geodesic dome | AiDomes

EXTERIOR Schoonover

WHY BUILD A GEODESIC DOME FOR YOUR NEW HOME OR BUSINESS?

Q: Why did the founder of American Ingenuity in 1975 decide on the dome shape for his commercial dome to be built in Melbourne Florida?  

A: The dome, or partial sphere, is a geometric form that encloses the greatest amount of volume with the least amount of surface area. Historically, massive domes constructed of stones, brick or concrete were common in ancient Greece and Rome. In modern times, Buckminster Fuller was the first to formulate geodesic principles for constructing a spherical surface by triangular subdivision. However nearly all of Fuller’s domes were built from wood framing with shingled roofs.

Ai’s founder, Michael Busick, did not want to build his Florida commercial dome out of wood and shingles because termites eat wood, hurricane force winds rip off shingles and a wood dome has an increased shingled roof area causing expensive reroofing costs every 11 or 12 years.  Instead Mr. Busick hired a University of Miami architectural professor, engineering students and director of the Florida Solar Energy Center to come up with building materials specifically to build the geodesic dome. The materials were concrete, mesh and expanded polystyrene (EPS) insulation. Back in 1976 the first Ai dome was built by propping up precut EPS panels, hand tying road mesh on the exterior of the EPS and guniting concrete on to the exterior.  Mr. Busick soon learned that guniting concrete over the entire exterior surface was a waste of concrete and labor.  This is why he invented Ai’s prefab panel and received a patent.  Building an Ai dome from prefab concrete panels makes construction easier than stick built construction or pumping concrete on to an airform and results in the dome exterior having a 225 mph wind and F4 tornado guarantee and super-energy efficiency.

The process of stacking the panels, overlapping/locking the steel mesh of adjacent panels and filling the panel seams with special fiber concrete, produces 1) the structural components of the home; 2) the finished concrete surface; and 3) installs all the R28 insulation.  Ai’s component panel building system is the most simplified way to build a commercial or residential building on the market today.  

During the past decade the buying public has experienced a substantial increase in the cost of construction, the cost of energy and the cost of borrowing. As a result, there has been increased interest in the use of kit home technology to help address these concerns. In the last decade, many people have discovered that the dome design offers a viable solution.

As a building concept, geodesic dome construction translates into a highly comfortable and livable building that has a maximum of floor area enclosed by a minimum of materials. These features combine superior strength and cost-effectiveness in a single structure. In short, the building concept of a dome expands the range of simple and economic building options.

Why build a geodesic dome – Strength and energy efficiency.  The geodesic geometry intersects to form  triangular elements, which have local, triangular rigidity, and so distribute the structural stress throughout the geodesic sphere. The triangle shape is the strongest shape known to man – it will not collapse whereas all other shapes will.  Manufactured domes are constructed using a triangular network to form a spherical shape. This method provides for a free span, self-supporting structure requiring no internal supports such as roof load bearing partition walls. This allows for maximum flexibility of floor plan design and utilization of interior space.

As an architectural form, the dome is one of the strongest structural forms devised and built by man. Domes that were built centuries ago enclose many of the great cathedrals of Europe. Domes are structurally superior to rectilinear enclosures. The partial sphere is an aerodynamic shape that is very stable in high winds and can withstand heavy snow loads. For these reasons, domes greatly exceed the structural requirements of the major building codes in the United States.  Ai gives a 225 mph wind and EF4 Tornado warranty on the dome exterior walls.  The interrupted R28 insulation causes cooling and heating bills to be 50% to 60% less than the same size conventional structure.  In the Ai dome there is no wood in or on the exterior shell to interrupt the insulation, to rot, or to burn or for termites to eat.  There is no roof to replace every 11-12 years. The exterior concrete is painted  4-5-6 years with breathable elastomeric paint.

One of the most exciting architectural environments ever designed, a dome brings its best attributes to your commercial or residential needs.  It delivers a rewarding living experience filled with warmth, light and open space to those who choose to build a dome.

For Sale 34′ Concrete Aidome w’ Finished Basement – 1,916 sq.ft. on 4.2 Pristine Acres

Finished Basement includes Apartment Separate from the Dome. Numerous Improvements.

$197,700

total 3 bedrooms, 3 Baths w’ Wood Burning Fireplace & Wrap-A-Round Deck

at 3,400 ft elevation – one mile off the Blue Ridge Parkway- three miles from Mt Mitchell Golf Course

“Where Springtime Spends the Summer”

In Western North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountain’s Countryside

(30 min from Marion, Burnsville & Spruce Pine NC)

One Hour from Asheville, NC.   12 miles from Mt. Mitchell State Park

1,092 sq.ft. Dome w’ 824 sq.ft. Basement Apartment for total 1,916 sq.ft.
Dome has two bedrooms and two full baths
Basement includes apartment w’ separate entrance

that includes 1 bedroom/full bath, kitchenette, family room

Call June Jerome with June Jerome Realty at 828-675-9536 or email JuneJeromeRealty@Frontier.com 

(use arrows above on right and left side of main picture to view other photos in the gallery)

PDF floor plan for Downloading & Printing

Floor Plan Online Viewing – Opens in Browser

 

Have you dreamed of living in an American Ingenuity (Ai) dome?  Are you tired of your state’s hot summers?  Desire investment property?  Then purchase this amazing dome to relax in the coolness of the 3,400 feet elevation of the North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains, play golf two miles away at the four and one half star Mount Mitchell Golf Course  or trout fish at the nearby Black Mountain Campground.  When you are not enjoying the dome, rent out the dome or the basement apartment to those wanting to hike the Blue Ridge Parkway trails,  view the gorgeous autumn foliage, visit the Parkway water falls, Mount Mitchell State Park or the surrounding quaint small towns and sights of Asheville – Biltmore Estate & its Gardens.   During the winter ski in Boone North Carolina.  The dome address is 12811 Hwy 80 South, Burnsville NC 28714. 

Sit in tranquility on the decks, share morning coffee and the countryside views. Enjoy hiking the Blue Ridge Parkway trails, having picnics at the water falls, eating at local cafes in Little Switzerland, attending live theater performances in Asheville, skiing in Boone and becoming friends with the amazing local residents.  At the bottom of this article is a listing of some of the sights on the Blue Ridge Parkway and area attractions.

This finished North Carolina dome is an eleven hour drive from central Florida & New York City and is one mile off the Blue Ridge Parkway & the eastern continental divide, 30 minutes from Marion, Burnsville & Spruce Pine North Carolina and one hour from Asheville.  Within one half mile is a country general store and a fire station. The Blue Ridge Regional Hospital in Spruce Pine is within 30 minutes.  The dome is nestled on the mountain side in the oaks and hemlocks. The dome’s incredible glassed high profile entryways and decks allow for quiet viewing of the spectacular North Carolina country side, mountains, flora and fauna.  Seen on the property: northern flying squirrel, saw-whet owl, white-tailed deer and gray fox.  Mount Mitchell State Park (1,946-acre park on the highest peak east of the Mississippi, with camping, hiking & panoramic views) is 12 miles away where bird watchers have recorded 91 species in the park. Birds more characteristic of New England and Canada—including winter wrens, slate-colored juncos, red crossbills and golden-crowned kinglets—nest at these high altitudes. Spring and summer bring the drumming of ruffed grouse. From the observation tower, visitors can often see peregrine falcons whipping past.

The dome was built from an American Ingenuity (Ai) concrete dome building kit.  We received this Facebook question: and wanted to share it and our answer with you:  

Q:  Ai, just out of curiosity, how often do you have a finished dome for sale? 

