ingenuity's

On the Main Menu along the left side of our web site are 14 menu items to click on to view more dome photos. American Ingenuity has sold over 800 dome kits into 47 USA states and 15 foreign area.  Below are hyperlinks where we have summarized photos into categories. Please call our office at 321-639-8777 for a chat to answer any questions you may have. Thank you for researching our concrete homes. (Office Hours 9-5 Mon-Fri Eastern time).

Fireplaces

Dome Exteriors

Dome Interiors

Entryways & Dormers

Stairs

Garage Domes 

This article covers Ai’s 48′ Dome Panel’s Load Test.

load test

48′ Dome Panel Load Test

load of almost four tons of sand & bags of Portland Cement on panel

The above photo shows the additional 40 bags of Portland cement that were set on top the sand loaded panel, bringing the total weight on the panel to almost four tons. The center deflection increased to less than 3/8 inch. The grand total deflection of less than 3/8 inch with almost four tons of weight was astonishing to us. Our panel withstood 170 lbs. per sq. ft. of load.

Q: Do you have an engineering statement about your dome panels that can be submitted to my building department?

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

In October 2000 Ai performed a load test on one of its 48′ triangular shaped prefab building kit panels. The test was performed on Ai’s largest panel using the standard 7″ thick E.P.S. insulation, ¾” thick concrete exterior reinforced with galvanized steel mesh and a fiber reinforced plaster on the interior. The strength of the component panel can best be determined by measuring the deflection of the panel as a load (weight) is applied in increments. The panel was placed horizontal. Its weight and the weight of everything placed on it was only supported along the outer edge of the panel. The loading of the panel was done by adding sand in 470 lb. increments. Plywood sides were attached to the panel edges so sand could be spread evenly, providing a uniform load.

The deflection was measured in the center and six other locations. At all measured points a steel ruler was attached to the panel extending high enough to be visible when the panel was fully loaded with sand. A surveyor’s transit allowed the engineer to measure the deflection.

After 3,783 lbs. of sand was dumped on the panel its center had deflected less than 1/16 inch. Three days later, the deflections had only increased to 3/32 inch. Our own amazement at the strength made us even braver; so we cut through the interior plaster on the bottom of the panel. Even then the deflection was less than 3/16 inch.

Ai had not expected this exceptional strength. We could not mound the sand any higher so we set a pallet of 40 cement bags on top of the sand thinking, “This could do the panel in.” That doubled the weight and the center deflection increased to less than 3/16 inch.

The grand total deflection of less than 3/8 inch with almost four tons of weight was astonishing to us.

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 50lbs. per sq.ft.  American Ingenuity’s triangular shaped 48′ component panel withstood 170 lbs. per sq. ft.

load test 2

This picture was taken after Ai had loaded 3,783 lbs. of sand onto our 48′ dome panel. After the sand was dumped on the panel its center had deflected less than 1/16 inch. Three days later, the deflections had only increased to 3/32 inch. Our own amazement at the strength made us even braver; so we cut through the interior plaster on the bottom of the panel. Even then the deflection was less than 3/16 inch.

The men in the photo from left to right are:

  • Michael Busick, inventor of American Ingenuity’s building panel and building method
  • Luke Miorelli, mechanical engineer
  • An engineer who was an independent observer
  • Leo Cherbano, American Ingenuity’s plant manager

 I would like to completely bury the dome. Is this possible? 

  • Ai does not recommend this; however iIf you want your Ai dome completely covered with soil, let us know the depth and Ai will quote a fee to hire local engineer to calculate load of the soil, determine rebar spacing that will be installed on top of the finished dome, depth of concrete to be gunited on to the dome and what posts will be needed to support the weight of the soil and concrete on the dome.
  • A dome like an arch, increases its effectiveness as it is compressed so it will support partial earth berming or any snow load. We have fortified our reinforced concrete with space-age fibers and special admixtures, as well as galvanized steel. As the panels of the dome are assembled, the beveled seams between them are concreted, creating a network of interlocking arches of structural beams.
  • Our dome lends itself very well to earth berming because of the strength of the dome shape and the totally concrete exterior wall, with no materials to rot. Ai’s domes have been bermed with as much as 4 feet of backfill. However, if you earth berm your dome, install a drain system to draw water away from the foundation. Plans for this french drain system are included with our basement plans.
  • The Ai Dome could be bermed higher or even buried, but we do not recommend it because the additional expense of labor and extra concrete would probably not be worth the gain. A dome or a structure that is not buried would never have to withstand loads greater than 100 lbs. per sq.ft. If a structure is buried the earth could put loads in excess of 500 lbs. per sq.ft.  Ai does not design our standard dome for those extreme conditions that would normally never occur.  However the dome can designed to withstand these loads.
  • Four feet is the maximum height of back fill that can go back against the dome as currently designed. Back fill higher than this would cause more expense and complications than is likely to be worth while. Consider landscaping with plants to enhance the appearance that you want.

