Dome Homes

ANSWERS TO OUR MOST FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Click on the question to read the answer

GENERAL

How long has American Ingenuity been designing and manufacturing domes?
Can I view an American Ingenuity dome?
What have some of your dome owners said about their American Ingenuity dome homes?

Why don't you have an 800 toll free number?
What does frequency mean in relation to domes?
What is the largest American Ingenuity dome available?
What is the shipping cost?
How does the weight of these domes compare to other houses?
Are American Ingenuity domes manufactured in any other location?
Why are the kit prices on the Construction Cost Estimate page different from the kit prices on the Prices page?
Do you export the concrete dome kits?
What are the advantages of the dome shape?
Do you have any pricing comparisons?
What do the panels weight?

BUILDING KIT CONTENTS

What does my American Ingenuity dome kit include?
What determines the type and number of Building Kit Options I need for my Building Kit?
Does the Building Kit contain any interior items?
What is the component panel's composition?
If I am not ready to assemble my dome, can it sit out outside? If I purchase the kit with the interior board option, can I store the kit outside?

DESIGN AND BUILDING PLANS

Where can I build a dome?
What items should I consider when planning to build my geodesic dome?
How do we determine what size dome is best for my family?
What size dome do I build if I do not want a second floor?
Can the dome be made handicap accessible?
How do I plan for expansion - the addition of another dome at a later date?
Do you have separate garage dome kits available?
Can the domes have basements or be built upon stilts or pilings?
Can I have windows above doors in an entryway?
Will l feel closed in, in the dome?
Will my dome be acceptable to my building department?
What do the Building Plans contain?
Do your Building Plans come with an Engineer's seal?
What format do I email floor plan drawings to you in?
What programs can I use to read dxf format?
Can you modify any of the stock plans in the Stock Floor Plan Booklet?
What all do I consider when putting sketches together for a custom dome floor plan?
What is a cupola?

Why do the square footages on the Specifications page differ from the square footages listed on the stock floor plans?

ASSEMBLY and CONSTRUCTION

Can I assemble the Dome Kit myself?
How do I select a builder for my dome?
What support is used to hold up the component panels until the dome kit is assembled?
What will it cost per square foot for a completed dome home in my area?
How long will it take to complete the shell of my dome?
How long will it take to completely build my dome home?
What basic items will I need to erect my building kit?
What type of hoisting mechanism or crane
will I need and for how long?
Can I berm or backfill dirt up around the outside of my dome?
What kind of vapor barrier will my dome have?
How will the concrete in my dome withstand the effects of freezing temperatures?
What do I apply to the interior of the dome shell after I assemble the kit? Can I purchase an interior board on the component panels?
Are there any special requirements for the foundation?
How much weight will the second floor support?
How is the second floor attached to the dome shell?
Can I use steel studs in my American Ingenuity Dome?
Can I install conventional doors and windows in the dome exterior? And where are they installed?
How is the exterior wall within an entryway or dormer built?
How are the electric and plumbing lines installed in the dome shell?
How are plumbing vent pipes installed in the wall of the dome shell?
Can the dome have a fireplace and how is a fireplace installed?
How are domes connected together?
What is the Link between the domes made of, etc.?

What type of paint should I use on the exterior of my dome?
In most of the photographs the domes are painted white, how can I make the dome exterior more conventional?
Would you explain briefly what is involved in the assembly of my dome kit?

ENERGY EFFICIENCY

What Energy Star rating has the American Ingenuity dome received?
What do I need to consider when searching for an ENERGY EFFICIENT house?
How does your insulation R-value compare to other wall R-values?
Should I be concerned about moisture and dampness?
Does thermal mass effect energy efficiency?
Can I use alternative power sources with my American Ingenuity dome?
Would you give me more information about solar hot water heaters and photovoltaic panels?
How did the American Ingenuity dome perform in the energy efficiency tests at the Florida Solar Energy Center?
Which heating and
air conditioning system is the most practical and efficient for my location?
Can a radiant in floor heating system be installed in my dome?
Why are your dome homes so energy efficient?

STRENGTH

When the reporter from Inside Edition visited, what dome advantage did they zero in on?
What wind, seismic, and snow loads will the dome withstand?
Have you performed a load test on your panel?
The panel concrete is not that thick, why is American Ingenuity's dome so strong?

FINANCING

What is the resale value of American Ingenuity domes?
Will it be difficult to get a loan to build my dome?
Do you sometimes have special pricing? Is there a way to secure lower pricing if I am planning on purchasing in one to five years?

GENERAL

Q: How long has American Ingenuity been designing and manufacturing domes?
A: For more than 25 years, all with the same ownership. We now have domes in 44 states including such southeastern states as Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee, etc.; such northeastern states as Maine, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Vermont; such central states as Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Missouri, Ohio, Texas, Wisconsin, etc.; such western states as Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, New Mexico, Utah.

The first American Ingenuity dome was built in 1976 after two years of design research. Founder Michael Busick employed the talents of the Director of the Florida Solar Energy Center, University engineering students and an architectural professor to design the very first E.P.S. foam, concrete geodesic dome.

Normally we do not assemble the dome kits but because this was our prototype, we built the dome shell by propping up the expanded bead polystyrene (E.P.S.) precut insulation panels, hand tying steel mesh to the exterior of the insulation and spraying concrete over the entire dome exterior. This first dome became the office and model of American Ingenuity and by our standards was a primitive design. There were no riser walls or performed entryways or dormers at that time.

Countless designs and construction techniques were analyzed in the early years as we developed a new generation in housing and designed our special component panel. We received a patent on our panel. These preconcreted panels produce a better quality home and eliminate the need for costly concrete pumping equipment.

We have progressed from a prototype structure to a home that has received a design competition award and three energy awards along with exposure through numerous articles in national magazines, on Inside Edition and other media. We have outgrown two previous locations as we progressed to our current five dome complex. Our Building Plans have progressed from simple hand drawings to a detailed computer designed set of blueprints and our Assembly Manual has grown to over 80 informative pages. We were the first to offer utility domes, dog domes and screen dome kits.