A:  It is very unusual to have a finished Ai concrete dome for sale. So this is a rare opportunity for anyone desiring to purchase a finished American Ingenuity dome to do so instead of starting from scratch having to select property, build & finish the dome and basement.

Why Purchase a Home Built From an Aidome?

The geodesic dome was built from an American Ingenuity (Ai) dome building kit which consists of prefabricated triangle shaped panels and four foot tall riser panels. The dome’s exterior is fire resistant concrete reinforced with galvanized steel mesh and fibers. Its insulation is continuous R28 {seven inches of nontoxic expanded polystyrene (EPS)}. The dome panels contain no wood to interrupt the insulation, no wood for termites to eat and no wood to burn.  There is no roof to replace every 11-12 years.  The dome’s exterior walls are incredibly strong and come with a 225 mph wind and F4 tornado warrantyresist tree impact and resist forest fires due to non-combustible concrete exterior.  The insulation results in the dome’s heating costs being 50% to 60% lower than a box shaped house.  Please scroll down to the bottom of this article to learn why the founder of American Ingenuity designed a dome which such wonderful features.

Why is a Geodesic Dome So Strong?

Geodesic domes are three-dimensional structures using stable triangles approximating spheres to create multiple load carrying paths from point of load to point of support. The triangle is the only arrangement of structural members that is stable within itself without requiring additional connections at the intersection points to prevent warping of the geometry.  In other words, apply pressure to one edge of a triangle, and that force is evenly distributed to the other two sides, which then transmit pressure to adjacent triangles. That cascading distribution of pressure is how geodesic domes efficiently distribute stress along the entire structure, much like the shell of an egg.  To view advantages of the American Ingenuity dome, click on Summary.   

Concrete Dome w’ Basement Apartment Square Footage and Info – numerous interior & exterior improvements.

The 1,092 sq.ft. 34′ dome has a wood burning fireplace, two skylights and two magnificent glassed high profile entryways.  The 824 sq.ft. basement has an apartment for a total square footage in the dome and basement of 1,916 sq.ft.  The concrete basement walls were built with a French drain installed.  

The custom built oak spiral stair case and railing around it and oak planks were sawed from red oak trees from the area with the treads being newly carpeted July 2017.  Seventeen foot high vaulted ceilings are above the 150 sq.ft. dining room, 162 sq.ft. living room, both High Profile entryways, fireplace and the spiral stairs. New Lodge Oak Handscraped Wood Plank Laminate Flooring from Lowes was installed in the living room, dining room, 1st floor bedroom & its walk in closet, 2nd floor bedroom & its walk in closet in July 2017.  New Ceramic Tile was installed in the dome kitchen and around the base of the fireplace in July 2017.  

The dome’s first floor is 840 sq.ft. with one bedroom & one bath and second floor is 252 sq.ft. with one bedroom & one bath.  The first floor bath has tub/shower and second floor has bathroom with shower. The Dome is accessed from the parking level along the kitchen deck or via spiral stairs from the basement or exterior stairs from the basement level.  The interior finish on the dome walls is hand troweled plaster over Georgia Pacific DensDeck drywall.  The skip troweled plaster results in a beautiful high low finish.   The DensDeck is not conventional sheet rock with paper facing.  It is moisture resistant, mold resistant drywall with fiberglass facing.

The Basement apartment includes: one bedroom with new laminate flooring, full bath, Kitchenette with sink and family room.   The basement also has a store room with a 4′ wide by 3’4″ window and a  mud room with  2’10″x 2’10” window and 3′ wide door, washer and laundry tub.  The family room, kitchenette, mud room, bathroom and hall way have ceramic tile.  The store room could be converted to a fourth bedroom or an office.

The basement family room and kitchenette have ample light from 6’ sliding glass doors and a 3’10” x 3′ kitchen window.  All glass in the windows, skylights & sliding doors is double pane. Windows and sliding doors have vinyl frames. All three sets of sliding doors are new as of July 2017.  The dome first floor has two skylights and two high profile entryways. Each entryway contains 6 foot sliding glass doors. Above each of the sliding doors is double pane fixed glass – 2′ tall by 7’10” long.  In the kitchen there is a standard entryway with single door and 5′ x 2’9″ tall window.  The two bedrooms in the dome each have a window.

The home is all electric with well, septic tank and 250 gallon kerosene tank. The dome is heated with monitor heater fueled by kerosene and the wood burning fireplace.  Basement is heated with baseboard heaters.  Or per a local handy man the basement could be heated by installing a min-split heater or a Toyo Stove with a kerosene line run from the existing kerosene tank.  

The dome’s wood burning fireplace hearth is 4’6″ long by one foot wide. The fireplace glass doors are 3’7″ long by 1’10” tall. Around the base of the fireplace new ceramic tile is installed.  On site there are plenty of fallen branches to be cut up for fire wood.

The dome can be lived in year round or used as a vacation home and visited when desired or rented out for others to enjoy the four seasons.

Because the dome is located at 3,400 feet elevation, during the summer 85 degrees are high temps. In the hottest of summer months, fans were sufficient for cooling.   A great feature about the super-insulated dome is how it can be cooled by convection air movement.  In the summer when night time temps are below 70 degrees (which is nearly every summer night at 3,400 ft), open a window on the dome’s first floor and a window on the second floor. Due to convection currents, the cool night air lifts any warm air and exhausts it out the second floor window.  Then in the morning close the windows to trap the cool air in causing it to feel like an air conditioner was turned on during the day.

When lived in year round, in the winter the dome is heated by a monitor heater, fireplace and southern sun.  There is an exterior  250 gallon kerosene storage tank which fuels the heater.    During the winter the dome was kept warm because of the heat generated by the sunlight coming in the south facing glass area and the heater set at  68 degrees. (Winter used 200 gals of fuel)  Other times during the winter, the dome was heated by using the fireplace and the south facing sun.  The basement has base board heaters.

Or instead of living year round in the dome, it can be used as a retreat from your state’s hot summers. If the dome is lived in as a summer vacation home and not in the winter, no fear going off and leaving the dome in the North Carolina winters. Conventional houses need their  furnace set at high temperatures to keep the building above freezing temps. However because the American Ingenuity dome has uninterrupted R28 insulation and reduced exterior surface area it can be heated and cooled for 50% to 60% less than conventional box shaped houses. This dome also has the advantage of having a south facing High Profile entryway which allows the sunlight to heat the dome. When the owners visited Florida in the winter, the monitor heater was set at 48 degrees causing the unheated basement to stay at 55 degrees. When they did not visit the dome in the winter only 100 gallons of kerosene was needed to keep the dome to 48 degrees.  About one half of the basement walls are completely back filled with a French Drain installed.

Location and Wrap-A-Round Deck and Two Other Decks 

The dome is accessed from I-40 or I-26 or the Blue Ridge Parkway to Highway 80 south.  A paved driveway off Hwy 80 south is 260 ft long and ten feet wide. The dome has three decks and exterior stairs. One deck off the basement is 12′ long x 6′ wide with railing which accesses sliding glass doors in the basement family room & kitchenette. The second floor deck is 42 feet long by 6 feet wide and accesses the dome’s dining room and the living room. The exterior stairs are 16 feet long by 3′ wide which leads to the 12′ 10″ long by 7’5″ wide deck off the kitchen entryway.  House is accessed either through the mud room door or the exterior stairs lead to a kitchen door or by walking around the dome.