This article covers windows energy efficient.  For research purposes, please visit Milgard’s web site at http://www.milgard.com

One of American Ingenuity’s clients purchased Milgard’s protruded fiberglass double paned windows with low-E. The following info came directly from their site:

Cut heating and cooling losses with the best glass in the industry: Milgard SunCoat™ Low-E all climate, all-season glass. It’s the “clear” glass choice for energy-efficient windows that give you year-round comfort. You’ll find it on all Milgard insulated windows. Not only does it make our windows more energy efficient, but it also protects your carpet and furniture from fading. SunCoat Low-E blocks infrared light and reduces ultraviolet light.

Other manufacturers of energy efficient windows are Jeld-wen (available at Home Depot & Lowes), Andersen and Pella.

During your building plans design, Ai will email elevation views of the entryways and dormers showing max rough opening size for exterior door and window installation.  Ai will also give rough opening sizes for windows.

To obtain a building permit, in some states an energy report is required.  The report  includes exterior wall sizes, wall composition, R value, exterior door type and U factor, window sizes/frame type/ U factor.  Ai completes the energy report after buyer gives answers to specific door and window questions listed in a questionnaire.  The fee for an energy report for one dome on a slab is $190.

Double panned, low E, vinyl windows will pass the Energy Report.

 

Kaufman garage house 1536

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

Utilizes Heat Recovery Ventilator & Geothermal Energy for Heating & Cooling

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

ChicoEco Highlights a Geodesic

By Nani Teves

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

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

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

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

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

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

 ++++++++++++++++++++++++

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

A: Yes. The electric exhaust vents are installed in a vertical wall near the top of the dome, in top center of the dome, in bathrooms and above stove/microwave to exhaust water vapor (from laundry, cooking, showering, etc.)  In interior walls, use galvanized metal ducting that extends down the interior wall, through the floor joist and vents out under an entryway.  And in some areas install a heat recovery ventilator or energy recovery ventilator to remove moisture.

 

 

 

8.15 best footer wire ready to pour Kaufman picture assembly 088

Concrete Slab – Standard for Ai Dome

45′ dome home linked to 34′ dome garage formed up slab being poured

Poured slab for 34' dome linked to 45' dome.

Poured slab for 34′ dome linked to 45′ dome.

American Ingenuity’s stock building plans include drawings for a concrete slab foundation. Plans for raised wood floors or basements or pilings with platforms are available.  For a complete summary of the foundations that can be utilized with the American Ingenuity dome, click on Foundation Summary.

The dome’s standard footing size is 20″ tall by 16″ wide with slab 4″. Foundation should be built on undisturbed native soil or fill – with soil compacted to 98% density for a minimum of 2,000 psf of bearing pressure. If your bearing capacity is less, then the engineer can increase your footer size and slab thickness. For example the soil for a dome being built in California was 1,500 psf. Its footer was increased to  20’x20″ and slab was increased to 6″.

Ai can design a concrete stem wall to support the dome and a wood first floor.  We can replace a concrete slab with raised wood floor and design the first floor joist. The cost depends on the complexity, please call our office for pricing.  The garage dome would need a concrete slab.

How is the concrete slab insulated? As far as insulating the slab, it is the customer’s choice with some building departments not allowing the slab perimeter to be insulated. For example in Florida due to termites most areas will not allow perimeter insulation.. The insulating of the slab is listed on the building plans as an option. If the earth is cold then using 2″ thick E.P.S. would be beneficial.

Q: Are there any special requirements for the foundation?
A:
The only thing unusual about Ai’s dome foundation is its shape. The multiple sided foundation is made up of flat sides to match the riser panels. Because Ai’s dome is lighter than most other buildings, it has less loading on the foundation. Reinforcing rebars connect the riser walls, entryway and first floor door dormer base panels to the foundation at the vertical seams.

Q: Will the foundation for the dome cost more to build than a conventional shaped foundation?
A:
Probably. The multiple sided foundation for our dome is only slightly more difficult than a conventional house and should not affect the cost more than 15% at most 25%. If you would mark the corners of the foundation, this will help remove a lot of the fear from the subcontractor. You will find that they will give you a better price.

Q: How deep will the footings be?
A:
Ai’s standard footing for monolithic slab is 20″ tall by 16″ wide with 4″ concrete slab.  If there is a frost line, the footing depth is determined by the building department.   Also if your soil does not compact to 2,000 lbs per psf then your footer and slab thickness will be enlarged.

Q: How many yards of concrete is needed for the foundation and how many bags of cement will be needed to concrete the seams?
A:
The number of bags of Portland cement needed to finish the shell varies depending on the number of entryways and dormers and whether you have a cupola or a link. The following is a Portland Cement bag estimate to concrete the seams.

