater durability.

Environmental Protection
Did you know that your home can be a greater source of pollution than your car? In fact, 16 percent of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions are generated from the energy used in houses nationwide.

Energy used in our homes often comes from the burning of fossil fuels at power plants, which contributes to smog, acid rain, and global warming. Simply put, the less energy we use in our homes, the less air pollution we generate.

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.

This article covers Ai Dome in Hot or Cold Climates

Different angle of above 40 ' dome linked to 30 garage dome. Solar panel on top of link.

Different angle of above 40 ‘ dome linked to 30 garage dome. Solar panel on top of link.

How does the American Ingenuity dome perform in hot or cold climates?  Superbly.   For example American Ingenuity (Ai) can cool its 3,700 sq.ft. dome offices for less than $85 a month in the hot Florida summer months (May – Sept).  The office is kept at 74 degrees from 8:30 am to 5:30 pm Mon – Sat and  77 degrees at night and on Sunday.  To view Ai offices electric bills, please click on Ai Dome Offices.

It is even easier to heat an Ai dome that to cool it.  To cool the heat generated from the following has to be overcome: sunlight, refrigerator motor, computers, dish washer, clothes dryer, stove. To heat this generated heat is utilized.  Klaus Kolb’s South Carolina Ai concrete dome house earned EPA’s Energy Star.  Home Energy Partners certified his home used 61% less energy than in comparably-size housing.   He installed a geothermal cooling & heating system. To view pictures & info about his geothermal system, click on System.  Klaus’s 2003 total monthly average energy bill was $49. This includes the electricity and propane costs for his entire 1,600 sq.ft. – 40 ft. 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.

A Florida 1,075 sq.ft. Ai dome home can be cooled for less than $27 a month in the hot Florida summer months.  The home is kept at 76 degrees Mon-Fri 6 pm – 8:30 am.; 76 degrees Sat & Sun and 81 degrees when the homeowner is not at home. To view its electric bills, please click on Florida Dome Home.

American Ingenuity Domes are in the following Arizona cities: Lake Havaso, Hereford, Ganado, Prescot, Flagstaff. Utah cities of Roosevelt, Moab and Coalville. Such New Mexico cities as Albuquerque, Magdalene, El Prado, Carlsbad, Angel Fire, Las Cruces, Montezuma, Farmington, Ramah, and Sandia Park.

When building an Ai dome in a hot climate, paint it a light color such as tan, light green, light blue, etc. to reflect the sun light.  One of Ai’s Florida clients cooled their 2,600 sq.ft. dome home for less than $134 a month in the hot summer months when their prior 1,500 sq.ft. box shaped house cost $150 a month to cool. 

The insulation in the Ai dome consists of seven inch thick blocks of rigid, nontoxic Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) which is comparable to eleven inches of fiberglass batting…and there is no wood  interrupting the insulation.  The dome spherical shape results in 30% less exterior surface area than a conventional house…meaning less walls for heating and cooling to pass through.   The thick uninterrupted insulation and reduced surface area of the dome are two of the main reasons, the Ai dome can save  50% to 60% off conventional box house cooling and heating costs.

American Ingenuity has sold dome kits into 47 states and 14 foreign areas. Ai Domes excel in very hot climates like New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Florida or excel in cold climates like South Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, New York, Pennsylvania, etc.

The panel concrete has been especially designed to work in hot or cold climates. Concrete is an excellent and common building material in all temperate zones throughout the world.  The panel concrete is a special formulation containing synthetic fibers and liquid admixtures. These ingredients improve the concrete’s characteristics, create super toughness, extend durability, make concrete impervious to water, give higher tensile and compressive strength, provide elasticity for expansion (for hot climates), and improve freeze protection.

Ai ship’s synthetic fibers & two liquid admixtures (air entrainment and water reducer) with each Building Kit. These items when mixed with Portland Cement, masonry sand and water produce a dense, rich concrete.   Fibers in concrete work to reduce the formation of shrinkage cracks in concrete’s plastic state while helping to improve shatter resistance and reduce water migration. The result: is a tougher concrete.  An Assembly Manual is shipped with each dome kit and contains the recipe for the concrete mix.

The following explains why the concrete
on the American Ingenuity Prefab Panel is Crack Resistant.