Aerial Mapping of the Area

The dome is located in a natural forested area. The Google Car that syncs up the satellite data to the street view doesn’t go off the main highway in the country.  As a result through Google Map if you maneuver the cursor you can  see the 260′ paved driveway off  NC State Highway 80 South.  At the end of the driveway the dome sits back a bit on the right so the dome is not visible; however,  you can see that the driveway is right off  Highway 80. Please click on Google Mapping  to see the driveway & Hwy 80.   In Google Mapping to view the immediate area around the dome, Busick NC has to be entered for the address.  In the small town of Busick there is a general store and a fire station. The dome is one half mile past the fire station off State Highway 80. On Google Mapping the red marker named Busick is not the dome location but the small town of Busick’s location. To view the small town and the pristine area around it,  click on Busick NC.   With Google Mapping you can tour the country side around the dome.   When on the Google site, if you scroll to the left you will see the Mount Mitchell Golf Course and if you scroll to the right the Blue Ridge Parkway is visible. 

Dome is in the Blue Ridge Province of the Southern Appalachian Mountains

Per Wikipedia, the Black Mountains are a mountain range in western North Carolina, in the southeastern United States. They are part of the Blue Ridge Province of the Southern Appalachian Mountains. The Blacks are the highest mountains in the Eastern United States. The range takes its name from the dark appearance of the red spruce and Fraser fir trees on the upper slopes which contrasts with the brown (during winter) or lighter green (during the growing season) appearance of the deciduous trees at lower elevations. The Eastern Continental Divide, which runs along the eastern Blue Ridge crest, intersects the southern tip of the Black Mountain range.

The Black Mountains (named for the dark spruce trees in the area) are home to Mount Mitchell State Park, which protects the range’s highest summit and adjacent summits in the north-central section of the range. Much of the range is also protected by the Pisgah National Forest. The Blue Ridge Parkway passes along the range’s southern section, and is connected to the summit of Mount Mitchell by North Carolina Highway 128. The Black Mountains are mostly located in Yancey County, although the range’s southern and western extremes are part of Buncombe County.

Dome is Outstanding, Unique, Rare opportunity

As you will see in the area this property is an outstanding unique, rare opportunity to capitalize on the fantastic mountain views, not having to start from scratch to build a dome home, recreational facilities on the Parkway, close proximity to top class shops, restaurants and live theater in Asheville that we don’t believe you can find anywhere else in the country.

If this North Carolina dome is not in the right location or not the correct size for your family, consider purchasing an Ai dome building kit and building a dome on your property. On Ai’s web site you can sign up for a newsletter.  It keeps you informed about the  building kit discounts & special events. Ai is not a construction company. Since 1976 our company designs the building plans and manufacturers the prefab panels for the dome building kits.  Different times of the year there is a discount on the dome kit with the discount varying. The kits are purchased and are either assembled by the owner builder or by their builder. If desired the independent Kit Assembly Consultant can supervise the owner builder’s workers or the builder’s workers to get the dome kit assembled.

The Ai Dome is Ideal for a Vacation Home for Several Reasons:

  • Unique design that results in a fun home to visit and possibly rent out the dome when the property owners are not home.
  • Dome nestles into a wooded setting without concern of a tree impact on concrete dome or that a forest fire will burn the concrete exterior. See Ai’s  tree impact link for info about 30” in diameter hickory tree falling on dome with dome suffering no damage. The concrete dome exterior is noncombustible so exterior is fire resistant. As a matter of fact all the materials in the dome prefab panel are noncombustible (concrete, galvanized steel, drywall and EPS).
  • Super energy efficiency: The 7” ridge, nontoxic Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) insulation is comparable to 11” of fiberglass batting and is not interrupted by wood. The dome walls and roof have 30% less surface area than a conventional house; expect heating and cooling costs to be 50% to 60% less than conventional housing. As a result during winter time, if you are not living in it year round, the dome requires very little heat to keep the water pipes from freezing.

To view photos of a Florida 34’ dome home and it’s electric bills, showing where it can be cool for less than $22 a month in the hot Florida summer months, click on 34’ dome. By the way it is even easier to heat an Ai dome than to cool one.

  • Low Exterior Maintenance: The Ai dome has less exterior maintenance than a conventional framed house. The dome’s exterior is a shell of continuous concrete with incredible durability with nothing to rot, rust, warp, be eaten by termites or be damaged by fungus, molds and insects. The exterior concrete is primed and painted with no shingles or separate roofing to blow off in high winds. Normal maintenance is to pressure wash and paint every 4-6 years. The dome’s expanded polystyrene insulation will not shrink, deteriorate, absorb moisture or relinquish its R-value.  To view a summary of advantages, click on Advantages.

WHY PURCHASE AN AMERICAN INGENUITY GEODESIC DOME

FOR YOUR NEW HOME?

Q: Why did the founder of American Ingenuity in 1975 decide on the dome shape for his commercial dome to be built in Melbourne Florida?  

A: The dome, or partial sphere, is a geometric form that encloses the greatest amount of volume with the least amount of surface area. Historically, massive domes constructed of stones, brick or concrete were common in ancient Greece and Rome. In modern times, Buckminster Fuller was the first to formulate geodesic principles for constructing a spherical surface by triangular subdivision. However nearly all of Fuller’s domes were built from wood framing with shingled roofs.

Ai’s founder, Michael Busick, did not want to build his Florida commercial dome out of wood and shingles because termites eat wood, hurricane force winds rip off shingles and a wood dome has an increased shingled roof area causing expensive reroofing costs every 11 or 12 years.  Instead Mr. Busick hired a University of Miami architectural professor, engineering students and director of the Florida Solar Energy Center to come up with building materials specifically to build the geodesic dome. The materials were concrete, mesh and expanded polystyrene (EPS) insulation. Back in 1976 the first Ai dome was built by propping up precut EPS panels, hand tying road mesh on the exterior of the EPS and guniting concrete on to the exterior.  Mr. Busick soon learned that guniting concrete over the entire exterior surface was a waste of concrete and labor.  This is why he invented Ai’s prefab panel and received a patent.  Building an Ai dome from prefab concrete panels makes construction easier than stick built construction or pumping concrete on to an airform and results in the dome exterior having a 225 mph wind and F4 tornado guarantee and super-energy efficiency.

The process of stacking the panels, overlapping/locking the steel mesh of adjacent panels and filling the panel seams with special fiber concrete, produces 1) the structural components of the home; 2) the finished concrete surface; and 3) installs all the R28 insulation.  Ai’s component panel building system is the most simplified way to build a commercial or residential building on the market today.  

During the past decade the buying public has experienced a substantial increase in the cost of construction, the cost of energy and the cost of borrowing. As a result, there has been increased interest in the use of technology to help address these concerns. In the last decade, many people have discovered that the dome design offers a viable solution.

As a building concept, geodesic dome construction translates into a highly comfortable and livable building that has a maximum of floor area enclosed by a minimum of materials. These features combine superior strength and cost-effectiveness in a single structure. In short, the building concept of a dome expands the range of simple and economic building options.

Manufactured domes are constructed using a triangular network to form a spherical shape. This method provides for a free span, self-supporting structure requiring no internal supports such as roof load bearing partition walls. This allows for maximum flexibility of floor plan design and utilization of interior space.

As an architectural form, the dome is one of the strongest structural forms devised and built by man. Domes that were built centuries ago enclose many of the great cathedrals of Europe. Domes are structurally superior to rectilinear enclosures. The partial sphere is an aerodynamic shape that is very stable in high winds and can withstand heavy snow loads. For these reasons, domes greatly exceed the structural requirements of the major building codes in the United States.  Ai gives a 225 mph wind and EF4 Tornado warranty on the dome exterior walls.  The interrupted R28 insulation causes cooling and heating bills to be 50% to 60% less than the same size conventional structure.  In the Ai dome there is no wood in or on the exterior shell to interrupt the insulation, to rot, or to burn or for termites to eat.  There is no roof to replace every 11-12 years. The exterior concrete is painted  4-5-6 years with breathable elastomeric paint.