Dome Size Foundation Concrete (Yds.) Portland Cement For Seams (bags)
22′
9
30-40
27′
10
40-45
30′
11.54
50-55
34′
14.31
60-65
40′
19.00
70-75
45′
23.29
80-85
48′
26.26
90-100

TV

1)    Inside Edition:  On September 11, 1998, Inside Edition, a syndicated TV show led off with a segment on our geodesic domes.  The theme of the segment revolved around the super strength of our domes and how they withstand hurricane forces.  The reporter and two man camera crew first went to Miami and interviewed the owners of a dome that survived a direct hit from hurricane Andrew.  Views of the Menendezes’ beautiful interior were shown but the inspiring stories of the horse trailer and tornado slamming the dome got edited.  They then drove up to our corporate offices.  The segment went on to show our five dome complex including the component panels being made in the factory.  The next stop was to view domes under construction in Melbourne, a 34′ home linked to a 22′ garage.  Also of interest was the interior metal framing and metal floor joists.

    The program director had previously asked us for a way to illustrate the domes ability to withstand hurricane force winds.  Short of calling up a 200 mph wind and filming the real thing, the next best option is a computer finite analysis.  The computer simulated a force equal to 230 mph winds.  Our dome stood rock solid.  In fact, to see the movement in the dome, the deflection had to be magnified 50 times.  A square structure was also modeled but it collapsed with 150 mph winds.

    A completed dome home was the next stop.  After videoing the house and the dog dome, the reporter, Stephen Gendel, asked for an egg.  While on screen he took his best shot at squeezing it to death.  They departed shortly thereafter knowing that they had a good story and I can tell you with certainty, they were impressed.

    About a week after the program aired we got a call from the New York office.  They specifically called to tell us that they had received a flood of calls from people trying to get in touch with us.  For viewers to call us directly they had to figure out the city and area code on their own.  One lady reported that the long distance information operator knew our number by heart.

2)    Film Garden Entertainment of California put together a television program for Home and Garden TV and wanted to include our geodesic dome.  A TV crew spent a day filming our office and manufacturing facility along with two local dome residences.  They also interviewed Michael and Glenda for many hours about the dome concept, manufacturing and assembly of our domes.  The program Insiders List aired in August 2004.  The theme of the program was the top 10 innovative prefab homes throughout the world.  It ranged from “Wee Houses” in the Midwest that were 18′ x 24′ x 10′ to million dollar prefab penthouse modules placed on purchased rooftop spaces in London.  American Ingenuity was privileged to be ranked number 9 on the list.

 

Exterior Schoonover side front view 3

American Ingenuity 40′ dome home featured on Film Garden Entertainment

Film Garden Entertainment of California put together a television program for Home and Garden TV and wanted to include our geodesic dome.  A TV crew spent a day filming our office and manufacturing facility along with two local dome residences.  They also interviewed Michael and Glenda for many hours about the dome concept, manufacturing and assembly of our domes.  The program Insiders List aired in August 2004.  The theme of the program was the top 10 innovative prefab homes throughout the world.  It ranged from “Wee Houses” in the Midwest that were 18′ x 24′ x 10′ to million dollar prefab penthouse modules placed on purchased rooftop spaces in London.  American Ingenuity was privileged to be ranked number 9 on the list.

 

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

40 ‘ dome linked to 30 garage dome on Inside Edition.

 Inside Edition:  On September 11, 1998, Inside Edition, a syndicated TV show led off with a segment on our geodesic domes.  The theme of the segment revolved around the super strength of our domes and how they withstand hurricane forces.  The reporter and two man camera crew first went to Miami and interviewed the owners of a dome that survived a direct hit from hurricane Andrew.  Views of the Menendezes’ beautiful interior were shown but the inspiring stories of the horse trailer and tornado slamming the dome got edited.  They then drove up to our corporate offices.  The segment went on to show our five dome complex including the component panels being made in the factory.  The next stop was to view domes under construction in Melbourne, a 34′ home linked to a 22′ garage.  Also of interest was the interior metal framing and metal floor joists.

    The program director had previously asked us for a way to illustrate the domes ability to withstand hurricane force winds.  Short of calling up a 200 mph wind and filming the real thing, the next best option is a computer finite analysis.  The computer simulated a force equal to 230 mph winds.  Our dome stood rock solid.  In fact, to see the movement in the dome, the deflection had to be magnified 50 times.  A square structure was also modeled but it collapsed with 150 mph winds.

    A completed dome home was the next stop.  After videoing the house and the dog dome, the reporter, Stephen Gendel, asked for an egg.  While on screen he took his best shot at squeezing it to death.  They departed shortly thereafter knowing that they had a good story and I can tell you with certainty, they were impressed.

    About a week after the program aired we got a call from the New York office.  They specifically called to tell us that they had received a flood of calls from people trying to get in touch with us.  For viewers to call us directly they had to figure out the city and area code on their own.  One lady reported that the long distance information operator knew our number by heart.

