manufacturers | AiDomes

Dome Advantages Summary. What are the Advantages of an American Ingenuity’s prefabricated home dome kit?  Super-strong Concrete Exterior, super-energy efficient, low exterior maintenance, fire resistant concrete exterior, tree impact resistant concrete exterior, noncombustible exterior wall materials and environmentally friendly.  Please scroll down the page to view specific info about each advantage.

New…New ….New interior pictures of finished 48′ dome (five bedrooms) linked to 40′ garage dome in Oklahoma’s tornado alley. To view info about Ai dome and tornadoes click on Tornado.  New….New….interior and exterior photos of Aidome in St Croix US Virgin Islands withstood two category five hurricanes within 12 days with no damage to the dome. 

To view an article which covers why build a geodesic dome for your new home that summarizes the major info about the Aidome building system and component panel, please click on Why Build a Geodesic Dome.

Q: Does American Ingenuity have an engineering statement about your prefabricated dome panels that can be viewed?

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

 

 Disaster Resistant 
SUPER-STRONG DOME HOMES – CONCRETE HOME
up to 225 mph Hurricane Winds  & F-4 Tornado Guarantee on Triangle & Riser Panels

 

 

withstood Two Category Five Hurricanes with no damage

 

An Aidome owner in St Croix, US Virgin Islands, has emailed, called and sent pictures of their 34’ Aidome with 1,100 sq.ft. – two bedrooms & two baths.  Liz wrote: “I live in an Aidome on St Croix, USVI and in September was hit by not one, but 2 horrific hurricanes, Irma and Maria.  Let me tell you I was so happy to be in a dome with no roof to lift.  Maria hit St Croix with 185 MPH winds!!   The only damage at all was to our solar whole house fan on top of house.” 
She also called and told us: “Within 12 days we went through two category 5 hurricanes (Irma and Maria) where the area was destroyed.  The hurricanes took out our hospitals, airports and schools.  The Aidome stood strong and suffered no damage with only the solar fan broken.   Also she said they had mini tornadoes which blew their storage sheds apart.   Her husband is a Purple Heart Vietnam War Veteran who said the area looked like a war zone.    To view a photo gallery of photos on this dome, click on St Croix

 

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34′ Aidome in British Virgin Islands Built in 2007 
Withstood  Hurricane Irma’s 200 mph winds with no damage. 

 

 The Aidome’s geodesic shape combined with the steel reinforced concrete exterior allows for such a guarantee.  Ai’s standard design will accommodate up to 225 mph hurricane winds, F4 tornadoes and 90 lb. snow loads. This wind warranty does not apply to a  cupola, link, exterior doors, windows or exterior framed wall areas.    In almost 40 years, Ai domes have survived all major USA hurricanes  (Irma, Andrew & Katrina),  tornadoes, a Hawaiian earthquake, a 30″ in diameter hickory tree impact with no structural damage and several feet of snow.  To read a recap of the Ai dome and acts of nature, view  Nature.

The State of Florida requires Insurance Companies to offer reduced rates to homes that have high wind mitigation features.  The American Ingenuity dome meets and exceeds these requirements.  One of Ai’s client’s hurricane insurance premium went from $850 to $90 after he had his dome & windows/doors/shutters inspected and a Uniform Mitigation Verification Inspection Form was completed by a Qualified Inspector.

Prefabricated home dome kits 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, American Ingenuity’s domes greatly exceed the structural requirements of the major building codes in the United States.

One of the most exciting architectural environments ever designed, a dome brings its best attributes to your home. It delivers a rewarding living experience filled with warmth, light and open space to those who accept the opportunity to build one of the most Eco Friendly homes available today. The Ai dome was Green before Green became a word to describe energy efficient homes that do not waste our natural resources.  All the prefab panel materials: fiber concrete, galvanized steel, expanded polystyrene insulation and 1/2″ Georgia Pacific DensArmor drywall are noncombustible and contain no food source for mold growth.

 

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8.18 Exterior pilings2 Mowery platform-edited2
40′ American Ingenuity Dome Built in 1986 – few hundred feet from Atlantic Ocean.
Went through Hurricane Andrew with no damage.
In 1992 Hurricane Andrew had sustained winds of 165 mph
with bursts of 212 mph – Category 5 Hurricane
 

 

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Menendez -exterior

45 ft in diameter dome in Homestead Florida – Built in 1989.

Went through Hurricane Andrew & a Tornado at the same time

with no structural damage.

Minor Damage Due to Horse Trailer Impact

In August 1992 American Ingenuity domes were put to the ultimate test of strength when they faced the wrath of Hurricane Andrew as it slammed into south Florida. Winds at the nearby Tamiami airport were clocked at 212 mph, spawning over 100 tornadoes within the storm and leaving practically everything in its wake leveled. Nearly 200,000 people become homeless overnight. Even a tower at the Turkey Point Nuclear Power Plant, designed to withstand 200-mph winds, was irrevocably damaged by this fierce storm. We were not surprised, however, when we learned that our domes survived – in great contrast to the thousands of conventionally built houses of their neighbors. On Key Largo, just 20 miles south of the eye of the storm, an Ai 40′ dome faced the brunt of the storm. Built on pilings near the Atlantic Ocean, it was exposed to relentless high winds and driving rain. Unlike houses and commercial buildings in the surrounding area, it sustained absolutely no damage.

Above is picture of a 45′ American Ingenuity dome home that was in the direct path of the devastating storm, bearing the worst Andrew could deliver; yet it suffered no structural damage. A two wide metal horse trailer was impelled against the dome leaving a paint skid marking on the dome where the trailer slide around the dome to the other side. The horse trailer caused a crack in the riser wall and a chunk of concrete to break loose. The dome owner, caulked the crack and mixed up fiber concrete and filled the chunk and then painted the area.

Due to the type and direction of the debris scattered around the dome’s neighborhood, an engineer from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (F.E.M.A.) surmised that a tornado had struck the area. The engineer’s own Alabama home had been hit by a tornado a few years ago, so he was impressed by the integrity of the dome on an emotional as well as a professional level. The dome structure had withstood not only the force of a hurricane but a tornado as well. The incredibly intense winds ripped open double entry doors and 12′ sliding glass doors, which had been covered with protective plywood sheathing. Even though the wood and glass doors of the entryways succumbed to the wind and allowed interior water damage from the rain, the dome itself stood strong.

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FIRE RESISTANT CONCRETE EXTERIOR

The American Ingenuity dome is designed to be as safe and fireproof as possible, the dome exterior is entirely noncombustible concrete.

Fire resistant concrete exterior:  to view info about American Ingenuity’s concrete dome versus the Monolithic Concrete Dome and to view a YouTube Video of  fire going over Monolithic concrete dome, please click on Fire Resistant Concrete Exterior.

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SUPER-ENERGY EFFICIENT DOME HOMES

Save 50% to 60% on your heating & cooling costs

Ai domes protect your wallet by saving you 50% to 60% off your heating and cooling costs. The major reasons for low utility bills are reduced surface area of the dome and its thick insulation uninterrupted by wood. The insulation consists of a seven inch block of rigid R-28 expanded polystyrene (E.P.S.) which is comparable to 11 inches of fiberglass batting. This means the walls of a conventional house would need to be built with 2×10’s and still not have as much insulation as is in the Ai wall.

Exterior office 34 with 45'

American Ingenuity Office Domes pictured above

34′ on left linked to 45′ dome – built in 1993

American Ingenuity’s Florida dome offices are a 45′ dome connected to a 34′ dome of 3,700 sq.ft. utilizing all electric power.  In the hot Florida summer months, Ai’s offices can be cooled to 76 degrees for less than $55 a month.To view annual charts and 2013 electric bills for Ai’s offices, click on Office AC Costs. A 34′ Ai dome home of 1,200 sq.ft. located in Melbourne Florida can be cooled to 76 degrees for less than $22 a month in the hot Florida summer months. To view the home’s annual charts and 2013 electric bills, click on 34 ft Dome AC Costs. In colder climates your dome will be even more energy efficient.   

The insulation is not interrupted by wood and there is no wood in the home’s exterior walls to rot or burn or be eaten by termites. During the panel assembly a temporary wooden rib system is used.  Once all the seams between the panels & the entryways & dormers are concreted, the wooden rib system is removed with most wood recycled for interior framing & second floor knee wall perimeter framing.  The dome is self supporting with no need for walls to support its shell. The exterior of the dome is steel reinforced concrete with no shingles to blow off in high winds.  Paint the exterior concrete with concrete primer & paint.

18.17 second floor door & window P2260008

Kolb’s South Carolina 40′ Dome Earned Energy Star

On right is 27′ – two car garage dome.  Domes built in 2000

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

 

Below is pic of the Collar’s Utah Ai concrete dome buildings which operate off the grid by using photovoltaic’s, masonry heater fireplace and passive solar water tubes. To learn more, view OFF The Grid.

 

45' dome and 30' dome on right. Domes are off the Grid.

Collar – 45′ dome and 30′ dome on right located in Utah. Domes are off the Grid.

 Collar Domes built in 1997 at 7,500′ elevation.

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

 ENVIRONMENTALLY SAFE 
The Expanded Polystyrene Insulation (EPS)
 Utilized in the Ai Dome Building Kit Does NOT Contain:
 HBCD (hexabromocyclododecane)
or TCPP (1-chloro-2-propyl) phosphate
 or Chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) or Formaldehyde.
Materials in the Dome Component Panels
Are Noncombustible and
Contain no food source for mold growth
Steel Reinforced Concrete, EPS Insulation, 1/2″ Georgia Pacific DensArmor Gypsum Drywall

What Does The Prefab Home Dome Kit and Component Panel Consist Of?

The component panels consist of a center core of 7″ of rigid noncombustible expanded polystyrene (EPS)  insulation NOT styrofoam. On the exterior of the EPS is 3/4″ fiber concrete reinforced with galvanized steel mesh. On the interior of the EPS is noncombustible 1/2″ Georgia Pacific DensArmor mold resistant and water resistant gypsum drywall.   DensArmor Plus Interior Panel is a highly mold-resistant, interior gypsum wallboard. By featuring fiberglass mats on both the front and the back, they offer the best in interior moisture protection currently available.  During kit assembly it could rain.  After the drywall is allowed to dry it goes back to its original consistency.  The wallboard is not conventional sheet rock that will crumble and mold when it gets wet. The exterior seam areas between the panels, once filled with on-site fiber concrete are about 3″ deep by 5″ wide with the concrete averaging two inches in thickness. Engineers tell us the steel reinforced concreted seams act like steel beams.  To learn about the prefabricated panel’s composition, click on Composition.