One of the most exciting architectural environments ever designed, a dome brings its best attributes to your commercial or residential needs.  It delivers a rewarding living experience filled with warmth, light and open space to those who choose to build a dome.

To Purchase This North Carolina Dome Built From Ai Dome Kit:
Financing Is Possibly Available Through These Lenders or Pay Cash

Construction/Renovation/Purchase/Refinance Options are available through:
Sovann Kang, Branch Manager  – nmls #275454
Umpqua Bank Home Lending
Mobile: 253-376-0991
Web site: umpquabank.com/skang
Email: sovannkang@umpquabank.com

Regions Smart Solutions, Jennie Lyn Steeg in Jacksonville Fl. Work 904-564-3303

BB&T  David Buffington.  Mortgage Loan Officer, 605 North Orlando Avenue, Orlando Fl 32789 Office 407-691-2150. www.bbt.com/dbuffington

FBC Mortgage  Jay Zerquera VP  407-377-0286 direct  Apply online:  www.teamjandj.com  189 South Orange Ave, Suite 970, Orlando Fl 32801

Because acquiring financing for alternative housing can be difficult, consider hiring a mortgage broker to locate financing for you.  Even though a broker’s interest rate may be a little higher than a lender; you are living in a super-strong, super-energy efficient American Ingenuity dome saving money each month on your heating, cooling, maintenance and insurance costs.

Ai has learned about LightStream’s Anything Loan, a division of SunTrust Bank.  Not sure if they can assist you or not.  LightStream’s Anything Loan is a virtually paperless loan that will let you finance or refinance almost anything.  These loans are very customer friendly with these included features:

Fixed-interest rates range from 1.99% to 9.99%* APR with AutoPay
Loan amounts range from $5,000 to $100,000
No fees, down payment requirements or prepayment penalties
Apply online and receive a response within minutes during business hours
Unsecured, with no liens or collateral requirements for AnythingLoan. (Applicants that do not qualify for the AnythingLoan may qualify for our Secured Loan products).

Financing Alternatives: 

  1. take out an equity line on property you own
  2. obtain a personal loan from family or friends (offering them a higher interest rate than banks, etc. are offering on money markets certificates, etc.)

Area information

  1. The 2017 Annual Yancey County property taxes on the dome home and 4.2 acres are.  Yancey County government center’s official web site.
  2. Blue Ridge Regional Hospital is 30 minutes away in Spruce Pine and is part of the Mission Health System of North Carolina.  In Asheville there is an Asheville VA Medical Center and Mission Health System.  See below for a paragraph about Mission Health System.
  3. When arranging to view the dome, check out Priceline’s Motel Listing for Burnsville NC or motels in Marion North Carolina
  4. Town of Burnsville NC official web site.
  5. City of Marion official web site.
  6. Lowes Home Improvement store is 30 minutes away in Marion NC.  480 US 70 West, Marion, NC 28752. Phone:(828) 659-5960.
  7. Town of Spruce Pine is 30 minutes away from the dome. Super Walmart Store is in Spruce Pine.
  8. To view local schools, click on Yancey County School System.
  9. Asheville North Carolina is one hour from the dome and has been ranked No. 12 Best Place To Live In America  because of its culture, sites, live theater,  gallery hopping, antique shopping, trekking along the Appalachian Trail and more.  Asheville is a city in western North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains. It’s known for its vibrant arts scene and historic architecture, including the dome-topped Basilica of Saint Lawrence and the vast 19th-century Biltmore estate, displaying artwork by masters like Renoir. Its Downtown Art District is filled with galleries and museums, and in the nearby River Arts District, former factory buildings house artists’ studios.  However why live in the hustle, bustle of a large city, live in quietness and tranquility in this country side setting and visit Asheville at your convenience.  
  10. About Blue Ridge Regional Hospital:  (number 828-766-2900) is based in Spruce Pine, N.C., is a not-for-profit hospital and serves Mitchell, Yancey, lower Avery and upper McDowell counties. Blue Ridge Regional Hospital has provided excellent health care services for the region since 1955. Cleverley & Associates has recognized Blue Ridge Regional Hospital as a Community Value 5-Star Hospital for 10 consecutive years.
    1. Medical specialties offered by Blue Ridge include emergency services, OB services, critical care, rehabilitation services and fitness center, cancer services, orthopedics, general surgical services, pain management, pediatrics, family medicine, sleep disorders and wound care.  (For Dialysis contact independent
    2. In addition, Blue Ridge Regional Hospital offers clinics for the following specialties: allergy and asthma; cardiology, dermatology; ear, nose and throat; gastroenterology; ophthalmology and kidney care (nephrology).   Blue Ridge Regional Hospital employs 450 people.
    3. Blue Ridge Regional Hospital is part of Mission Health, based in Asheville, N.C., is the state’s sixth-largest health system and the region’s only not-for-profit, independent community hospital system governed and managed exclusively in western North Carolina.  Mission Health, which traces its roots in the region back to 1885, operates six hospitals, numerous outpatient and surgery centers, post-acute care provider CarePartners, and the region’s only dedicated Level II trauma center.  Its medical staff consists of more than 1,000 physicians and is certified in more than 50 medical specialties and sub-specialties.
    4. Mission Health has seven Centers of Excellence: Cancer, Heart, Mission Children’s Hospital, Neurosciences, Orthopedics, Trauma and Women’s Health.Blue Ridge Parkway Sites & Area Attractions