The American Ingenuity dome has been built in such cold climate states and areas as Canada, Minnesota, South Dakota, Wisconsin, New York, Alaska, Oklahoma. The Ai dome has been built in all the cold climate states other than Rhode Island, New Hampshire and North Dakota.

The Ai panel concrete has been especially designed to work in cold and hot climates. Concrete is an excellent & common building material in all temperate zones throughout the world. Concrete is only affected by freezing temperatures when it is porous & absorbs water. The richness & density of our concrete prevents water absorption that spoils the surface when it freezes. Our concrete is also formulated with an air entrainment admixture that further improves the freeze-thaw characteristics. Although most of the concrete joints will not leak, we don’t depend on the concrete to make the dome watertight. The dome gets additional sealing with a concrete primer & house paint. After the shell is assembled, a concrete primer is used first then two coats of good quality paint is applied. Any porous area that water will penetrate; paint will also soak into and seal. If a leak occurs, the manual explains how to repair with elastomeric caulk or patching compound or tape.

The Concrete Mix recipe includes 5 gal of water, 1 bag Portland (type 1 or 111), 2 ox. Admixture A, 5 oz Admixture B, ¼ large bag fibers, 20 gal. Masonry sand or stucco sand. The panel concrete has been especially designed to work in cold and hot climates. Concrete is only affected by freezing temperatures when it is porous & absorbs water. The richness & density of our concrete prevents water absorption that spoils the surface when it freezes. Our concrete is also formulated with an air entrainment admixture that further improves the freeze-thaw characteristics. The exterior paint is an additional seal to any water that could freeze inside the concrete.

COLD JOINTS – CONCRETE NOT BONDING: The assembly manual that comes with the dome kit explains how to utilize bonding agent and other techniques to join the concrete in the seams. The concrete of the panels also has a ledge to add further bonding surface in the seams. Technology has developed now to prevent cold joints. The concrete seaming of the dome is more effective than spraying concrete onto the entire dome all at once. The concrete on the manufactured panels has time to start curing before the seam concrete is applied. We do not rely on the concrete to seal the dome. Primer and paint is applied to the concrete. (Manual can be shipped after kit order and deposit has been placed).

The same recipe Ai utilizes at our factory to manufacture the panel concrete is given on the plans and in the Assembly Manual. The panel concrete is a special formulation containing synthetic fibers & liquid admixtures. The following is why we ship synthetic fibers and liquid admixtures with our Building Kit. Fibers in concrete work to reduce the formation of shrinkage and cracks in concrete’s plastic state while helping to improve shatter resistance and reduce water migration. These ingredients improve the concrete’s characteristics, create super toughness, extend durability, make concrete impervious to water, give higher tensile & compressive strength, provide elasticity for expansion, and improve freeze protection. The concrete in your dome out performs other exteriors because of its specially developed formula. Because of its exceptional composition, it actually gains strength over the years. The exterior concrete adheres directly to the steel mesh and EPS without the need of a bonding agent. We ship the same admixtures and synthetic fibers with the Building Kit so that the concrete mixed on site will have the same properties as the panel concrete. To apply concrete in the seams the temperature should be above freezing, preferably at least 40 degrees. The concrete cannot freeze for two days after the application.

The following is why Ai ships a Bonding Agent with our Building Kit.
• Concrete, or a cement mixture, will not bond to a dry absorbent surface such as dry concrete. The reason is easy to understand when you examine the curing process of cement. When new concrete is applied over old, dry concrete the moisture from the new concrete will be absorbed by the dry concrete especially at the surface where they meet. When the new concrete is robbed of its moisture at the joining surface it will not cure properly and therefore will not bond.

• Bonding agents are designed to improve the adhesion between layers of concrete by acting as a glue and coating and sealing the dry concrete to prevent it from robbing the moisture. The bonding agent that is provided with your kit, when mixed with concrete, also increases its strength.

• To assure that the 2nd layer of concrete placed in the seams on and on the entryways and dormers bonds will with the concrete of the panels:1.) Wet the panels with water and allow them to soak up all the water they will.  2.) Apply bonding agent on the concrete at the edge of the panel and on any concrete that has been placed in the seam. Allow bonding agent to rest per the label before applying fiber concrete.