The building plans standard foundation is monolithic slab. However Ai can design the dome to be built on basements, pilings, stem wall, etc.  To lean more, click on Foundations.

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

The Ai Prefabricated Home Dome Kit (22′-48′) consists of all the component panels for the dome’s exterior shell and one entryway. Your floor plan selection determines how many more entryways or dormers your kit contains.  Entryways and dormers are structural awnings that extend out from the dome.  Under them a 2×4 or 2×6 framed wall is built on site to accept your locally purchased windows and doors. To view Kit Contents, click on  Kit.  To learn more about the entryways and dormers, click on Building Options. The kit does not include any doors or windows or interior items other than the interior wallboard on each triangle and riser panel. Ai believes you should not pay shipping on standard items that you can purchase locally from Lowes or Home Depot or off Craig’s List, or eBay, etc..  To view items not included in the kit, click on Not Included.

LOW EXTERIOR MAINTENANCE

Ai Concrete Houses protect and lower your maintenance budget because their concrete roofs contain no shingles and no wood to rot, or to burn or to be eaten by termites. The exterior is steel reinforced concrete that is primed and painted.  Dome owners prefer Ames Research Laboratories products which can be purchased at Ace, True Value Hardware, Build-rite Do It Center.  Ames Products can be researched and videos viewed at Ames. When on their web site click on Products and Dealer Location for suppliers in your area.

Click on Low Maintenance. View a YouTube 55 second video featuring Ai’s dome Green Living.  Click on  CBS Sunday Morning to view news show featuring Ai’s geodesic dome and Buckminster Fuller.

Klaus leo washing 090  

 

Above picture is of a painted 34′ dome being pressure washed.  Prior to pressure washing kill algae with bleach/water or oxygen bleach/water.  Worker has harness tied to eye bolt. The dome is repainted when the paint begins to chalk.  …usually every 4-5-6 years.  The Ai dome has no roof to replace. No wood in or on the dome exterior to rot or to burn or for termites to eat.  No roof to blow off in high winds.

 

Kolb painting dome side

Dome Owner Painting Top of Dome (harness not pictured)

During Kit Assembly stainless steel eye bolts are installed in top dome seams.

For painting attach rope thru eye bolt and tie rope to worker’s harness.

Current technology allows for paint to be dispensed to roller from paint sprayer that sits on the ground.

kolb pressure washing

 This dome pic is of a 40′ dome that had been previously painted. 
Prior to repainting the dome, kill algae with
combination of bleach water or oxygen bleach & water, then pressure wash.
7 report

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7 report

1. Why concrete is the absolute best way to build a dome.

2. What you need to know about local building codes.

3. What can be done locally and when to call in an expert.

4. The ins and out of bank loans on dome homes.

5. What you need to know about the land. 

6. When is the best time of year to build a dome for certain locations.

7. Why AiDome exterior can have 225 mph wind and F4 tornado warranty

Also from time to time you will be receiving Ai’s Newsletter

 

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Staff at American Ingenuity

GlendaB.Aidomes@gmail.com

American Ingenuity Inc, 8777 Holiday Springs Rd.  Rockledge, Florida 32955
Telephone 321-639-8777. Office Hours Mon-Fri 9-5 Eastern Time

How Can I View Ai Domes?

American Ingenuity’s Florida office domes (45′ & 34′ of 3,700 sq.ft.) are open for viewing by appointment on Tuesday and Thursday.  And once a month  a Saturday tour is available. Call 321-639-8777 for details. Click on Tour for info. View pictures of beautiful dome interior designed by international artist Electros, To view pictures of a 45′ dome on full basement review Stroupe page. For other dome pictures, check out the left menu bar on this home page for fourteen picture files and view pics.  American Ingenuity has sold over 800 dome kits into 47 USA states and 13 foreign areas.

The dome kits American Ingenuity sell become private homes. Ai would like to have model homes throughout the country but it is not economically possible. If Ai did have models, we would need to double the price of the building kit to pay for the model construction, the staff to man them and the annual costs to run, pay property taxes, etc. Ai has sold over 800 dome kits throughout the country. The assembled domes don’t belong to us and we can’t extend invitations to see them. However we are very happy that a few dome owners allow us to give out their name and number. So a referral could be a few states away from you.

Our referrals love their domes and are very happy to speak with potential owners. However, since they are not dome sales associates, we promise them that we will speak with each perspective buyer to answer their basic questions and walk them through significant pages on our web site. Ai tries to answer the multitude of potential buyer questions so as to not take up hours of the referral’s time with basic and in depth questions. As a result, please call our office and our friendly staff will be happy to talk with you and later provide a referral.To view free info, click on Info.  To view pictures of different America Ingenuity dome homes, look at the left side Menu Bar and scroll down to category pictures and click on the picture submenu items.

To view the DVD, click on New DVD.  To view stock floor plans, click on Stock Plans and scroll down the page to click on the hyperlinks. At no cost to you, Ai will email other stock plans that are not on our web site.  If stock plans are mailed, call Ai at  321-639-8777 for printing costs and mailing costs.

To view a Youtube video showing the interior and exterior of an Ai two dome complex for sale in Albuquerque New Mexico, click on Domes.  To view photo gallery of domes in Tornado Alley, click on Oklahoma

Heating & Air Conditioning an Ai dome.  Ai dome winner of Energy Star Award.

snow Kolb beautiful

American Ingenuity 40′ dome home linked to 27′ garage earned Energy Star rating.

Typical AC Ductwork Design:  The following info pertains to the chart below:

An air handler is the inside unit that forces cool air into the house. An air handler needs to have a plenum if installing two or more intakes.  A Plenum is a foam box made of special materials that are flame retardant designed for connecting ductwork at the bottom or top of the air handler also for splitting ductwork.  Cut a hole in the plenum to accept ductwork.  It could be done for an air intake grate or exhaust vents.  When installing an air intake in the second floor (Intake is where you put your Air Filter.  It is easier to put the air intake grate in a second floor knee wall.  Knee walls are usually large enough to support multiple duct work.  The grate size will be determined by the size air filter you want to install. Intake ductworks are about 10 to 12 inches large. Exhaust ductworks are usually 6 inches. (Exhaust is where the air comes out of vents in your walls, ceilings and even floors).  Ductwork can be run in interior walls or drop ceilings between floor joists and in knee walls.  If running ductwork in interior framed walls, the walls may need to be wider than normal to support the ductwork.  It is recommended that you install two Intakes one in the upper floor of your house and one in the lower floor of your home. The upper Intake will remove humidity and hot air and dust from the upper floors. The closer you have the Intake to a room, the cooler that room will be. The lower intake is doing the same job as the upper intake removing dust, moisture and hot air. Air needs to exit out of each room, your HVAC subcontractor may have you put a grill above a door or have a space below your door for air to exit rooms.   Mini-split ductless heat pumps can be installed in the dome.

 

AC 2

 

Where are the AC and Heating Ducts installed in the dome? The ducts can be run in the interior walls, second floor joists, and behind the second floor perimeter knee wall.  Above is a HVAC diagram showing typical way system works.  Contact your local HVAC subcontractor for specific needs and air flow to rooms in your dome home.  Or ductless AC/heating units are available.

Ai does not specify which heating and cooling units to use within its domes because the needs vary by regions of the country. Heating and cooling systems that are practical or common in your area can be used in the dome. We have had clients use radiant heat in the floor. We have also had clients’ incorporate large spans of glass to let in the passive heat; usually this is not practical, as the dome is so energy efficient. The large amount of glass just lets in hot or cold air. Our clients have had great success with solar hot water heaters.

For a system that is best for your area, consult a local air-conditioning contractor. All types of systems will work but it would be important to consider what type of fuel is readily available, what type of units can be serviced locally and your own preferences. However, keep in mind that because of the superb energy efficiency of the dome, you can reduce the required size of your air-conditioning and heating system by about one third. Also the cost of heating and air conditioning will also be about half that of typical houses in your area and therefore the savings provided by super efficient units will be less. It is economical to select efficient systems but not very expensive systems.

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

A: Yes due to the tightness of the dome, water vapor from cooking, showering, doing laundry, breathing, etc. needs to be removed from the dome. Electric exhaust vents are installed in a vertical wall near the top of the dome, in top center of the dome, in bathrooms, in laundry room and above stove/microwave to exhaust water vapor.  In interior walls, use galvanized metal ducting that extends down the interior wall, through the floor joist and vents out under an entryway or door dormer framed wall or a hole can be cut in the concrete panel. Instructions in the Dome Kit Assembly Manual.  A heat recovery ventilator or energy recovery ventilator will probably need to be installed to remove excess water vapor. To view our web site info on heat recovery ventilators, click on HRV.

Can the smaller American Ingenuity domes be cooled or heated without central air conditioning or furnaces? Yes. The smaller sized American Ingenuity domes have such small heating and air-conditioning demands; it could be practical for you to use only a window air-conditioner and a space heater.  Please check your local building code, some building departments require a permanent heat source to be installed which does not allow a wood stove or fireplace as the permanent source.

What air conditioner size do you recommend for your domes?

34’ Dome: 1 ½ Ton

40’ Dome: 2 Ton

45’ Dome: 2 ½ Ton

48’ Dome: 3 Ton

Tell me about a ground water heat pump. A ground water (or water-to-air) heat pump is extremely efficient as it uses the constant moderate temperature of underground water to both heat and cool, instead of using outside air, it uses water from a well or underground loop to transfer heat through a concentric copper coil located inside your home. Besides being more efficient than air-to-air unit, it can produce heat when the outside temperature is below freezing.  Mini-split ductless heat pumps are available. Ask your local HVAC subcontractor what units he prefers.

Can Ai’s Domes be cooled without an air conditioner? Yes. Because the Ai dome is so super insulated, our clients who do not prefer air conditioning, have found the interior of the dome to be cooler than a conventional house.