NEARBY ATTRACTIONS

  • YOUNGS’ MOUNTAIN MUSIC  A must to experience the local flavor and enjoy the mountain music.  Each Saturday night local talent and professionals get 30 minutes on stage and play banjo, fiddle, guitar, piano, etc.  Open 7pm-11pm, donations accepted.  Save room for homemade pie.  Sometimes in the summer, they have fish fries at dinner time.  Open year round.  Take Hwy 80 north to Micaville, turn right onto 19E and go 3 ½ – 4 miles.  Just after the Mitchell County sign, look for their flashing sign on the left.  The music hall is a ½ block north of the highway.
  • THE TOWN OF BURNSVILLE  A quaint small town with a square, antique shops, gift shops, old timey hardware stores, gourmet luncheon restaurant, grocery store and more.  Off Highway 19.  Yancey County Chamber of Commerce.
  • THE TOWN OF MARION  A small town with a Food Lion grocery store, ABC liquor store, Walmart and more.  Approx. 20 miles southeast of cabin.  South on Hwy 80, turn left onto Hwy 70.  McDowell County Chamber of Commerce
  • WILLIAM EFFLER’S GENERAL STORE  Located in the little town of Busick.  This store has almost everything you may need and an abundance of charm.  During most seasons the produce is irresistible.
  • LITTLE SIENNA RESTAURANT Located at the East end of Hwy 80 where it joins Hwy 70.  Delicious Italian Food.  Open year round. 828-724-9451.  2474 NC-226, Marion, NC 28752
  • LITTLE SWITZERLAND RESTAURANT   Located at mile post 334 on the Blue Ridge Parkway.  Chalet Restaurant overlooking the scenic mountains of North Carolina serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Beer, wine, and mixed beverages are available.  Open end of April through first week in November?   1-828-765-2153 http://www.switzerlandinn.com/
  • COACH HOUSE Seafood & Steak Restaurant  Go to the east end of Hwy 80, turn right onto Hwy 70W & proceed to the town of Black Mountain.  The restaurant is on the main road at 508 W. State St. Black Mountain, NC.   Phone: 828-669-4223.  Lunch Tues-Fri. Open Tues-Wed-Thurs 11am to 9pm, Fri 11am-9:30pm, Sat 3pm-9:30pm, Sun 11:30am-8pm, Closed Monday.  Beer available.  Excellent food at unheard of low prices.  Open year round. (This area offers lots of restaurants & shops).
  • TROUT FARM  A trout farm is approx approx. 5 miles south on Hwy 80.  They provide the poles and bait and anyone can catch your limit.  May be closed for lack of water or after October.
  • SWINGING BRIDGE  Going North on Hwy 80 just past the golf course, the first turn is to the left and the bridge is in the next right turn.  Check out the variety of river rocks near this wood bridge, some glitter with mineral Mica.  The river is named “South Toe”.
  • HIKING TRAILS  Along the parkway and at many of the overlooks are hiking trails.  The first overlook south of Hwy 80 exit, has an excellent trail.  In route you will pass through the twin tunnels and get a look at the inside of the mountain.
  • ALBERTS’ RESTAURANT(Gourmet Food)  Next to the Mount Mitchell golf course along Hwy 80 in Busick, NC.  Great view of Mt. Mitchell while you enjoy excellent food.  By reservation, call Albert or Sylvia Phone: 828-675-4691.
  • MOUNT MITCHELL FOUR AND ONE HALF STAR GOLF COURSE & PRO SHOP  Open April thru November?  18 holes of golf including cart use:   7590 Hwy 80 South. Phone: 828-675-5454.  From their web site: The Mount Mitchell Golf Club offers a variety of challenges to the visiting golfer. The course is a four and one half star rating by Golf Digest’s “Places to Play.” North Carolina Magazine ranked Mount Mitchell in the top ten public courses in the state. It features bent grass from tee to green, is virtually flat, has a pristine river flowing through it and awesome views on every shot. Just off the Blue Ridge Parkway, one hour from Asheville, Mount Mitchell Golf Club remains a favorite golfers’ haven.
  • MOUNT MITCHELL GOLF CLUB RESTAURANT Open May thru October? Phone: 828-675-4911.
  • BILTMORE ESTATE (Located in Asheville)  Features America’s largest residence.  Open year round except Thanksgiving, Christmas, & New Years.  Beautiful Christmas displays. Phone: 800-411-3812 admission about $25 each person.
  • THE BLOWING ROCK & CHIMNEY ROCK PARK  Two natural perches that provide striking views of the Southern Highlands.  Admission. Blowing Rock: 828-298-7111; Chimney Rock: 800-277-9611.
  • GRANDFATHER MOUNTAIN  Located near the town of Linville, featuring hiking trails, picnic areas, natural museum, theater.  Open year-round.  Admission: 800-468-7325.
  • “HORN IN THE WEST” An outdoor drama stages in Boone each summer, portraying the struggle of rugged mountain settlers & their role in the American Revolution.  Admission: 828-264-2120.
  • MAST GENERAL STORE   One of the best remaining examples of an old general store.  630 West King Street. Boone, NC 28607.  828-262-0000.
  • RAFTING  This can be an exciting family experience on such area rivers as the French Broad, Nolichucky & Nantahala.  A good selection of outfitters includes Carolina Wilderness. Phone: 800-872-7437.
  • SKIING  Boone, NC has Sugar Mountain., Beech Mountain.; and Wolf Laurel, NC has skiing.

MILE MARKER ATTRACTIONS…along the Blue Ridge Parkway 

The dome is one mile off the Blue Ridge Parkway’s mile marker 344

240   Doughton Park Restaurant-(Bringer Cabin Historic Site)

293   Moses Cone Memorial Park-(Historic Site-Parkway Craft Center)

297   Julian Price Memorial Park

305   Line Cove Viaduct-Last link of Blue Ridge Pkwy-Visitor Center on south side

318   Linville Falls Visitor Ctr.-Waterfalls

331 Museum of NC Minerals Visitor Center

333   Little Switzerland-Across from the Post Office, downhill from the exit is a restaurant, used bookstore & more.

342   Crabtree Meadows-Restaurant, Picnic Area and Coffee Shop

344   Buck Creek Gap-(Hwy 80 intersection to Dome Cabin)-Hiking trail off the north side-  FACT: The Eastern Continental Divide passes through here.  A rain drop landing on one side will eventually flow into the Atlantic Ocean and the other side will flow into the Gulf.

344.5 Twin Tunnels

355    Mt. Mitchell State Park- Restaurant and Picnic Area- FACT: Mt. Mitchell is the highest elevation in eastern America, 6,684 ft.

364    Craggy Gardens Visitor Ctr.- Picnic Area and Waterfalls

384    Folk Art Center- Craft center, for programs call (828) 298-0495.

408    Mt. Pisgah- Beautiful hiking trails, Restaurant, Camp Store and Picnic Area

469    Great Smokey Mountains National Park

Concrete Home on basement in Missouri.  Gorgeous 45′ diameter American Ingenuity dome home  on basement overlooking 2 acre pond.  Dome Kit was purchased in 1992.  Dome has five standard entryways on first floor with wrap around deck with stairs. Second floor has balcony and two window dormers.

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

(Ralph Oliver satisfied Ai dome owner builder)

  • Dome view from pond.

(click dots to change picture or use left and right arrows in picture)

  • 45' Dome front entrance in early spring.

(click dots to change picture or use left and right arrows in picture)

3,900 sq. ft., four stories, including finished basement and cupola; 3 baths, 2 kitchens, sunken conversation pit, wet bar, fireplace, curved staircase w/mirrors, central vac system, sauna, hardwood and carpeted flooring, ceramic tile floors in bath, utility room and kitchen.

Basement included exercise area, sauna with bathroom & shower, work shop and second kitchen.

Ten acre wooded setting, exceptional landscaping with over 100 hostas, gazebo, water ponds, water wheel, rock garden, cement drive, picnic and garden areas and more.

 

To view Oliver Dome Floor Plans click and view in your PDF browser or right click and save to your computer.

Oliver First Floor Layout PDF

Oliver Second Floor Layout PDF

Oliver Basement Layout PDF

The TV show, CBS Sunday Morning, ran this segment featuring an American Ingenuity dome home built in Pleasantville New York.


Building a Concrete Home – Panel Composition.  Because of fires, super storms, hurricanes and tornadoes, home owners are researching concrete home construction and finding the American Ingenuity concrete dome kit. Building an Ai dome from prefabricated concrete panels makes home construction easier and results in the dome exterior having a 225 mph wind and F4 tornado guarantee. The process of stacking the panels, overlapping/locking the steel mesh of adjacent panels and filling the seams with special fiber concrete, produces the structural components of the home, the finished concrete surface, installs the insulation and all the dome shell 1/2″ drywall.    To learn about Building Kit Assembly click on Assembly.  An Expanded Assembly Manual is now available with each dome kit order.

How long does it take to assemble the dome kit if I use the Kit Assembly Specialist? Depending on the size dome, and if your building kit has two entryways and four dormers with dome built on concrete slab, the shell assembly with one layer of concrete in the panel seams and on the entryways and dormers can take about 9 to 16 days. Assembly time depends on the number of workers in your team, your foundation type, weather and the type of hoisting mechanism. Click on Kit Assembly Specialist to learn more.

Side of view of panel being installed. The panel exterior is 3/4″ concrete reinforced with galvanized steel mesh. After the mesh is overlapped and locked between panels, on site special fiber concrete is mixed and hand trowelled in the seam areas in two applications — bonding agent is applied between the two layers. The seam areas are about 3″ deep by 5″ wide with average of 2″ thick concrete.

