manufacturing | AiDomes

The following article covers Strength & Inside Edition FAQ.

Exterior garage pineapple

Above is the 22′ dome linked to 34′ dome that were under construction when Inside Edition Visited

These Domes Went Through Hurricane Jeanne and Frances with no damage.

While the roof was blown off the house across the street

 

Q: When the reporter from Inside Edition visited, what dome advantage did they zero in on?

A: The theme of the segment revolved around the super strength of American Ingenuity’s prefab concrete domes and how the Ai domes withstand hurricane forces. The reporter and two man camera crew first went to Miami, Florida and interviewed the owners of an American Ingenuity dome that survived a direct hit from hurricane Andrew. Views of the Menendezes’ beautiful interior were shown but the inspiring stories of the horse trailer and tornado slamming the dome got edited.  To view the Inside Edition video, view Inside Edition. Once you are on the page, scroll down and click on the second video which is the Inside Edition video.

They then drove up to our corporate offices. The segment went on to show our five dome complex including the  component panels being made in the factory.

The next stop was to view our domes under construction in Melbourne, Florida, a 34′ dome linked to a 22′ garage. Also of interest was the interior metal framing and metal floor joists.

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

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

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

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.

Q: What wind loads will the dome withstand?
A:
Because the structure of our dome is steel reinforced concrete it is incredibly strong and easily enhanced to accommodate unusual requirements. The standard design will accommodate up to 225 mph. winds and category 4 tornadoes.  To view information summarizing Ai dome and hurricanes, view Hurricane Recap.

Two of American Ingenuity’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.

The Ai dome design has proved itself by withstanding Hurricane Andrew’s 165 – 200 mph winds, a tornado that rolled up a steel horse trailer and slammed it against the Menendez dome, four hurricanes in 2004, 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 since 1976.

More about steel horse trailer impact: American Ingenuity warranties their concrete domes against 225 mph winds and F4 tornadoes. Since our dome kit manufacturing business started, Ai has sold 800 kits into 47 states and thirteen foreign areas. Since then Ai has not had any of our clients domes have any damage due to hurricanes or tornadoes except for one dome during Hurricane Andrew. During Andrew a tornado slammed a two wide metal horse trailer against  a 45’ American Ingenuity 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 and mixed up fiber concrete and filled area where the concrete was broken and painted over the area.

More about the tree impact: There was no damage to the Brack’s 48′ dome after winds in excess of 75 mph hit North Carolina in July of 1996. The real test came when a 115′ high, 30″ in diameter hickory tree was blown over and fell on their dome. The impact broke a 10″ diameter branch. The tree slid off 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!”

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 Howard and Mary 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.

Q: Have you performed a load test on your panel?  To view the load test file, view Load Test.
A:
Yes, in October 2000 Ai performed a load test on one of its 48′ dome building kit’s component panels. The test was performed on our largest house panel using the standard 7″ thick E.P.S. insulation, 3/4″ thick concrete exterior reinforced with steel mesh and fiber reinforced plaster on the interior. The strength of the component panel can be best be determined by measuring the deflection of the panel as a load (weight) is applied in increments. The panel was placed horizontally. Its weight and the weight of everything placed on it was only supported along the outer edge of the panel. The loading of the panel was done by adding sand in 470 lb. increments. Plywood sides were attached to the panel edges so the sand could be spread evenly, providing a uniform load.

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

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

We had not expected this exceptional strength. We could not mound the sand any higher so we set a pallet of 40 cement bags on top of the sand thinking, “This could do the panel in.” That doubled the weight on the panel and the center deflection increased to less than 3/8 inch. The grand total deflection of less than 3/8 inch with almost four tons of weight was astonishing to us.

A 120-mph wind will exert a pressure of 30 lbs. per sq.ft. on a vertical wall and a snow load exceeding 50 lbs. per sq.ft. is rare. Our panel withstood 170 lbs. per sq.ft.

Q: The prefabricated panel concrete is not that thick, why is American Ingenuity’s dome so strong?
A:
The panel concrete does not need to be thick because the strength comes from the triangle shape and the steel reinforced concreted seams which are about 5″ wide and 3″ deep averaging two thick concrete. Engineers tell us the seams act like steel beams and transfer any stress all over the dome instead of containing the stress in one spot.

