specifications | AiDomes

Welcome to a Photo Gallery showing various dome exterior photos of the American Ingenuity Dome.  Depending on your exterior door and window selections, locations of entryways/dormers, decks and landscaping, the dome owner can design the dome exterior to fit their lifestyle.  Some owners decide to install all five of the first floor entryways to maximize natural light.  Other home owners desire a more private dome with fewer openings. All is up to you and your personal tastes.

(Click arrows in main picture to change pictures)

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.

Ai Warranty Against Dome Structural Damage
Exterior pilings2 Mowery platform
40′ Concrete Dome Withstood Hurricane Andrew With No Damage.
Your dome home is designed to withstand the powerful forces of nature. American Ingenuity’s warranty or  guarantee assures against any structural storm damage as a result of up to category 4 tornadoes and up to 225 mph hurricane winds on the triangle and riser panels.  This warranty does not apply to a Cupola, link, exterior doors, windows or exterior framed wall areas. Such a warranty has been unheard of in the construction industry until now.

Q: What are the advantages of the dome shape?
A: The dome, or partial sphere, is a geometric form that encloses the greatest amount of volume with the least amount of surface area. Historically, massive domes constructed of stones, brick or concrete were common in ancient Greece and Rome. In modern times, Buckminster Fuller was the first to formulate geodesic principles for constructing a spherical surface by triangular subdivision.

During the past decade the home buying public has experienced a substantial increase in the cost of construction, the cost of energy and the cost of borrowing. As a result, there has been increased interest in the use of technology to help address these concerns. In the last decade, many people have discovered that the dome home design offers a viable solution.

As a residential building concept, geodesic dome home construction translates into a highly comfortable and livable home that has a maximum of floor area enclosed by a minimum of materials. These features combine superior strength and cost-effectiveness in a single structure. In short, the building concept of a dome home expands the range of simple and economic housing options.

Manufactured dome homes 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, residential 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 challenge to build and live in their own dome.

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.

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American Ingenuity warrants only the structure and is not liable for the loss of personal property, life, or limb. In the event of natural disasters, the occupants should evacuate when advised to do so by local authorities.  To read about a load test which proves the strength of the Ai component panel, click on Load Test.  Prior to hurricanes, glass doors and windows should be protected with code approved shutters.

The founder of American Ingenuity, Michael Busick, manufactured and built his first concrete dome in 1976. Since then no American Ingenuity Dome has suffered any structural damage due to hurricanes, tornadoes or earthquakes. As a matter of fact, only one of our domes has suffered any damage during this time due to a hurricane, earthquake or tornado. And that was in 1992 during Hurricane Andrew when a tornado slammed a two wide metal horse trailer against a 45′ American Ingenuity Dome. Minor damage occurred, a hairline crack and small chunk of concrete was broken loose. The dome owner caulked the crack and mixed up the special fiber concrete, filled the chunk and painted over the area.

In 2008, Hurricane Ike destroyed the Texas coast.  The Seabrook, Texas dome owners slept through the hurricane and had no damage to their dome while their neighbor’s homes suffered damage and the families could not sleep during the howling winds.

In 2005, Hurricane Katrina devastated Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. One Ai dome owner could have moved back into her dome but the neighborhood did not have water or electricity.  Another family called and told us that  their conventional house was destroyed so they moved in to their dome while it was under construction.  The shell kit was assembled but the interior had not finished.

In 2004, Florida had four hurricanes, none of American Ingenuity’s concrete domes had any damage.
 
In 1992, Hurricane Andrew destroyed parts of South Florida and Homestead Florida.  An Ai dome not only survived Andrew but it survived a tornado and had no structural damage.   To read a recap of the hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquake, tree impact and lighting strike the American Ingenuity domes have survived without any structural damage, click on Hurricane Recap.

The following is taken directly from the American Ingenuity Conditions of Sale:

  • American Ingenuity warrants to the original Buyer that their triangle & riser panels will remain free from structural damage directly attributable to hurricane winds of up to 225 mph and category 4 tornadoes, when completely assembled and installed in accordance with: American Ingenuity’s specifications, Professional building practice, Applicable building codes.  This warranty does not apply to a Cupola, link, exterior doors, windows or exterior framed wall areas.
  • In the event such structural damage occurs: The Buyer shall notify American Ingenuity promptly of such damage. After receipt of notification, American Ingenuity shall repair or, at American Ingenuity’s option, provide the necessary replacement components at no charge to the Buyer. The buyer shall be responsible for freight charges and/or reasonable travel and living expense of American Ingenuity personnel for travel to the site, if necessary.
  • Disassembly and reassemble of any damaged component shall be the sole responsibility of the Buyer.
  • This structural warranty shall not apply if the products or components have been subjected to abuse, abnormal wear, corrosive environmental conditions, or improper maintenance by the Buyer.
  • This structural warranty shall not apply to any glass, utility domes, or related components, exterior doors, framed walls under entryways and dormers, cupola or link. 
  • American Ingenuity warrants only the structure and is no way liable for the loss of personal property, life, or limb. In the event of natural disasters, the occupants should evacuate when advised to do so by local authorities.
  • In no event shall American Ingenuity’s liability arising out of this agreement or use of the products or components provided by American Ingenuity exceed the amount paid by the buyer.  American Ingenuity shall not be liable for any special, incidental, or consequential damages.

Hurricane Ratings

The following information came from the Federal Alliance for Safe Homes – FLASH, Inc. is a non-profit, 501(c)3 organization dedicated to promoting disaster safety and property loss mitigation. Their web site is http://www.flash.org

What is a Hurricane? A hurricane is a powerful tropical storm that measures several hundred miles in diameter. Hurricanes have two main parts. The first is the eye of the the hurricane, which is a calm area in the center of the storm. Usually, the eye of a hurricane measures about 20 miles in diameter and has very few clouds. The second part is the wall of clouds that surrounds the calm eye. This is where the hurricane’s strongest winds and heaviest rain occur.