  • Of course you would want to install windows and doors opposite of each other so that air will flow through the dome.
  • In the hot summer months, you may want to install a window AC to cool some areas and draw out moisture.
  • Standing fans can be used to move the air.
  • Install awnings out from the dormers and entryways to keep the sun from beaming into the dome.
  • To help maintain a cooler interior temperature you may want to consider installing underground cooling pipes which will bring air into the dome that has been cooled by the earth. To learn more about this read about Energy Efficiency under advantages.
  • Plus you can install pipes in the slab to run cold water through. A 45’ dome needs about 2 ½” in diameter cooling pipes that are buried 5’ deep and go out about 20’. You angle the tubes where condensation can be pumped out.

Does the HVAC diagram come with the Building Plans? No. The installation and routing of the heating and cooling ducts, electrical wiring and plumbing pipes can best be determined on site by the person making the installation. Ai has found if the layouts are included, then the inspectors require the subcontractors to follow the diagrams when the subs like to design their own layouts.

Do American Ingenuity’s building plans meet the new building codes requiring air exchangers? We are not sure what your code requires, if there is a minimal air exchange from the outside to inside, that requirement would best be fulfilled with an air to air heat exchanger sometimes called a heat recovery unit or energy recovery ventilator. These ventilation systems bring in fresh air and minimize the loss of heating and air conditioning. Please check with your local HVAC subcontractor.

What types of Ducts does your company recommend? Collapsible plastic inner and outer liners have insulating material between the inner and outer liners and a spiral wire that holds them round. Because the dome is all one cooled or heated space (no attic), the ducting does not need to be insulated. Sometimes building departments require insulated ducts.

How do you move hot air from the second floor to the first floor? In a vertical wall near the top of the dome install a bathroom exhaust fan that can be turned on to move hot air to the first floor. Use dryer ducting for the exhaust fan ducting. It extends down the interior wall, through the floor joist and vents out on the first floor. See above description describing possible  HVAC ductwork diagram.

How can I calculate the BTU requirements for Ai Domes? You can calculate the approximate amount of heat required for the different size Ai domes by:

  • Determine the difference in temperature from outside to inside. Say inside is 70 outside is -30, T= 100
  • Look up the Exterior surface of the dome you want to calculate (on back side of Price list) 40’ dome =2,645
  • On the bottom of same Specifications sheet get the K value for the insulation. 9″ K=0.0278
  • Multiply all of these numbers together. 100 x 2,645 x 0.0278 = 7,351 is the BTU’s required to make up what escapes through the dome surface.
  • Do the same thing with the windows. T= same, Add up the areas. For a double pane use K=0.3 or what ever the mfg. specifies.
  • Do the same thing with the floor and its insulation.
  • Add the three BTU values together and that is the approx. heat loss.

Heat & Cool Smartly: Save Energy, Save Money

Replacing old cooling and heating equipment with more efficient, ENERGY STAR qualified equipment is one way to save energy and money. However, your home’s heating and cooling equipment is part of a larger system. Heating and cooling your home smartly can include properly maintaining your existing equipment, using a programmable thermostat, finding and sealing air leaks, tightening up your ducts, and more. To view governments Energy Star web site, click on Energy Star.

Repair or Replace?
Changing out old cooling and heating equipment with ENERGY STAR qualified models can cut your annual energy costs by 20 percent.  Learn more about each cooling and heating product from links in the left column.

Finding the right contractor: 10 tips

10 Tips for Hiring a Heating and Cooling Contractor

1. Study up – Find out about license and insurance requirements for contractors in your state. And before you call a contractor, know the model of your current system and its maintenance history. Also make note of any uncomfortable rooms. This will help potential contractors better understand your heating needs.

2. Ask for referrals – Ask friends, neighbors, and co-workers for contractor referrals. You can also contact local trade organizations for names of members in your area.

3. Call references – Ask contractors for customer references and call them. Ask about the contractor’s installation or service performance, and if the job was completed on time and within budget.

4. Find special offers – A heating and cooling system is one of the largest purchases you’ll make as a homeowner. Keep your costs down by checking around for available rebates on energy-efficient ENERGY STAR qualified heating and cooling equipment. Begin your search at www.energystar.gov.

5. Look for ENERGY STAR – ENERGY STAR qualified products meet strict energy efficiency guidelines set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and offer significant long-term energy savings. Contractors should be able to show you calculations of savings for ENERGY STAR heating and cooling equipment.

6. Expect a home evaluation – The contractor should spend significant time inspecting your current system and home to assess your needs. A bigger system isn’t always better; a contractor should size the heating and cooling system based on the size of your house, level of insulation, and windows. A good contractor will inspect your duct system (if applicable) for air leaks and insulation and measure airflow to make sure it meets manufacturers specifications.

7. Get written, itemized estimates – When comparing contractors’ proposals (bids), be sure to compare cost, energy efficiency and warranties. A lowest price may not be the best deal if it’s not the most efficient because your energy costs will be higher.

8. Get it in ink – Sign a written proposal with a contractor before work gets started. It’ll protect you by specifying project costs, model numbers, job schedule and warranty information.

9. Pass it on – Tell friends and family about ENERGY STAR. Almost one-quarter of households knowingly purchased at least one qualified product last year, and 71% of those consumers say they would recommend ENERGY STAR to a friend. Spread the word, and we can all make a big difference.

10. Get the ENERGY STAR Guide – For complete information on keeping your home comfortable year-round, get the ENERGY STAR   1-888-STAR-YES (1-888-782-7937).

Maintain your Equipment: A Checklist
Just as a tune-up for your car can improve your gas mileage, a yearly tune-up of your heating and cooling system can improve efficiency and comfort.

Use a Programmable Thermostat
Use an ENERGY STAR qualified model to adjust the temperature of your home when you are home or away. With proper use of the four pre-programmed temperature settings, you can save about $100 each year in energy costs.

Duct Sealing
It’s common to find gaps between duct joints, whether a home is new or old. Seal and insulate ducts that are exposed in areas such as your attic or crawlspace to improve your system’s efficiency and your own comfort.

Seal Air Leaks and Add Insulation (Home Sealing)
Air leaks in your home and a poorly insulated attic can lead to significant home comfort problems and high energy bills. By properly sealing those air leaks and adding insulation, you can improve comfort and cut your energy bills by up to 10 percent.

Consider a More Efficient Ceiling Fan
Upgrade to a more energy-efficient ceiling fan. ENERGY STAR qualified models are up to 50% more energy-efficient than conventional fans, with the most potential energy savings coming from those that include lighting. In the winter, set your fan to turn in the clockwise direction to help efficiently distribute warm air throughout your room.

Help Protect the Environment
Individual actions at home can add up to a lot of pollution prevention. If just one in ten households bought ENERGY STAR heating and cooling products, the change would keep over 17 billion pounds of pollution out of the air.

The following is a recap of American Ingenuity Domes and Acts of Nature like hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, tree impact, snow load and hail.  Since 1976,  American Ingenuity’s dome design and prefabricated concrete panel has proved itself by withstanding the following acts of nature:  Hurricane Irma’s 200 mph winds, Hurricane Maria’s 185 mph winds,  Hurricane Andrew’s 165-212 mph winds, a tornado that rolled up a steel horse trailer and slammed it against the Miami Florida dome, four hurricanes in 2004, Hurricane Katrina, 6.6 earthquake in 2006, sub-zero temperatures and heavy snow loads of the Northwest Territory of Canada, a 30″ in diameter 115 foot tall hickory tree impact, a lighting strike, Colorado hail storm and many other conditions.  To view engineering statement that Ai domes comply with 2009, 2012 & 2015 International Building Code, California Building Code and 2014 Florida Building Code 5th Edition, please click on Strong Concrete Home.  The dome kit when assembled comes with a 225 mph and F4 Tornado warranty. This warranty does not apply to a cupola, link, exterior doors, windows or exterior framed wall areas.

To view an article which covers why build a geodesic dome for your new home that summarizes the major info about the Aidome building system and component panel, please click on Why Build a Geodesic Dome.

34′ Aidome in British Virgin Islands built in 2007

withstood Hurricane Irma’s 200 mph winds with no damage. 

 

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withstood Two Category Five Hurricanes with no damage
Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Maria’s 185 mph winds
An Aidome owner in St Croix, US Virgin Islands, has emailed, called and sent pictures of their 34’ Aidome with 1,100 sq.ft. – two bedrooms & two baths.  Liz wrote: “I live in an Aidome on St Croix, USVI and in September was hit by not one, but 2 horrific hurricanes, Irma and Maria.  Let me tell you I was so happy to be in a dome with no roof to lift.  Maria hit St Croix with 185 MPH winds!!   The only damage at all was to our solar whole house fan on top of house.” 
She also called and told us: “Within 12 days we went through two category 5 hurricanes (Irma and Maria) where the area was destroyed.  The hurricanes took out our hospitals, airports and schools.  The Aidome stood strong and suffered no damage with only the solar fan broken.   Also she said they had mini tornadoes which blew their storage sheds apart.   Her husband is a Purple Heart Vietnam War Veteran who said the area looked like a war zone.   Click on St Croix  to view a photos of this dome. 
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45′ Elevated Aidome in Florida Keys 

withstood 2017 Hurricane Irma with no damage

Per the Orlando Sentinel: Florida Keys officials say the island chain hit hard by Hurricane Irma will reopen to tourists Oct. 1.

Officials made their announcement Monday Sept 25, 2017, more than two weeks after the Category 4 storm made landfall in the Florida Keys. The storm destroyed an estimated 25 percent of homes on the islands.

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Exterior hurricane Jeanne Dumpster Domes

Domes built in 2000 suffered no damage from Hurricane Frances & Hurricane Jeanne

34′ (two bedroom and two bathroom) connected to a 22′ one car garage dome. A conventional house across the street lost its roof in Hurricane Jeanne. In the dumpster is house’s shingles and on the ground is its carpet.  The interior of the house was destroyed.  Roof and interior had to be rebuilt.

Q: Does American Ingenuity 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.