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

load test

48′ Dome Panel Load Test

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A 120-mph wind will exert a pressure of 30 lbs. per sq. ft. on a vertical wall and a snow load exceeding 90 lbs. per sq. ft. is rare. Typically snow loads are 20 to 50lbs. per sq.ft.  American Ingenuity’s triangular shaped 48′ component panel withstood 170 lbs. per sq. ft.

load test 2

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

The men in the photo from left to right are:

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

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

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

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 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.

34′ Aidome in British Virgin Islands built in 2007

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

 

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45′ Elevated Aidome in Florida Keys built in 2016

withstood 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.

____________________________

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.

_________________________

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.

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.


 

Sauna.

American Ingenuity’s design team, can design the layout of your home to match your lifestyle.

Just give us a list or a sketch of what you desire – sauna – jacuzzi…..

and Ai will design in your ideas to fit the dome geometry

The interior framing of the dome is built much like conventional housing and can be either wood or metal. Some of the second floor will be supported by first floor load bearing walls…such as walls in a bedroom and bath. Plus some of the second floor can be hung from the dome concreted seams by suspension rods allowing for very “open” first floor plan designs. These suspension rods and plates can be purchased from Ai.

The American Ingenuity dome is capable of supporting a weight from the dome shell. This weight is suspended by threaded steel rods which anchor into the concrete seams and extend vertically down into the dome. 3,000 lbs. can be supported by a 5/8″ threaded rod suspended in one of the concrete seams. The location of the suspension rods is determined by your floor plan selection.

The Building Plans will show the suspension rod’s positioning. When the dome shell kit is assembled install the suspension plates and rods into the dome shell seams. The suspension rod with nut sets on a 3″x 7″ steel plate, which is embedded in the concrete seam. The seam is reinforced with #4 rebar & two layers of galvanized steel mesh. The second floor can support at least 55 pounds per square foot, the same as other houses. We can easily design for a more demanding second floor load such as for waterbeds, whirlpool tubs, spas, libraries, etc.

Almost all of the electrical and plumbing will be contained in the interior frame walls and installed in the same manner as conventional housing. To install electrical wiring in the exterior dome walls: simply cut a groove in the E.P.S insulation and wall board and insert the wire or conduit to run the wire through. To install electrical boxes, conduit or plumbing pipes: cut the E.P.S. insulation and wall board slightly larger than needed, insert the box or pipe and fill in the opening with spray expanding foam. The spray foam will harden in about half an hour, holding the box or pipe secure.

AC/Heating Ducts: We leave the AC ducting diagram to your subcontractor, but generally the ducts run through interior walls, in the second floor joists and or behind the second floor knee wall. In the perimeter second floor knee wall a grate with filter can be installed to return second floor air to the air handler.  A separate duct brings cool air to the second floor.  The vents are either in the interior walls or in the floor of the second floor.  Exhaust Fans are installed in various places in the dome; top center of the dome, in each bathroom, for stove, microwave and clothes dryer.

Shell Wall Board:  The interior of the Ai prefabricated panel consists of Georgia Pacific 1/2″ DensArmor Plus adhered to the E.P.S. with drywall adhesive. It employs fiberglass mat facing instead of paper on both sides of the board. The core is fiberglass treated gypsum providing excellent moisture resistance, Fire resistance and adhesion properties. It doesn’t provide fuel for an accidental fire.

To learn more about the drywall’s properties click on DensArmor Plus.

The glass mats embedded into core on both faces, results in dimensional stability and prevents warping. The glass mat is encapsulated with a coating which reduces skin irritation from exposed glass fibers. The moisture-resistant inorganic core has superior mold, mildew and fire resistance.

How is the Shell Wall Board Finished: Use tape and joint compound in the seams with joint compound skip troweled over the drywall to hide panel seams.  Or sand or vermiculite can be mixed in paint to blend seams to the panel. Info to blend the seams is included in the Manual.

Will l feel closed in, in the dome? No. In Ai’s dome you can install an abundant number of windows and doors. Your budget and your floor plan selection determines the number of doors or windows. There can be up to five entryways on the first floor and up to five window dormers or door dormers on the second floor of our three frequency domes – 34, 36, 40, 45, and 48.

On site construct a 2×4 or 2×6 wall within the entryways, dormers and cupola to install locally purchased standard doors and windows. For example under a 40′ entryway you could have:

    • Up to three French doors
    • Or a door and a picture window
    • Or a large picture window
    • Or 12′ of sliding glass doors, etc.

In other words on the first floor of a 40′ dome you could have a maximum of five entryways with each one containing 12′ of French doors.

Click on Window and Door Sizes to see what window and door sizes will fit in window dormers and door dormers.