• There are 2 special features designed into the panel of your kit to improve the bond and strength of your dome.  1.) The panels have a ledge molded into the edge of the concrete where the seam concrete is most needed to bond. This ledge increases the bonding surface, thereby increasing the ultimate strength of the joint.  2.) The steel mesh which extends from the old concrete to the new concrete is a small mesh with compliments the effect of the fibers in securing the joint.

Curing Time: Concrete freezing. The weather and the mix of the concrete (amount of water, etc.) will affect the curing time of the concrete. Usually by the time a complete row of panels are installed and are ready to start the next row, the concrete has cured enough in the first row of panels. However, if place a panel above another panel and cracks start to form in the first coat of concrete, then the concrete has not cured enough. Stop placing panels until the concrete has cured.


California & South Carolina Domes utilize geothermal pipes for heating & cooling

Kaufman garage house 153645′ dome home linked to 34 dome garage in Forest Ranch, California.

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.

 

Kolb exterior 40 27 P7120015Kolb 40′ Dome Home linked to 27′ – 2 car garage dome in South Carolina
utilizes geothermal energy for heating & cooling & was awarded EPA’s Energy Star.

This file contains information on three types of systems:

  • Water based geothermal systems
  • Underground copper tubes carrying a refrigerant
  • Undergound pvc tubes cooled and heated by solar energy

Colorado Geothermal Company.   American Ingenuity has learned of a respected Geothermal Company in Colorado named Major Heating.  Their main office is in Wheat Ridge 303-424-1622 and outlet in Steamboat 970-870-0983.

Geothermal Heating And Cooling

Klaus Kolb installed a Water Furnace Geothermal Heat Pump (a two ton Premier Model PO22TL101NADSSA) with a 1/2 HP Blower and a 1/2 HP Loop Pump in his South Carolina 40′ American Ingenuity Dome Home. In retrospect he realizes the 40′ dome needed only a 1.5 ton unit.

Klaus stated, “I buried two loops of 500′ each, 1/2” special plastic pipe by Water Furnace in a 2′ wide ditch 6′ deep in my pasture. At that depth and in our latitude, there is a constant temperature of 59 degree F (free buried sun energy). My heat pump uses this base temperature to either heat my home dome in winter to 70 degrees or cool in summer to 75 degrees. Thus my delta T (temperature differential) is very small, resulting in minimal energy consumption.”Klaus’s 2003 total monthly average energy bill was $49. This includes the electricity and propane costs for his entire 1,600 sq.ft. dome. Some of the features of Klaus’s 40′ dome are:

  1. The dome’s insulation was Ai’s standard R-28 insulation (seven inch thick E.P.S. which is comparable to eleven inches of fiberglas batting).
  2. The tankless water heater used propane as the fuel. Klaus installed a Rinnai Continuum tankless (Troughflow) water heater. The specifications were: Whole House Unit Model REU 2424W-US; Min 19000 BTU, Max 180000 BTU; LP Gas.
  3. Geothermal cooling pipes were installed.
  4. The washing machine is an Energy Star which means it uses one half the water and one half the electricity of a standard washing machine.
  5. Compact Fluorescents were used through out the dome. 17 watts gives 60 watts of light; 27 watts gives 100 watts of light.

Two above photos show Klaus Kolb installing the plastic pipes.

____________________________

To research GeoThermal Heating and Cooling Systems visit Water Furnace’s web site.

Water Furnace:

To research their web site, click on Water Furnace. The following info came directly from their web site.

What’s a “Water Furnace”? Water Furnace is a pioneer and industry leader in the development and manufacture of geothermal heating and cooling systems. We don’t just make them. We “practice what we preach”—by heating and cooling our Fort Wayne, Indiana, headquarters with our own WaterFurnace geothermal units. After all, we could hardly expect you to believe this technology is “Smarter from the Ground Up” if we weren’t convinced of it ourselves.

Our entire Fort Wayne complex serves as a working model for large-scale industrial and commercial buildings across the country. It uses what’s called a closed loop system spread over the bottom of a pond as its heating and cooling source. Sound remarkable? It is. Yet the science behind it is sound. We’ll explain it to you.