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Hurricane Andrew 1992-sustained winds of 165 mph-with bursts of 212 mph-Category 5

 

8.18 Exterior pilings2 Mowery platform-edited2

Above 40′ Key Largo Dome Built in 1987 – Suffered No Damage in Hurricane Andrew

 

Menendez -exterior

Above 45′ in diameter dome (built in 1989)

was in direct path of Hurricane Andrew and Tornado

& Suffered No Structural Damage – Minor Damage Due to Horse Trailer Impact

In August 1992 American Ingenuity domes were put to the ultimate test of strength when they faced the wrath of Hurricane Andrew as it slammed into south Florida. Winds at the nearby Tamiami airport were clocked at 212 mph, spawning over 100 tornadoes within the storm and leaving practically everything in its wake leveled. Nearly 200,000 people become homeless overnight. Even a tower at the Turkey Point Nuclear Power Plant, designed to withstand 200-mph winds, was irrevocably damaged by this fierce storm. We were not surprised, however, when we learned that our domes survived – in great contrast to the thousands of conventionally built houses of their neighbors. On Key Largo, just 20 miles south of the eye of the storm, an Ai 40′ dome faced the brunt of the storm. Built on pilings near the Atlantic Ocean, it was exposed to relentless high winds and driving rain. Unlike houses and commercial buildings in the surrounding area, it sustained absolutely no damage.

Above is picture of a 45′ American Ingenuity dome home built in 1989 that was in the direct path of the devastating storm, bearing the worst Andrew could deliver; yet it suffered no structural damage. A two wide metal horse trailer was impelled against the dome leaving a paint skid marking on the dome where the trailer slide around the dome to the other side. The horse trailer caused a crack in the riser wall and a chunk of concrete to break loose. The dome owner, caulked the crack and mixed up fiber concrete and filled the chunk and then painted the area.

Due to the type and direction of the debris scattered around the dome’s neighborhood, an engineer from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (F.E.M.A.) surmised that a tornado had struck the area. The engineer’s own Alabama home had been hit by a tornado a few years ago, so he was impressed by the integrity of the dome on an emotional as well as a professional level. The dome structure had withstood not only the force of a hurricane but a tornado as well. The incredibly intense winds ripped open double entry doors and 12′ sliding glass doors, which had been covered with protective plywood sheathing. Even though the wood and glass doors of the entryways succumbed to the wind and allowed interior water damage from the rain, the dome itself stood strong.

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Hurricane Katrina…category 4 wind speed 140 mph  

Hurricane Katrina caused many deaths and over $34 Billion dollars in damages making it one of the worst American Catastrophe. Ai had domes in its direct path.  The domes suffered no structural damage. To learn more about American Ingenuity’s warranty against 225 mph winds and F4 Tornadoes,  view Warranty.

According to information from the Insurance Information Institute, the 2004 Florida Hurricanes (Charley, Frances, Jeanne and Ivan) are among the 10 costliest U.S. catastrophes when measured by insured damages. At the time of the 2004 hurricanes over 123 Ai domes were built in Florida, not one of them suffered any damage due to these hurricanes. Ai had domes in the direct path of Charley in the cities of Port Charlotte and Fort Meyers. News reports stated that in 2004 one out of every five residences in Florida suffered damage due to the hurricanes. The following was taken from the Insurance Information Institute’s web site www.iii.org.

Florida allows a wind mitigation form to be filled out by a certified engineer.  Ai domes that have had this form submitted to their insurance companies have paid greatly reduced prices for the hurricane part of their insurance.  One client’s hurricane premium went from $850 to $90.

 

Core Dome 02

 

40′ American Ingenuity Dome built from kit in 1987

Survived Hurricane Katrina with no damage to the dome. (cupola is built differently now)

 

Core Dome 01

40′ American Ingenuity Dome built from kit in 1987. 

The dome is built on wood pilings with the storage room below the dome built with break-away- walls.   This dome owner chose to build her platform with pressure treated wood joists. Or the elevated platform can be designed to be built from concrete.  During Hurricane Katrina, there was no damage to the dome but when the water level rose under her dome, debris damaged a joist.  Depending on your area and soil report, pilings can be wood or concrete with the above ground columns designed from concrete block.  To see latest design of concrete platform, with concrete columns, concrete deck & stairs, ask Ai for photos.

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American Ingenuity’s Concrete Dome Homes Have Exceptional Strength

A dome shape has inherent strength that exceeds all other home designs as proven by Buckminster Fuller. Ai’s steel reinforced concrete dome home’s shell is able to withstand large wind and snow loads.

As home manufacturers American Ingenuity is confident of its housing kits and Ai offers a structural guarantee the dome shell will withstand 225 mph winds and F4 tornadoes. To read about Ai’s warranty, view Guarantee.

During the 2004 Hurricane system, Florida experienced four hurricanes. None of our concrete domes suffered any damage, even though some were in the direct path of Charley, Ivan, Frances and Jeanne.  Scroll down the page to view a recap hurricanes and other Ai dome strength info.

American Ingenuity has had its domes go through Hurricane Andrew (165 mph winds with burst of 212 mph winds…category 5) and a tornado spawned by Andrew and Hurricane Katrina (140 mph winds…category 4) with no structural damage. Hurricane Sandy had 90 mph winds and water surges.  Ai did not have any of its domes in Sandy’s path.  If  building near coastal areas, build your Ai dome on pilings and concrete platform to allow water surge to go under the dome.

Q: What wind and snow loads will the Ai dome withstand?
A:
A triangle is the strongest shape known to man.  To view a video that explains this view Triangle.  Most of the American Ingenuity geodesic dome consists of triangle shaped panels which combined with the steel reinforced concrete exterior, makes the dome incredibly strong and easily enhanced to accommodate unusual requirements. The dome design will accommodate 225 mph. winds and 50 lb. snow loads.  To view load test on Ai panel, click on load test.

Two of Ai’s domes in Hawaii went through a 6.6 earthquake in 2006 and suffered no structural damage. To learn more about the earthquake, view ABC News Link and on MSNBC News Link.

Since 1976,  American Ingenuity’s dome design has proved itself by withstanding the following acts of nature with no structural damage: Hurricane Andrew’s 165-212 mph winds, a tornado that rolled up a steel horse trailer and slammed it against the Menendez dome, four hurricanes in 2004, Hurricane Katrina, 6.6 earthquake in 2006, sub-zero temperatures and heavy snow loads of the Northwest Territory of Canada, a 30″ in diameter 115 foot tall hickory tree impact, a lighting strike and many other conditions.

More about steel horse trailer impact: American Ingenuity warranties their concrete domes against 225 mph hurricanes and #4 tornadoes. Since our dome kit manufacturing business started, Ai has sold kits into 47 states and 14 foreign areas. Since then Ai does not know of any of our client’s domes suffering any damage due to hurricanes, earthquakes or tornadoes except for one dome during Hurricane Andrew. During Andrew a tornado slammed a two wide metal horse trailer against a 45’ Ai Dome.  A riser wall of the dome ended up with a hairline crack and a missing chunk of concrete. The dome owner caulked the crack, mixed up some fiber concrete to fill the chunk and then painted over the area.

Info about Tree Impact:

 

Above is photo of 40′ Aidome and Tree Impact due to Hurricane Irma .

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.  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.”

More about the tree impact: There was no damage to the Brack’s 48′ Ai dome or its basement 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. 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!”  Why the American Ingenuity dome could handle the tree impact is because the steel mesh from panel to panel is overlapped, locked & covered with fiber concrete. As a result the continuous mesh transfers the stress throughout the dome. In a conventional house the stress is confined to one area resulting in the tree probably coming through the roof of the conventional house.

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More about the lightning strike: American Ingenuity’s 45′ office dome withstood another one of nature’s most powerful forces, a LIGHTNING STRIKE. The lightning hit the outer edge of an entryway and the only damage it did to the dome was to knock off a handful of concrete at the point of impact! A couple of our computers have not been the same since, but the cost to repair the dome did not exceed $30 in materials and labor.

More about heavy snow loads: In 1995 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 in 1996.  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.

More about hail: 34′ Dome on full basement in Colorado that is 15 years old:  Toni told us: “I built the American Ingenuity dome for my retirement home and now that I am retired I am so glad that did. I love my dome.  In 2014 we experienced a hail storm that beat the paint off part of their dome & damaged a vent. There was no damage to the concreted panels. To warm the dome in the winter I designed the windows to face south to let the sun in, I installed baseboard heaters that are heated with hot water and I use propane to heat the water in the boiler.  For back up I have a small gas stove.”

Hurricane Irma in September 2017

This recap starts with the most current hurricane, Irma.  The following info came from Wikipedia:

Hurricane Irma was an extremely powerful and catastrophic Cape Verde type hurricane, the strongest observed in the Atlantic since Wilma in 2005 in terms of maximum sustained winds. It was the first Category 5 hurricane to strike the Leeward Islands, followed by Hurricane Maria only two weeks later. It was also the most intense Atlantic hurricane to strike the United States since Katrina in 2005, and the first major hurricane to make landfall in Florida since Wilma in 2005. The ninth named storm, fourth hurricane, and second major hurricane of the 2017 Atlantic hurricane season, Irma caused widespread and catastrophic damage throughout its long lifetime, particularly in parts of the northeastern Caribbean and the Florida Keys.    The storm caused catastrophic damage in BarbudaSaint BarthélemySaint MartinAnguilla, and the Virgin Islands as a Category 5 hurricane.

 

HURRICANE IKE, September 2008

third most destructive hurricane

to ever make landfall in the United States

Mr. & Mrs. Evans of Seabrook, Texas went through Hurricane Ike in an American Ingenuity dome home (48’ and 34’ dome).  Vicki states, “Our domes had no damage although we had significant tree damage on our one acre lot.  We slept through Hurricane Ike and only the next day realized how violent the hurricane had been.  Whole communities two miles away in the Galveston Bay area  were destroyed.  Our neighbors could not believe that we slept through the storm….they told us that they had been up all night due to the violent winds and noise. We did not have to replace or repair our roof. YEA!  Many of our neighbors have spent the last several months replacing their roofs.   Because of the aerodynamic shape of the dome, its steel reinforced concrete construction and its thick insulation, the hurricane sounds were not absorbed through the walls of the dome and our domes had no damage.  We are really glad that we built our domes back in 1991.”

The following info about Ike came from the Wikipedia dictionary.