TV

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

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

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

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

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

 

Exterior Schoonover side front view 3

American Ingenuity 40′ dome home featured on Film Garden Entertainment

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Click on the photo to enlarge it.  Please scroll down to view the Questions with their Answers. 

Image Image

Q: What makes your panel concrete so crack resistant?

A: The panel concrete is a special formulation containing synthetic fibers and liquid admixtures. These ingredients improve the concrete’s characteristics, create super toughness, extend durability, make concrete impervious to water, give higher tensile and compressive strength, provide elasticity for expansion, and improve freeze protection. The concrete in your dome out performs other exteriors because of its specially developed formula. Because of its exceptional composition, it actually gains strength over the years. The exterior panel concrete adheres directly to the steel mesh and the E.P.S. insulation without the need of a bonding agent.

Q: I understand when I mix concrete on site to fill the panel seams; the recipe includes the same liquid admixtures and fibers that American Ingenuity used in the panel concrete. Is this true?

A: Yes, Ai ships the same liquid admixtures and synthetic fibers with the Building Kit so the seam concrete that is mixed on site in a mortar mixer not a cement mixer will have the same properties as the panel concrete that was applied at the Ai plant.  Fibers in concrete work to reduce the formation of shrinkage, (cracks in concrete’s plastic state) while helping to improve shatter resistance and reduce water migration. The result: tougher concrete.

The liquid admixtures shipped with your dome kit are marked A and B.  One is an air entrainment and the other is a water reducer.

The Concrete Mix recipe includes water, 1 bag Portland Cement (type 1 or 111), Admixture A, Admixture B, ¼ large bag fibers, Sand (called masonry or stucco sand….no rocks). The Assembly Manual includes the precise amounts for each of these items, and when to apply the admixtures.  During the assembly of the dome kit, the seam areas between the panels are filled with the special concrete in two applications.  In between the two applications of bonding agent, that is shipped with your kit, is applied on the first coat of concrete and onto the bonding ledge of each panel before the second coat of concrete is applied. Prior to the second layer of concrete being applied, decide the seam appearance, flat or curved.  The second layer is sponged so that its appearance is a “sponged sand finish” to match the sand finish, which is the finish on Ai’s prefabricated component panels. Prior to priming and painting the concrete allow the concrete to be rained on for one month to remove efflorescence. 

Prior to the application of concrete into the seams, all the prefabricated panel concrete or cured concrete around the area to receive the new concrete is watered down.  The “Old” concrete is kept wet while the new concrete is curing. Ai’s Assembly Manual explains step by step how to apply concrete in the seams and onto the entryway and dormer panels. 

Q: After all the seams between the component panels and building options are concreted, what is used to seal the concrete?

A:  Ai does not depend on the concrete to make the dome watertight. The dome is sealed with a concrete primer and two coats of good quality exterior concrete paint purchased locally.  Ai dome owners recommend the following paints:

  • Richards Paint: Rich Flex 245; use Rich Flex Alkali Resistant 100% Acrylic Masonry Coating for the primer.
  • Behr’s top of the line exterior latex paint is Marque. Seabrook Texas dome owner loves this paint. He uses semi-gloss. Marque has the most titanium in the Behr’s line.  – Home Depot
  • Sherwin Williams: Loxon XP Paint, Loxon Primer and Conditioner
  • Behr’s Premium Elastomeric Masonry, Stucco & Brick Paint –Home Depot
  • Seal Krete Paint (pigmented) –Home Depot
  • Ames Research Labs: Maximum – Stretch, at participating ACE & True Value Stores or can be purchased directly from Ames at 888-345-0809 (if using Ames paint, specific type sealants and primer need to be used.  TT3 sealant cannot be used.)

Q: I am considering applying elastomeric paint over the entire dome, should I do this?

A: Yes if the concrete was primed with concrete primer, if the paint is breathable and if interior water vapor is removed from the interior with Broan Bathroom Exhaust Fans, Top of dome exhaust fan, stove/microwave exhaust fans and use of Heat Recovery Ventilator or Energy Recovery Ventilator if needed in your area.  Water vapor accumulates in the dome from breathing, doing laundry and dishes, showering and should be removed from the dome. 

In northern climates, install a Heat Recovery Ventilator to remove moisture or check with your local HVAC subcontractor for latest solutions.  To read about Heat Recovery Ventilators click on HRV.

For an existing dome that has elastomeric paint applied to it, please do not remove the elastomeric paint.  Please call our office for the most current painting info for previously painted domes.  Phone 321-639-8777 Mon – Fri 9-5 eastern.