Q: Can I view an American Ingenuity dome?
A: Our offices are in a 45' dome connected to a 34' dome with a 40' screen dome. With a prior appointment you can visit our facility here in Florida. Although the domes are set up as offices you still can learn alot and get a good feel for the dome's spaciousness. About once a month Saturday appointments are available where we not only tour the offices but we also tour a 34' dome home (fully furnished) connected to a 22' one car garage and a 25' screen dome.

We are really thankful, some of our domeowners allow us to give out their name and telephone number. As we have sold almost 400 dome kits nationwide; this means it is not likely that there will be a dome close to you to view. You may need to drive to a distant dome.

We promise the domeowners we will not give out their name until the interested person has gained the knowledge in our Planning Kit. That way the domeowner is not answering basic questions that the literature or we can answer.

The owners of American Ingenuity are offering their personal 34' vacation dome to a limited group of people so they can experience dome living first hand. The cabin dome is located in the heart of the Appalachian Mountains just a mile off the scenic Blue Ridge Parkway 40 miles northeast of Asheville, North Carolina. Rental reservations are handled through American Ingenuity. The owners would prefer each renter to have gained the knowledge in the Planning Kit before they rent their vacation dome.

Q: What have some of your dome owners said about their American Ingenuity dome homes?
A:From R. Whaley, Florida: "Once the dome is initially heated or cooled, the temperature remains constant. Just think of when you take your soda pop to the beach on the hottest day of the year in an inch of foam. Once the house gets cool or hot as desired, it retains that temperature and stays constant."(34')

From the Sparrows, Florida Keys: "We call our home 'Sparrows' Nest'...it's pretty strong. It may look small from the outside, but...there's a lot of room. The house is a rock." (30')

From the Drybolas, Florida: We've had over 200 people stop by and see our dome. Believe me your product has never been shown off as good! Wish more people by the beaches, who lost everything would come by, sure wouldn't have to worry anymore." (45' and 30' with 34' screen dome)

From L. Sawh, Florida: "It's hard to believe, but we finally finished this house of ours! It's taken us a good year and a half but its all been worth the hard work and challenges. We began with some designs on paper, added some features of our own, took a few suggestions from other dome owners and with a lot of sweat and pain, not forgetting our subs and the folks at the bank, here we are!!!" (40' and 27' Garage dome)

From R. Napolitan, Idaho: "The dome is snug and warm. We heat it mostly with a woodstove that's in the basement. Our staircases are open so the heat rises. It stays about 68 degrees without much effort, with our lowest outside temp...5-6 degrees. (2,000+ sq.ft. with basement, 34')

From B. Gates, Illinois: "I've never been too much of a conventional person. I thought this was a pretty neat design, very energy-efficient. I like to keep things environmentally nice. It's almost an organic feeling, being surrounded by curves instead of by rectangles. It seems to be a more relaxing environment to be in." (48')

From D. Partlow, Indiana: "The dome is 'awesome', 'beautiful' and 'breathtaking'. At least that's what visitors say. It is and it's also a very comfortable home to live in. Our June electric bill was $107, we are total electric! We still love the house and the great savings on energy!!!" (2,400+ sq.ft.; 48')

From S. Mumphrey, Louisiana: "We're three years in our dome...we still pinch ourselves every morning thinking its a dream. But, it's REAL and we love it." (45')

From L. Gillis, Michigan: "I don't see how a city can ignore one of the great architectural breakthroughs of the 20th Century. A city without geodesic domes, is not thinking about progress. It's thinking about replicating the past. Detroit cannot be a world-class city, unless it has some geodesic domes." (45')

From H. Willis, Mississippi: "I like the openness. You can see the kitchen, dining room, living room and bedroom loft when you walk in the front door." (34' with 25' screen dome)

From L. Covington, North Carolina: "Doing everything on my own, not too bad when I think that it will save me $25,000 in labor costs for doing everything outside and inside....The folks that ride by are trying to break their necks gawking at the dome. A curiosity for folks I guess and a few have stopped for more info and a lot come back from time to time to check the progress...." Click on his web site to view his dome construction pictures http://home.pinehurst.net/lcovington/dome.htm (30')

From J. Chang: "Thank you again for being the great company that you are! Keep us in the loop with information on finishing touches." (48')

From K. Millar, South Carolina: "What this house is about is alternatives. Skylights make the house bright and airy. We decorated it with an Oriental theme, even painting the floor with an Asian motif and we surrounded the house with a Japanese garden." (40')

From R. Scripps, Texas: "I like to thank you again for the advice you have given me and Dale." (45')

From J. Holden, Texas: "We just love our four domes, even after 15 years!" (40')

From J. Collar, Utah: "My wife, Mary, devoured articles and books about straw bale, rammed earth, poured adobe, earthships, log, and any other unconventional building systems. Finally, Mary announced to me that she had found our house; a precast concrete and styrofoam geodesic dome kit! Although I wasn't wild about the look of a dome house, as an engineer I was excited about the sheer practicality. I quickly ran some heat loss calculations and found that at -20 degrees F, we could expect to keep the 2700 sq.ft. of living space at 70 degrees F using little more than 30,000 btuh, about 1/3 the size of a conventional home furnace. With judicious use of a large solar window and a masonry heater fireplace, we could limit our use of propane for backup heating." (45' and 30' Garage dome)

Q: Why don't you have an 800 toll free number?
A: One of the reasons our company has been in business for over 25 years and is very reputable, is that we treat all our customers the same. Our business philosophy and product is unique to the housing industry. We believe that each person should pay for only what they need. As a result, our dome kit's pricing is usually 1/3 to 1/2 less than other housing kits. We do not have an 800 number because we hear from 400 to 600 interested people a month depending upon the time of the year. Each person who wants to research our kit further can do so by purchasing the Planning Kit and or Video. If we had an 800 number our clients who purchase the dome building kit would be paying for everyone's telephone expenses. And if we gave out a Planning Kit and Video to 400-600 people a month, that cost would also be paid by the Building Kit client.