Hurricane Ike was the third most destructive hurricane to ever make landfall in the United States. It was the ninth named storm, fifth hurricane and third major hurricane of the 2008 Atlantic hurricane season. It was a Cape Verde-type hurricane, as it started as a tropical disturbance off the coast of Africa near the end of August, then tracked south of Cape Verde and slowly developed. On September 1, 2008, it became a tropical storm west of the Cape Verde islands.  Ike made its final landfall in Baytown, Texas, United States as a Category 2 hurricane.

Ike was blamed for at least 195 deaths. Of these, 74 were in Haiti, which was already trying to recover from the impact of three storms earlier that year: Fay, Gustav, and Hanna. In the United States, 112 people were killed, and 34 are still missing. Damages from Ike in US coastal and inland areas are estimated at $24 billion (2008 USD), with additional damage of up to $4 billion in Cuba, $200 million in the Bahamas, and $60 million in the Turks and Caicos, amounting to a total of $28.26 billion in damages. Ike was the third costliest U.S. hurricane of all time, behind Hurricane Andrew of 1992 and Hurricane Katrina of 2005.

 

Catastrophe (year) Inflation adjusted losses*
1
Hurricane Katrina (2005)
$40.4 billion
2
Hurricane Andrew (1992)
$20.86 billion
3
Sept. 11 Attacks (2001)
$20.05 billion
4
Northridge, CA Earthquake (1994)
$15.93 billion
5
Hurricane Charley (2004)
$7.47 billion
6
Hurricane Ivan (2004)
$7.11 billion
7

Hurricane Hugo (1989)

$6.39 billion
8
Hurricane Frances (2004)
$4.59 billion
9
Hurricane Jeanne (2004)
$3.65 billion
10
Hurricane Georges (1998)
$3.36 billion
11
Tropical Storm Allison (2001)
$3.09 billion
12
Hurricane Opal (1995)
$2.60 billion
13
Hurricane Floyd (1999)
$2.22 billion

*Note: Adjusted to 2004 dollars by the Insurance Information Institute.

 Hurricanes & The American Ingenuity Dome

Hurricane Katrina August 29, 2005…140 mph…category 4

American Ingenuity Dome Homes are located in:

  • The Louisiana cities of St Bernard, Baton Rouge and Slidell
  • The Mississippi cities of Purvis, Magee, Byhalia, Saucier, Pattison and Pulaski
  • The Alabama cities of Rainsville, Scottsboro, Enterprize, Dora and Madison

On September 5th, 2005 the Murphy’s in Purvis Mississippi called and said their 48′ dome shell was erected but the inside was not finished. Hurricane Katrina destroyed their conventional house so they moved into their unfinished dome. They had water but no electricity or gasoline for their generator.

On October 11, 2005 Ai heard from our dome owner in Slidell Louisiana. She purchased a 40’ dome in December 1987. She told us the following: “At first we evacuated to a hotel whose roof was blown off by the hurricane. So we had to move to another location. My 40’ American Ingenuity dome sits 8’ above sea level and was built on 10’ tall wood stilts with break-a-way basement walls. There was no damage to my dome structure. The water surge was 18’. Water splashed under a door but there was no water damage in my house other than a skylight leaked.” (Ai-no longer manufactures skylights…instead customer installs solar tubes or maxes out second floor dormers for additional light.)

Her dome was the only livable house in the area. Down the street the only thing left of her sister’s house was a concrete slab.

The water surge pushed a big object under her dome bending a beam under the platform and cracking one wood stilt. The surge of water washed away the break-a-way basement walls and all her electrical and plumbing from under the dome. All she needed to move back into her dome was to get the plumbing and electric reconnected.

The first time she visited her dome after Hurricane Katrina, a man was standing looking at her dome. This person had visited her dome during its construction back in 1988. He reminded her about the “Nay Sayers that told her she was building the wrong type of house.” She wondered, “What those same people would think now.”

Hurricane Ivan 2004

Florida Today’s headline for September 17th was titled “Pensacola in Pieces.” Part of the story read, on September 15, 2004 Hurricane Ivan came on shore at Gulf Shores Alabama but the northeast winds caused the most damage to cities in the nearby Florida Panhandle of Pensacola, Milton, Santa Rosa, ……….

A Client in Milton Florida purchased a 45’ and 30’ dome  March 1995. They were in the direct path of Hurricane Ivan. On Sept 16th John said, “We were in the middle of the eye and had the full blast of the winds plus there was a tornado in our area. The area looks like a war zone. Our concrete domes were wonderful and suffered no damage.” He told us, “Firefighters came by our dome and told us ‘You have the right house for hurricanes.’” He had not received any reports on the wind speed but it was probably 135 to 145 mph or more plus there was a tornado. Pine trees in his yard were stripped of their needles and their bark. Many of his pine trees were laying on a 45 degree angle. A 2×6 board hit the dome and ricocheted onto their screen dome breaking a rib causing the screen dome to collapse. (American Ingenuity does not warranty the screen domes against wind damage, and no longer manufactures screen domes.) Interstate 10’s Bridge over Pensacola Bay is missing a precast concrete segment on each end…whole electrical substations were blown up. Casinos in Biloxi were destroyed.

A client in Santa Rosa Beach Florida purchased a 48’ and 34’ domes in July 1996. Gary told us, “They had over 135 mph winds and their domes suffered no damage.” Their domes sit higher, at 56′ above sea level, than the surrounding houses.

Hurricane Charley

came on land at Port Charlotte and Punta Gorda August 13, 2004

A client in Punta Gorda purchased 40’ and 27’ domes in December 2002. They were in the direct path of Hurricane Charley coming on land in Florida. On September 8th, Trudy called to thank us for their dome. They had winds greater than 145 mph and their dome had no problem….one window got a crack from debris. She said that most of town was destroyed and all three area hospital’s roofs were blown off. Their domes are in Charlotte County near Lee County.

A client in North Ft Meyers purchased a 34’ dome home, and a 27’ two car garage in January 2003. Amy called us August 17, 2004 and said that they were 15 miles from the direct hit of the hurricane and had 117 mph sustained winds. Their domes stood strong, the only vulnerable part was their garage door that wanted to blow in. So they used 2×4’s, plywood and sandbags to hold it in place. The first thing Amy said to us was, “Thank you for our domes.” Their Domes are located in southern Charlotte County near Lee County.

A client in Geneva Florida (near Orlando and Sanford) purchased 40’ and 27’ domes in March 1999. His domes were in the path of Charley and Frances and suffered no damage. Charley’s winds were over 100 mph and Frances winds were 70 to 80 mph.

A client in Bunnell (near New Smyrna Beach) purchased a 40’ dome in February 1992. They were in the exit path of Charley and had 90 mph gusts. Their dome stood strong while houses in their neighborhood lost their roofs.

A client in Flagler Beach purchased 34’ and 27’ domes in January 1999. Their domes were 15 miles from Charley’s exit path. They had 70 mph sustained winds with gusts of 80 mph. During the hurricane they could hear stuff hitting their domes. In the morning they walked around their yard, picked up shingles and soffits from their neighbor’s houses and washed off their driveway resulting in their property and dome looking like no hurricane had occurred.

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Hurricane Frances 2004

On September 5, 2004 Hurricane Frances came on land at Fort Pierce and Vero Beach with the north east winds slamming Ai’s County of Brevard.

A client in Ft. Pierce purchased a 45’ concrete dome  in June 1993. Frances’s eye wall sat on area for two hours so the category 2 hurricane did category 3 damage. Cecelia said they experienced 120 to 130 mph winds with no dome damage while the house across the street lost most of its shingles.

Exterior Office lots of green

American Ingenuity Dome offices (pictured above), dome factory and all of our concrete dome residences in Brevard County went through 100 mph winds of Hurricane Frances and suffered no damage. Many conventional buildings lost roofs or had roof problems.

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A client in Flagler Beach purchased 34’ and 27’ domes in January 1999. Their domes not only went through Frances but went through the exit winds of Charley (70 mph) with no structural damage.

34 ft dome home linked to 22' one car garage dome.

Flagler Beach 34′ dome with 27′ two car garage domes

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Hurricane Jeanne 2004

On September 26, 2004 Hurricane Jeanne came on land at Stuart Florida just below Vero Beach with the north east winds hitting Indian River County and our County of Brevard.

American Ingenuity Dome offices, dome factory and all of our concrete dome residences in Brevard County went through about 10 hours of 105 mph winds of Hurricane Jeanne and suffered no damage. Many conventional buildings lost roofs or had roof problems. None of our thirteen dome clients in Brevard County suffered any damage to their domes. One 34’ dome home and 22’ dome garage in Melbourne is separated from the Indian River on the east only by a street (Pineapple). The domes suffered no damage while a house to the south directly across from the dome lost its roofing. The picture on this page illustrates rolls of their carpet at the street and their shingles in a dumpster. Unfortunately, the house contents got wet and were destroyed.

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Earthquakes and the American Ingenuity Dome

Ai. has shipped its domes into California. New construction in California requires CA engineer sealed building plans and structural calculations that include wind, snow and seismic loads for that construction site areas.

Two of Ai’s domes in Hawaii went through a 6.6 earthquake in 2006 and suffered no structural damage. To learn more about the earthquake, view ABC News  and view NBC News.   

Tree Impact and the American Ingenuity Dome

There was no damage to the Brack’s 48’ dome after winds in excess of 75 mph hit North Carolina in July 1996. The real test came when a 115 foot tall, 30 inch in diameter hickory tree was blown over and fell on their dome. The impact broke one of the tree’s 10” diameter branches. The tree slid off and landed on a deck post driving it and its 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.”

Lighting Strike and the American Ingenuity Dome

American Ingenuity’s 45’ Office Dome withstood another one of nature’s most powerful forces, a lightning strike. The lightning hit the outer edge of an entryway and the only damage it did to the dome was to knock off a handful of concrete at the point of impact. A couple of our computers have not been the same since, but the cost to repair the dome did not exceed $30 in materials and labor.

snow dome northey good

An American Ingenuity Dome utilizing photovoltaics

Exterior3 Mathes photo cells

Exterior2 off grid collar MESA2

Collar Dome Built In Utah Utilizing Photovoltaics

Q: Can photovoltaics be used with your dome?