How Hurricanes Form: Hurricanes need warm tropical oceans, moisture and light winds above them. If the right conditions last long enough, a hurricane can produce violent winds, incredible waves, torrential rains and floods. Hurricanes rotate in a counter clockwise direction around an “eye.” Hurricanes have winds of at least 74 miles per hour. There are on average six Atlantic hurricanes each year; over a three-year period, approximately five hurricanes strike the United States coastline from Texas to Maine.

Tropical Depression: A tropical depression is an organized system of clouds and thunderstorms with a defined surface circulation and maximum sustained winds of 38 mph.

Tropical Storm: A tropical storm is an organized system of strong thunderstorms with a defined surface circulation and maximum sustained winds of 39-73 mph.

When a Hurricane Strikes: When hurricanes move onto land, the heavy rain, strong winds and heavy waves can damage buildings, trees and cars. The heavy waves are called a storm surge. Storm surge is very dangerous and a major reason why you MUST stay away from the ocean during a hurricane warning or hurricane.

The Saffir-Sinpson Hurricane Scale is used to rate a hurricane’s present intensity. The scale ranges from one to five and uses sustained wind speed to estimate the potential property damage and flooding from a hurricane landfall.

  • Category One — Wind Speed 74-95 mph. Damage: No real damage to building structures. Damage primarily to unanchored mobile homes, shrubbery and trees; also some coast flooding and minor pier damage. Examples: Irene 1999, Allison 1995.
  • Category Two — Wind Speed 96-110 mph. Damage: Some roofing material, door and window damage to buildings; considerable damage to vegetation, mobile homes and piers. Coastal and low-lying escape routes flood in two to four hours before arrival of the center of the storm. Small craft in unprotected anchorages break moorings. Examples: Bonnie 1998, Georges 1998 and Gloria 1985.
  • Category Three — Wind Speed 111-130 mph. Damage: Some structural damage to small residences and utility buildings with a minor amount of curtain wall failures. Mobile homes are destroyed. Flooding near the coast destroys smaller structures with large structures damaged by floating debris. Terrain continuously lower than five feet above sea level may be flooded inland eight miles or more. Examples: Keith 2000, Fran 1996, Opal 1995, Alicia 1983 and Betsy 1965.
  • Category Four — Wind Speed 131-155 mph. Damage: More extensive curtain wall failures with some complete roof structure failure on small residences; major erosion of beaches. Major damage to lower floors of structures near the shore. Terrain continuously lower than ten feet above seal level may be flooded requiring massive evacuation of residential areas as far as six miles. Examples: Katrina 2005?Andrew 1992, Hugo 1989, Donna 1960.
  • Category Five — Wind Speed 155 ++++ Damage: Complete roof failure on many residences and industrial buildings. Some complete building failures with small utility buildings blown over or away. Major damage to lower floors of all structures located 15 feet above seal level and within 500 yards of the shoreline. Massive evacuation of residential areas on low ground within five to ten miles of the shoreline may be required. Examples: Mitch and Gilbert in 1988.

Exterior Hurricane Andrew Dome 6

American Ingenuity Dome went through Hurricane Andrew & Tornado with no structural damage.

Tornado picked up two wide steel horse trailer & slammed it against the dome. Only damage was hairline crack & small chunk of concrete missing. If the trailer had impelled conventional house, typically the trailer would cause a hole in the house to let wind in to lift the roof off the house.  The Ai dome stood strong.

Tornadoes

What is a Tornado? Tornadoes are the most sudden, unpredictable and violent storms on earth. Tornadoes aren’t like hurricanes that are born over open waters and can take days to reach land. Tornadoes are spawned from thunderstorms that form when warm humid air meets a mass of cool, dry air. Only one in a hundred thunderstorms produce a tornado. They can happen quickly and often stay on the ground for only a few minutes. While Florida gets the most tornadoes of any state, a strip of land that extends from northeast Texas through Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska and Missouri has more tornadoes than any other place in the United States. That area is called “Tornado Alley.”

The dangers of tornadoes: During the last century, more than 10,000 Americans died in tornadoes. About 1,000 tornadoes are recorded each year in the U.S. — over 10 times more than in any other country. Tornadoes can happen in any state, at any time — on the plains, in cities or forests, early in the morning or late in the evening. They can start in an empty field, or in a busy city, picking up homes, cars and businesses, leaving nothing but destruction in their path.

Ranking a Tornadoes Strength

The Fujita Scale: The Fujita Scale is used to measure tornado wind speeds and damage.

  • F0 Gale Tornado: Light damage, winds less than 72 mph. Some damage to chimneys, branches broken off trees, shallow-rooted trees uprooted, signboards damaged.
  • F1 Moderate Tornado: Moderate damage, winds 73-112 mph. Surface peeled off roofs, mobile homes pushed off foundations or overturned, moving autos blown off road.
  • F2 Significant Tornado: Considerable damage, winds 113-157 mph. Roofs torn off frame houses, mobile homes demolished, large trees snapped or uprooted, light objects become missiles.
  • F3 Severe Tornado: Severe Damage, winds 158-206 mph. Roofs and some walls torn off well-constructed houses, trains overturned, most trees uprooted, heavy cars lifted off the ground and thrown.
  • F4 Devastating Tornado: Devastating damage, winds 207-260 mph. Well-constructed houses leveled, structures with weak foundations blown-off some distance, cars thrown.
  • F5 Incredible Tornado: Incredible damage, wind 261-318 mph. Strong frame houses lifted off foundations and swept away, automobile-sized missiles fly through the air more than 100 yards, trees debarked.