Q: What does frequency mean in relation to domes?
A: Frequency is simply the number of segments between the centers of pentagons in a geodesic dome. To best visualize this, first note the five panels that make a pentagon at the top of the dome. Follow any of the seams that radiate from this pentagon center to the center of another pentagon. There will be three segments in a three frequency dome; in a four frequency it will be four; in a two frequency, two. A soccer ball exemplifies a three frequency icosahedron. A typical golf ball utilizes dimples in a six frequency design. If you are a contestant on a quiz show, or become a proud dome owner, this bit of trivia may be of help to you.

Our 22' and 27' domes are two frequency, 1/2 sphere on a 4' vertical riser wall. Our 30', 34', 40', 45' and 48' domes are three frequency, 3/8 spheres on a 4' vertical riser wall. Our 60' dome is a 4 frequency, 3/8 sphere on a 4' vertical riser wall.

Q: What is the largest American Ingenuity dome available?
A: Prompted by requests for a large, single dome for commercial uses, we developed a 60' dome in 1988. Although it can be used to create a grand home of more than 5,000 square feet, we do not recommend first time owner-builders to take on a project of such proportions. A complex of 2 or more domes offers advantages and may be more practical than a single large dome. All the 60' building plans are custom plans.

Q: What is the shipping cost?
A: Since our Building Kits are reasonably priced, even with the addition of the shipping cost, your dome home kit will be more affordable than you think. Having our manufacturing plant located in Florida is advantageous for shipping since more is shipped into than out of the state, leaving many trucks headed out empty.

Using an independent trucking agency, we contract to have these trucks carry our building kits for a low cost of approximately $1.20 per mile or a minimum of $400 for shipping inside Florida. This is less than we could do with our own trucks. Each flatbed truck can carry one large building kit or two 22's or two 27's or possibly two 30' kits. A 60' dome building kit requires two trucks for delivery. You do not have to pay Florida sales tax for items shipped out of the state.

Each trucking company has cargo insurance. We communicate with you and give you the name of the shipping company so you can also communicate with them. You pay the truck driver after he delivers. You unload the dome kit with an all terrain forklift that you rent.

Two of the main reasons our Dome Building Kits are reasonable in price are first: labor costs are less in Florida than out west or up north where most housing kits are manufactured. Second: because of our component panel design your building kit contains all the R-28 insulation already installed and about 80% of the finished concrete exterior is already installed. In comparison with other building kits you need to purchase the building kit, then purchase the insulation separate, install the insulation, purchase the roofing separate and install all the roofing. As a result of our panel's contents, normally our Building Kit is considerably less in price than other housing kits. So even when you add the shipping cost to the American Ingenuity Kit pricing, the total is still less than other housing kit's pricing.

Q: How does the weight of these domes compare to other houses?
A: Because of the reduced surface area of a dome and its thin shell construction, our domes weigh less than the average house, but are remarkably stronger than other types of structures. Domes are considerably lighter than a concrete block house.

Q: Are American Ingenuity domes manufactured in any other location?
A: Our manufacturing costs here in Florida are well below the national average, which offsets any long distance shipping expense. We can actually manufacture a kit here in Florida and ship it to most states cheaper than we could manufacture it there.

Q: Why are the kit prices on the Construction Cost Estimate page different from the kit prices on the Prices page?
A: The kit pricing on the Dome Price page includes the dome shell kit plus one entryway. The kit prices on the Construction Cost Estimate page equal the combined pricing of the building kit plus the options based on the floor plans 30' Alpha 11, 34' Delta 11, 40' Alpha 11, 45' Alpha 22 and the 48' Delta 33. For example the 40' Alpha 11 floor plan consists of the 40' kit with one entryway and plus the following additional building kit options: two entryways, two window dormers, one second floor door dormer and four clear skylights.

Q: Do you export the concrete dome kits?
A: Yes, to some areas like Puerto Rico, Caribbean and Canada. Request for shipment overseas is best handled at the receiving port. We are unable to provide the time required acquiring shipping quotes or arranging for the shipping. Someone at the receiving port would best know which freight lines service your port and would be in a better position to acquire the best pricing. By contacting a freight forwarder at your importing port, they would know the USA port which receives the best service, the most economical ship to use, and they can arrange for an inland trucking company to bring the containers to our factory to be loaded, etc.
There is an extra fee of $400 for us to load containers versus flat racks. As we have to rent a telescoping forklift.
1. 34' or smaller dome shell kit can fit into one 40' container.
· 40' requires one 40' flat rack and one 20' container.
· 45' and 48' takes one 40' flat rack and one 40' container.
2. We know of two companies that expedite/export out of the USA:
· Expeditors Int'l, Beacon Center, Miami Fl 33126. PH 305-592-9410, Fax 305-592-3127. Ask for Ocean Exports department, they do not go to Andros Island Bahamas. They handled a kit being shipped to Bahrain.
· Shipping and Export Ft. Lauderdale, Fl Steve Gunno or Mike Grandonico 954-920-0306. They specialize in Bahamas Andros shipping.
3. Trucking Company that deliveries containers and flat racks to factories to be loaded for export to Puerto Rico: Magic Transport Miami Fl 305-887-2424 or 888-693-7312, fax 305-887-0320
4. Shipping to Hawaii involves: containers being delivered to our factory to be loaded; containers have to be loaded back onto trucks and transported to Jacksonville port to be put on a train to be shipped to California; and then the containers are loaded onto a ship. The company that delivered the containers to our factory was Falcon Transport, Inc. at POBox 411 , Bird-In-Hand, Penna 17505-0411. Phone 717-687-0471. For example a 45' kit and a 27' kit needed three 40' containers.
5. One of our clients is in Puerto Rico and purchased two domes, a 34' and a 45'. Our client used two flat racks and one container that were shipped on Sea Star from Jacksonville to San Juan. The shipping was $2,612 for each 40' flat rack or $5,224, the shipping on the 40' STD, container was $2,412, delivery fee to Aguas Buenas $585, paperwork $140 for a total of $8,361. The Sea Star contact was Jim Stoshak at 904-751-2110.