Q: What if I get a leak in the dome shell?

A:  Generally, it is easier to repair a leak in our concrete dome than it is to make a repair in a shingled roof. Applying EternaBond Tape (has MicroSealant) and textured knife grade patching compound is all it takes to seal the area if the concrete is bonded.  Call Ai’s office for more info (321-639-8777). 

Q: Where am I most likely to get a leak?

A: Where a passageway connects two domes, what Ai calls a link. A leak most likely will occur where the long flat roof of the link butts up to the curved surface of the dome shell. The expansion and the contraction associated with temperature changes produce the flex or separation at the link. The fall is the most likely problem time. Seal the area where the link meets the dome with the EternaBond Tape and textured knife grade patching compound and elastomeric paint.

Q: Explain why the use of a bonding agent helps prevent leaks.

A: Technology has developed now to prevent cold joints. The Assembly Manual that comes with the American Ingenuity Dome Kit explains how to utilize bonding agent and other techniques to join the concrete in the seams. Concrete, or a cement mixture, will not bond to a dry absorbent surface such as dry concrete. The reason is easy to understand when you examine the curing process of cement. When new concrete is applied over old, dry concrete, the moisture from the new concrete will be absorbed by the dry concrete especially at the surface where they meet. When the new concrete is robbed of its moisture at the joining surface it will not cure properly and therefore will not bond.

Bonding agents are designed to improve the adhesion between layers of concrete by acting as a glue and coating and sealing the dry concrete to prevent it from robbing the moisture.

Q: What else do I do during the seam concreting to assure that the second layer of concrete bonds to the concrete of the panels and to the first layer of the seam concrete?

A: This is discussed in detail in the Assembly Manual,  basically, wet the adjacent panels with water and allow them to soak up all the water they will before applying concrete into the seam areas. Plus apply bonding agent on the concrete ledge at the edge of the panel and on any concrete that has been placed in the seam before the second layer of concrete is applied.

Q: What other special features are designed into the panels of your kit to improve the bond and strength of your dome?

A: The pre-concreted panels have a ledge molded into the edge of the concrete where the seam concrete is most needed to bond. This ledge increases the bonding surface, thereby increasing the ultimate strength of the joint. The steel mesh, which extends from the old concrete to the new concrete is a small mesh which compliments the effect of the fibers in securing the joint.

Q: Can I spray concrete into the seams instead of hand applying it?

A: No. Ai does not recommend pumping or spraying the concrete into the dome seams because the equipment usually pumps faster than the seams can be finished. The over spray gets on the panels and unless it is washed off ASAP, it will harden and be difficult to remove.

Q: Why is it more beneficial to have pre-concreted panels instead of spraying concrete all over the dome on site?

A: A continuous sprayed concrete structure will cause the concrete to cure all at once.  Pre-concreted panels allow for the panel concrete to cure prior to the seam concrete being applied.

In 1976 American Ingenuity manufactured and then built its first geodesic dome prototype by utilizing reinforced concrete over E.P.S. insulation. Steel mesh was hand tied onto the propped up E.P.S. insulation, concrete was then gunited and troweled over the propped up E.P.S. insulation. Countless designs and manufacturing construction techniques were analyzed in the early years as American Ingenuity developed a new generation in dome housing. Ai has outgrown two previous models as we progressed to a five dome complex.

Ai does not recommend sprayed concrete structures because spraying concrete causes a waste of labor and concrete. The concrete ends up being 2″ thick in one place and 3″ to 4″ thick in other places. The concrete on the dome needs to be thick only in the seams and thin on the panels.  It is a waste of labor because it is difficult for the concrete finishers to stand in the concrete and try to finish the concrete as it cures.

Q: What is the curing time for the seam concrete?

A: The weather and the mix of the concrete (amount of water, etc.) will effect the curing time of the concrete. Usually by the time a complete row of panels is placed the next row can be assembled. If  a panel is placed above another panel and cracks start to form in the first coat of concrete, then the concrete has not cured long enough.  Stop placing panels until the concrete has cured and passes the “scratch test”.  Take a nail or screw driver and scratch the concrete if no indentation place the next row of panels.

 

Wood Star on exterior Dome Wall.

Wood Star on exterior Dome Wall

The American Ingenuity dome owner is conscious of what materials are used to finish

the interior of their dome. Natural sold oak was used for the stair case

and wood star.  Very warm and cozy.