Geothermal Heat Pumps Key Product Criteria

Equipment Specification

Geothermal Heat Pumps

  • Open Loop: >=3.6 COP (H); >=16.2 EER (C)*
  • Closed Loop: >=3.3 COP (H); >=14.1 EER (C)*
  • Direct Expansion (DX): >=3.5 COP (H); >=15 EER (C)*
Product Type
EER
COP
Water Heating
Closed Loop
14.1
3.3
Yes
With integrated WH
14.1
3.3
N/A
Open Loop
16.2
3.6
Yes
With integrated WH
16.2
3.6
N/A
DX
15
3.5
Yes
With integrated WH
15
3.5
N/A

Geothermal Heat Pump:

A geothermal heat pump model uses the thermal energy of the ground or groundwater as the heat source and heat sink for residential space heating and/or cooling. It may provide both space heating and cooling, cooling only or heating only functions. A geothermal heat pump model consists of one or more factory-made assemblies that normally include an indoor conditioning coil with air moving means, compressor(s) and refrigerant to fluid heat exchanger(s).

In addition, some or all of the domestic water heating shall be provided through the use of a desuperheater, integrated demand water heater or a separately installed compressor that provides demand water heating. The geothermal heat pump includes all the equipment and connections from the point at which the ground heat exchanger enters the house, except for indoor equipment that was installed by someone not representing the manufacturer or manufacturer’s representative, such as the ground heat exchanger installer.

Closed Loop System:

A ground heat exchanger in which the heat transfer fluid is permanently contained in a closed system.

Open Loop System:

A ground heat exchanger in which the heat transfer fluid is part of a larger environment. The most common open loop systems use ground water or surface water as the heat transfer medium.

Direct Expansion (DX):

A geothermal heat pump system in which the refrigerant is circulated in pipes buried in the ground, rather than using a heat transfer fluid, such as water or antifreeze solution in a separate closed loop, and fluid to refrigerant heat exchanger. A DX system includes all of the equipment both inside and outside the house. DX systems may be single or multi-speed.

Integrated Demand Water Heating:

This term is used to describe geothermal heat pumps that include a water heating function in the refrigeration cycle. Integrated demand water heating differs from desuperheater in that the integrated demand water heating model provides all or nearly all of the domestic hot water needs and provides hot water even when space conditioning is not required. This includes systems that employ the use of a separate water heating compressor unit or that use the same compressor for space conditioning and water heating. Also sometimes referred to as full-demand or demand water heating.

COP:

Coefficient of Performance – A measure of efficiency in the heating mode that represents the ratio of total heating capacity to electrical energy input.

EER:

Energy Efficiency Ratio – A measure of efficiency in the cooling mode that represents the ratio of total cooling capacity to electrical energy input. For DX systems, EER will be calculated in accordance with the CSA standard C748-94 Performance of Direct Expansion (DX) Ground Source Heat Pumps conditions.

The above information came from the EPA’s Energy Star Web site: http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=geo_heat.pr_crit_geo_heat_pumps

 

GEOTHERMAL DIRECT EXCHANGE

The following came from the web site:

http://www.copper.org/applications/plumbing/heatpump/geothermal/gthrml_main.htm

Copper Tube is Key to Success of DX GCH Systems

Running the Copper LinesDirect-exchange geothermal systems use the earth as an energy reservoir, taking advantage of the constant 55°F temperature about 4 feet below the surface. Copper tubes run underground carry a refrigerant that circulates into and out of a home. A compressor unit induces heat exchange, and heated or cooled air is distributed through an air handler.

By running tubes underground, the heat-transfer medium in geothermal systems always enters a home at 55°F, unlike other systems that are exposed to much hotter and colder outside air temperatures. Once inside the home, the compressor concentrates and delivers the heat. To increase efficiency further in the air-conditioning season, waste heat can be transferred to the water heater. Research indicates that geothermal systems reduce heating and cooling cost an average of 30 to 60 percent when compared to air-source heat pumps.

According to studies conducted by utility companies, the greatest savings are provided by direct-exchange geothermal heating and cooling systems, since they burn no fuel and consume no energy beyond the electricity required to operate the compressor and the fan used to circulate the air.    

 

 

 

The following covers Ai Dome Energy Efficiency FAQS.

EXTERIOR Schoonover

American Ingenuity 40′ dome linked to 30′ garage dome

Q: Where can I view on your web site, the energy bills for your Florida Dome Offices and for a Florida Dome Home?