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!

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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.

During Summer months the cooling can be done with the following:

  • Evaporator cooler blows cooled air through ducts that distribute through compartments
  • Rear Door side window vents allows cool air at night into the dome
  • Convection of hot air is drawn up to the center of the dome and out through a 8 inch vent at apex
  • A diverter valve in the summer routes all cold water through hydronic floor when using either hot or cold water to cool floor.
  • A rollup Insulated steel door can be lowered to cover the picture window during hot days

Solar Chill Evaporative Cooler Specifications

Model
Voltage
Dimensions
(HxLxW)
Fan
Diameter
CFM
Square Footage Recommended
Water Use (Max GPH)
Actual
Watts

Recommended
PV Watts*

1424XP
24
19.5x21x24
14″
1200
300-500
3.5
42
60-80
1824HP
24
24.5x23x23
18″
2200
500-750
7.3
70
85-130
2024HP
24
26×21.5×25
20″
2500
500-750
7.3
70
85-130
2424HP
24
35.5x22x36
24″
4600
750-1000
13.3
85
110-180
4224XP
24
55x42x60
42″
9000
1800-2250
30.0
200-400
450-600

Solar Chill Humidity Vs Ambient Temperature

The following info answers some of American Ingenuity’s most commonly asked Dome Plans FAQ – frequently asked questions.

Bay window off dining room over looking deck.

Bay window off dining room over looking deck in 45′ dome dining room.

American Ingenuity (Ai) has a plans design department that can customize any floor plan to fit your lifestyle. The Oliver’s wanted a bay window to overlook their deck.   As a result an entryway was installed with this beautiful window.  To view plans sale pricing and kit sale pricing for each specific stock plan, click on Stock Plans & Kit Sale Pricing.   Please scroll down the page to find the chart.

Q: How do I view your stock floor plans for the prefab home dome kit?

A:  Click on Stock Plans to view stock plans for each of Ai’s ten size dome kits.  Once you are on the page scroll down to see the hyperlinks to click on. To view plans & pictures for Tiny Home, click on Tiny Domes.    If you do not see a stock plan to fit your lifestyle, Ai can modify or customize a plan or Ai can design a custom plan from your sketches and notes.  If you want stock plan layouts mailed, call Ai at  321-639-8777 for printing cost and mailing cost.

Q: How do we determine what size dome is best for my family?

A: First check the 10 Steps to Building Ai Dome and second review stock plans on our website to see how the area within a dome is utilized

  • To view info to assist in custom plan design, click on these four links: Getting Started, Floor Planner Guidelines, Revising Stock Plans and Things to Consider.
  • Then compare these sample floor plans with the rooms and square footages of houses you are familiar with by using the to-scale ruler in the back of the booklet or on the emailed plan.
  • Compare your finances and construction costs to avoid designing a project that is beyond a realistic budget. On our home page, download our Financing Booklet.  FYI, a smaller dome could be built first with a link where a second dome can be added later. 
  • Think about the future will you need to increase or downsize your home size?
  • If you had to move what size home would sell best?

Q: Does American Ingenuity have an engineering statement about your prefabricated dome panels that can be submitted to my building department?

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

Q: What size dome do I build if I do not want a second floor?
A:
The 15′, 18′, 22′, 27′, 30′, 34, 36′ and 40′ domes would be suitable for homes with only a first floor. However any of the domes can be built without a second floor.

Because of the shape of the dome, a second floor is a natural. If you choose to construct a larger dome and include the second floor, you can install an elevator, chair rail on your stairs or a lift to access the second floor. Click on Rail Chairs to learn more.

You could design all your living space and master bedroom and bath on the first floor, and put a guest bedroom and bath on the second floor and use the second floor rooms for guests or for storage.

Q: Can the dome be made handicap accessible?
A: Yes. All of the dome floor plans can be modified to be handicap accessible. The cost to do this depends upon the complexity of the plan. Contact us for a price quote. Click on Accessible to learn more.

+++++++++++++++++++

Ai’s philosophy is that each person pay for only what they need.  Ai does not burden the price of the building kit with plan’s pricing, engineer seal cost or energy report cost. Building plans are purchased  three months to 1 1/2 years prior to kit shipment.  About 50% of the building departments require engineer sealed plans and an energy report to issue a permit. As a result each customer pays for their plans separately from the building kit and pays for a seal and energy report only if their building department requires them.

+++++++++++++++++++

Q: What items should I consider when planning to build an American Ingenuity geodesic dome?
A:
The building industry is not only behind the times, it moves slowly! We cannot stress enough the importance of starting your preparations early for all aspects of building. What you think may take two months can easily consume four or five months or more. To have any hope of beginning the actual construction on time you must at least double the time you think it will take to acquire blueprints, financing, building permits, contractors or subcontractors. Optimists should triple their expectations.

Once your land has been acquired, blueprints are usually the first step.

  • Some Building Departments require that blueprints be sealed or approved by one of their state architects or engineers prior to giving permits, which takes additional time. Click on Building Permit to learn more.
  • Mortgage lenders move slower than you may anticipate. Click on Financing Overview to lean more.
  • Remember to allow time to have the land cleared, prepped and ready for the foundation. All permits pertaining to electrical, telephone, water, septic tanks, sewer hookups, driveway and building….will take time. Click on Planning Process to learn more.
  • Also increased demand for American Ingenuity Dome Kits has forced us to assign shipping dates as much as 8-12 weeks in advance. If you intend to begin building in the summer start the process one to two years before. Other expectant homeowners will be clogging the system by spring, so if you are the early bird they will be waiting behind you instead of vice versa.