Side of view of panel being installed. The panel exterior is 3/4″ concrete reinforced with galvanized steel mesh. After the mesh is overlapped and locked between panels, on site special fiber concrete is mixed and hand trowelled in the seam areas in two applications — bonding agent is applied between the two layers. The seam areas are about 3″ deep by 5″ wide with average of 2″ thick concrete.

 

Concrete Home
Exterior Dome Panels Have No Wood To Burn or To Rot or For Termites To Eat
No Shingles or Roof to blow off in high winds

To support the panels during dome kit assembly, a temporary wooden rib system is installed. Once all the seams are concreted and the entryways and dormers are concreted, the dome is self supporting and the wooden rib system is removed. Most of the wood can be recycled as interior framing.

In this view of dome kit being assembled a side view of a component panel can be seen. The panel exterior is 3/4″ concrete reinforced with fibers & galvanized steel mesh. After the mesh is overlapped and locked between panels, special fiber concrete mixed on site is hand troweled in the seam areas in two applications — bonding agent is applied between the two layers. The seam areas average of 2″ thick concrete.

What are the American Ingenuity triangular and rectangular shaped panels made from? Center core of 7″ Expanded Polystyrene R-28 Insulation (not Styrofoam!), exterior is ¾” thick concrete reinforced with fibers & galvanized steel mesh with interior of 1/2″ Georgia-Pacific DensArmor Plus High-Performance gypsum drywall board (which is moisture resistant, mold resistant gypsum and noncombustible).  None of the materials in the panel are combustible or contain a food source for mold growth.

Superior Insulating Technology The core of each panel consists of a seven inch block of R-28 rigid modified expanded polystyrene (E.P.S.) insulation. The E.P.S. Insulation that Ai utilizes contains NO HBCD, NO TCPP, NO CFCs and NO formaldehyde and is not Styrofoam.   The EPS that Ai utilizes has a flame retardant added to it, therefore the EPS is noncombustible and is protected by the 1/2″ DensArmor wallboard which is non-combustible and provides the Code required 15 minute thermal barrier.   The EPS that Ai utilizes does not out gas poisonous chemicals.

Your American Ingenuity concrete home kit is affordable and strong because it is engineered as a system of prefinished component panels. Each panel is cut at a computer-generated angle so that it fits flush with the adjacent panel. The edges are precisely beveled at the seams where steel mesh and concrete will unite to complete the structure.

Q: Do you have an engineering statement about your dome panels that can be reviewed?

A:  Yes, to view the statement click on Engineering.

After the foundation is installed, the dome shell assembly consists of:

  • Erecting a temporary wooden rib system with supports under each hub.
  • Using some type of hoisting mechanism place the component panels one row at a time upon the rib system.
  • Overlapping the steel mesh from adjacent panels. Locking the steel mesh with “C” rings and pliers. Depressing the mesh into the seams.
  • Installing rebar, cables, hardware, (headers, king studs for doors and windows)  and suspension rods in appropriate seams per the building plans.
  • Watering down prefab concrete in the areas where new concrete will be applied. Applying one layer of fiber concrete in the seams and on the entryway/dormer panels one row at a time. Depending upon the dome size, there are four to five rows of panels.
  • Once the last row is installed then the second layer of concrete is applied in the seams between the panels and on the entryways and dormers. Bonding agent is applied between the two layers.  Cured concrete in the seams and around the area where new concrete is being applied is watered down prior to bonding agent and new concrete being installed.  The new concrete is misted per the Assembly Manual.
  • Only the seam areas between the panels and the entryways/dormers/cupola/link are concreted. Do not concrete over the finished prefab concrete on each panel.
  • Finishing exterior framed walls and Installing your locally purchased doors and windows.
  • Removing the temporary wooden rib system. Most of the wood can be recycled into interior framing and second floor perimeter knee wall framing.
  • Watering down the concrete exterior 3-4 weeks to remove efflorescence prior to priming and painting the concrete exterior.
  • Hiring conventional subcontractors: framer, electrician, plumber, drywall finisher, cabinet installer, HVAC, etc. to finish the interior of the dome.
  • Priming and painting the exterior of the dome.
  • Finishing the seams between the interior shell wall board with joint compound, fiberglass tape and applying joint compound in a skip trowel method over all the shell drywall.  Ask Ai for latest interior shell finishing document.
  • Priming and painting the shell wallboard.

To learn more about Hoisting Mechanisms click on Hoisting.  To learn more about entryways, dormers, etc. click on Building Options.

For special discounts, click on Sale.   For Building Option Pricing click on Basic Kit Prices and then scroll down the page for the building options chart.  

American Ingenuity’s Component Panel’s steel mesh, concrete, EPS insulation and DensArmor wallboard contain no food source for mold growth and are therefore mold resistant.  The Georgia Pacific wallboard is not conventional sheet rock. Conventional sheet rock consists of  conventional gypsum and paper backing.  Sheet rock when it gets wet crumbles and molds with the paper matting as a food source for mold growth.  The DensArmor gypsum when it gets wet does not crumble.  It has fiberglass backing on both sides is no food source for mold growth. 

Tell us more about American Ingenuity’s panel materials.

Concrete: The panel concrete is a special formulation containing synthetic fibers and liquid admixtures. Locally purchase bags of Portland cement and masonry sand.  After the mesh is overlapped and locked between panels, special fiber concrete mixed on site is hand troweled in the seam areas in two applications — bonding agent is applied between the two layers. The seam areas are about 3″ deep by 5″ wide with average of 2″ thick concrete.  Prior to applying new concrete, water down all concrete around areas where work will be done. 

Mix the ingredients with a Mortar Mixer NOT a cement mixer!  Ai ships with your building kit the same fibers and admixtures that are used in the panel concrete so the seam concrete which is mixed on site will have the same properties as the panel concrete. These ingredients improve the concrete’s characteristics, create super toughness, extend durability, give higher tensile and compressive strength, provide elasticity for expansion and improve freeze protection.  The first layer of seam concrete contains two liquid admixtures and synthetic fibers.  The second layer does not require fibers; however now due to advances in fiber technology there are small 1/4″ fibers which can now be added to the second layer.  These smaller fibers for the second layer can be purchased from Ai.

The concrete in your concrete home out performs other exteriors because of its specially developed formula. Because of its exceptional composition, it actually gains strength over the years.

The exterior panel concrete, which is 3/4 inch thick, adheres directly to the steel mesh and E.P.S. insulation without the need of a bonding agent.  The panel concrete is hand applied, hand troweled, and hand sponged at American Ingenuity’s Rockledge Florida factory.  During the on site process of concreting the seams, entryways, dormers, etc., a bonding agent is applied on the first layer of concrete before the second layer is applied.  Bonding Agent is supplied with the kit with additional bonding agent being purchased from Ai. This bonding agent is not diluted onsite.  It is used full strength and must rest 30 minutes before new concrete can be applied over it.  Prior to applying bonding agent, water down cured concrete.  Before applying second layer of concrete, water down all cured concrete in the seams and around where the new concrete will be applied.  The final layer of concrete is sponge float finished on site.

Steel: Galvanized steel wire mesh is encased in the concrete of each component panel and extends out over the insulation’s beveled edges. As your dome panels are assembled, the mesh of each panel overlaps minimum 2″ and is hooked to that of the adjacent panels with C-rings (commonly called “hog rings”). The dome then becomes encircled by steel mesh.