 

Healthy Dome Living Questions & Their Answers

Q: Does the interior shell wall board that American Ingenuity utilizes support the growth of mold and mildew?

A: No. The 1/2″ Georgia Pacific Dens-Armor Plus drywall that Ai utilizes showed no mold or mildew growth when tested per ASTM D 3273. The drywall is adhered to the E.P.S. insulation with wallboard adhesive. The Dens-Armor employs fiberglass mat facing instead of paper on both sides of the board. The inorganic core provides excellent moisture resistance, fire resistance and adhesion properties. It doesn’t provide fuel for an accidental fire. It isn’t even damaged by multiple immersions in water. It won’t harbor spores that create sick homes.

The glass mats embedded into the core on both faces, results in dimensional stability and prevents warping. The glass mat is encapsulated with a coating which reduces skin irritation from exposed glass fibers. The moisture-resistant inorganic core has superior mold, mildew and fire resistance.

The following info was taken from Georgia Pacific’s 1/2” Dens-Armor Wall board data sheets:

Dens-Armor wall board features an inorganic glass mat embedded into a water-resistant treated gypsum core. The combination of glass mat surfacing and a treated core renders Dens-Armor wall board more resistant to delamination from water than paper-faced gypsum products. Comparative testing has demonstrated Dens-Armor wall board’s supremacy over such alternatives as perlite and fiberboard. Its engineered features make Dens-Armor wall board the obvious substrate for housing membranes. Resists delamination, deterioration and warping, puncturing and other job site damage and resists rot.

Fire Protection: Because of its noncombustible core and surface, Dens-Armor wall board offers greater fire protection than other conventional products. Dens-Armor wall board, when tested to ASTM E 84, has achieved a rating of 0 flame spread and 0 smoke developed. Noncombustible when tested in accordance with ASTN E 136.

Properties of Dens-Armor: Noncombustible, Water Resistance, Dimensional Stability, Decay Resistance, Resistant to Warping, Rodent and Fungus Resistance, Torch Safe, High Compressive Strength.

Fire Classification: UL Class A, ULC S-102; UL 1256, ULC S-126; UL 790; ULC S-107.

Flame Spread/Smoke Developed: per ASTM E 84 – 0

R-Value: as tested in accordance with ASTM C 518 (heat flow meter) -.28

Surface Water Absorption, grams: per ASTM C 473- 2.5

Mold & Mildew Resistance: per ASTM D 3273- No growth

The wallboard finishing includes applying joint compound and tape on the seams and painting the wall board. To blend the seams, mix some vermiculite into your paint.

You can purchase the building kit without the interior wall board. If you do not purchase the optional interior wall board, on site you can trowell either plaster or stucco directly to the E.P.S.

Q: Do any of the materials utilized in your panel – EPS (Expanded Polystyrene insulation), Galvanized Steel Mesh, Fiber Concrete or Georgia Pacific DensArmor – contain any food source for mold growth?

A: No. The materials are not a food source for mold growth.  Algae can sometimes be mistaken for mold.  It contains no spores and is not mold. Algae will grow on materials if exposed to water and sunlight. Algae is removed with combination of bleach and water or oxygen/bleach and water.

Q: I have allergies. Does your product promote allergic reactions?
A:
We have had a individuals contact us who are allergic to chemicals, etc. Feel free to us at 321-639-8777 Monday thru Friday 9 to 5 eastern time with your questions or click on Contact Us and email your questions. One of our clients has had to live in a stainless steel trailer due to reactions to conventional building materials. She investigated our dome and  built two of Ai’s small domes for her permanent residence.

The best way to see if you would be allergic to our shell materials is to purchase a small sample of a panel. Then ask someone to place the sample in a brown paper bag and without you knowing when, have them put it under your bed. Let them remove it at a later date and put back an empty paper bag and see if you have any reaction at any time during the test period.

The E.P.S. insulation Ai uses was expanded with steam, no chemicals. The quality of your indoor air will be determined by your interior materials such as flooring, upholstery, cabinet composition and whether an energy recovery ventilator or heat recovery ventilator and exhaust fans have been installed in your dome.  Please ask your local HVAC subcontractor for his recommendations for how to bring in fresh air for your area.

American Ingenuity has been manufacturing dome housing kits since 1976, during that time we have not heard of any of our domes having “sick building syndrome” due the following:

  1. Dome Homes always have doors and windows. Double paned windows are only an R-4 so air moves back and forth through the glass and or the windows are opened to let in fresh air.
  2. Dome owners have central air conditioners, furnaces or dehumidifiers or energy recovery ventilators or heat recovery ventilators that serve the purpose of removing the moisture within the dome.
  3. To exhaust the moisture out of the top of the dome, exhaust fans are installed in top center of the dome, in each bathroom, above stove and microwave, in the laundry room.