A: Yes. The magazine, Home Power has dedicated more than 100 issues to home-scale renewable energy and sustainable living solutions. That means they have had comprehensive coverage of solar, wind, and microhydro electricity, home energy efficiency, solar hot water systems, space heating and cooling, green building materials and home design, efficient transportation, and much, much more. Whether you’re a do-it-yourselfer or not, off-grid or on-grid, Home Power can help you make informed decisions about your home energy use. They provide extensive product information, homeowner testimonials, buyer advice, and “how-to” instructions.

The following Home Power article describes the Moab, Utah dome home built by the Collar’s.

What do you need when you are going to live in a high desert (7,500 ft. elev.) 40 miles from the nearest town with the winters reaching down 20 degrees below zero? That is where Jim & Mary Collar planned to build their solar retirement home. To extend electric power to their home site would cost $22,000 (in 1996) so the Collars decided to produce their power using photovoltaic solar cells with a back up generator. Their primary source of heat would be their fireplace.

In 1995 after researching many alternative-building methods, they found their home, an American Ingenuity 45′ Dome House and 30′ garage. Our dome kits were selected for their strength, energy efficiency and affordability. They selected subcontractors for the construction of their two domes with Mary being the general contractor. Jim was commuting 40 miles to his job but on evenings and weekends they could work together. They were asked by the state of Utah to participate in “Utahs’1998 Tour of Innovative Homes” which is in conjunction with the American solar Energy Society’s National Tour of solar Homes.

Ai converted the Home Power four page article into four separate pdf pages. 

Click on each page to view it.

National Center for Photovoltaics (NCPV)

US Department of Energy Research and development, and information source on photovoltaics. Website includes a virtual library of online reference materials. The Center brings people together through conferences and forums to share information and concerns. And the Center provides and develops various forms of information for people with a wide range of solar and wind needs. Click on Solar.

The Florida Solar Energy Center seeks to provide the general public and professionals with accurate and current information about alternative energy use and production.

Home Power Magazine

If you are considering an alternative power system in your dome the magazine Home Power offers many solutions. They can be reached at their web site http://www.homepower.com

Solar Hot Water Panels

Tell me about the Solar Hot Water Systems Manual talked about in the magazine Alternative Energy Retailer.

Solar energy veteran Tom Lane of ECS Solar Energy Systems recently published “Solar Hot Water Systems – Lessons Leaned: 1977 to Today.” The 200 page manual outlines how the latest technology and valuable lessons learned from the past can help a new generation of solar contractors expand their businesses and satisfy their Customers.

Solar hot water topics covered in the book include: detailed system CAD drawings, an overview of different manufacturers’ components, drain back systems, closed-loop glycol systems, single- and double-pumped systems, open-loop systems, passive ICS and thermosyphon, system testing and monitoring, solar space heating, collector and storage sizing, roofing and flashing, and solar pool heating.

To learn more about “Solar Hot Water Systems – Lessons Learned: 1977 to Today” or to purchase a copy, visit www.ecs-solar.com or call 352-377-8866.

To view the Alternative Energy Retailer magazine’s web site click on www.aer-online.com


Q: How are Solar Hot Water Panels installed in the dome shell?

A: Solar Hot Water panels can be designed to set on top of the entryways or link. Anchors are buried into the entryway concrete on site. Grooves are cut in the E.P.S. insulation to lay the pipes in and the water pipes are inserted through the entryway E.P.S. before the entryway is concreted. Some of our clients have solar hot water panels mounted on their dome link. The panel sits on the link and lies against the side of the dome. To hide the ends of the solar panel, fill in the ends with E.P.S. and stucco over the E.P.S. so it matches the dome.

Click on the photo to enlarge it.

Look to the right of the On top of the entryway to the

garage door to see a left of the front doors is

solar hot water panel a solar hot water panel.

installed on top a link

and anchored to the dome.

The Florida Solar Energy Center seeks to provide the general public and professionals with accurate and current information about alternative energy use and production. Click on www.fsec.ucf.edu/pvt/

U.S. Dept of Energy, Renewable Energy

The Consumer’s Guide to Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy is now located at http://www.eere.energy.gov/consumer/

Exterior solar Pineapple garage

Solar Hot Water Panel Mounted On Top of Standard Entryway on 34′ Dome.

 

Harlock solar

Solar Hot Water Panel Mounted On Top of Link

40′ American Ingenuity Dome Home On Right

Tell me about the Solar Hot Water Systems Manual talked about in the magazine Alternative Energy Retailer.

Solar energy veteran Tom Lane of ECS Solar Energy Systems recently published “Solar Hot Water Systems – Lessons Learned: 1977 to Today.” The 200 page manual outlines how the latest technology and valuable lessons learned from the past can help a new generation of solar contractors expand their businesses and satisfy their Customers.

Solar hot water topics covered in the book include: detailed system CAD drawings, an overview of different manufacturers’ components, drain back systems, closed-loop glycol systems, single- and double-pumped systems, open-loop systems, passive ICS and thermosyphon, system testing and monitoring, solar space heating, collector and storage sizing, roofing and flashing, and solar pool heating.

To learn more about “Solar Hot Water Systems – Lessons Learned: 1977 to Today” or to purchase a copy, visit www.ecs-solar.com or call 352-377-8866.

To view info about solar panels in general, check out Evergreen Solar Web site.  They are a non profit group with a mission to educate homeowners and businesses about the economic and environmental benefits of PV solar. Their primary objective is to influence a greater number of solar panel installations on homes, schools, and businesses across the US and the rest of the world at an accelerating pace.

To view the Alternative Energy Retailer magazine’s web site click on Retailer.

Q: How are Solar Hot Water Panels installed in the dome shell?

A: Solar Hot Water panels can be designed to set on top of the entryways or a link. Anchors are buried into the entryway concrete on site. Grooves are cut in the E.P.S. insulation to lay the pipes in and the water pipes are inserted through the entryway E.P.S. before the entryway is concreted. Some of our clients have solar hot water panels mounted on their dome link. The panel sits on the link and lies against the side of the dome. To hide the ends of the solar panel, fill in the ends with E.P.S. and stucco over the E.P.S. so it matches the dome.

The Florida Solar Energy Center seeks to provide the general public and professionals with accurate and current information about alternative energy use and production.

Contact the U.S. Dept of Energy for a Consumers Guide to Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. 

Solar Direct: click on solardirect.com/swh/swh.htm?ref=adwords to see more solar info.
Sharp triangle solar panels:   www.sharpusa.com/solar (Click on Products, Modules)

The following was taken directly from their web site:

  • Sharp is the #1 manufacturer of solar cells worldwide with nearly as much generating capacity as the next three largest manufacturers combined. Our residential solar systems give families the ability to generate their own electricity from the inexhaustible energy of the sun – with no harmful emissions. They’re cost-effective, quiet, attractive, safe, and reliable, with only minimal maintenance required over their long operational life. They’re the right choice for your home and the right choice for the environment. It’s no wonder why so many homeowners are making the move to Sharp Solar.
  • Your Sharp solar system is customized specifically for your needs. We manufacture a complete line of solar modules in a range of power output levels, as well as unique triangular modules that lend a beautiful, custom look to angled rooflines. Your independent Sharp Certified Installer will help you determine the ideal system based on your power needs, and design a rooftop configuration that provides clear, unobstructed access to the sun while ensuring a clean, stylish appearance.

To Research Tankless Hot Water On Demand Water Heaters visit Rinnai, Bosch, Takagi web sites

Klaus Kolb installed a Rinnai Continuum tankless (Troughflow) water heater in his American Ingenuity 40′ Dome Home. The specifications are Whole House Unit, Model REU 2424W-US; Min 19000 BTU, Max 180000 BTU; LP Gas.

Rinnai

http://www.rinnai.us/

The following info came directly from their web site:

  • With Rinnai Continuum and Integrity’s patented technology, you will have an endless supply of hot water 24 hours a day. Unique to the Rinnai tankless water heaters is the ability to utilize up to three water outlets simultaneously with a constant temperature of hot water. The Rinnai Continuum and Integrity supplies hot water at the rate of up to 8.5 gallons per minute continuously with no time constraints!

______________________

Bosch

The following info came directly from their web site:

  • Have you ever thought about going tankless? Save energy and space with the help of one of the nation’s leading producers of tankless gas water heaters. Our highly efficient Bosch AquaStar tankless water heaters are redefining how homeowners throughout the U.S. heat their water!

How could going tankless benefit you?

  • Constant comfort: Never run out of hot water
  • Low operating costs: Most energy efficient water heaters on the market
  • Advanced technology: Designed and built to last 20 years
  • Easy handling: Small, lightweight and hangs on wall

____________________

Takagi: The following came from their web site.

  • Since there is no tank to fill, there is no end to your supply of hot water. Depending on the model, Takagi Tankless water heaters deliver between 200 gallons and 500 gallons of hot water every hour on demand. Tankless systems guarantee that an endless supply of water is available to residences, commercial spaces or anywhere a constant source of hot water is needed.
  • At just twenty inches high, and weighing only forty pounds, the T-K Jr. is the most compact unit in the Takagi line. Designed to produce endless hot water and radiant heating for smaller homes, The T-K Jr. uses the same innovative technology as the original Takagi units – only on an even smaller scale.

Solar Pool Filtration and Collector Pumps

Lorentz  – solar water pumps

The following information came directly from their web site:

  • We manufacture solar water pumps. Today´s featured product are our solar pool filtration and collector pumps. No more power bills for your customer. Power cuts? No Problem the pool is clean 5 years return of investment from saved power bills. Solar modules are warranted for 20 years and more.

 ______________________

U.S. Department of Energy – Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy -A Consumer’s Guide to Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy

The following info came from their web site.

Solar water heaters—also called solar domestic hot water systems—can be a cost-effective to generate hot water for your home. They can be used in any climate, and the fuel they use—sunshine—is free.

How They Work

Solar water heating systems include storage tanks and solar collectors. There are two types of solar water heating systems: active, which have circulating pumps and controls, and passive, which don’t.

Most solar water heaters require a well-insulated storage tank. Solar storage tanks have an additional outlet and inlet connected to and from the collector. In two-tank systems, the solar water heater preheats water before it enters the conventional water heater. In one-tank systems, the back-up heater is combined with the solar storage in one tank.