The following info covers American Ingenuity’s Garage Domes which have R28 insulation. The 27′, 34′, 36′, 40′, 45′ & 48′ domes can be designed as a garage on the first floor with a second floor studio above.  If the entire second floor is built within a 27′, 34′ or 36′ or 40′ dome, the second floor could be designed for a studio apartment with one bedroom, one bath & kitchenette.  Due to the load of the second floor there could be a post in the center of the first floor if microlam beams are not designed to carry the second floor load.  The 40′, 45′ & 48′ dome’s second floor is large enough to have two bedrooms and one full bath with kitchenette.  

(Click arrows left/right in main picture)

American Ingenuity’s 22’ & 27’ domes were specifically designed for garages. The 22′ is a one car garage dome with 9′ wide garage door.  The 27′ is a two medium car garage with 16′ wide garage door.  27′ dome can have a second floor for a one bedroom, one bath studio apartment. These garage domes are two-frequency icosahedron geometry whereas the domes (30′, 34′, 36′, 40′, 45′ & 48′) are three-frequency icosahedron geometry. The two frequency geometry differs from our other domes in that the 22′ & 27′ utilize fewer but larger panels.    For Ai to assure that the vehicle(s) you desire to park in your garage dome will fit, please give us your vehicle length, width, height and hood height.  At no cost to you, our design team will provide a plan proof  showing the vehicle sizes and whether they will fit or not.

Due to the size of the 22′ – 40′ domes three risers can be removed instead of two in order to have a wider entryway.  Due to the large size of the 45′ & 48′ dome only two risers can be removed for an entryway.  Because the 22′ & 27′ have fewer but larger panels than the three frequency domes, their risers are wider resulting in the 22′ dome  accepting a 9′ wide garage door. The 27′ dome can have a 16′ wide garage door.  Previously a 34’ dome was needed to pull two small to medium cars in side by side. Now there can be a two-car garage in a 27’ dome, which is more cost effective.  Either of these garage domes can be connected to another dome via a link that is one riser panel wide or the garage dome can be built independently from the house dome.

Garage Entryways take the place of three riser panels whereas standard and high profile entryways replace two risers. The 45′ & 48′ dome cannot have garage entryways due to their large size.

The 22′ and 27′ Garage Entryway panels are larger in size than the other dome entryways and are not preconcreted. The 22′ and 27′ entryway panels consist of 3 1/2″ EPS as the rigid form with no steel mesh or concrete applied.  The dome buyer can purchase galvanized steel mesh from Ai and at no cost Ai will affix the mesh to the 22′ or 27′ garage entryway panels.  On site fiber concrete is mixed and hand troweled to all sides of the entryway panels after their installation.

An Ai dome building kit includes all the panels for the dome shell and includes the panels for one entryway.  Each floor plan varies as to the number of entryways and dormers.  As a result the kit pricing only reflects the type and number of entryways and dormers that you chose to have in your floor plan.  The following Plan’s Price does not include an engineer seal, structural calculations or energy report.  If those items are required by your building department they can be purchased from Ai for a reasonable fee.

To view Discount on the building plans and the kit with one entryway, please click on Sale.  To view stock plans for these Garage Kits and stock floor plan layouts for dome homes for each of the ten dome kit sizes, click on Stock Plans. To view Sale Pricing on the Building Plans and the Dome Kit for each plan, click on Plans and Kit Sale Pricing.

Garage Domes w’ Second Floor Studio Apartments

Garage Dome Stock Floor Plans

GARAGE DOME, 22’: has 370 sq.ft. on the first floor and is designed for a one-car garage. A 9’ wide x 7′ tall garage door can fit in the garage entryway. There can be a loft area for storage. Due to small size of the second floor panels, the loft area cannot have any window or door dormers.  A link connected to a 22′ dome is about 5.5 feet to 6 feet wide with a standard length of five feet.

Garage Dome, 27’: has 555 sq.ft. on the first floor sq.ft. and is designed for a two medium car garage. It can have a 16’ wide garage door in the garage entryway. The second floor center height is 8′ 4″ sloping down to five feet to equal 231 sq.ft. on the second floor.  The second floor can have  window dormers but no door dormers. The second floor can have fire egress window; therefore the second floor can have a bedroom.  A link connected to a 27′ dome is about 6.75 feet wide with a standard length of five feet.

Garage Dome, 30’: has 638 sq.ft. on the first floor and is designed for two small cars with the cars pulling in one at a time and each car parking on a diagonal. The 30’ garage door is 12’ wide. The second floor center height is 7’4″ sloping down to five feet to equal 213 sq.ft. on the second floor.  Due to small size of dome’s second floor panels the second floor cannot have window or door dormers.  Therefore no bedroom can be designed on the 30′ second floor.

Garage Dome, 34’: has 846 sq.ft. on the first floor and is designed for a two-car garage with the garage door being 14’ wide. The second floor center height is 9’5″ sloping down to five feet of head room to equal 427 sq.ft. on the second floor.  The second floor can have window dormers & door dormers.  If balcony desired the door size is 2′ x 6′ tall with this door being custom cut on site.  The second floor can have a bedroom and bath.  For fire egress second floor window to fit a second floor door dormer has to be installed above a standard entryway. Instead of installing a door a fire egress size casement window is installed.