Q: How do I plan for expansion -building an additional dome at a future date?
A:
When designing your first dome, you can prepare for future expansion by placing an entryway or link at the location where you will later connect another dome. If we are providing you with customized plans, we can design them for the future expansion. When you order your first dome, we can provide instructions and materials that will make the connection easier.

Q: Can the domes have basements or be built upon stilts or pilings?
A:
Yes. To complete these designs, a local engineer is hired to calculate the load of the dome and its interior floors to determine joist size and spacing and wall/column/piling design.  Ai then incorporates his designs into your building plans.  Call for engineer pricing.  Any of our domes can be built upon a basement, stilts or pilings. You determine how many openings you want in the basement walls for garage doors or for windows and doors, and you determine if and how many of the basement sides you want bermed with dirt. Full basements are the same size and shape as the dome first floor. Click on Foundations to learn more.

Also what do you use for floor joists? Wood, steel, manufactured trusses, whatever you prefer. How thick of a basement wall is required for the domes? Basement walls are usually 8″ thick when made of poured concrete but will likely increase depending on the height of the basement wall and the height of the backfill.

Ai can provide a design, which places the dome on concrete pilings. Sometimes Ai recommends an above ground basement with breakaway walls instead of pilings.

Bear in mind that building any structure upon pilings will increase the cost significantly and require you to climb a flight of stairs each time you go in the house. If in your location, it is a requirement then you have no other choice.

Q: Do you sell basement wall kits?
A:
No. Ai manufacturers dome housing kits. We do not manufacture or build basement walls. Although we do design the basement building plans using premade wall panels, ICFs or concrete blocks. You would need to contact a local subcontractor for basement construction costs and to find out what type basements are best built in your area.

Q: What is the standard foundation included with the stock plans?

A: Concrete slab. For Ai to design a basement or concrete columns or stem wall or pilings, etc. an engineer fee is added to your Plans Quote. This is to cover the cost for a structural engineer to calculate the load of the dome and the load of the two floors within the dome and give joist/edge beam size/spacing and foundation design to our CAD department to incorporate within the plans. Call for engineer pricing.

Q: Can I have windows above doors in an entryway?
A:
Yes. By using high profile entryways in your building plans, you can include glass or standard windows over a door, set of doors, or bank of conventional windows. The glass above the doors or windows could be half-moon shaped or be stained glass, etc. Any room with a cathedral ceiling, such as a foyer or living room, can benefit from this striking architectural feature. Click on Window Sizes to learn more.

Q: Will l feel closed in, in the dome?
A:
No. In our domes you can install an abundant number of windows and doors. Your budget and your floor plan selection determine the number of doors or windows you will have. There can be up to five entryways on the first floor of the 30’ through 48’ domes and you can have up to five window dormers or door dormers on the second floor of the 27’ or 34’ through 48’ domes.  (No second floor window or door dormers are available in 22’ or 30’ domes.  If there is a first floor standard entryway, there can be a second floor door dormer above it.  Instead of installing a door, install a tall window (2’x5’) to let light in a room or to let light into a high vaulted ceiling area.

 Q: Do your Building Plans come with an Engineer’s seal?
A:
No. Although over 30 different engineers have reviewed our Building Plans, the plans do not come with an engineer’s seal for the following reasons.
 

Less than half of our dome owners need engineer sealed Building Plans to obtain a building permit and rather than adding the engineer cost to all plans or burden the price of the building kit, it is more economical to have the plans sealed as needed.

  •  As the designer and manufacturer, we would not hesitate to guarantee the structural integrity of our dome and we do just that with our guarantee.
  • Each state only accepts a seal from an engineer who is registered in that state which prevents us from applying any seal that would be universally accepted.
  • When an engineer seals a set of plans he is taking responsibility for the structural design for a single dome in the location intended and the seal would not apply to other projects.

Q: What format do I email floor plan drawings to you?
A:
jpeg format or bmp format (windows bit map). Alternatively, if you are using AutoCAD, we can accept the documents in dxf format or dwg format saved in 2013 or older program. Please include your name, telephone number and the best time(s) to contact you.  

Q: What programs can I use to read dxf format?
A:
You can read and edit the dxf files if you have AutoCAD program, any other computer aided drafting program, a photo editor program like adobe or paint shop. You can read the dxf files but not edit them using Microsoft word and power point. The web site http://www.deltacad.com has a computer aided drafting program that can be downloaded and used  free for 30 days.

You can use computer programs to draw your floor plans; although, we can use a hand drawn sketch that is faxed to us just as easily as a CAD drawing. We have to reenter all of your information into our system and we will likely agree upon some changes for your benefit.

Q: What is a cupola?
A:
A Cupola is “sort of like a hat with windows that sits on top of the dome”. When a person wants to have a third floor loft in the 40′ or larger domes, the cupola adds about 2′ of headroom to the top center of the dome. The top five pentagon panels rest upon 18″ tall concrete “legs”, that are built on site. Between the concrete “legs” framing is built to install rectangular windows that you purchase locally. See the floor planners in the Stock Floor Plan Booklet for loft heights and square footages.

The topside exterior of the five panels of the cupola and the underside exterior of the eave are prefinished, while the topside and edges of the eave are stuccoed onsite.

Cupolas are not necessary for ventilation and extra light. Domes do not need more light than conventional houses. If you build your dome without a cupola, we recommend installing a vent in an interior wall near the peak of your dome for ventilation. The electric fan vent has the added advantage of being easily controlled with a switch or timer.