Three types of solar collectors are used for residential applications:

  • Flat-plate collector – Glazed flat-plate collectors are insulated, weatherproofed boxes that contain a dark absorber plate under one or more glass or plastic (polymer) covers. Unglazed flat-plate collectors—typically used for solar pool heating—have a dark absorber plate, made of metal or polymer, without a cover or enclosure.
  • Integral collector-storage systems –  Also known as ICS or batch systems, they feature one or more black tanks or tubes in an insulated, glazed box. Cold water first passes through the solar collector, which preheats the water. The water then continues on to the conventional backup water heater, providing a reliable source of hot water. They should be installed only in mild-freeze climates because the outdoor pipes could freeze in severe, cold weather.
  • Evacuated-tube solar collectors – They feature parallel rows of transparent glass tubes. Each tube contains a glass outer tube and metal absorber tube attached to a fin. The fin’s coating absorbs solar energy but inhibits radiative heat loss. These collectors are used more frequently for U.S. commercial applications.

There are two types of active solar water heating systems:

  • Direct circulation systems:  Pumps circulate household water through the collectors and into the home. They work well in climates where it rarely freezes.
  • Indirect circulation systems:  Pumps circulate a non-freezing, heat transfer fluid through the collectors and a heat exchanger. This heats the water that then flows into the home. They are popular in climates prone to freezing temperatures.

Passive solar water heating systems are typically less expensive than active systems, but they’re usually not as efficient. However, passive systems can be more reliable and may last longer. There are two basic types of passive systems:

  • Integral collector-storage passive systems:  These work best in areas where temperatures rarely fall below freezing. They also work well in households with significant daytime and evening hot-water needs.
  • Thermosyphon systems: Water flows through the system when warm water rises as cooler water sinks. The collector must be installed below the storage tank so that warm water will rise into the tank. These systems are reliable, but contractors must pay careful attention to the roof design because of the heavy storage tank. They are usually more expensive than integral collector-storage passive systems.

Solar water heating systems almost always require a backup system for cloudy days and times of increased demand.Conventional storage water heaters usually provide backup and may already be part of the solar system package. A backup system may also be part of the solar collector, such as rooftop tanks with thermosyphon systems. Since an integral-collector storage system already stores hot water in addition to collecting solar heat, it may be packaged with a demand (tankless or instantaneous) water heater for backup.

Installing and Maintaining the System

The proper installation of solar water heaters depends on many factors. These factors include solar resource, climate, local building code requirements, and safety issues; therefore, it’s best to have a qualified, solar thermal systems contractor install your system.

After installation, properly maintaining your system will keep it running smoothly. Passive systems don’t require much maintenance. For active systems, discuss the maintenance requirements with your system provider, and consult the system’s owner’s manual. Plumbing and other conventional water heating components require the same maintenance as conventional systems. Glazing may need to be cleaned in dry climates where rainwater doesn’t provide a natural rinse.

Regular maintenance on simple systems can be as infrequent as every 3–5 years, preferably by a solar contractor. Systems with electrical components usually require a replacement part after or two after 10 years.

When screening potential contractors for installation and/or maintenance, ask the following questions:

  • Does your company have experience installing and maintaining solar water heating systems?
    Choose a company that has experience installing the type of system you want and servicing the applications you select.
  • How many years of experience does your company have with solar heating installation and maintenance?
    The more experience the better. Request a list of past customers who can provide references.
  • Is your company licensed or certified?
    Having a valid plumber’s and/or solar contractor’s license is required in some states. Contact your city and county for more information. Confirm licensing with your state’s contractor licensing board. The licensing board can also tell you about any complaints against state-licensed contractors.

Knock $4,000 off Your Taxes by Going Solar

Save even more by adding state incentives to those in the new federal energy bill, the first in 20 years

 

By Forbes.com


In the new energy law, the U.S. Congress lavished tax breaks on its usual fossil-fuel favorites—there’s $1.6 billion in tax credits for new coal technology, $1 billion for gas distribution lines, another $1 billion for oil and gas exploration costs, $400 million for oil refineries, and so on.

 

 

But the solar energy industry is betting that its comparatively tiny share of the energy bill spoils will be enough to jump-start the industry.

 

The cost of the solar tax breaks to the U.S. Treasury—less than $52 million out of a $14.5 billion energy package—may seem trifling. But the handout shows that Washington supports solar, and that should encourage more states to offer breaks too, solar supporters say.


“For anybody who has ever considered installing a solar system, Washington is telling you to do it now,” says Rhone Resch, president of the Solar Energy Industries Association in Washington, D.C. That’s good news for solar equipment manufacturers like General Electric and Evergreen Solar.


Claiming the credit


The law both increases tax credits for commercial solar installations and offers individual homeowners a credit for the first time in 20 years. (An earlier personal-use solar credit was in effect from 1979 to 1985.)

 

 

Companies such as FedEx and Johnson & Johnson that have already installed solar systems on some properties, and have made a commitment toward adding more, are likely to pick up the pace, predicts Resch. “The federal incentives by themselves will not create a market for solar energy, but when combined with state incentives, you reach the economic tipping point to make it work,” he adds.


Homeowners get a more limited credit. They can put in a photovoltaic system (roof panels that take in energy from the sun and turn it into electricity) and/or a solar-powered hot water system (for hot water heaters, radiant floors or radiators), and get a federal tax credit worth 30% of the systems’ cost, up to a credit of $2,000 per system. There are a couple of catches: The heating system can’t be for a pool or hot tub, and the federal credit applies to the net system cost after any state incentives.


The good part is that this new federal break is a credit—not a deduction—meaning it reduces your tax bill directly, dollar for dollar. So, if you install both eligible solar systems in your house, you can knock $4,000 off your federal tax bill. And if you have more credit than you owe in tax, you can carry it over and use it to defray next year’s federal tax bill.


 

 American Ingenuity’s component panels for the 15′ – 48′ domes contains seven inch thick rigid Expanded Polystyrene (E.P.S.) insulation which has an R value of 28.  The seven inch thick insulation is comparable to eleven inch thick fiberglass batting. There is no wood in the American Ingenuity Dome shell to interrupt the insulation or to rot or to be eaten by termites or to burn. However, a temporary wooden rib system is utilized to support the panels during the dome assembly until all the seams between the panels and the entryways and dormers are concreted and then the system comes down.  The dome is self supporting. The exterior is steel reinforced concrete that is primed and painted.  Your locally purchased doors and windows are installed in pressure treated wood framed wall under the entryway and dormer panels.

1. What’s the benefit of insulating my home?

  • Insulation can help reduce the cost of your heating and cooling bills by preventing the flow of heat into your house in the summer time and reducing the flow of heat out of your home in the winter time. In short, you can save money.

2. What’s the most important thing to know about insulation?

  • Its “R-value.” The R-value of an insulation product gauges the resistance the insulation has to the flow of heat.The higher the R-value, the better the product will resist heat flow. R-values are standardized, so you can compare different brands and types of insulation, and still know their relative ability to resist heat flow.

We have all heard builders claim to build “R-13” or “R-21” walls with wood frame construction. The problem is that only the highest rated component in the wall – the insulation itself – performs at these stated R-values. A wood frame wall is made up of several components, not all of which have the same R-value. For instance, a 2×4 or 2×6 stud has an R-value of about R-5 or R-7. Every 16 inches or so, one of these components breaks the insulation layer and forms a “thermal bridge”, conducting heat through the walls at high rates in addition to being a major cause of mold in standard construction. Adding up the area of studs, plates, and headers, 12% to 16% of the total wall area is an R-5 or R-7 thermal bridge, all detracting from the stated R-value. In addition, batt insulation tends to sag over time and leave spaces without any insulation! How can those builders claim only the highest-component R-value? From a whole-wall perspective, framed walls operate at far lower R-values – sometimes only half of the advertised value.

American Ingenuity’s (Ai’s) prefab panel contains seven inch thick Expanded polystyrene (EPS) insulation which consists of a solid piece of  EPS that provides a continuous layer of insulation rated at R28. From a whole-wall perspective, an EPS wall actually lives up to the advertised R-values because thermal bridging is absent.

Thermal conduction is not the only mode of energy loss in a building. In fact, conduction often contributes less to energy losses in wood frame buildings than convection, which is not even measured by R-values.

Thermal Convection is heat transfer by movement of currents within fluids or gases. When considering energy performance of buildings, it’s the air moving between the inside and outside or “air infiltration”.  A common measurement is ‘Air Changes per Hour’ at a blower-door induced pressure differential of 50 Pascal (ACH50). US Energy Star standards for new homes require less than 4-7 ACH50. In comparison, Canadian R-2000 standards are 1.5 ACH50, and Swedish standards are 0.5 ACH50 or less.

  • In wood frame buildings convection can be felt as drafts and is usually the biggest source of energy loss. Air infiltration accounts for up to 40% of the energy losses of a wood framed structure. Energy escapes via conditioned air leaking through thousands of cracks, openings, and joints between all the “matchsticks” of the building shell. Major culprits include framing connections, wall, floor & roof intersections, shrinkage of wood and caulking, and poor installation of components and sealants. A typical new wood frame home has between 1.75 and 3 air changes per hour (ACH50) and after some years it’s often between 5 and 10 ACH50 as the wood shrinks and sealants deteriorate. Old wood frame homes commonly have 10 to 20 ACH50.
  • EPS walls & roofs are an effective air (and vapor) barrier because the concrete is solid without passages for air to leak, thus eliminating a major percentage of air infiltration. EPS buildings consistently get results of 0.5 to 2.5 ACH50 and less, largely depending on the installed roof type and sealing. Most air infiltration in an EPS home is through a conventional roof and around windows & doors, so pay attention to these areas. Adequate air exchange in very airtight buildings must be ensured, typically using mechanical ventilation. Mechanical ventilation can be combined with ‘heat/energy-recovery’ units and/or ground heat exchangers for additional savings where conditions & budgets allow it.

R-Value Table: Insulation Values For Selected Materials

Use the R-value table below to help you determine the R-value of your wall or ceiling assemblies. To obtain a wall or ceiling assembly R-value you must add the r-values of the individual components together.

This method ‘Wall Assembly R-Value” gives incorrect results for MASS walls such as the All Wall System.

Example of error, as defined by ORNL research papers.

When compared to a 6” R-20 framed Wood Wall a Foam Block (ICF) wall performed with a 9% better Energy Savings.