Garage Dome, 36′: has 940 sq.ft. on first floor and is designed for a two-car garage with the garage door being 14′ wide. The second floor center height is 10′ 4″ sloping down to five feet to equal 470 sq.ft. on the second floor.  The second floor can have window dormers & door dormers. If balcony desired the door size is 2’x6’8″ and is custom ordered. The second floor can have fire egress size window & is large enough to have a bedroom with bath.

Garage Dome, 40′: has 1,160 sq.ft. on the first floor and can be designed for a three to four car garage depending on the vehicle sizes. It would require two garage doors, each could be 16′ wide. Each set of two cars would share one garage door. The second floor center height is 10’4″ sloping down to five feet to equal 667 sq.ft. on the second floor.  The second floor can have fire egress windows and door dormers above standard entryways.  The second floor is large enough to contain two bedrooms and one bath.

Garage Dome, 45′: has 1,489 sq.ft. on the first floor and can be designed for a three to four car garage depending on the vehicle sizes and entryway locations.  It would require two garage doors, each 13′ wide.  The second floor center height is 13’7″ sloping down to five feet to equal 951 sq.ft. if the second floor is maxed out.  The second floor can have fire egress windows and door dormers above standard entryways.  The second floor is large enough to contain three bedrooms and one bath.

Garage Dome, 48′:   has 1,693 sq.ft. on the first floor and can be designed for a three to four car garage depending on the vehicle sizes and entryway locations.  It would require two garage doors, each 14′ wide.  The second floor center height is 14’10” sloping down to five feet to equal 1,137 sq.ft. if the second floor is maxed out.  The second floor can have fire egress windows and door dormers above standard entryways.  The second floor is large enough to contain three bedrooms and one bath.

Q: What is the tallest and widest garage door you can have and in what size dome?
A:
Current designs allow for a 16′ wide 9′ tall garage door in a 40′ dome with a 4′ risers with additional 2′ risers.  A 27′ dome because it is two frequency can have 16′ wide garage door 7′ tall with a four foot riser.

Q: Can the 45′ and 48′ domes be designed for a garage dome?
A:
Yes.The standard entryway in the 45′ with 4′ risers can have a 13′ wide x 7′ tall garage door for a two car garage. The cars would go in and out of the garage one at a time. In a 48′ dome there can be a 14′ wide garage door in a standard entryway and the cars come and go two at a time.  Due to the large size of the domes for structural integrity three risers cannot be removed ONLY two.    If the 45′ or 48′ dome are built with two foot additional risers the garage door for a 45′ can be 13′ x 9′ or 15′ x 7′.  The Garage door for the 48′ dome can be 14′ x 9′ or 16′ x 7′.

Q: What is the cost to build a garage dome?
A:
The cost to build a dome garage would be about the same as the cost of a garage for a conventional house. Whatever it costs per square foot in your neighborhood to build a conventional garage that will be the approximate cost to build the dome garage.  The construction cost will increase if a bedroom and bath is installed on the second floor above the garage.

Q: Are garage plans priced separately from the other plans?
A:
Yes since every building site is different, Garage & Basement Plans are priced separately from the dome home plans. Ai has Stock Plans for garages which may be linked to any dome where indicated or may be built separately. Or Ai can design custom garage plans.

This article contains Construction Cost Estimate Blank Form

Bob applying final layer of concrete in the seams.

Fiber concrete being applied in the seams between the prefabricated panels of a 22′ dome.

The following blank form is provided for you to fill out as you determine your material and labor costs for your dome kit assembly and finishing. Because labor costs and materials cost vary in the USA, Ai cannot estimate your costs. However the web site link below can be used to estimate finishing costs for your area.

Free Web Site To Calculate Finishing Costs For Your Area

To view information on a free web site where you can look up finishing costs for a conventional home in your state and area, click on Calculating Square Footage Costs. This article also includes  a Construction Cost Estimate Report from building-cost  for a 1200 sq.ft. home in Melbourne, Florida.

If you build an American Ingenuity dome using one of our stock plans, click on Plans & Kit Sale Prices to view regular and sale pricing on the building plans and the kit  w’ building options pricing or each stock plan.

The American Ingenuity dome kits can be assembled by owner builders.  If you choose to use the Kit Assembly Consultant to supervise the assembly of your dome kit, click on Kit Consultant/Specialist for approximately labor costs to assemble the dome shell kit. The rest of the categories are generally the same costs whether it is a dome or a conventional house. To learn about Kit Assembly & see pictures, view Assembly and Construction Overview.