The outline of the third floor loft matches that of the cupola. In wind areas, you do not want the cupola windows to be more than two feet tall. Also taller cupolas just look out of proportion on the dome.

For an observatory on top of the dome, you would not need a cupola. The top or any part of the dome will easily support the weight of people. All that would be needed would be a railing around the top and some way to access the top of the dome, i.e. sculptured concrete steps. Click on Building Options to learn more. 

Q: Why do the square footages on the Specifications Page differ from the square footages listed on the stock floor plans?
A:
On the Specifications Page the first floor and second floor square footage listed is the maximum amount of square footage possible. The first floor square footage is maxed out because only one entryway is considered. The second floor square feet (sq.ft.) listed is what is possible if you built in the second floor leaving only one fifth open to the first floor. The first floor ceiling height would then be 7 1/2′ in the 30’ and 34′ domes and 8′ tall in the larger domes.

The first floor square footages on the stock floor plans vary from the Specification Page because:

  • More than one entryway was designed in each of these plans. Every additional entryway on the first floor of the dome will reduce the first floor square footage.
  • In the stock floor plans, the second floor square footage varies from the Specifications Page because some stock plans have one third of the second floor left open while others can have up to half of the second floor left open. Providing you with a dramatic high-vaulted ceiling over your first floor living and dining rooms.
  • The second floor square footage on stock plans consists of all the illustrated second floor space to the knee wall. On site the second floor knee wall is built along the dome perimeter out 2×4’s and covered with drywall to a height of two to three feet. AC ducting and second floor suspension rods can be hidden behind the knee wall. Electrical outlets can be placed on the knee wall.

Residential Building Plan sets contain all the blueprints typically provided with any type of housing and include floor plans, exterior elevations, dome shell section view, top view showing panel nomenclature, floor joist framing plans, structural details, and locations for plumbing and electrical fixtures.  To view stock plans for each of our ten different size dome kits, click on Stock Plans.  If you do not see a plan to fit your lifestyle, Ai can modify its stock plans or design custom plans for a reasonable fee. 

If you do not have the time or do not want to assemble the dome shell kit, American Ingenuity knows of a Kit Assembly Consultant that will come to your site, and supervise your laborers or your contractor’s laborers and get the dome shell kit assembled with one layer of concrete in the seams and on the entryways and dormers.

Q: Prior to purchasing Residential Building Plans, what do I need to consider?

A: You need to assure you have answers to the following questions:

  1. Does the deed for your land have any restrictions on domes?
  2. Are you within 1-2 years of building?
  3. If there is a Home Owners Association governing your land, you will need to check with them and make sure you can build a dome.
  4. What is required from your building department to obtain a building permit?
  5. Do you have your financing secured?
  6. If the answers to the above questions are positive then you can fax or email us your modified sketch.

Click on Planning Process to learn more.

Q: If I purchase Building Plans for one size dome and later change my mind, can I get a refund?

A: No Ai cannot issue a refund.

Q: When should we purchase our dome building plans?

A: Ai recommends that our clients design their floor plan when they are one to two years from building their dome. If you design your plan before then, you may see model homes or get ideas from other plans that may cause you to want to change your original floor plan ideas.

Q: When can I move into my dome?

A: If you have to obtain a building permit before you can build, then you have to submit a set of Building Plans. If you do not have to obtain a building permit then you can move into the dome once the shell is weather tight. But typically the building department will not allow you to live in the dome until the interior and exterior are finished per the building plans.

Q What are the contents of your Residential Building Plans? A: Stock sets generally have 13-17 pages per each set. Building plans include the basic drawings for the dome that are needed when acquiring a building permit. They are composed on our computer aided drafting system as stock plans, or based on your individual requirements and design. Some of the pages are a 3-D elevation and a 3-D perspective view.

American Ingenuity’s Building Plans contain all of the typical drawings and details – usually 13-17 sheets. The blueprints included in your plans are based on the type of entryways, dormers and foundation that are designed in your plans. Some of the Blueprint names are:
• Cover Sheet
• Legend Sheet
• First Floor Plan
• Second Floor Plan
• Dome Panel Nomenclature
• Exterior Elevations
• 1st Floor Electrical Plan (shows location of electrical outlets, lighting fixtures, smoke detectors)
• 2nd Floor Electrical Plan (shows location of electrical outlets, lighting fixtures, smoke detectors)
• Foundation Plan
• Foundation Details
• 2nd Floor Framing Plan
• Typical Dome Section
• Standard Entryway Details
• High Profile Entryway Details
• 1st Floor Window Dormer & Door Dormer Details
• 2nd Floor Dormer Details
• Stair Details
• Cupola Blueprint if ordered
• Link Blueprint if ordered

These plans include all the structural drawings, show the placement of the electrical outlets, light fixtures, plumbing fixtures; however, they do not have the electrical, plumbing, HVAC layouts. We have 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.

Q: Do your Building Plans include the electrical, plumbing and HVAC diagrams?

A: No. Ai has found if these layouts are included, then the inspectors require the subcontractors to follow the diagrams when the subs like to design their own layouts based on their installation method. Ask you building department if these layouts are required for you to obtain a building permit. Ai will email finished floor plan layouts in pdf so your subcontractors can design the layouts.

Q: Why do you charge extra to modify your stock Building Plans?

A: If there is no change to load bearing walls, there will be no extra fee.  However quite often our clients send us sketches that require the load bearing walls to change. This change then affects the foundation sheet, the second floor framing sheet and other sheets.  Some of the footer locations in the concrete slab foundation are based upon the location of the first floor load bearing walls, which help support the second floor. Plus the dome riser panels set on a perimeter footer in the slab. Also parts of the second floor are suspended by rods into the dome shell. These rods are inserted and buried in the seam concrete during the shell assembly. So we need to design your floor plan per your sketch and then design the structural sheets that the slab subcontractor, shell assembler, framer, etc. need to follow. So yes you would pay us a fee for us to modify our stock plans per your sketch and produce sets of building plans.