A: To view the FP&L utility bills showing the Ai 3,700 sq.ft. dome offices can be cooled for less than $85 a month during Florida’s hottest months, view Office Electric Bills. To view the FP&L utility bills showing a Florida 1,075 sq.ft. 34ft in diameter dome can be cooled for less than $27 a month during Florida’s hottest months, view Home Energy Bills.  Heating Ai domes is even easier than cooling because when heating, the heat generated by computers, refrigerators, dishwashers, clothes dryers, etc.  is used and does not need to be overcome as is needed when cooling a structure.

Q: Tell me about an American Ingenuity dome beating a home sponsored by the utility company, Florida Power & Light, to win the award for Most Energy Efficient Residential Unit in the southeastern United States.

A: Florida Power & Light is a nuclear powered utility company in Florida. FP&L sponsored the design of a passive solar home and entered it in a contest held by the Southeast Builder’s Conference, a division of the National Home Builders Association.  An American Ingenuity dome was entered into the same contest.  The Ai dome beat the FP&L home to win the award for the Most Energy Efficient Residence in the southeastern United States. The Home also won the Grand Award for all energy efficient categories…beating out the FP&L home in a second category.

Q: What Energy Star rating has the American Ingenuity dome received?

A: A 5+ Energy Star rating, the highest rating given, Energy Star is a joint program between the Environmental Protection Agency and the United States Department of Energy that is designed to promote products, buildings and homes that use less energy without sacrificing quality.

American Ingenuity has received in the past the Energy Star endorsement for our dome homes, making us the first among Geodesic Domes. Our domes not only qualified but we far exceeded their efficiency standards that are derived from the Model Energy Code.

In an American Ingenuity dome, you can receive a 5+ Star rating, the highest rating given. When financing, this rating will entitle you to the maximum benefits like reduced fees and lower interest rates. The Energy Star Rating cannot be given on a building kit…only on a finished dome. Therefore, once you build your dome you can apply for the Energy Star Rating. Energy Star’s web site ishttp://www.energystar.gov

The Energy Star label can only be placed on completed houses. The label cannot go on a Building Kit. Some of American Ingenuity’s clients have had their completed dome homes rated and received the Energy Star label. To find out how your dome home can receive an Energy Star Label, call the EPA Energy Star hot line 1-888-782-7937 and ask for a company in your area that can rate your home.

Klaus Kolb’s South Carolina Ai concrete dome house earned EPA’s Energy Star.  Home Energy Partners certified his home used 61% less energy than in comparably-size housing.  To view pictures of his dome home, click on Earned Energy Star.  He installed a geothermal cooling & heating system. To view pictures & info about his geothermal system, click on System.  Klaus’s 2003 total monthly average energy bill was $49. This includes the electricity and propane costs for his entire 1,600 sq.ft. – 40 ft. dome.

Q: What do I need to consider when searching for an ENERGY EFFICIENT house?
A:
To best answer that question let us examine how most of the heating and air conditioning is lost in a house. The major loss is usually through the walls and ceiling with the amount of loss directly proportional to the combined area. Solution, minimize the surface area of the house. Domes have about 20% to 40% less surface area than an equal size conventional house. This results in an equal and significant improvement in the efficiency.

The insulation value of the walls and ceilings are important but you cannot just compare R-values. R-values provided for conventional houses represent optimum conditions. They do not take into consideration that the insulation is interrupted by the framing, has voids, settles and absorbs moisture. In our domes, the E.P.S. insulation is continuous, rigid and it will not settle or absorb moisture. R-28 E.P.S. insulation in our dome exceeds the performance of R-45 fiberglass in a conventional house.

Blower tests repeatedly show that wood frame houses loose 10-25% of their heating and AC through the numerous leaks in the walls, attic, electrical outlets, etc. It is very difficult to seal these leaks due to their volume and inaccessibility. American Ingenuity domes are sealed airtight on the outside of the insulation; therefore, eliminating the energy absorbing leaks.

The insulation on Heating and AC ducts is usually only R-6 to R-8. In addition, when the fan is running, the air in the ducts is under pressure and thus the ducts are more inclined to leak. Ducts in the attic, or anywhere outside the insulation envelope, account for sizable energy loss. In American Ingenuity domes all of the ducts are inside the insulation; therefore, there is zero loss in the ducts even if they leak.