The finished costs on American Ingenuity concrete domes depends so much on where you live and what labor costs are for your area. You can ask at your local hardware store or ask a local contractor what the finished price per square foot is running for a conventional house in the neighborhood you plan to build in. That is what it will cost to finish the domes (if you do no labor yourselves), because everything in the interior is the same whether it is a conventional box house or a round house: foundation, plumbing, electrical, second floor joists, framing, lighting fixtures, bath room fixtures, kitchen appliances, flooring, kitchen cabinets, windows and doors, etc. To learn more click on Finished Cost.

To View three charts listing pricing for items purchased from Ai
for three dome kits Ai recently shipped, click on Pricing Charts

Is the American Ingenuity (Ai) steel reinforced concrete geodesic dome kit  less expensive than the materials cost for the exterior walls and roof of a conventional house or wood dome or log cabin or monolithic concrete dome?   Yes.   American Ingenuity’s dome shell kit price (not the finished home cost) is about one third to one half less in cost than what the materials cost for the exterior walls and roof of a wood dome, gunited concrete dome or conventional house (exterior walls, roof trusses, plywood, tar paper, shingles, 3 1/2″ thick insulation, siding, soffits, gutters, drywall for exterior walls & the ceiling, etc.).

Ai thinks the only big bargain you will receive is its dome building kit, which costs about one third to one half less than other building kits or materials to build the exterior walls and roof of a conventional house, wooden dome or sprayed concrete dome. And with the American Ingenuity Dome you end up with more….super-energy efficiency, super-strength, noncombustible concrete exterior and  low exterior maintenance home.

To view floor plan layouts for each of American Ingenuity’s ten dome kit sizes, click on Stock Plans.   On each plan is a to-scale ruler. When you print out the plan, cut out the ruler and use it to measure length and width of rooms and compare those room dimensions to the rooms you currently live in. You know whether you want your kitchen, living room or bedroom to be larger or smaller than your current house or apartment.  This will help you figure out what size dome will fit your needs. The scale is 1/10″ equals one foot.

No question is too small,  please call our office at 321-639-8777.  Monday – Friday 9-5 eastern time. 

To view info about financing, please click on  Financing Booklet.

Domes are measured by feet in diameter. Refer to Specifications to see possible square footages by floor.

  • A 15′ and 18′ Tiny Kits are one bedroom one bath size.
  • A 22′ can be a one car garage or a one bedroom/one bath home.
  • A 27′ or 30′ can be a two car garage or a one bedroom/one bath home.
  • A 34′ is a two bedroom, two bath. (The 34′ was a little too small so Ai designed a 36′ dome.
  • A 36′ is a two bedroom, two bath.
  • A 40′ is a three bedroom, two bath.
  • A 45′ is a four bedroom, three bath.
  • A 48′ can be a four or five bedroom home with three to four baths.

Calculating Finished Cost

Please compare apples to apples when trying to calculate finished cost of an American Ingenuity dome.  A conventional house would need walls greater than 2×10 with exterior reinforced with rebar and super thick concrete and still not come close to the advantages of an American Ingenuity dome.  The Ai dome should cost about the same price per square foot to build as a conventional house but you receive more….greater energy efficiency, greater strength, noncombustible concrete exterior.  To view Ai dome advantages, click on Advantage Summary.

When you factor in the storm resistance and energy efficiency, a traditional home would need to have 11″ of insulation requiring over 10″ thick insulated walls (this is with our standard 7″ EPS R-28 value insulation) as well as additional roof strapping, rebar and concrete against storms, and still not be equal to one our structure’s insulation and strength. So please compare apples to apples! Our kit comes with all the interior shell 1/2″ gypsum drywall installed, all the R28 insulation installed and 80% of the finished roof….and no wood to interrupt the insulation to rot, burn or be eaten by termites.  No shingles to blow off in high winds. Exterior concrete is primed and painted.

Comparing Apples to Apples When Researching Types of Housing

Material cost is only half of the equation, labor costs often eat up a large chunk of a construction budget. American Ingenuity’s panelized system has proven to save our clients labor time, as well as a reduction in material waste and material costs. That is why when comparing geodesic companies, conventional construction, etc. it is important to compare apples to apples, not just kit cost. The process of stacking the American Ingenuity prefab 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 all the insulation and all the dome shell 1/2″ drywall. No need for material and labor costs to install exterior framing, plywood, tar paper, shingles or interior shell insulation and shell drywall.

Ai is committed to providing you with the best design, energy efficiency, and durability with our panelized system for geodesic concrete homes for an affordable price.

Q: What are the American Ingenuity triangular and rectangular shaped panels made from?

A: Center core of 7″ rigid, nontoxic Expanded Polystyrene R-28 Insulation (not Styrofoam), exterior is three quarter inch (¾”)  fiber concrete reinforced with galvanized steel mesh with interior of 1/2″ Georgia-Pacific DensArmor Plus High-Performance gypsum drywall (which is moisture resistant, mold resistant gypsum and noncombustible). The steel mesh extends out all sides of the prefab panels. When two panels are set side by side, the steel mesh overlaps the mesh of the adjacent panel and is locked with “C” rings. Special fiber concrete is mixed on site and hand troweled in the seam areas in two applications — bonding agent is applied between the two layers. The seam areas average 2″ thick concrete.