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 dome home building concept 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 loadbearing 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 any pricing comparisons?
A: When you research other dome kit pricing and contents, generally you will find that our pricing is about 1/3 to 1/2 less. The reason our kits have a better price is not magic. The primary reason is the design concept. It is far more practical to build a dome with concrete than wood. Applying the concrete to rigid foam insulation produces a component panel that provides structure, exterior finish and the insulation. Our philosophy of each person paying for only what they need results in a lower kit price as we do not have an 800 number, our literature prices are based on their printing costs, only our clients who need an engineering seal pay for one, etc. Also we maintain a lower advertising cost and concentrate more on improving the design than pushing sales. Due to lower labor costs in Florida, we can manufacture in Florida and ship to almost any other location cheaper than it would cost to manufacture there.

Remember to compare apples to apples when pricing each company's kit. Our panel includes the R-28 insulation and most of the exterior finish. In wooden domes you will likely have to purchase the insulation as an added cost and the exterior finish, roofing is certainly an extra cost.

Q: What do the panels weight?
A: On the bottom of each of our web pages is the listing Specifications. If you click on this page you will find a category, Panel Weights. Depending upon the size dome, the panel's weight from 115 lbs to 300 lbs. If you purchase the optional interior board, the panels will weight more.

BUILDING KIT CONTENTS

Q: What does my American Ingenuity dome kit include?
A: Your American Ingenuity dome building kit contains all of the component panels you need to build the basic dome shell. The triangular panels, the four foot high vertical riser panels and one entryway.

The shell kit package includes triangular panels, 4' high riser wall panels, entryway panels, galvanized steel mesh, concrete fibers, two concrete admixtures, reinforcing tension wire, concrete bonding agent, connecting C-rings (commonly called hog rings), C-ring pliers, assembly manual and accessory package. The Building Kit Options include: Additional entryway panels, window dormer panels, door dormer panels, skylight panels and cupola panels.

Q: What determines the type and number of Building Kit Options I need for my Building Kit?
A: Your floor plan selection determines the type and number of Building Kit Options. On the first floor of our house domes there can be as many as five entryways. On the second floor there can be as many as five window or door dormer in our house domes. On our web site we have displayed a few of our stock floor plans which illustrate different numbers of first floor and second floor options. However, in the Planning Kit we have a Stock Floor Plan Booklet that contains stock plans for the 22', 27', 30', 34', 40', 45' and 48' diameter domes. If you do not see a plan to fit your life style, we can modify the plans or you can provide us with your sketches or ideas and we can provide you with a custom floor plan. Plans for the 60' dome are custom.

Q: Does the Building Kit contain any interior items?
A: No. We show furniture within the floor plan because most individuals are not used to visualizing a dome home. The furniture allows you to compare the dome room arrangements and the room sizes to a conventional house. Plus the furniture assists you in seeing how conventional furniture will fit within a dome. We show the room arrangements because your building department usually requires a set of Building Plans showing the room arrangements, etc. for you to obtain a building permit.

The interior items you purchase locally instead of paying shipping from Florida. The dome interior items are the same as a conventional house; framing, plumbing, electrical, doors, windows, flooring, stairs, kitchen cabinets, bathroom fixtures, lighting fixtures, fireplaces, etc.

Q: What is the component panel's composition?
A: The component panel consists of steel reinforced concrete adhered to rigid expanded polystyrene (E.P.S.) foam insulation. Your American Ingenuity dome kit is affordable, strong and assembles quickly because it is engineered as a system of prefinished component panels. Each panel is cut at a computer-generated angle so that it fits flush with the adjacent panel. The edges are precisely beveled at the seams where steel mesh and concrete will unite to complete the structure.

Concrete: The panel concrete is a special formulation containing synthetic fibers and liquid admixtures. You purchase bags of portland cement and sand locally. We ship these same fibers and admixtures with your building kit so the seam concrete that you mix on site will have the same properties as the panel concrete. 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, which is 1/2" to 3/4" thick, adheres directly to the steel mesh and E.P.S. insulation without the need of a bonding agent.

Steel: A one-inch grid, 16 gauge galvanized steel wire mesh is encased in the concrete of each component panel and extends out over the beveled edges. As your dome panels are assembled the mesh of each panel overlaps and is hooked to that of the adjacent panels with C-rings (commonly called "hog rings"). The dome then becomes completely encircled by steel mesh.

E.P.S. Insulation: Except for the 22' which has R-14 insulation, seven inches of sturdy, rigid R-28 expanded polystyrene (E.P.S.) foam insulation forms the core of each component panel. The E.P.S. we use is 1 lb. per cubic foot density. The insulation is permanent, chemically and thermally stable, resistant to mildew, provides no nutritive value to animals, plants, microorganisms, non-irritating to skin, Chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) and formaldehyde free. Our insulation will not rot, shrink, absorb moisture, compact, or deteriorate due to age or the weather. It also acts as a vapor barrier for your home, providing stable performance year after year.

Onsite it is reduced labor in that you only concrete the options and seam areas between the component panels with the special formulated cement. You do not concrete the entire dome exterior.

Q: If I am not ready to assemble my dome, can it sit out outside? If I purchase the kit with the interior board option, can I store the kit outside?
A: Yes. However if you expect to have your kit outside for more than two months, when you order request that the edges be painted. Then you can store it outside for more than a year. Yes, you can store the kit outside even if it has the interior board on kit. The board is advanced in its composition, so it is not damaged by moisture, water or freezing.