E.P.S. Insulation that Ai utilizes contains NO HBCD, NO TCPP, NO CFCs, NO formaldehyde.  The EPS thickness is 7″ (R28).  The seven inches of sturdy, rigid, nontoxic R-28 expanded polystyrene (E.P.S.) insulation forms the core of each component panel. This is NOT Styrofoam!  The E.P.S. Ai uses is a closed cell with a 1 lb. per cubic foot density. The insulation is permanent, chemically and thermally stable; resistant to mildew; provides no nutritive value to animals, plants, microorganisms; non-irritating to skin.  The insulation will not rot, shrink, absorb moisture, compact, or deteriorate due to age or the weather. It also acts as a vapor barrier for your home, providing stable performance year after year. To learn more about E.P.S. as a Vapor Barrier click on Vapor Barrier.

ANALYSIS OF EXPANDED BEAD POLYSTYRENE

The Expanded Polystyrene (E.P.S.) Insulation that American Ingenuity utilizes is seven inches of sturdy, rigid R-28 modified E.P.S. insulation, which forms the core of each component panel. The E.P.S is one pound per cubic foot density (pcf).  EPS is NOT Styrofoam.

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

  • is permanent
  • is chemically and thermally stable
  • is resistant to mildew
  • provides no nutritive value to animals, plants, microorganisms
  • is non-irritating to skin
  • contains NO Chlorofluorocarbon (CFCs) and is formaldehyde free
  •       Contains NO HBCD (hexabromocyclododecane) and NO TCPP (1-chloro-2-propyl) phosphate

What kind of vapor barrier will American Ingenuity dome have?  Approximately one quarter of the energy consumed by an air conditioner is used to extract water vapor from inside the house. Water vapor easily passes through most building materials and is readily swept into homes through joints, seams and through the attic. The E.P.S. insulation that Ai uses provides a good vapor barrier.   And the Ai building system provides for an air tight house.

During the US Dept of Energy Study on energy efficiency in  housing designs, the blower door test showed the American Ingenuity 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.

Per the manufacturer of the E.P.S. which American Ingenuity uses, “the E.P.S. is closed cell and will not absorb more than 2.5% of water based on volume”.  E.P.S. is often used as flotation for docks because it will not absorb water. 

Per E.P.S. manufacturer’s data sheets the following description was given to explain how the E.P.S. is affected by Moisture:  “To retain their original insulation value, all insulation materials must remain dry.  Water is a good conductor of heat so a high moisture content in the insulation results in a significant loss of performance.  This is particularly so with fibrous materials which must be positively protected by an efficient vapor barrier.  Two ways in which moisture can affect insulation materials are; water absorption from contact with damp surfaces or rain penetration or from interstitial condensation of water vapor.  E.P.S. is a closed cell material and has minimal water absorption and low water vapor transmission.  Both of these properties are to a large extent, density related, but also to the degree of fusion of the material.  Tables 4 and 5 show typical performance figures for good quality E.P.S. boards manufactured to Arco Polymers recommendations.”           

Table 4  Water Absorption

Density (pcf)                                  1.0 lb                            1.5 lb                             2.0 lb
(pounds per cubic foot)

Water absorption (% vol)        less than 2.5                  less than 2.0                  less than 2.0

Table 5 Water Vapor Transmission (WVT)

Density (pcf)                                                     Grains (hr/sqft) In/Hg (Perm inch)

1.0                                                                                            1.2-2.2

2.0                                                                                            0.6-0.8

2.5                                                                                            0.5-0.7

3.0                                                                                            0.5-0.7

The amount that a material will breathe is measured in perms or sometimes perm inches.

 “Note: FHA requirements for perimeter insulation are that the original K value of the material must not increase by more than 15% after repeated wetting and drying cycles.  Tests have been carried out on nominal 1.0 pcf density E.P.S. with an original K value (at 75 degrees F) of 0.26.  After submersion the K value was found to be 0.28–an increase of only 7.7%.”

 Climatic Changes:  E.P.S. board has been used as an insulation material in various types of building structures for over 35 years in climatic conditions ranging from Arctic cold to desert heat and has performed satisfactorily.  E.P.S. does not become brittle at sub-zero temperatures (in fact its K value improves) and suffers no loss of impact resistance at -100 degrees F compared with 73 degrees F.  The maximum recommended continuous operating temperature is 175 degrees F.  Roof surface temperatures in Southern States may reach this temperature for short periods, but with suitably designed roof systems E.P.S. can be used under these conditions.”

In Ai’s building system the water is stopped on the outside surface because the concrete is rich and dense enough to inhibit significant absorption and it is coated with a primer and two coats of good quality exterior concrete paint which further insures against leaks.  If a leak occurs the remedy is to check the area for hair line crack that gets repaired with elastomeric patching compound and another coat of paint.  If and when any water gets past the concrete very little will be absorbed by the E.P.S.

Now this brings up breathability of the E.P.S.  The amount that a material will breathe is measured in perms or sometimes perm inches.  E.P.S. will breathe enough to allow it to dry out inside our walls.  At the same time it is tight enough to also serve as a good vapor barrier. Ai’s insulating concrete panel (ICF) is made from expanded polystyrene (E.P.S.) molded into lightweight foam blocks. The foam itself provides excellent insulation with an R value of R-28. The R-value of E.P.S. remains constant. (R-values of traditional fiberglass insulation decreases when the material is wet or damaged.)  Ai chose to manufacture its dome component panels with Modified Expanded Polystyrene (E.P.S.) foam because of its fire performance, structural performance, and environmental advantages. Modified E.P.S. contains no formaldehydes, no CFCs, no HBCD, no TCPP or toxic chemicals, and uses fewer resources to manufacture than other insulation products.  E.P.S. provides you with superior thermal performance to better insulate your buildings, and no harmful CFC’s have ever been used to manufacture it.

You can now recycle your jobsite scrap through a network of manufacturers, re-processors, and retailers across the country. E.P.S. is a valuable resource than can be remanufactured into foam packaging or made into an amazing array of polystyrene products from office supplies to video cassette cartridges.  To locate your nearest E.P.S. collection site, call the RECYCLING HOTLINE at 1-800-944-8448.  Please recycle jobsite scrap.

Expanded Polystyrene (E.P.S.) Facts

The E.P.S. that American Ingenuity utilizes is manufactured from expandable polystyrene beads containing a hydrocarbon blowing agent and a flame-retardant additive that contains NO HBCD (hexabromocyclododecane) and NO TCPP (1-chloro-2-propyl) phosphate. Ai’s insulation is made from Nova Chemicals M-77 E.P.S. product.

The EPS Ai utilizes is a closed cell, lightweight, resilient, foamed plastic composed of hydrogen and carbon atoms. There are two common types of polystyrene foam, Extruded Polystyrene or X.E.P.S. (Popularly known by its Dow trademark, Styrofoam) and Expanded Polystyrene (E.P.S.). American Ingenuity utilizes only Expanded Bead Polystyrene that contains NO HBCD, NO TCPP, NO CFC’s and NO formaldehyde. Ai does not use Styrofoam.

During the processing of E.P.S., steam heat softens the beads and causes the blowing agent to expand to produce moisture-resistant multi-cellular particles, which increase in size up to 40 times their original volume.  Following a period of stabilization, during which time the beads lose their moisture, the blowing agent condenses out and air diffuses into their cellular structure, the pre-expanded beads are molded into blocks of insulation.

The benefits of E.P.S. thermal insulation products are its lightweight, has stable long-term thermal resistance, no R-value loss over time (Source: 1985 Study conducted by Structural Research, Inc. for NRCA, MRCA, and SPI), and cost effectiveness when compared to other rigid board insulations on the basis of R-value.

