green building | AiDomes

 

Building Green with Aidomes, kit homes.  The American Ingenuity (Ai) dome was green before green became a name to signify a home that was energy efficient , included solar hot water panel and utilized less building materials.

Most people today understand the serious environmental issues we now face and are actively involved in doing their part to help protect the environment in any way they can. Over the past few decades, this has caused a virtual sea-change in the way people look at new home and building construction, which has changed the construction industry forever. Building “Green” is not just an option anymore, it has become the new standard for quality builders and contractors.

In 1976 American Ingenuity realized it wanted to manufacture a housing kit that would utilize environmentally friendly materials and energy saving design features.  This desire lead to the development and patenting of a prefabricated component panel in 1983 and the development of our panelized building system.    The panel consists of 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 contain a food source for mold growth. All the panel materials are noncombustible.  To read about the history of American Ingenuity concrete dome building kits, click on History.

Due to the strength of the triangle and aerodynamic shape of the dome, it withstands 225 mph winds and F4 tornado resulting in no need to replace the roof or exterior walls; thus conserving materials.

Over time, demand for green building materials and systems have increased dramatically, so the cost of materials has now come down. Major technological advances in the materials themselves, along with advances in manufacturing them, have now made them extremely cost effective to use and in most cases they will now actually save you money over time. That, combined with the strong desire by most consumers to have environmentally or eco-friendly homes, has spurred the shift to make using these materials relatively commonplace. Today, building “Green” has pretty much become the conventional standard among quality builders.

For decades now, American Ingenuity has been one of those leaders in not just Florida but throughout the USA and internationally by bringing the latest in Green design, building methods and materials for home construction.  Ai  has been a firm advocate of building greener, more energy efficient homes. When you want your new dream home to be as green and eco-friendly as possible, we can thoroughly discuss the Ai panelized kit system.  Either assembly the kit yourself by being an owner builder or hire a local contractor. Either way consider hiring the independent kit assembly consultant to supervise the workers during kit assembly.

So exactly what is green building? Green building is defined as using environmentally responsible and energy efficient materials and methods to create a home that will continue to be energy efficient throughout its lifetime. Building in this way minimizes the environmental impact of the building process and ensures that the home owner will have minimal utility bills through continued energy savings. The home will also be a healthy environment, as the use of potentially toxic chemicals and processes is minimized. This is particularly significant if your family includes children, the elderly or anyone with a respiratory condition or weak immune system.

Green Home Insulation Methods

Other advances in building greener homes are in insulating them and come in the form of improved expanding block foam insulation in the walls.  Ai utilizes seven inch blocks of expanded polystyrene insulation to cut specific panel dimensions and angles to produce the center core of the prefabricated panel.  To view energy bills showing that a 34′ dome 1,100 sq.ft. can be cooled for less than $30 in the hot Florida summer months, click on 34′ dome home.  To view info on an Aidome which won an Energy Star award, click on SC domes.

Green Home Window Installations

The windows you install are another important aspect of building Green. According to the Department of Energy, your windows can be the largest source of heat loss within your home and installing the proper windows can reduce heat loss by approx. 30% to 40%. Installing Low-E storm windows can save you even more energy. We always recommend using insulated Low-E windows at a minimum and impact glass if required in your area.

Energy-Efficient Appliances

When it comes time to choose the appliances for your dream home, this is another area in which there are many options to “build green”. Of course, choosing only energy-efficient, Energy Star® appliances, from your fridge to your air conditioning system, is the optimal way to build green while using much less energy and saving money too.

Green Landscaping

Construction of your home’s landscaping and driveway provides another great opportunity to build in a way that is environmentally friendly. Regular concrete is a hard, impermeable surface that interferes with the natural circulation of water and replenishment of ground water. Because water cannot penetrate concrete, run-off problems are created. The water picks up pollutants such as gasoline and trash as it flows over the concrete and erosion can occur where it finally reaches groundwater. Use of more environmentally sound materials, such as brick pavers and crushed gravel, allows water to quickly penetrate and return to the water table. Paver bricks come in a wide assortment of colors and styles and have come down in price quite a bit recently. We strongly recommend that all of our home customers use brick pavers for the driveway and walkways.

These are just a few of the ways in which green building techniques can benefit both you and the environment.  American Ingenuity’s team of experienced staff will be delighted to assist you.