DESIGN AND BUILDING PLANS

Q: Where can I build a dome?
A: Almost anyplace. Although, there are a few exceptions. Some developments or communities control the size, cost and appearance of the homes. Before you buy the land ask if there are any restrictions. Zoning ordinances control the use of the land (residential, business, etc.), setbacks from property lines, size, and height limits and similar things, but we have never heard of a zoning restriction on domes. Building departments are basically concerned about safety and structure, not appearance.

Q: What items should I consider when planning to build my 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 expections.

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.

Mortgage lenders move slower than you may anticipate. 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.

Also increased demand for American Ingenuity Dome Kits has forced us to assign shipping dates as much as twelve weeks in advance. If you intend to begin building in the summer start the process before the end of the prior year. 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.

FIVE MONTHS OUT: Estimate costs; Figure finances; Decide on your floor plan; Order your Building Plans.

FOUR MONTHS OUT: Obtain a survey of your site; Obtain contractor bids; Layout your building location; Apply for financing.

THREE MONTHS OUT: Obtain your septic tank permit or your sewer hookup; Obtain your building permit; Order your Dome Building Kit.

TWO MONTHS OUT: Do any site clearing; Obtain your temporary electric hookup; Construct your basement.

ONE MONTH OUT: Construct your foundation; Take delivery of your Dome Building Kit.

Q: How do we determine what size dome is best for my family?
A: First review our Stock Floor Plan Booklet 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. 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?…if you had to move what size home would sell best?

We do not recommend the 60' dome for a residential home. The 60' dome will cost more per sq.ft. to assemble than the smaller domes because of the greater number of panels and the height of the dome. The 60' residential plans are custom and the kit requires two trucks for delivery.

Q: What size dome do I build if I do not want a second floor?
A: The 27' and 30' domes would be suitable for homes with only a first floor. If you choose to construct a larger dome and include the second floor, you can install an elevator or lift to access the second floor. A lift is less expensive than an elevator to install. Or you could designate the second floor for guest rooms.

Q: Can the dome be made handicap accessible?
A: All of the dome floor plans can be modified to be handicap accessible.

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 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: 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.

You can find the pricing for the garage kits on the bottom of the Stock Floor Plan Price List in the Stock Floor Plan Booklet. As of 2002 the garage kit pricing is as follows: the 22' Gamma 1 kit is $7,195; the 27' Gamma 22 kit is $9,835; the 30' Gamma 11 kit is $11,780; and the 34' Gamma 22 kit is $15,160.

Q: Can the domes have basements or be built upon stilts or pilings?
A: Yes. 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. We have basement plans available that explain how the dome is attached to the basement, etc. for example rebars need to come out of the basement wall to connect into the dome riser walls, etc.

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.

We can provide a design, which places the dome on stilts or concrete pilings. Sometimes we recommend an above ground basement with break away walls instead of pilings.

Bear in mind that building any structure upon stilts or 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: Can I have windows above doors in an entryway?
A: Yes. By using a high profile entryway, you can include glass or standard windows over a door, set of doors, or bank of conventional windows. The glass 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.

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 and up to five window dormers or door dormers on the second floor of our house domes.

Remember on site you construct a 2x4 wall under the entryways and dormers to install the standard doors and windows that you purchase 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 within the Planning Kit that lists the maximum rough opening sizes within the entryways and dormers for each size dome.

Q: Will my dome be acceptable to my building department?
A: Building plans for American Ingenuity domes can comply with all building codes worldwide including the Universal Building Code, the Standard Building Code, and the B.O.C.A. Code. If required, your plans can be certified by a registered engineering firm. Professional fees will vary by state and complexity of your plan. We suggest you start by asking your building department a few questions such as: What are the requirements for a residential building permit? Are there any additional requirements to build a geodesic dome? Is an architect's or engineer's seal required on the plans?

Q: What do the Building Plans contain?
A: Whatever size floorplan you seek, whether for a modest starter home or a grand estate, American Ingenuity domes are flexible enough to adapt to your conditions. 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 custom plans based on your individual requirements and design. Some of the pages are a 3-D elevation and a 3-D perspective view. 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 usually the subs like to do their own layouts. You can purchase a specific floor plan on disk in AutoCad format or DXF for $25 each.

Q: Do your Building Plans come with an Engineer's seal?
A: Although our Building Plans have been reviewed by over 30 different engineers, 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 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 in?
A: You can email them if they are in the following format: jpeg format or bmp format (windows bit map). Or if you are using AutoCad, we can accept the documents in dxf format or dwg format. Remember you can fax (321-639-8778) the drawings to us. Remember to 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 for 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: Can you modify any of the stock plans in the Stock Floor Plan Booklet?
A:
Yes. Modifying a stock plan that is close to your dream dome allows you to adapt one of our stock plans to meet your needs. While it does incur a charge, it is much less than the expenditure of custom design work. Any of the Stock Plans may be modified to provide for such structural changes as:
1. Building a Mirror image
2. Rearranging rooms, moving walls, or adding closets
3. Combining the first floor from one plan with the second floor of another
4. Adding or subtracting entryways, door and window dormers, or balconies
5. Adding bathrooms
6. Adding a full or partial basement
7. Fortifying a floor structure to accommodate special furnishings such as a waterbed, hot tub, or weight room.

We will be happy to quote a price for blueprints and a building kit for your Modified Stock Plan once we review your sketches or Floor Planner. Fax your sketch to us at 321-639-8778 include your name, telephone number and the best time(s) to contact you. We will call you back with questions and a quote. Just as in custom plans, you will receive rough drafts to review for any needed changes. You review the draft, make any changes and fax it back to us. We continue this process until you approve of the floor plan layout. We then take this final draft and design the structural pages to your Building Plans.