If you add up the potential energy savings of American Ingenuity dome living, you will understand why our dome owners often claim savings in excess of 50% to 60%.

To learn more about heating and cooling an American Ingenuity Dome view Energy.

Q: How does your insulation R-value compare to other wall R-values?
A:
The following are comprehensive wall values based on the average value of the complete wall. For example the comprehensive R-value:

  • 2×4 solid wood with 3 1/2″ fiberglass is about R-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
  • While the wall value of Ai’s 7″ thick E.P.S. insulation is R-28 and Ai’s’s 9″thick E.P.S. insulation is R-36.
  • To view data about the modified expanded polystyrene insulation utilized by Ai, click on Panel Composition

Q: How do I remove water vapor from cooking, showering, laundry, etc.?
A:
When the air conditioner or furnace is operating, some water vapor is removed by condensation at the evaporator coil.  Water vapor can be controlled by installing an exhaust fan in top center of the dome, exhaust fans in the bathrooms, at the stove, microwave and clothes dryer. Also if your dome is in a cold climate install a Heat Recovery Ventilator.   To learn more view Heat Recovery Ventilator.

Q: Does thermal mass affect energy efficiency?
A:
No. Generally speaking, in a home, thermal mass is the amount of stuff inside the house that retains heat. Although thermal mass accounts for the fact that some things have a greater “thermal capacity” to store heat than others, to understand its effect you can think of it as the total weight of everything contained in the house.

With more thermal mass (heavy stuff) inside your house more heat will have to be added or removed to change the temperature. Expressed another way, if heat is not being added the temperature will be slower to change.

Does Thermal Mass effect the energy efficiency of the house? No.

As heat in the house is lost through walls, windows, etc. the temperature drops. The thermal mass releases (loans) heat into the house slowing down the temperature change. When the heating system turns on, it must replace heat lost to the outside and it must  replace (pay back) that heat given off by the thermal mass. There is no long-term gain or loss, all of the heat given off by the thermal mass must be replaced. The amount of heat required to maintain the temperature inside a house is solely dependent on the amount of heat that escapes to the outside.

All houses have walls, floors and usually fixtures, appliances and stuff that will retain heat. A large amount of thermal mass can cause long on/off cycles of the heating system when shorter cycles would stir the air more frequently providing more comfort and uniform temperatures inside. The recent generation of thermostats are a proven money saver by lowering the inside temperature (which lowers the heat loss to the outside) during those hours you are away at work, etc. A large thermal mass makes it much harder to change the temperature; therefore, reducing the savings.

During the summer while using AC (substitute cold for heat) the effect remains the same.

Q: Can I use alternative power sources with my American Ingenuity dome?
A:
Yes. By providing your own Alternative Power, you can live in a remote location (less expensive land) and still have all the amenities of a developed area. However be aware the cost of these alternative power sources could be $20,000 to $70,000.  The alternative power systems typically consist of a power source, storage device and conversion systems. Most systems use photovoltaic cells but is some cases gasoline or diesel engine generators or wind or water driven generators are practical. The storage device is usually large batteries. The conversion system allows you to have 110 volts AC and use conventional appliances. The technology is very refined and the systems are top notch.

The cost of the system will depend directly on the amount of power that you will need. By first investing in an energy efficient house, you will reduce your power demand and save money. If you are considering an American Ingenuity dome home, you couldn’t make a better choice and you will be doing your part to conserve power and lower greenhouse emissions.

If you are also connected to the local power grid, you will not need batteries for backup and in most cases you get paid for putting power back into the system.

If the cost of the system is included in the home financing it can be paid off with a little higher monthly mortgage payment. Not having an electric bill may even it out.

Utilizing an alternate power source does have a few drawbacks: COST: while systems are getting more affordable, they are still expensive. It is still less expensive to buy power from mass-produced power companies unless you are far from the power lines. MAINTENANCE and RELIABILITY: Most systems are very reliable but occasionally they need attention. Several of our dome owners have alternative power systems and are very satisfied with the results.

To view pictures and info on a 40′ dome in Pennsylvania which has a GeoThermal WaterFurnace Synergy 3D heating/cooling system, click on Charles Dome.   To info on a South Carolina 40′ dome utilizing geothermal, click on Kolb Dome.  To view pictures of Kolb Dome, click on South Carolina.