A wall built like All Wall performed with an 18% better Energy Savings. (9% over the Foam Block walls) because of the concrete being in direct contact with the interior.

See ORNL’s report conclusions by clicking here. Oakridge National Laboratory

Example:Wall Assembly R-Value Example:

Component R-value
Wall – Outside Air Film 0.17
Siding – Wood Bevel 0.80
Plywood Sheathing – 1/2″ 0.63
3 1/2″ Fiberglass Bat 11.00
1/2″ Drywall 0.45
Inside Air Film 0.68
Total Wall Assembly R-Value 13.73

R-Value Table

Material R/
Inch
R/
Thickness
Insulation Materials
Fiberglass Bat 3.14
Fiberglass Blown (attic) 2.20
Fiberglass Blown (wall) 3.20
Rock Wool Bat 3.14
Rock Wool Blown (attic) 3.10
Rock Wool Blown (wall) 3.03
Cellulose Blown (attic) 3.13
Cellulose Blown (wall) 3.70
Vermiculite 2.13
Air-entrained Concrete 3.90
Urea terpolymer foam 4.48
Rigid Fiberglass (> 4lb/ft3) 4.00
Expanded Polystyrene (beadboard) 4.00
Extruded Polystyrene 5.00
Polyurethane (foamed-in-place) 6.25
Polyisocyanurate (foil-faced) 7.20
Construction Materials
Concrete Block 4″ 0.80
Concrete Block 8″ 1.11
Concrete Block 12″ 1.28
Brick 4″ common 0.80
Brick 4″ face 0.44
Poured Concrete 0.08
Soft Wood Lumber 1.25
2″ nominal (1 1/2″) 1.88
2×4 (3 1/2″) 4.38
2×6 (5 1/2″) 6.88
Cedar Logs and Lumber 1.33
Sheathing Materials
Plywood 1.25
1/4″ 0.31
3/8″ 0.47
1/2″ 0.63
5/8″ 0.77
3/4″ 0.94
Fiberboard 2.64
1/2″ 1.32
25/32″ 2.06
Fiberglass (3/4″) 3.00
(1″) 4.00
(1 1/2″) 6.00
Extruded Polystyrene (3/4″) 3.75
(1″) 5.00
(1 1/2″) 7.50
Foil-faced Polyisocyanurate
(3/4″)
5.40
(1″) 7.20
(1 1/2″) 10.80
Siding Materials
Hardboard (1/2″) 0.34
Plywood (5/8″) 0.77
(3/4″) 0.93
Wood Bevel Lapped 0.80
Aluminum, Steel, Vinyl
(hollow backed)
0.61
(w/ 1/2″ Insulating board) 1.80
Brick 4″ 0.44

 

Interior Finish Materials
Gypsum Board (drywall 1/2″) 0.45
(5/8″) 0.56
Paneling (3/8″) 0.47
Flooring Materials
Plywood 1.25
(3/4″) 0.93
Particle Board (underlayment) 1.31
(5/8″) 0.82
Hardwood Flooring 0.91
(3/4″) 0.68
Tile, Linoleum 0.05
Carpet (fibrous pad) 2.08
(rubber pad) 1.23
Roofing Materials
Asphalt Shingles 0.44
Wood Shingles 0.97
Windows
Single Glass 0.91
w/storm 2.00
Double insulating glass
(3/16″) air space
1.61
(1/4″ air space) 1.69
(1/2″ air space) 2.04
(3/4″ air space) 2.38
(1/2″ w/ Low-E 0.20) 3.13
(w/ suspended film) 2.77
(w/ 2 suspended films) 3.85
(w/ suspended film and low-E) 4.05
Triple insulating glass
(1/4″ air spaces)
2.56
(1/2″ air spaces) 3.23
Addition for tight fitting drapes or shades, or closed blinds 0.29
Doors
Wood Hollow Core Flush
(1 3/4″)
2.17
Solid Core Flush (1 3/4″) 3.03
Solid Core Flush (2 1/4″) 3.70
Panel Door w/ 7/16″ Panels
(1 3/4″)
1.85
Storm Door (wood 50% glass) 1.25
(metal) 1.00
Metal Insulating
(2″ w/ urethane)
15.00
Air Films
Interior Ceiling 0.61
Interior Wall 0.68
Exterior 0.17
Air Spaces
1/2″ to 4″ approximately 1.00

The standard seven inch thick (R-28) expanded polystyrene insulation (E.P.S.)  in the American Ingenuity 22′ thru 48′ dome building kits can be upgraded to nine inch thick (R-36) E.P.S.  See below for pricing.  To view the detailed data and characteristics of E.P.S. insulation, please click on Panel Composition and scroll down the page to view the EPS data.

Cold northern climates like Vermont and Wisconsin, etc. are appropriate areas to build Ai dome kits with the thicker 9″ (R-36) insulation. If a 45′ or 48′ dome’s insulation is upgraded, your shipment will require two semi-trucks for delivery.  The Ai dome with 7″ E.P.S. will easily outperform conventional housing with 11″ thick fiberglass insulation. Instead of purchasing thicker insulation from American Ingenuity consider applying the money you would have spent for the thicker insulation to purchase thermal coverings for windows, triple paned windows and insulated doors.

E.P.S.- Expanded Polystyrene Insulation

E.P.S. is frequently mistakenly referred to as “Styrofoam”. Although they both come from the same “base” material, polystyrene, the two products differ in many respects. “Styrofoam” is the registered name of Dow Chemical Co. and refers to the extruded polystyrene insulation product produced and marketed solely by that company. “Styrofoam” is generally blue in color and has a minimum density of about 1.80 pounds per cubic foot. It has a different cell structure (like hollow bubbles) and has a marginally lower better R value, but is considerably more expensive, not only per board foot but even more so on a “cost per R” basis. E.P.S. is available from more than 100 manufacturers throughout the country in a variety of sizes, densities and forms. “Styrofoam” is only available from one company in a more limited range of sizes.

Seven inches of sturdy, rigid R-28 expanded polystyrene (E.P.S.) insulation forms the core of each American Ingenuity component panel. This insulation is permanent, chemically and thermally stable, and resistant to mildew, provides no nutritive value to animals, plants, microorganisms, is non-irritating to skin, and is Chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) and formaldehyde free. This 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 Ai uses is sometimes referred to as bead board and sometimes incorrectly referred to as Styrofoam (Styrofoam is the trade name for extruded polystyrene manufactured by Dow Chemical Co). Ai does not use Styrofoam.

American Ingenuity uses the one pound per cubic foot density, closed cell E.P.S. which has a thermal resistance (R-value) of 4.17 per inch of insulation at near freezing temperatures. This also explains why it is a very common insulation used in housing and sold at hardware stores. Ai uses the 7” thick E.P.S. which has an R-value of about 28.

Ai chose the expanded polystyrene over the extruded polystyrene because the extruded polystyrene is almost twice the cost with only a slightly better R-value.

When should you purchase the 9″ thick E.P.S.? If you have five or more days a year where the temperature reaches zero degrees then you may want to purchase the thicker 9″ insulation. If you have hotter days than most climates, we leave it up to you whether you need the 9″ thick E.P.S.. On the price list go to the Building Options and look down the list for 9″ Insulation.

Ai does not recommend that you purchase the 11″ E.P.S. insulation unless you live in a severe climate like the Northwest Territory of Canada.

Insulation Comparisons:

  • 2×4 solid wood with 3 1/2″ fiberglass is about R-8.
  • 8″ Concrete Block, with 3/4″ air, 3/4″ Celotex is about R-9.
  • 2×6 Solid wood construction with 5 1/2″ fiberglass is about R-11.
  • 2×4 solid wood with 3″ urethane is about R-13.
  • 7″ E.P.S. insulation is R-28 and is comparable to 11″ of fiberglass insulation.
  • 9″ E.P.S. insulation is R-36.
  • 11″ E.P.S. insulation is R-44.

American Ingenuity’s component panels for the 22′  thru 48′ domes includes the R-28 insulation and most of the steel reinforced concrete exterior finish and all the interior shell wallboard. Typically, in wooden domes you will likely have to purchase the insulation, wallboard and roofing materials for extra costs.

2015 Pricing For Thicker 9″  E.P.S. Insulation
22′
27′
30′
34′
40′
45′
48′
call for pricing
call for pricing
$2,650
$3,090
$3,715
$4,305
$4,795

 

If you upgrade your 40′, 45′ or 48′ dome with 9″ EPS more semi-trucks will be needed for delivery.  The 40′ or 45 ‘ & the 48’ kit will require two trucks for delivery. All Kits whose insulation is upgraded are considered Specialized Orders and are custom made for that Buyer.  These orders require a 50% deposit to start manufacturing.  If the specialized order is cancelled any payments made are non-refundable.

Q: Why are your dome homes so energy efficient?
A:
You can save 50-70% on heating and air-conditioning costs with your American Ingenuity dome over a conventionally built home. Some of the reasons for this superb energy efficiency are:

  • Super insulation that does not degrade with time, moisture, or compaction.
  • Spherical shape means reduced exposed surface.
  • Airtight exterior virtually eliminates energy leakage.
  • Solid thermal envelope.
  • Uniform R-value. The insulation is not interrupted with structural members (e.g. 2X4’s roof trusses). The only breaks are for doors and windows.
  • Downsized heating and cooling equipment.

Your kit comes with lifetime R-28 E.P.S. insulation or if you choose, thicker R-36 E.P.S. insulation is available. Even in cold climates, you may find that a single ventilating wood stove can heat a smaller dome (22′, 27′ or 30′) will provide all the heat your home will need. Larger domes need a centralized ducting system or mini-split ductless unites to disperse the heated or cooled air throughout your dome.

 ANALYSIS OF EXPANDED POLYSTYRENE INSULATION (EPS)

The Expanded Bead Polystyrene (E.P.S.) Insulation that American Ingenuity utilizes is seven inches of sturdy, rigid R-28 modified E.P.S. insulation that forms the core of each component panel. The E.P.S is one pound per cubic foot density (pcf).

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. is:

·         permanent

·         chemically and thermally stable

·         resistant to mildew

·         provides no nutritive value to animals, plants, microorganisms

·         non-irritating to skin

·         Chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) and formaldehyde free.