Q: What all do I consider when putting sketches together for a custom dome floor plan?
A:
You might use American Ingenuity's stock designs as a springboard for your own ideas and fashion a special floorplan to accommodate how you and your family live. In the back of the Stock Floor Plan Booklet is a to-scale ruler and to-scale furniture. You can use the ruler to help you in analyzing the size of each of the floor plan's rooms (length and width) versus conventional house room arrangements and sizes. Working from your rough sketches or wish list, our design team can cost effectively prepare custom blueprints to suit your individual tastes, location, site, needs and budget. If you can dream it, we can draw it. If you are seeking more than what is reflected in the Stock Floor Plan Booklet, then perhaps you will want to go a step further to a Custom Plan. It will encompass all your thoughts for your dream dome and will be drawn by our technician especially for you, yet at a reasonable cost. Using our state-of-the-art computer aided drafting system, our CAD technician will translate your concept into a set of blueprints.
1. We will work from any combination of ideas as you express them:
· Completed floor planner kit
· Rough sketches
· List of items to include
· Written descriptions
2. The cost of the blueprints for your Custom Plan, as well as the cost of the building kit, can be ascertained after review of your concept. You can fax or mail your sketch to us. Include your name, telephone number and the best time(s) for us to contact you. We will call you back with questions and a price quote to turn your ideas into custom plans.
3. Design Factors: All plans may be built on your choice of foundation including: Concrete slab, raised, stem wall or pier foundation, full or partial basement.
4. When planning the location of entryways, door dormers, balconies and window dormers please note their specific locations on the floor planner located in the back of the Stock Floor Plan Booklet.
5. When planning room sizes for your second floor, remember that the headroom decreases as it approaches the knee wall.
The floor planner will have the second floor perimeter heights noted.
6. If you choose to have us design a custom plan from your sketches, you will receive rough drafts from us. You review the draft, make any changes and fax it back to us. We continue this process until you approve of the floor plan layout. We then take this final draft and design the structural pages to your Building Plans.

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 at 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 someway to access the top of the dome, eg. sculptured concrete steps.

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 entire second floor. This means there would be no first floor high vaulted ceilings. 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 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 1/3 of the second floor left open while others can have up to 1/2 of the second floor not installed. 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 2x4'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.

ASSEMBLY and CONSTRUCTION

Q: Can I assemble the Dome Kit myself?
A: Over one half of our clients assemble their own dome kit shell themselves, many with no prior construction experience. The Kit panels come marked with numbers and letters to match the Assembly Manual that goes with the Building Kit. The Building Plans also have elevation views with numbers and letters. Our best kit assembly success stories are Owner/Builders who read and follow the Assembly Manual and the Building Plans and call us when they have any questions, no matter how small. If you are mechanically inclined and if you understand the info in the Planning Kit you can probably assemble the dome shell. (We leave that decision up to you). It only takes one person to be familiar with the Building Plans and Assembly Manual and that person can direct laborers (family and friends) who assist in lifting the panels and filling the seams with concrete. If you do not have the time or desire to assemble the shell, we know of independent subs that travel around the country supervising the owner builder's workers or contractor. Or you may want to assemble the shell and fill the seams with one coat of concrete and hire a concrete professional to add the second coat and finish your seams. You may wish to hire a plasterer or stuccoer to finish the interior of the dome shell if your do not purchase the interior board option.
The interior can be completed by any conventional subs, i.e. plumbers, framers, electricians, etc.

Q: How do I select a builder for my dome?
A: Whether you are looking for a contractor to handle all the construction of your dome, or a sub contractor to handle only an individual job, it is best to make many contacts and choose the one with which you are most comfortable. If you are in Florida, we know of licensed contractor who will build the dome from slab to a complete interior.

If you do not have the time or want to assemble the kit, we know of an independent subcontractor that travels around the country assembling the dome shell using the Owner/Builder's laborers or your contractor's local laborers. He lives in Tennessee. It is most cost effective to hire this sub for the shell assembly versus hiring a local subcontractor who has never assembled an American Ingenuity dome kit. The local sub usually tends to overcharge for the kit assembly as they are used to linear construction.

We promise the Tennessee subcontractor we will not give out his name until the interested person has gained the knowledge in our Planning Kit. That way Bill is not answering basic questions that the literature or we can answer.

If you do not have the time or do not want to assemble the dome shell it, it is to your advantage to hire a local contractor that knows your area and hire most subs from your area. This way your contractor can hire conventional local subs to do the conventional jobs; i.e. slab, plumbing, electrical, framing, etc. and use the special sub for the shell kit assembly.

Q: What support is used to hold up the component panels until the dome kit is assembled?
A: Our Dome Building Kits are generally erected using a system to temporarily hold the panels in place until the all the seam concrete and options' concrete has cured. The systems (Radial or Rib) are dismantled upon completion of the dome and the 2x4’s are recycled as part of the interior framing.

The Radial System is most suitable for a small construction crew and is usually used on our smaller domes, 22', 27’, 30’ and 34’ because the panels weight less and the center height is less. As each panel is placed, a measurement is taken from the panel point to the center of the dome to assure correct positioning. The panel is then held by 2x4’s braced against the floor while the seams are concreted. The advantages to this system over using the Rib System Option are: Panels can be raised using a rolling scaffold and a winch rather than having to rent a crane. The radial System saves the time of preparing ribs, erecting and dismantling the Rib System. It also uses fewer materials.

The Rib System is most suitable for a large crew and a fast paced construction. The Rib System is preferable on the larger domes 40’, 45’, 48’ and 60'. The Rib System consists of using your own 2x4’s and steel hubs on loan from America Ingenuity to erect a free standing framework matching the geometry of the dome. With a Rib System in place, a crane or hoisting mechanism can be used to set as many as 2 rows of panels in one day. Since the Rib System reflects the dome geometry, a panel cannot be inadvertently positioned incorrectly.

Once all the concrete cures in the seams and on the entryways, dormers, link, cupola, etc. the rib system is disassembled, the hubs are returned to American Ingenuity and the 2x4’s are recycled as interior framing. The rental charge is a $500 deposit for the hubs to be kept for 4 months. After that the rental fee is $10 per month. If the hubs/bolts are returned to us intact within the four month period the complete $500 deposit is returned. Thereafter, we subtract $10 for each additional month the hubs are kept and return the deposit difference to the client.