Jim Collar’s Utah Ai concrete dome buildings at 7,500 ft elevation operate off the grid by using photovoltaic’s, masonry heater fireplace and passive solar water tubes. To learn more, click on  Off The Grid.   If you are considering an alternative power system in your dome the magazine Home Power offers many solutions. 

 

45' dome with 30' dome in Utah snow.

45′ dome with 30′ dome in Utah at 7,500 ft/ elevation – off the grid. On right are photovotaics

SOLAR HOT WATER PANELS:

Helpful web sites are:

Solar Panels: Solar Hot Water panels can be designed to set on top of the entryways or link. Anchors are buried into the entryway concrete on site. Grooves are cut in the EPS insulation to lay the pipes in and the water pipe(s) are inserted through the entryway EPS before the entryway is concreted. I have a solar hot water panel mounted on my dome link. It sits on the link and lies against the side of the dome. To hide the ends of the solar panel, we filled in the ends with foam and stuccoed over the foam so it matches the dome. View Solar Panels to learn more.

Q: Would you give me more information about solar hot water heaters and photovoltaic panels?
A:
An article in Mother Earth News reported that since 1970, the demand for electricity has outpaced the World’s population growth by more than 20 percent. They continue and explain how we are ignoring the warning signs, that Builders are still constructing poorly efficient housing and others are overlooking the importance of renewable/alternate energy sources.

The first and most important step is to limit or reduce the energy loss in the home. An investment in good, uninterrupted, insulation and a design that does not leak the conditioned air to the outside has the best return. The savings is not only in the reduced energy loss but, also in the reduced cost of a smaller heating and air conditioning system. The next step is to replace some of the energy, which is consumed. A solar water heater has proved to have quick payback in most parts of the country. In fact, sometimes they can be financed and save more money in reduced electric bills than the cost of payments. When they are paid off it becomes pure savings. Photovoltaic cells have continued to improve in efficiency and cost.

The Mathes’ dome (34′ dome home with 30′ garage dome) in Florida utilizes 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 states, “This has been a wonderful experience that I would not trade for ANYTHING!”   View Photovoltaic to learn more.

ss2American Ingenuity 34′ dome. Solar Hot water Panel installed on top of standard entryway.

Q: How did the American Ingenuity dome perform in the energy efficiency tests at the Florida Solar Energy Center?
A:
Superbly. Test findings were released after a yearlong 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-efficient Styrofoam house designed by Dow Chemical. It came as no surprise to us that our test dome far surpassed both the conventional and Dow test houses in being THE MOST ENERGY EFFICIENT.

Although the test was conducted in a temperate locale without summer and winter temperature extremes, the American Ingenuity dome outperformed 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. In tests using infrared, thermal irregularities in the dome were shown to be insignificant.

The Florida Solar Energy Center can be reached at 321-638-1000 or write them at 1679 Clearlake Rd, Cocoa, FL 32922.

Q: Which heating and air-conditioning system is the most practical and efficient for my location?
A:
Keep in mind that because of the superb energy efficiency of the dome the required size of your air conditioning and heating system is reduced to half that of a typical home. It is usually not economical to purchase super-efficient systems because the energy savings is also reduced. The smaller sized domes can be cooled with a window air conditioner. The best heating system will vary with the area and the type of fuel that is readily available. A ventilated wood stove may provide all the needed heat for even our larger domes located to cold climates. A ground water (or water-to-air) heat pump is very efficient for both heat and cool. It uses the constant, moderate temperature of the underground earth to absorb or provide the heat instead of outside air. Besides, being more efficient than an air-to-air unit, it can efficiently produce heat when the outside temperature is below freezing.

Q: Can a radiant in floor heating system be installed in my dome?
A:
Yes. Check your yellow pages or Google local Radiant Floor Heating Subcontractors.

View Radiant Floor Heating to learn more.

Charles exterior

American Ingenuity Dome utilizing radiant floor heating.

Q: Why are your dome homes so energy efficient?
A:
You can save 50-70% 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 the framed exterior walls under entryway and dormer panels that contain your locally purchase exterior doors and windows.
  • Downsized heating and cooling equipment.

Your kit comes with R-28 E.P.S. insulation or if you choose, thicker R-36 E.P.S. insulation is available.

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

 South Carolina Dome Home Has Sold For $224,000
The full selling price.