Q: Does the insulation Ai manufacturers with support the growth of mold and mildew?
A:
Based upon a FHA test, expanded bead polystyrene insulation, E.P.S. ,will not support bacterial growth or fungus growth. It also contains no food value to any living organism. Its lack of food value means that although termites, ants and rodents could tunnel through it, there is no other attraction. The following is other information taken from the E.P.S. data sheets.

  • OUTGAS: The E.P.S. is made from expandable polystyrene beads. These spherical beads contain a blowing agent such as pentane, which causes the beads to expand up to 40 times their original volume in the presence of steam. After the expansion and long before the panels are shipped, virtually the entire blowing agent has escaped.
  • DEGRADING INSULATION VALUE: This rigid foam insulation does not compress, absorb moisture, deteriorate or degrade like fiberglass and many other forms of insulation.
  • Water Absorption: The E.P.S. insulation American Ingenuity uses is closed cell and will not absorb more than 2.5% of water based on volume. It is often used as flotation for docks because it will not absorb water. Insulation materials that absorb water have a significant loss of performance because water is a good conductor of heat. This is particularly true with fibrous materials, which must be positively protected by an efficient vapor barrier. There are two ways in which, moisture can effect insulation materials: water absorption from contact with damp surfaces or from condensation of water vapor. EPS is a closed cell material that has minimal water absorption and low water vapor transmission.
  • BREATHABILITY: The amount that a material will breathe or the amount of water vapor that will pass through the material is measured in “Perms” or sometimes “Perm inches”. EPS will breathe enough to allow moisture trapped inside of it to dry out but at the same time it is tight enough to also serve as a good vapor barrier.
  • In the American Ingenuity dome, the inside of the rigid insulation is covered with wallboard. Wallboard does not interfere with the drying process but will offer protection from fire. If the E.P.S. gets hot enough it will burn.
  • EPS will dissolve in gasoline or similar solvents
  • EPS does not become brittle at sub-zero temperatures.
  • EPS – HEALTH HAZARDS:
  •   Ingestion: May act as an obstruction if swallowed
    • Inhalation: Minor respirator irritation possible from dust particles
    • Skin Contact: No hazard is known
    • Eye Contact: Minor eye irritation possible from dust particles
    • Carcinogenicity: NTP: No IARC: No OSHA: No
    • Symptoms of Overexposure: Respiratory irritation may occur from dust particles
    • Medical Conditions Aggravated by Exposure: None known.

Q: Is there a web site that recommends building materials for sensitive individuals?
A:
Yes, we have learned of a site called Healthy Home Designs. It has a listing of “Recommended Healthy Building Resources.” Their web site is www.healthyhomedesigns.com The following info came from the healthy home designs web site:

  • What makes a home healthy? A healthy home is one that incorporates healthy design elements, non-toxic building materials, and proper construction techniques. It “breathes”, emits no toxic gasses, and is resistant to mold.
  • Our criteria for a healthy home include the following attributes:
  • Reduction of exposure to chemicals (such as formaldehyde in insulation and particleboard; volatile organic compounds in adhesives, sealants and paints; and pesticides, fungicides and heavy metals used to treat wood) through use of non-toxic building materials and products.
  • Mitigation of mold and rot by employing proper building techniques and materials from foundation to roof.
  • Utilization of passive airflow, day lighting, and fresh air exchange through proper placement of windows and doors.
  • Location of areas of high toxicity and combustible materials (such as the garage and utility room) away from bedrooms and primary living spaces.

The benefits are homes that are safer, quieter, more comfortable, and require less maintenance. A healthy home is also more energy efficient, and therefore incurs lower monthly operating costs.


Dome Consultant link from Video

How Does The American Ingenuity Geodesic Dome COMPARE TO THE MONOLITHIC DOME?