Q: I understand that you can suspend parts of the second floor from the dome shell so we can have an open first floor plan. Is this true?

A: Yes, the second floor can be suspended from the dome shell and allow you to have as open a first floor as you desire. Keep in mind that it is more economical to use some of the first floor walls as supports. Long spans with floor joists will require more expensive materials to provide the strength for suspension rods that pass through the second floor.  The suspension rods and plates are purchased from American Ingenuity.

Q: How is the square footage determined in the Dome Plans?

A: Remember in a conventional house you have an attic that cannot normally be used. Because of the dome shape a second floor can be installed that is useable. So even if some square footage around the second floor perimeter cannot be used there is still more useable square footage in a dome than a conventional house with attic under truss roof.  Building Plans second floor square footage includes the area starting at five feet to the top of the dome. For example in 27′ dome the center of the 2nd floor is 9’1″ tall; the center of the second floor in 36′ dome 10 feet tall; the center of the second floor in 45′ dome is 13 feet 7 inches tall.  The second floor square footage is calculated from the top of the dome down to where the exterior dome walls slope to five feet.  Around the perimeter of the second floor at the five feet of height, bed headboard, or night stands, or desk or dresser can be placed.  The Tax Assessor uses these numbers, so your taxes will be less.

Click on Square Footage to learn more.

Q: I am concerned about having a second floor and using the stairs. What do you recommend?

A:  Ai can design a dome floor plan layout without a second floor.  Because of the spherical shape of the dome a second floor is a natural. To access the second and third floors instead of an elevator, install an electric winch powered lift in a 4’x4’ area or an elevator to get to the second floor, or you could use a stair railing chair. You could design all your living space and master bedroom and bath on the first floor, and design a guest bedroom and bath on the second floor and use the rooms for guests or for storage.  Click on Lifts and Elevators to learn more.

Q: I understand that very few of your clients ever sell their dome. As a result, the dome ends up becoming a retirement home, should I make it handicap accessible?

A: Yes. It is a easy modification to the plans to make the entire downstairs area wheelchair accessible, (32″ or 36″ doorways, handicap accessible shower stall, bathroom, etc.).

Q: How are two domes joined together and should I plan extensions onto my Entryways?

A: If you are planning a complex of domes, the plans are joined at entryways or door dormers to form a link. The link will vary in width according to the size of the domes’ entryways and can vary in length from 2 feet to 10 feet.

While many companies offer the alternatives of large links and room extensions to the dome, American Ingenuity feels they are not in your best interest. Among the reasons:

  • When floor space is increased using an extension or link, the exposed surface area is greater than for the square footage within a dome. This results in less energy efficiency and a higher cost per square foot.
  • Construction is more involved and time consuming
  • The overall scale, relationship between elements and proportion of the home are adversely affected.
  • The visual impact of the design is lessened.
  • Good chance of leaking where the extension long flat roof butts into the dome shell. The expansion and the contraction associated with temperature changes produces the flex or separation at the link. We have considered expansion joints but they are not trouble free either. We have concluded the adding of elastomeric patching compound with exterior paint where the link panels touch the dome panels is the best solution.  
  • Ai recommends simply moving up to the next larger size dome or arranging your space differently to increase the efficiency of your design. It will save time, energy and money.

Q: What do your building plan names mean?

A: The first two numbers are the dome diameter in feet, the next word is a Greek word (Omega, Alpha, Delta) and then we use two numbers (21, 22, etc) to complete the name.

 

 Willis-48-Custom-Plan-1st-Floor

 

Willis-48-Custom-Plan-2nd-floor 

Below are the specifications for a 48′ dome.

Specifications

Dome Diameter

48′

AREA AND VOLUME:

1st Floor (sq ft)

1,693

2nd Floor (max)

1,278

Maximum Area (sq ft)

3,141

Exterior Surface (sq ft)

3,652

Interior Volume (cu ft)

28,540

HEIGHTS:

A: Exterior

24’5″

C: Inside Radius to Points

24′

D: Inside

23’9″

F: 1st Floor Ceiling

8′

G: 2nd Floor Ceiling (max)

14’10”

J: 2nd Floor Knee Wall

3’4″

L: Entryway

8′

M: High Profile Entryway

10’10”

WIDTHS:

N: Entryway (bottom)

19’4″

O: Entryway (top)

14’9″

P: High Prof. Entryway (top)

11′

PANEL WEIGHTS:

Triangular (lbs)

315-400

Riser (lbs)

380

 

 

 

 

Click Here for Foot to Meter Conversions

Dome Diameters 22′ 27′ 30′ 34′  36′ 40′ 45′ 48′
1st Floor (sq.ft.)
370
555
665
851
 948
1,178
1,489
1,693
2nd Floor (sq.ft.max) to 5′ of headroom
n/a
231
213
427
470
667
951
1,137
3rd Floor (sq.ft.max)
n/a
n/a
n/a
n/a
 n/a
112
142
162
Maximum Area (sq.ft.)
370
786
878
1,278
 1,418
1,957
2,582
2,992


What does sq.ft. max mean?
Max refers to whether you maximize the second floor square footage by enclosing all of the second floor and only leaving an area open above the stairs.  This results in no high vaulted ceilings in any area other than over the stairs. Typically dome owners tend to leave thirty percent to one half of the second floor open; thereby, having high vaulted ceilings over 30% to 50% of their first floor rooms. Leaving 30% to 50% of the second floor open, will lessen the amount of square footage on the second floor versus what is listed above.

How does Ai name its floor plans? Two ways. One way consists of two numbers: Diameter of the dome and a number.  The second way consists of three parts. For example the floor plan named 27 Alpha 11 means; the first two digits are the dome diameter in feet, then the Greek word Alpha and then the two numbers 11. (Call our office to receive via email new stock plans that are identified with numbers not names.)

  • the first part is the dome diameter in feet (22′, 27′, 34′, 36′, 40′, 45′, 48′, 60′)
  • the second part is a Greek word (Alpha, Beta, Delta, Epsilon, Gamma, Kappa, Omega, Omicron, Sigma, Theta, Zeta)
  • the third part is two numbers (11, 21, 22, 32, 33)

What size Ai Domes are best used for garages? The 22’ dome is a one car garage with loft storage. The 27’ dome can be a two car garage with loft storage. You can use other size domes depending upon you parking, storage and work shop needs.

Does American Ingenuity manufacture basement kits? No. But sometimes it is practical for our clients to build their domes on basements. Therefore we have basement plans available. We usually call these basement floor plans “Optional Basement Floor Plan.” It is called Optional because it is up to each client whether they want to build on a basement or not. If they do, then the client purchases the Basement Plans designed for that particular dome floor plan.  Click on Basements to learn more.

How many bedrooms and bathrooms can the different dome sizes have? The number and size of the bedrooms and bathrooms is up to each client.  Click on Stock Plans to view the stock plans for each of the ten different dome kit sizes Ai manufactures.  If you do not find a stock plan that fits your lifestyle, our design team can modify a stock plan or design a custom plan from your sketches and descriptions. The floor plan layout lists the square footage by floor.

The following bedroom and bathroom breakout is typical for each of the size domes after the kit is assembled and locally purchased materials are installed to finish the home.

  • The 15′, 18′, 22′ & 30′ domes are one bedroom, one bath size.
  • The 27’ dome is two bedroom two bath size.
  • The 34’ dome is a two bedroom, two bath size.
  • The 36′ dome is a two bedroom, two bath size (or three bedroom).
  • The 40’ dome is a three bedroom, two bath size.
  • The 45’ dome is a three or four bedroom, three bath size.
  • The 48’ dome can be a four or five bedroom size dome with either three or four bathrooms.

What are some of the ceiling heights within the Aidome?

Dome Diameters
22′ 27′ 30′ 34′  36′ 40′ 45′ 48′
D: Inside without Cupola
15’3″
17’4″
16’4″
17’11”
 18’10”
20’5″
22’6″
23’9″
E: Inside with Cupola
n/a
n/a
18’6″
20’1″
 21′
22’7″
24’8″
25’11”
F: 1st Floor Ceiling
7’6″
7’6″
7’6″
7’6″
 8′
8′
8′
8′
G: 2nd Floor Ceiling (max)
n/a
9’1″
8’4″
9’9″
 10′
11’7″
13’7″
14’10”
H: Ceiling under Loft
n/a
n/a
n/a
n/a
 n/a
7’6″
8′
8′
I: 2nd Floor with Cupola
n/a
n/a
10’3″
11’11”
12’6″
13’9″
15’9″
17′
K: 3rd Floor Loft Ceiling
n/a
n/a
n/a
n/a
 n/a
5’6″
6’10”
8’1″

Q: How do we determine what size dome is best for our family?
A:
First review the stock plans to see how the area within a dome is used. Then compare these sample floor plans with the rooms and square footages of houses you are familiar with by printing out the layout and cutting out the to-scale ruler to measure the rooms.

Compare your finances and construction costs to avoid designing a project that is beyond a realistic budget. Think about the future…will you need to increase or decrease your space? If you had to move what size home would sell best?  Click on Financing to print out a Financing Booklet.

Q: Can the dome be made handicap accessible?
A: Yes. All of the dome floor plans can be modified to be handicap accessible. Use a chair rail, lift or elevator to access the second floor. Normally the guest bedroom, guest bathroom and storage are put on the second floor.  Click on Handicap to learn more.

Q: How do I plan for expansion – the addition of another dome at a later date?
A:
When designing your first dome, you can prepare for future expansion by installing a link at the location where you will later connect another dome. If we are providing you with customized plans we can design them for the future expansion.

Q: Do you have separate garage dome kits available?
A:
Yes. We have developed two new garage dome sizes, 22′ and 27′. These garage domes are two frequency icosahedron geometry. This geometry differs from our other domes in that it utilizes fewer but larger panels. By having larger panels we can create a wider opening that is needed for a garage door. You can install a 9′ wide garage door in the 22′. The 27′ garage dome can have a 16′ garage door and it can have a second floor of 398 sq.ft. Previously a 34′ dome was needed to pull two cars in side by side. Now you can have a two car garage in a 27′ dome which is more cost effective. The 22′ dome provides an economical one car garage using 3 1/2″ E.P.S. insulation (R-14). Either of these garage domes can be connected to another dome or built independently from the house.

The 34′ garage dome is utilized when you want more first floor perimeter room around the vehicles or when you want a second floor above the garage for an apartment or study, etc.  Ai has examples of different size domes utilized as garages.  To view the garage plans, click on Stock Plans and scroll down the page to find the garage plans.

You can find the pricing for the plans and the dome kits for each stock plan by clicking on Plans and Kit Sale Pricing.

Q: Will l feel closed in, in the dome?
A:
No. In our 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 you will have. There can be up to five entryways on the first floor of the 30’, 34’, 36′, 40’, 45’, 48’ domes and up to five window dormers or door dormers on the second floor of our larger domes, 36’, 40’, 45’, 48’.