The following is the sales information that was presented to the public in 2006.  To view photo gallery of the dome click on South Carolina Dome.

snow Kolb beautiful

One Owner-Builder of an American Ingenuity dome complex is planning to relocate to Florida. He sold his dome complex in the Greenville/Spartanburg area of South Carolina.

The dome complex consists of one fully furnished 40’ dome home (2 Bedroom, 2 ½ bath 1,600 sq.ft.) linked to a 27’ two car garage with a 12’ utility dome and a dog dome.

These domes are situated on the high point of 6.9 acres of land. 5.5 acres are pasture land, 1.4 acres are hardwood forest. The domes sit on a hill with a gorgeous view.

KOLB PROPERTY DETAILS

This dome home consists of an American Ingenuity 40′ dome linked to a 27′, two car garage. The garage first floor is 555 sq.ft. with a 16 foot wide overhead door and a 680 sq.ft. attic. The attic floor is fully suspended from the dome shell so there are no columns or supporting walls to interrupt the garage first floor.

Dome Home Features:
• Fully furnished with quality items including two king size beds and a solid wood book wall from Denmark.
• Draperies by ADO – “Draperies with the Gold Thread.”
• Jacuzzi
• Non-vented gas log fire place.
• Flooring: combination of laminate “hardwood style”, tiles and Berber carpet.
• Heating/Cooling: by means of a Geothermal heat pump, using latent sun energy which is stored in the ground with 1,000 feet of hermetically sealed special plastic pipe loop, at a 6 feet depth.
• Water Heating: tank-less, on-demand propane gas water heater unit.

Construction: Steel reinforced concrete shell with 7” thick E.P.S polystyrene insulation.

Insulation value: R-28 which is comparable to 11” of fiberglass insulation.

Construction complies with 1995 CABO Code, One/two Family Category. This dome has been occupied by the original owner since April 30, 2002.

This Geodesic Dome Home is super energy efficient with a low environmental impact. It has been tested by a third party independent testing company and was subsequently certified as an ENERGY STAR HOME by EPA. The home actually uses 61 percent less energy than a comparably sized home.

To view info and pics about his geo thermal pipes and water furnace, click on GeoThermal.


As a leader in the prefab building kit industry, American Ingenuity’s mission statement is to continue manufacturing prefab concrete dome building kits that are affordable, strong and energy efficient by continually:

  • Manufacturing the Ai prefabricated panels utilizing the latest cutting edge materials.
  • Offering Names of Independent Kit Assembly Consultants to supervise the assembly of the concrete dome kit.

Exterior Office lots of green

Above is photo of Ai’s dome offices – 45′ dome linked to 34′ dome with 3,700 sq.ft.  The office domes can be cooled for less than $55 a month in the hot Florida summer months.  To view office electric bills, click on Super Energy Efficient.  Never fear if you live up north, the Ai dome is even easier to heat than to cool.  To cool, the air conditioner has to overcome heat generated by computers, refrigerator, clothes dryer, dish washer, sun light, etc.  To heat the heat generated is utilized.  The AC or furnace will be one third smaller than would have been needed for the same square footage conventional house.

Exterior factory dome 60 P4250117

American Ingenuity manufactures the prefabricated component panels for the concrete dome building kits within three domes.  60′ in diameter dome pictured above and 48′ dome and 45′ dome shown below.

Exterior factory domes P4250122

American Ingenuity’s Factory in Rockledge Florida.
The dome on the far right is a 48′ dome which was built in 1983.
It is the first dome built from American Ingenuity’s patented component panel
.

To learn about South Carolina Dome that won EPA’s Energy Star, click on Energy Star.

To learn more about super-strength, click on Advantage Summary.

To view Ai’s engineering statement, click on Engineering.

The Ai dome kit can be a Do It Yourself Project, to learn more click on Owner Builder.

To learn more about the finished price of an Ai Dome, click on Finished.

To learn more about Ai’s building kit assembly, click on Kit Assembly.

To learn more about Kit Assembly Consultants, click on Assembly Consultant.

To learn more about super-energy efficiency, click on Energy FAQ.

 

American Ingenuity – 8777 Holiday Springs Rd – Rockledge Florida 32955

Phone 321-639-8777 – Mon – Fri 9-5 eastern time

Email: GlendaB.Aidomes@gmail.com