Is E.P.S. a water, vapor or air barrier?

E.P.S. is considered water resistant and vapor permeable and at the density and thickness that American Ingenuity utilizes, the material acts as both a vapor retarder and an air barrier. This characteristic essentially moves the dew point to the exterior side of the concrete wall, minimizing interior humidity in the summer, and at the same time eliminates air infiltration in all seasons which is recognized as a major cause of R-value loss in fiberglass insulation. Air exchangers or heat recovery ventilation systems are highly recommended!

Is E.P.S. foam toxic?

E.P.S. is an inert, non-biodegradable organic plastic foam which will not rot and is highly resistant to mildew. According to National Bureau of Standards Combustion Tests, data collected from seven labs concluded that under the worst case fire scenario, fumes from E.P.S. are no more toxic than those from wood (Douglas Fir).  

Is E.P.S. Flammable?

Due to the flame retardant added to the EPS during expansion, the EPS is not combustible but will melt and draw back from a heat source.  Tests have shown that the smoke and soot produced from the melting EPS is less than is produced by burning Douglas Fir wood.  Of course no one wants to breathe smoke or soot…that is why there are smoke detectors to alert occupants to fire.  The requirements of all the major code organizations for foam plastics is that they have a flame spread of not more than 75 and a smoke development rating of not more than 450. The foam used in Ai’s component panels has a flame spread rating of 15 and a smoke development rating of 125 based on ASTME84-87 tests, well below the code requirements.

If you are in an extremely cold climate (Vermont, South Dakota, Canada) you may want to purchase 9″ EPS R36 insulation.  Just remember if you purchase the thicker insulation, this will increase the size of the panels, which will cause a 45′ r 48′ kit to require two trucks for delivery. To learn more about the properties of the E.P.S. click on E.P.S. data and then scroll down the page to Analysis of Expanded Bead Polystyrene.

1/2″ Georgia Pacific DensArmor Plus Gypsum Wall Board

Drywall/WallBoard: Consists of Georgia Pacific 1/2″ DensArmor Plus High Performance Gypsum Panels adhered to the E.P.S. insulation with a wallboard adhesive  with moisture treated core.  DensArmor Plus High-Performance Interior Panels are noncombustible (as defined and tested in accordance with ASTM E136 or CAN/ULC S114) interior panels that consist of a moisture-resistant gypsum core with coated fiberglass mats. The fiberglass mats provide superior protection from incidental moisture.  The treated core and the coated facings made with fiberglass offer greater moisture resistance and improved dimensional stability than regular gypsum board. The product resists warping, rippling and buckling.

The DensArmor has zero flame spread and zero smoke development and complies with the 15 minute thermal barrier test as described in 2010 Florida State IRC Section R316.4.

Georgia Pacific’s Dens-Deck roof board is a patented nonstructural glass mat-faced, noncombustible, water-resistant, gypsum core panel.  Georgia Pacific does not add any flame retardant to its gypsum products.  The DensArmor contains no HBCD and no TCPP.

Q: Does the interior shell wall board that American Ingenuity uses support the growth of mold?
A:
. DensArmor Plus Panels are highly resistant to the growth of mold, and have scored a 10, the highest level of performance for mold resistance under ASTM D3273 test method. DensArmor Plus Interior Panels are the first drywall panels to be GREENGUARD indoor Air Quality Certified and GREENGUARD Children & Schools Certified for low emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) by a leading third-party organization, GREENGUARD Environmental Institute.  In addition, DensArmor Plus interior Panels are the first drywall panels listed as GREENGUARD microbial resistant.  This listing means Dens-Armor Plus Panels, which feature fiberglass mats instead of paper facings used on the surface of traditional gypsum board products, resist mold growth.  The microbial resistant test is based on ASTM D6329, a testing standard set by ASTM International, which develops testing guidelines and procedures for building materials, products, systems, and services.

Green, brown or black algae can appear on the wallboard. Algae just needs water and sunlight to grow.  Algae can be removed with a combination of chlorine and water or oxygenated bleach and water.

The wallboard is adhered to the EPS with a wallboard adhesive.  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. Please use a mask when cutting the DensArmor.

Fire Protection: Per Georgia Pacific:

  • 1/2″ Dens Armor Plus High Performance Gypsum Panels are gypsum panel products, designed for interior use, are manufactured to meet the temperature rise criteria of a thermal barrier as described in Section R316.4 of the 2010 Florida Residential Building Code.
  • In addition to having a non-combustible core per ASTM E 136, Dens Armor Plus has been evaluated by Underwriters Laboratories LLC per UL 723 Standard for Test for Surface Burning Characteristics of Building Materials. DensArmor Plus has a Flame spread/Smoke Development of 0/0.
  • The Finish Rating Thermocouple Temperatures obtained during the evaluation (WFCI Project No. 06047A) was conducted at Western Fire Center (WFCi) in Kelso, WA. WFCI is a recognized testing facility per the Gypsum Association (GA-600).
  • The Finish or Membrane Protection Rating was determined to be 0.15:40 for 1/2″ DAP. Please note the average ambient temperture was 21.0 degrees C for the 5 Finish Rating Thermocouples.
  • Properties of Dens-Armor: Noncombustible, Water Resistance, Dimensional Stability, Decay Resistance, Resistant to Warping, Rodent and Fungus Resistance, Torch Safe, High Compressive Strength.

The wallboard seams can be finished similar to drywall by applying joint compound and adhesive backed mesh tape on the seams. To blend the taped seams to the drywall finish, apply joint compound in a skip trowel fashion over the dome shell drywall.  Please call Ai for latest drywall finishing document.  Prime and paint the drywall.

 If I am not ready to assemble my dome immediately, can it be stored outside? Yes, but not in freezing weather. If you expect to have your kit outside for more than two to three months, when you order your kit request that the E.P.S. edges be painted.   Call us for details at 321-639-8777.

What do the component panels weight?

Dome Diameters 22′ 27′ 30′ 34′ 40′ 45′ 48′
Triangular (lbs)

155-180

245-295

120-150

160-200

230-275

275-355

315-400

Riser (lbs)

255

315

230

260

315

350

380

How are the panels supported during assembly?  Ai recommends using the temporary “wooden rib system.” The rib system consists of your own 2×4’s (cut to length and holes drilled to our specs) and steel hubs on loan from American Ingenuity to erect a free standing geodesic framework. The 2×4’s can be purchased from Ai (precut, holes drilled with ends painted) and shipped on the truck with your kit. The deposit on the hubs is $1,600 for a 5 month rental time…$20 a month rental thereafter, with the client paying to ship the hubs back to Ai to receive their deposit back less any additional months rental and any cost for any missing or damaged hubs. The bolts/nuts/washers are purchased for $128 and are not returned to Ai.  An Expanded Assembly Manual is now available with each new dome order.

The “Rib System” dictates the exact panel placement. Once all the seams/options have been concreted and entryways/dormers framed in the “Rib System” is removed and recycled into the interior framing and the hubs returned to us.  Click on Rib to learn more.

How are the panels hoisted into place? And what equipment is attached to the panels to make lifting easier?

  • The typical method for lifting the panels is by man lift, crane or transverse fork lift.
  • Monthly rentals on transverse lifts also called Boom Lifts, Horizontal Boom Fork Lifts, Roofing Lifts, Shooters are available from National Rental Chains.
  • Four Panel Lifting Spikes are purchased from Ai for $120 and attached to your locally purchased chain and couplers.  To learn more about the spikes click on Lifting Spikes.  Please scroll down the page to find the spikes info.