Ai wants the concrete that is mixed on site to have the same properties as the concrete we manufacture and apply to your prefab panels. As a result we ship the same  fibers, liquid admixtures and bonding agent with your kit and supply a concrete mix recipe in the building plans and in the Assembly Manual.

When you compare other companies dome kits, please consider the following items:

Q: Does the companies kit have a finished exterior, or do you need to finish with a vapor barrier and either shingles, siding or stucco?
A: Ai’s dome’s exterior is 3/4″ fiber concrete reinforced with galvanized steel mesh. Only the seams (about 3” deep by 5” wide) between the panels & the entryways & dormers are concreted on site. You do not concrete over the entire shell. After kit assembly the concrete gets primed and painted.

Q: Is the framing of the exterior walls wood or is the exterior of the kit wood, that eventually rots, or termites can eat, or can potentially burn?
A: Ai’s dome prefab panels contain no wood in them making the panels fire resistant. Our domes have survived forest fires. There is no wood in the dome exterior to rot or be eaten by termites. There is no roof or shingles to burn and no roofing to blow off in high winds.

Q:What maintenance is needed for the dome exterior?
A: The entire exterior of the Ai dome shell is covered with a continuous layer of concrete so there is nothing to rot, rust, shrink, warp, or be eaten by termites. Without shingles, gutters, or exterior trim to maintain. It only requires an occasional pressuring washing and painting.

Q: Does the kit contain insulation? What type, and what is the overall R-Value for energy efficiency?
A: Ai’s kit’s riser and triangle panels come with 7″ thick Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) insulation already installed producing an overall R-Value of 28. An option is available for 9″ insulation R-36 value. In addition, our exterior triangle and riser panels have no wood ribs interrupting the insulation resulting in continuous insulation. (Other companies suggest the use of spray foam insulation which is expensive to install, often covers wiring and piping making repairs difficult).

Q: Does the insulation recommended for the shell contain HBCD, TCPP, CFCs and formaldehyde?
A: The EPS insulation that Ai contains none of the above items. It 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 drywall which is also non-combustible and provides the Code required 15 minute thermal barrier. EPS when exposed to flame does not produce toxic gases such as Cyanide.

Q: How is the interior of the dome shell finished? Do you have to buy, cut, nail or glue drywall that you have purchased to the interior of the dome shell? Or do you need to spray foam insulation over the entire shell? (Very labor intensive and expensive)
A: Ai’s kits triangle and riser panels come with ½” thick DensArmor (by Georgia Pacific), fiberglass mat on both sides with gypsum that is moisture resistant and mold resistant. During kit assembly rain will not harm the drywall. The drywall is adhered to the EPS with wallboard adhesive. There is no cutting and adhering of the drywall needed for the shell interior. There is no need to spray foam insulation, saving you labor costs, and less product waste. When the kit shell is assembled tape the joints and finish like traditional wallboard. (To blend the seam areas to the drywall, apply joint compound in a skip trowel effect.)

Q: Do their kits come with standard vertical riser panels before the triangle panels slope inward?
A: Ai’s kits come standard with 4′ tall prefab riser panels. This allows for first floor vertical space (8′ headroom on first floor) before the dome panels start to slope in giving you more useable headroom on the second floor. We also offer an option to increase the riser panel height giving you up to 10′ of headroom on the first floor (dependent upon dome diameter size).

Q: Do they offer in house building plan design? Are the plans fully executable, and permit worthy? Do they use a knowledgeable licensed engineer, for design calculations and engineer seal if needed? Can they produce an Energy Report if needed? Is an Assembly Manual provided?
A: Ai’s cad designer works to create a home layout that is unique, whether using existing floor plans or one that is designed to your specifications. Our plans are in full detail (13- 17 sheets), fully executable, and permit worthy. We work with engineers who are knowledgeable about geodesic structures to do specialized load bearing designs and seal our plans (if needed). Ai can provide energy reports if required for permit. Our assembly manual covers in detail the construction process of the dome (the manual is available to view once a kit deposit and order is made.)

Q: Finally, does the other companies back up their product against high winds Tornadoes and Hurricanes?
A: American Ingenuity offers a limited warranty up to a 225 mile an hour hurricane winds, or an F4 tornado, see details on our website.

I hope that when finished comparing our concrete dome home kit against other housing types, you will see that our product is superior, and more cost effective. We look forward to speaking with you, and working with you to provide you a home kit that is safe, secure and energy efficient.