If you’re renovating or remodeling your home, the government offers significant tax credits for installing features such as Energy Star appliances and energy-efficient furnaces and windows. If you need to purchase these items anyway, it makes sense to choose energy-efficient options that can save you money both on your taxes and your future energy bills. Modern energy-efficient appliances are just as stylish as other high-end models, so there’s sure to be one that will match your home’s style and decor. If you wish to save further on your energy bills, there are also tax credits available for installing solar panels, geothermal heat pumps and windmills.

The following covers Utah Concrete AiDomes off Grid at 7500 feet elevation. 

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The Collars chose the American Ingenuity super insulated concrete domes because they are five miles from closest fire station and need to produce their own power for heating. Their area is surrounded by forests that could burn at any time so a noncombustible concrete exterior was a must for their new home.   At the bottom of this page is a pdf containing a four page article that ran in Home Power Magazine describing their domes.

45′ home dome is 2,025 square feet: (1,487 sq.ft. on first floor with 538 sq.ft. on the second floor).  Link of 175 sq.ft. contains utility room and 1/2 bath.  30′ garage dome has 642 sq.ft on first floor with battery & inverter room of 145 sq.ft. –  269 sq.ft of attic storage.

45′ first floor contains 252 sq.ft. master bedroom with 71 sq.ft. closet, 115 sq.ft. bath.  Kitchen is 206 sq.ft. with 70 sq.ft. pantry. Living room 365 sq.ft.  Dining room 200 sq.ft.  45′ second floor contains 150 sq.ft. office, 72 sq.ft. bathroom and 166 sq.ft. guest room. Here are pdfs to view their floor plan layouts.

The following heating recap was written by Mr. Collar in July of 2012.

Inside, the masonry heater (also called a “Russian furnace”) consists of a large masonry firebox topped with a flue internally configured as a maze. Flue gasses exit the top of the lower firebox and travel up and down and back and forth through the flue maze imparting heat into the masonry before going up the stack. The large mass of the firebox/flue stores the heat and radiates it out into the room over a long period. During winter I usually have one fire per day. I fill the firebox very full and light it off between 6:00 and 8:00 in the evening. The fire is not dampered but burns hot and fast so there’s little creosote buildup. The fire dies out between 10:00 and midnight and I close off the air supply and flue dampers for maximum heat retention. In the morning the fireplace masonry is hot to the touch and it simply radiates its stored heat all day keeping the dome comfortably warm. The fireplace is centrally located to maximize heating, extending into the master bedroom. I added two small forced air fans at the top of the firebox to pull even more air over the face and thus increase heat discharge — although I rarely use them.

There are 11 solar water tubes each about a foot in diameter and 8 feet tall placed in a large south-facing window. Originally designed for aquaculture, they are water-filled with waterbed conditioner added for algae control. In the winter the sun warms the water during the daytime. Even with nighttime temperatures below zero, the tubes can reach 85 deg F on a sunny day — especially if there’s snow on the ground to increase the solar radiation effect. At night the tubes re-radiate heat back into the house and I lower the thermal curtain between the tubes and the large window to prevent heat loss back outside. (The thermal curtain is visible in photo 2). I worked with American Ingenuity’s designers to ensure the entryway overhang was sized to shade the tubes during the summer and to provide adequate foundation to handle the extra weight of the water.

The house generally stays comfortable for up to three days without supplemental heat. However, I also have two small propane direct vent wall heaters which are used only when I expect to be gone for more than two days. I’m working on automating the thermal curtain to be able to raise and lower it for daytime solar gain when I’m not at home.

The following was exerted from a July 1998 Home Power magazine: “To power the home they utilized “Photovoltaic array of 32 BP-75 panels supplying an APT3 power center which charges their 2110 Amp-hour Pacific Chloride batteries. This is enough to last them three to five days, depending on usage. Given their ridge top location, they included lightning protection in the APT. A Trace SW4024 sine wave inverter provides clean electrical power with no noticeable line noise. A backup generator is available if needed.” “There average summertime power consumption is between 150 and 200 kWh/month for 2,700 sq.ft. of living space. Wintertime consumption is somewhat higher. For comparison, there average pre-solar usage was near 600 kWh/month in their 2,000 sq.ft. suburban home!”

Download the entire story here in pdf.