Are Aidomes as sturdy as Monolithic domes? Yes, our domes are as sturdy as Monolithic domes and Ai’s has a rigid noncombustible  concrete exterior vs Monolithic Dome has an outer membrane.   To view video of monolithic dome and a fire and info about Ai dome’s fire resistant concrete exterior, click on Ai Concrete Exterior.  The Aidome exterior comes with a 225 mph wind and EF4 Tornado Warranty.  One of Aidomes withstood the impact of a 30″ in diameter hickory tree impact with no damage.  An Aidome withstood Hurricane Andrew and a tornado at the same time with no structural damage – only a hairline crack and small piece of concrete broken when the tornado slammed a two wide steel horse trailer on the dome.  To view  strength info about Aidomes, click on Acts of Nature.   Why did Ai stop guniting concrete on to the exterior of its dome – too labor intensive and a waste of concrete.

The Ai dome exterior walls cost 1/3 to 1/2 less than a Monolithic dome exterior.  Although you have not asked, Aidomes are equally if not more energy efficient. Ai’s dome kit contains seven inch thick insulation which is comparable to eleven inches of fiberglass batting.

The assembly of the monolithic dome requires expensive concrete spraying equipment and is not a do-it-yourself project. The American Ingenuity Dome Kits were specifically designed for the owner builder. All of the panels are premarked with numbers and letters which are described in the Assembly Manual and on the Nomenclature Blueprint in the Building Plans.  Ai’s dome kits can be assembled using a mortar mixer, conventional cranes, man lift or hoisting mechanisms with no need to spray concrete over the entire dome surface. The Ai component panels already have 80% of the exterior prefinished concrete reinforced with galvanized steel mesh and fibers on the exterior. The Aidome kit requires less on site concrete work because it is only the seam areas between the component panels and the entryways and dormers which require concreting. The seam area between the panels is about 5” wide and 3” deep with the on site seam concrete application averaging two inches thick.  To view info about being an owner builder, click on DIY.

In 1976 American Ingenuity built its first geodesic dome utilizing reinforced concrete over expanded bead polystyrene (E.P.S.) insulation. Road mesh was hand tied onto propped up E.P.S. panels, the concrete was then gunited or pumped over the propped up E.P.S. insulation. Each time Ai built a dome this way, we knew there had to be a better way resulting in a prefabricated component panel being invented and receiving a patent.  Countless designs and manufacturing construction techniques were analyzed in the early years as Ai developed a new generation in dome housing. Ai has outgrown two previous models as we progressed to a five dome office and factory complex.

Spraying concrete on a structure causes a waste of labor and concrete. The concrete ends up being 2″ thick in one place and 3″ to 4″ thick in other places. The concrete on the Ai geodesic dome needs to be thick only in the seams and thin on the panels.  It is a waste of labor because it is difficult for the concrete finishers to finish the concrete as it is curing. Also a continuous sprayed concrete structure will cause the concrete to cure all at once.  Preconcreted panels allow for the panel concrete to cure prior to the seam concrete being applied.  For those homeowners who do not want to assemble the American Ingenuity dome kit themselves, the homeowner can hire a local builder who hires the independent kit assembly consultant to supervise the builder’s workers during the kit assembly.  To view our web site info about the Specialist/Consultant, please click on Specialist.

THERMAL MASS IN RELATION  TO MONOLITHIC DOMES

Generally speaking, in a home, thermal mass is the amount of stuff inside the house that retains heat. Although thermal mass accounts for the fact that some things have a greater “thermal capacity” to store heat than others, to understand its effect you can think of it as the total weight of everything contained in the house. With more thermal mass (heavy stuff) inside your house more heat will have to be added or removed to change the temperature. Expressed another way, if heat is not being added the temperature will be slower to change. Does Thermal Mass affect the energy efficiency of the house? NO.  As heat in the house is lost through walls, windows etc, the temperature drops.

The thermal mass releases (loans) heat into the house slowing down the temperature change. When the heating system turns on it must replace heat lost to the outside and it must also replace (pay back) the heat given off by the thermal mass. There is no long-term gain or loss; all of the heat given off by the thermal mass must be replaced. The amount of heat required to maintain the temperature inside a house is solely dependent on the amount of heat that escapes to the outside. All houses have walls, floors, and usually fixtures, appliances and stuff that will retain heat. A large amount of thermal mass can cause long on/off cycles of the heating system when shorter cycles would stir the air more frequently providing more comfort and uniform temperatures inside.

The recent generation of thermostats are a proven money saver by lowering the inside temperature (which lowers the heat loss to the outside) during those hours you are away at work, etc.  A large thermal mass makes it much harder to change the temperature; therefore reducing the savings.

Why is the Ai dome so energy efficient?  