Q: What will it cost per square foot for a completed dome home in my area?
A: If you hire all the work done, the finished price per sq.ft. on the dome home will be about the same price as a conventional house in your area. This is because all the interior items for the dome interior are standard conventional items. The dome interior items are the same as for a conventional house; framing, plumbing, electrical, doors, windows, flooring, stairs, kitchen cabinets, bathroom fixtures, lighting fixtures, fireplaces, elevators, etc.

But you end up with so much more with an American Ingenuity dome....greater energy efficiency, greater strength, no wood in the shell for termites to eat or to burn, no shingles to replace, etc. For an example of finished square footage costs and categories to complete your dome home click on our Construction Cost Estimate page.

Q: How long will it take to complete the shell of my dome?
A: After the concrete slab or flooring is finished, it will take approximately 250 man hours to complete our 30' dome shell. With another 100 man hours you could expect to frame the entryways and dormers and install your locally purchased windows and doors. Time would not be required to install insulation, roofing or completing the exterior trim like soffits and gutters as in other homes. Our 48' dome will require about twice that amount of time to reach the same stage of completion as the 30'. Weather, experience, and available equipment will certainly affect the construction time required.

Q: How long will it take to completely build my dome home?
A: If you do no work yourself and hire subcontractors to complete the dome, it will take about the same amount of time to finish the dome as a conventional house. However the result is a super strong, super energy efficient home.

Q: What basic items will I need to erect my building kit?
A: Depending on the size dome, to set the panels in place and concrete the seams you will need:

· 4-10 cubic yards of sand

· 35-90 bags of Portland cement

· a concrete mixer

· a steel scaffold or rental of a crane or transverse lift to place the upper panels

· basic hand tools including trowels, ladder(s), 5 gal. buckets, etc.

Q: What type of hoisting mechanism or crane will I need and for how long?
A: The panels of our smaller domes, can be placed using a steel scaffold on rollers. The panel is then held in place with a prop support until the seam concrete hardens. The panels for the larger domes may be best placed using a crane that is capable of lifting 300-400 pounds, 25 feet up and 25 feet out. Rentals on transverse lifts also called Boom Lifts, Horizontal Boom Fork Lifts, Roofing Lifts, Shooters are available from national rental chains. The rental companies can be found in your local telephone book.

With a four person work crew and proper bracing of the panels, two rows of panels of a 45' dome can be placed in a day, or 5-8 hours of crane time. In most cases, total crane operating time will vary from about 10 hours for a smaller dome to 14 hours for a 48' dome.

Click on the Specifications page located on the bottom of each of our web pages for the panel weights for each dome size.

Q: Can I berm or backfill dirt up around the outside of my dome?
A: Our dome lends itself very well to berming because of the strength of the dome shape and the totally concrete exterior wall, with no materials to rot. Our domes have been bermed with as much as eight feet of backfill. However, if you earth berm your dome, we recommend a drain system to drain the water away from the foundation. Plans for this drain system are included with our basement plans.

Our dome can be bermed higher, but we do not recommend it because of the additional expense of labor and the extra concrete required. 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. We do not design our standard dome for these extreme conditions that would not normally occur. If you plan to earth-berm your dome advise us when ordering your plans so we can advise you if there are any modifications needed on the dome.

We have not had any of our domes completely earth covered. What do you want to accomplish by covering the dome with earth? There may be a better way than covering with dirt.

Q: What kind of vapor barrier will my dome have?
A: Approximately one quarter of the energy consumed by an air conditioner is used to extract water vapor from inside the house. Water vapor easily passes through most building materials and is readily swept into homes through joints, seams and through the attic. Our E.P.S. insulation provides a good vapor barrier and our building method provides a tight, leak proof home.

Q: How will the concrete in my dome withstand the effects of freezing temperatures?
A: Yes. Concrete is an excellent and common building material in all temperate zones throughout the world. Concrete is only affected by freezing temperatures when it is porous and absorbs water. The richness and density of our concrete prevents water absorption which spoils the surface when it freezes. Our concrete is also formulated with an air entrainment admixture which further improves the freeze-thaw characteristics. The exterior paint is an additional seal to any water that could freeze inside the concrete.

So that the concrete you mix on-site has the same properties as the panel concrete, we ship those same concrete ingredients with the Building Kit....synethetic fibers, liquid admixtures and a bonding agent. The concrete recipe using Portland Cement, sand, and ingredients is in the Assembly Manual.

Q: What do I apply to the interior of the dome shell after I assemble the kit? Can I purchase an interior board on the component panels?
A: You can purchase the building kit with or without the interior gypsum. If you do not purchase the optional interior gypsum, on site you can trowell either plaster or stucco directly to the E.P.S. or you can glue drywall directly to the E.P.S. This year (2002) we are offering the option of having gypsum on the interior of the component panel. The interior board consists of 1/4" Georgia Pacific Dens Glass Mat Gypsum with fiberglass reinforcing on both sides. It is adhered to the E.P.S. insulation utilizing the standard industry method, urethane adhesive. The inorganic gypsum mat is resistant to mildew and water. For gypsum introductory pricing click on Dome Prices at the bottom of any of our web pages. The introductory pricing could change if we find out that our manufacturing expenses are higher then we anticipate.

Now is a good time....you can lock in the interior gypsum pricing and receive 6% off our current 2002 Building Kit pricing if you make a 10% deposit on your dome kit before May 2002.

Q: Are there any special requirements for the foundation?
A: The only thing unusual about our foundation is its shape. Because our dome is lighter than most other buildings, it has less loading on the foundation. Reinforcing bars connect the riser walls to the foundation at the vertical seams. Our stock building plans include drawings for a concrete slab foundation. Plans for raised wood floors or basements are available.

Q: How much weight will the second floor support?
A: At least 40 pounds per square foot, the same as other houses. We can easily design for a more demanding load such as waterbeds, libraries, whirlpool tubs, or spas.