 

 

Dome Size 30′ 34′ 40′ 45′ 48′
Item
Material Labor Material Labor Material Labor Material Labor Material Labor
  • Dome Kit w/ Options
  • Dome Kit Assembly
  • Concrete Slab/Foundation
  • Windows: qty. – cost
  • Exterior doors: qty. – cost
  • Insulation: already installed
  • Rough plumbing
  • Rough electrical
  • AC/Heat & Ducting
  • Interior Faming/Joists
  • Stairway
  • Drywall & finish for interior walls
  • Shell Interior finish**
  • Dome Shell Wall Board: already installed
  • Interior doors, trim, finish
  • Painting: int. & ext.
  • Cabinets & vanities
  • Plumbing fixtures
  • Electrical fixtures
  • Carpet & flooring
  • Kitchen appliances
Total
Total Material & LaborCost per sq. ft.

** Finishing seams with joint compound and tape and painting a textured paint (paint with sand or vermiculite mixed in it) onto the dome shell wallboard. Or apply joint compound in a skip trowel fashion over the drywall to blend seam areas to the drywall.

These categories do not include costs of land, engineering and permit fees, Florida impact fees, building plans, site preparation, utilities such as water, septic/sewer, electric, etc.

This article discusses some of the awards & recognition
American Ingenuity Concrete Domes have received.
40' dome on right linked to 30' dome.

40′ concrete dome on right linked to 30′ dome.  Featured on front cover of Popular Science Magazine in 1987.  Dome also won award for “Most Energy Efficient Residence” in southeastern USA

 

34' dome on left linked to 45' dome.

34′ dome on left linked to 45′ dome.  American Ingenuity Office domes have been featured on TV & in newspaper articles.

 

27' garage dome with garage door up.....can park two medium size vehicles.

27′ garage dome with garage door up…..can park two medium size vehicles. These domes were awarded EPA’s Energy Star ranking.

Through the years, American Ingenuity Domes have been featured in many magazine articles, books, newspaper articles and television programs.

Television Coverage:

1)    Inside Edition:  On September 11, 1998, Inside Edition, a syndicated TV show led off with a segment on our geodesic domes.  The theme of the segment revolved around the super strength of our domes and how they withstand hurricane forces.  The reporter and two man camera crew first went to Miami and interviewed the owners of a dome that survived a direct hit from hurricane Andrew.  Views of the Menendezes’ beautiful interior were shown but the inspiring stories of the horse trailer and tornado slamming the dome got edited.  They then drove up to our corporate offices.  The segment went on to show our five dome complex including  component panels being made in the factory.  The next stop was to view domes under construction in Melbourne, a 34′ home linked to a 22′ garage.  Also of interest was the interior metal framing and metal floor joists.

The program director had previously asked us for a way to illustrate the domes ability to withstand hurricane force winds.  Short of calling up a 200 mph wind and filming the real thing, the next best option is a computer finite analysis.  The computer simulated a force equal to 230 mph winds.  Our dome stood rock solid.  In fact, to see the movement in the dome, the deflection had to be magnified 50 times.  A square structure was also modeled but it collapsed with 150 mph winds.

A completed dome home was the next stop.  After videoing the house and the dog dome, the reporter, Stephen Gendel, asked for an egg.  While on screen he took his best shot at squeezing it to death.  They departed shortly thereafter knowing that they had a good story and I can tell you with certainty, they were impressed.

About a week after the program aired we got a call from the New York office.  They specifically called to tell us that they had received a flood of calls from people trying to get in touch with us.  For viewers to call us directly they had to figure out the city and area code on their own.  One lady reported that the long distance information operator knew our number by heart.

2)    Film Garden Entertainment of California put together a television program for Home and Garden TV and wanted to include our geodesic dome.  A TV crew spent a day filming our office and manufacturing facility along with two local dome residences.  They also interviewed Michael and Glenda for many hours about the dome concept, manufacturing and assembly of our domes.  The program Insiders List aired in August 2004.  The theme of the program was the top 10 innovative prefab homes throughout the world.  It ranged from “Wee Houses” in the Midwest that were 18′ x 24′ x 10′ to million dollar prefab penthouse modules placed on purchased rooftop spaces in London.  American Ingenuity was privileged to be ranked number 9 on the list.

Magazine coverage:
• A cover story in Popular Science in March 1987
• Builder Dealer Magazine in November 1987
• Ambassador Magazine for Trans World Airlines in May 1990
• American Survival Guide magazine in January 1991 and September 1995
• Aberdeen’s Concrete Construction magazine in March 1996
• Home Power magazine in June/July 1998

Book coverage:
• Future Stuff
• Xtreme Houses by Courtenay Smith & Sean Topham. Prestel Verlag offices are in Munich, Berlin, London, New York 2002

Newspaper Coverage: (to read some of these articles click on Newspaper)
• Numerous articles written by syndicated columnist James Dulley
• Florida Today
• Detroit News
• Asheville Citizen Times January 19, 2006 (North Carolina)
• International Herald Tribune December 10-11, 2005 (Hong Kong)
• The New York Times January 11, 2007
• The Florida Keys Sunday January 28, 2007
• Jamaica-Gleaner August 26, 2007