Ai’s kit has standard 7″ thick EPS R28 insulation. The cost to build one of our kits runs about the same to build as a traditional home but our home has insulation comparable to 11” of fiberglass batting!  (using the 7″ EPS).  A traditional house would require 2×10 to come close to our dome….but it would have wood interrupting the insulation.  The thick insulation, reduced exterior surface area (30% less surface area than conventional shaped home) and uninterrupted insulation causes low cooling and low heating bills.

As far as functioning in cold, snowy environment, American Ingenuity domes have been built in such cold climates as Canada, at 7,500 feet elevation in Utah, 3,400 feet elevation in North Carolina, South Dakota, Minnesota, Montana, Wisconsin, Vermont, New York and all cold states in the USA except for New Hampshire, Rhode Island and North Dakota.  It is easier to heat an Ai dome that to cool one. To heat the furnace does not need to overcome heat generated from sunlight, clothes dryer, dish washer, body heat, light fixtures.

Below are examples of heating and cooling info on Aidomes.

  1. To view Glenda’s 1,075 sq. ft. dome home’s electric bill please view 34′ Dome Home Energy Recap   (total electric house with solar hot water panel – has actual copies of the electric bills).  I can cool my 1,075 sq.ft house for less than $27 a month in the hot Florida summer months.  (76 degrees when home and 79 degrees when not). As we discussed the Ai dome is even easier to heat than to cool.  To Heat you do not have to overcome sunlight, heat generated by the clothes dryer, dishwasher, computer, etc. This generated heat is utilized.
  2. Ai’s dome offices of 3,700 sq.ft. can be cooled for less than $85 a month (you can view actual electric bills at this link) in the hot Florida summer months to 74 degrees during the day Mon-Sat and 77 degrees at night and on Sunday.
  3. One of our domes built in South Carolina received the Energy Star  It has geothermal pipes.  Home Energy Partners certified his home used 61% less energy than in comparably-size housing.   The dome owner installed a geothermal cooling & heating system. To view pictures & info about his geothermal system, click on System.  Klaus’s total monthly average energy bill was $49. This includes the electricity and propane costs for his entire 1,600 sq.ft. – 40 ft. dome.
  4. Here is a quote from the Charles family about their PA 40 dome on full basement with Geothermal and radiant floor heating:  Mr. & Mrs. Charles: ““We live in the mountains of PA. The winters up here can be brutal. Our Ai Dome is a 40ft with Link on a 9″ thick livable basement. {Den, Office/Computer room, Kitchenette} The entire interior, to include the mechanical room, is heated and cooled by a Geothermal, Water furnace, Radiant floor system. Our zone controllers are set on 74 degrees winter and summer. Our sole power source, at present, is the grid. Our costs per month range from $99 to a high of $120. We were amazed that our cost now are less than when we lived in a 14 by 73 ft. mobile home while building the Dome. Our decision to build an American Ingenuity Dome home was the best decision we have ever made.”
  5. Jim Collar’s Utah Ai concrete dome buildings (45 linked to a 30’) operate off the grid by using photovoltaics’, masonry heater fireplace and passive solar water tubes. To learn more, click on  Off The Grid.
  6. Per Eric Brindley, “Our 2,600 sq.ft. 48’ dome located in Edgewater Florida is very efficient and strong. It has been hit by several hurricanes and tropical storms with no damage at all. My neighbor’s conventional house was severely damaged by the storms. I keep the house at 72 degrees in the summer and warmer in winter. My electric bill is around $100 a month with no water/sewer bill because I’m on well/septic.”
  7. If a person does not need to air condition their home, then if window dormers or windows within entryways are placed opposite each other cross ventilation can occur and cool the dome.  Our factory has three Ai domes which are not air conditioned.  In the heat of the Florida summers, you can walk in the domes and they are cooler than the outside air.  Floor fans circulate the air.  The super insulated dome is cooler inside with no air conditioning than a conventional house.
  8. Glenda owned a 34’ dome built at 3,400 feet elevation that could reach -8 degrees in the winter. Its south facing high profile entryway allowed sunlight to come in the dome.  When we wanted to carry wood and burn the fireplace, the fireplace and the sunlight from the entryway was enough to heat the dome.  At night we utilized a kerosene feed heater set at 68 degrees and the fire place for heat. During the winter we would use around 100 gallons of kerosene.
  9. Yes a fireplace can be installed in the dome.  Just let us know about where you want it located and our CAD department with use its 3D elevation view to locate the flue pipe’s exit from the dome.  It needs to be 8” from the center of a seam. On site a hole can be cut in the prefab panel.  Instructions on how to cut the hole are in the Assembly Manual.