Q: How is the second floor attached to the dome shell?
A: Most often the second floor joists are set on top of the first floor walls, the same as in conventional framing. In areas where additional support is needed, or where there are no first floor walls, the floor may be hung from the dome shell by anchoring a 5/8" threaded rod vertically into the concrete of a seam. Because of the incredible strength of our dome we are able to use the shell to support the second floor.

Q: Can I use steel studs in my American Ingenuity Dome?
A: Yes, we can design your dome to utilize steel joist and steel studs by designing them into your Building Plans. There are many benefits in using steel framing over wood framing. Steel joists can span great distances; thus, larger rooms are possible because fewer supports are needed for the floor above. Durability is also a benefit. Unlike wood, steel framing will not rot, shrink, swell, split or warp; and because of its zinc coating, it will not rust. Steel framing is impervious to termites, rodents and is non-combustible. The environment benefits as well. Much of steel framing is made from recycled steel, and what little waste is leftover from construction can be recycled again. Also steel does not require pesticides or other toxic substances used to protect wood. Steel is priced competitively with wood and is easy to install; plywood flooring and wall board are attached with screws. Like our dome, steel studs are fire and termite resistant, affordable and earth friendly. A perfect match.

Q: Can I install conventional doors and windows in the dome exterior? And where are they installed?
A: Yes conventional doors and windows can be used in the dome. The doors and windows are installed under the entryways and dormers within 2x4 walls that you build on-site.

Q: How is the exterior wall within an entryway or dormer built?
A: It is constructed on-site using typical 2x4 wood framing techniques allowing you to personalize an important part of your dome, including your choice of locally purchased standard doors and windows. Using your own custom design the entryway wall exterior finish may be stucco, siding, brick, rock, or any material you choose. Conventional windows and doors are purchased locally to please your taste and budget. Be sure to use energy efficient windows with double glass and insulated doors.

Q:How are the electric and plumbing lines installed in the wall of the dome shell?
A: Almost all of the electrical and plumbing will be contained in the interior frame walls, 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 insert the wire. To install electrical boxes, conduit, or plumbing pipes: cut the E.P.S. insulation 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.

Q: How are plumbing vent pipes installed in the dome shell?
A: The plumbing vent pipes can be routed sideways through the interior framing and can sometimes be joined together before they exit our dome. Where the vent pipe is to exit through the dome shell, all you need do is make a hole through the panel in the appropriate location, extend the pipe through, concrete back up against the pipe, caulk and paint. The plumbing vent pipes are sealed to our concrete dome with caulk, e.g. urethane or butyl rubber. A plumbing boot like the type used on shingled houses is not used.

Q: Can the dome have a fireplace and how is a fireplace installed?
A: Yes the dome can have a fireplace. We suggest that domeowners try to locate their fireplace toward the middle of the dome, rather than along the outside edge which would cause the flue to very high on the outside. This puts more of the flue pipe inside the house where it can radiate the heat. As long as the flue pipe is round, you simply bust a hole in the concrete, enlarge the hole in the foam so that you can replace the foam with 2” of fiberglass insulation, then concrete around the vent pipe, caulk and paint. Use a nonsilicon caulk like urethane or latex. A fireplace can be added to any dome. But it may affect the second floor framing, so the stock plan might need to be modified.

Q: How are domes connected together?
A: Domes are linked at the entryways or door dormers. Our dome kits include a standard 4' high riser wall allowing them to be linked together despite a difference in diameters.

Q: What is the link between the domes made of, etc.?
A: Domes are connected together with a link made of the same materials as the dome panels. The link connects to the adjacent dome in the same locations as an entryway or sometimes a door dormer. The thickness of the E.P.S. in a link is usually 7" when it takes the place of an entryway and 3 1/2" when it connects like a door dormer. The width of the link depends on the size of the domes and whether they are connected like an entryway or door dormer. The length of the link varies from 2 ft. to 19 ft. Because the riser wall is a standard 4' high, all domes will match each other despite a difference in diameters.

You do not use or order an entryway or dormer at the locations where a link connects to either dome. When two domes are purchased, we provide the material needed to make a standard Link at no additional charge.

The first 10 feet is free with the purchase of two domes. If you purchase the first dome with the Link and add the second dome later, a cost will be added to the first dome to cover the complete Link and credited when the second dome is purchased.

Link panels are not concreted or wrapped with steel mesh. The 7" E.P.S. Link panels are precut but they will require some trimming where they connect to the domes. After the E.P.S. panels are in place they get covered with steel mesh and then concrete is applied to the specified thickness.

Q: What type of paint should I use on the exterior of my dome?
A: We recommend a good quality concrete primer coat followed by an acrylic latex house paint. Because of the reduced surface area and lack of trim, most domes can be painted in just one day. Your dome can be painted in any of color, avoid darker shades. You can purchase the paint locally or it can be ordered from us and shipped with your building kit.

Q: In most of the photographs the domes are painted white, how can I make the dome exterior more conventional?
A: The following are some exterior appearance possibilities.
· Install stone, cedar, or wood on the vertical walls around the doors and windows in the entryways and dormers.
· Install a wooden deck off a second floor balcony. Or you could connect two second floor balconies by a continuous deck.
· Paint the dome a warm tan or soft moss green color.
· Landscape with trees around the dome. Or install trellis with roses, vines, etc. that can climb up to the second floor deck concealing the first floor of the dome.
· Build a porch or deck off the first floor.
· Install canopies off the top of the entryways and door

Q: Would you explain briefly what is involved in the assembly of my dome kit?
A: By simply placing the component panels, interconnecting the steel mesh, and concreting the seams you complete the structural framework, the exterior finish, and all the insulation for your home.
· Foundation: Once you've chosen a home site, you may build your dome on a slab, raised, or basement foundation - or even on pilings or stilts, if necessary.
· Temporary Support System: During the kit assembly process, the panels of larger domes are held in place by a wooden support system. It is disassembled after the seam and option concrete cures. