How does the American Ingenuity dome withstand tree impact & snow load versus truss roof house?  Very well based on three actual dome owner’s experiences.  To view info about Aidome withstanding Hurricane Irma’s 200 mph winds and suffering no damage please click on Hurricane Irma

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For those of you who are researching what type house to build in a forested area, please consider the advantages of an American Ingenuity concrete dome versus a log home with a truss roof or a conventional house with a truss roof.

One of American Ingenuity’s perspective kit buyers emailed this question: “When I was living in the deep woods and any kind of wind storm or even a bad ice storm came up it was a major concern/fear of a large tree branch hitting the house.  How does the Ai steel reinforced concrete dome roof compare to truss roof for tree impact & heavy snow load?”    Based on two actual Ai dome home examples, the Ai concrete roof is so strong it can resist 30″ in diameter tree impact and the weight of several feet of snow. 

Homes built in a forested environment run the risk of having a tree fall on the roof or if in a cold climate a possible ice storm can cause ice loaded tree branches to fall on the roof. The steel reinforced concrete roof in an American Ingenuity dome is resistant to tree impact damage. However a wood truss roof is likely to be damaged from a tree branch or tree falling on the roof.

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

The American Ingenuity dome could handle the tree’s impact due to the triangle panel shape being the strongest shape among all shapes and because the steel mesh from panel to panel is overlapped, locked & covered with fiber concrete. As a result the continuous panel mesh transfers the stress throughout the dome. In a conventional house the stress is confined to one area resulting in the tree probably damaging the roof or coming through the roof.

Hurricane Irma winds caused tree to uproot and fall on Aidome

The following two photos are of 40′ Aidome – dome had no damage just dent in a dormer 

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

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

How does the Ai prefab home dome stand up to high winds, ice storms, several feet of snow & forest fire?  American Ingenuity performed a load test on our largest 48′ triangle.  The triangle shaped component panel withstood 170 lbs. per sq. ft.  load.  A 120-mph wind will exert a pressure of 30 lbs. per sq. ft. on a vertical wall and a snow load exceeding 90 lbs. per sq. ft. is rare. Typically snow loads are 20 to 50 lbs. to 90 lbs. per sq.ft.  Engineers have assisted Ai’s design team to design the dome to withstand 90 lbs per sq.ft. snow load.  Recently dome building plans were designed for Colorado at 90 lb snow load and 110 mph wind speed  which were engineer sealed for Colorado.

The strength of the concrete Ai dome makes it resistant against tree impact, heavy snows and fires making it ideal to build for a vacation home or a retirement home where the home is not occupied year round. If the dome home is built in a cold climate, there will be times when the family may want to live in a warmer climate during the winter. As a result the home owner wants to build as resistant a home they can against heavy snow load or tree impact or fire.   For info about fire and Ai dome, click on  forest fire.

Greater Exterior Wall & Roof Strength – the concrete American Ingenuity dome exterior comes with 225 mph wind and F4 tornado warranty. An Ai dome went thru a tornado & Hurricane Andrew at the same time with no structural damage. An Ai dome went through Hurricane Katrina with no structural damage. To read a recap of the Ai Dome & Acts of Nature, click on Recap.  To read a recap of Ai prefabricated home dome kit advantages, please click on Summary.

When deciding which building kit to purchase, please compare apples to apples which means please compare the contents of the log home kit or the traditional home kit vs the contents of the Ai dome kit and compare kit costs. The Ai panelized system has proven to save our client’s labor time, as well as a reduction in material waste and material costs vs a log home kit while having numerous advantages over log cabin home —- fire resistant concrete exterior, tree impact resistance, able to handle heavy snow load.  For log home kit comparison to the Ai dome, click on Log Cabin Home.

The process of overlapping/locking the steel mesh of American Ingenuity’s prefabricated panels to adjacent panels and filling the seams with special fiber concrete produces 1) the structural components of the home; 2) the finished concrete exterior surface; 3)all the shell R28 insulation is installed; and 4) all the dome shell 1/2″ drywall is installed. There is no need for material costs and labor costs to install roofing plywood, tar paper, shingles or interior attic & wall insulation and shell drywall (or wood panels).  To view photos of Kit Assembly, click on Assembly.

The American Ingenuity dome is very energy efficient because it has 30% less surface area than a conventional house and has R28 EPS insulation that is not interrupted by wood…expect heating and cooling bills to be 50% to 60% than your neighbors.  Ai’s standard 7″ Expanded polystyrene insulation is comparable to 10″ of fiber glass batting.  If desired the Aidome insulation can be upgraded to 9″ thick expanded polystyrene (EPS) resulting in R36. In conventional houses the vertical walls have one R value and the roof has another R value requirement.  In the Aidome because all the panels which make up the walls and roof have the same R value, this means the Aidome will pass an Energy Report.  If your floor plan has four or five entryways with the glass maxed out, to pass an Energy Report the glass may need to be triple panned instead of the typical double pane glass.

Here are some quotes about Ai dome and energy efficiency:

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 in Utah 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 pictures and other info about the dome at 7,500 feet elevation, click on Collar Domes.

The Aidomes are even more energy efficient when heating is required instead of cooling. When cooling, kilowatts have to be used to overcome heat from clothes dryer, dishwasher, sun light, etc. When heating those heat sources are used.  Ai’s 3,700 sq.ft. office domes can be cooled for less than $55 a  month in the hot Florida summer months.  A Florida 1,200 sq.ft. 34′ dome can be cooled for less than $22 a month in the hot Florida summer months.