Remember on site  a 2×4 wall is constructed under the entryways and dormers to install standard doors and windows which are purchased locally. 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.

We have a window and door specification sheet on this web site which lists the maximum window sizes that can fit within the entryways and dormers for each size dome. Click on Window Sizes to view this info.  Also during plans design, we email elevation views showing the rough opening size in the entryway and dormers and recommend door and window sizes.

Q: What is a cupola?
A:
A Cupola is “sort of like a hat with windows that sits on top of the dome”. When a person wants to have a third floor loft in the 40′ or larger domes, the cupola adds about 2′ of headroom to the top center of the dome. The top five pentagon panels rest upon 18″ tall concrete “legs” that are built on site. Between the concrete “legs” framing is built to install rectangular windows that you purchase locally. See the floor planners in the Stock Plans for loft heights and square footages.

Cupolas are not necessary for ventilation and extra light. Domes do not need more light than conventional houses. If you build your dome without a cupola, we recommend installing a vent in an interior wall near the peak of your dome for ventilation. The electric fan vent has the added advantage of being easily controlled with a switch or timer.

The outline of the third floor loft matches that of the cupola. In wind areas you do not want the cupola windows to be more than two feet tall. Also taller cupolas just look out of proportion on the dome.

To protect the windows during high winds, the dome owner will either need to purchase windows made from impact resistant glass or have shutters installed.

Q: Why do the square footages on the Specifications Page differ from the square footages listed on the stock floor plans?
A:
On the Specifications Page the first floor and second floor square footage listed is the maximum amount of square footage possible. The first floor square footage is maxed out because only one entryway is considered. The second floor square feet (sq.ft.) listed is what is possible if you only leave open one fifth of the second floor. This means you would only have high vaulted ceilings over one fifth of your first floor rooms. The first floor ceiling height would then be 7 1/2′ in the 30’ and 34′ domes and 8′ tall in the larger domes. You can purchase a five foot riser wall and increase the ceiling height by one foot on the first floor of the 22’ through 48’ domes. This increase in height will not affect the ceiling height on the second floor.

The first floor square footages on the stock floor plans varies from the Specifications Page because more than one entryway is installed. Each time another entryway is utilized on the first floor this will reduce the amount of total first floor square footage. In the stock floor plans the second floor square footage varies from the Specifications Page because some stock plans have one third of the second floor left open while others can have up to half of the second floor not installed. The second floor square footage on stock plans consists of all the illustrated second floor space to five feet of height. On site the second floor knee wall is built along the dome perimeter out 2×4’s and covered with drywall to a height of two to three feet. AC ducting and second floor suspension rods can be hidden behind the knee wall. Electrical outlets can be placed on the knee wall.



Q: What is the dome diameter and square footages converted to meters?

Dome diameter converted from feet to Meters:

15′ = 4.60 M
18′ = 5.49 M
22’= 6.71 M
27= 8.23 M
30′ = 9.14 M
34’ = 10.36 M
36′ = 10.97 M
40’= 12.19 M
45′ = 13.72 M
48’= 14.68 M
60′ = 18.29 M

Maximum Square Footage for each Dome Diameter converted to square meters
15’ – 179 sq. ft. = 16.63 sq. meters
18’ – 272 sq. ft. = 25.27 sq. meters
22’ – 370 sq. ft. = 34.37 sq. meters
27’ – 786 sq. ft. = 73.02 sq. meters
30’ dome with 878 sq. ft. = 81.57 sq. meters
34’ dome with 1,278 sq. ft. = 118.73 sq. meters
36’ dome with 1,418 sq. ft. = 131.73 sq. meters
40’ dome with 1,845 sq. ft. = 171.41 sq. meters
45’ dome with 2,440 sq. ft. = 226.68 sq. meters
48’ dome with 2,830 sq. ft. = 262.92 sq. meters
60’ dome with 4,910 sq. ft. = 446.86 sq. meters

First Floor Square Footage converted to square meters:
15’ – 179 sq. ft. = 16.63 Sq. Meters
18’ – 272 sq. ft. = 25.27 Sq. Meters
22’ – 370 sq. ft. = 34.37 Sq. Meters
27’ 555 sq. ft. = 51.56 Sq. Meters
30’ 665 sq. ft = 61.78 Sq. Meters
34’ 852 sq. ft = 79.15 Sq. Meters
36’ 946 sq. ft. = 87.88 Sq. Meters
40’ 1,178 sq. = 109.44 Sq. Meters
45’ 1,489 sq. ft. = 138.33 Sq. Meters
48’ 1,693 sq. ft. = 157.29 Sq. Meters
60’ 2,552 sq. ft. = 237.90 Sq. Meters

Second Floor sq ft to square meters:
27′ is 231 sq ft – 21.46 sq meters
30′ is 213 sq ft – 19.70 sq meters
34′ is 427 sq ft- 39.67 sq meters
36′ is 470 sq ft- 43.66 sq meters
40′ is 667 sq ft- 61.96 sq. meters
45′ is 951 sq ft. -88.36 sq. meters
48′ is 1137 sq ft. – 105.63 sq. meters
60′ is 1850 sq ft – 171.87 sq. meters

3rd floor sq ft to sq meters
40′ 112 sq ft = 10.41 sq meters
45′ 142 sq ft = 13.19 sq meters
48′ 162 sq ft = 15.05 sq meters
60′ 135 sq ft.= 12.54 sq meters

What is the cost to convert American Ingenuity’s Building Plans to metric dimensions: if it is a stock plan the cost would be the modified price. Typically the conversion price is $200 to $350 depending upon the complexity of the plan. Once we see the plan or your sketch, Ai. will quote a price.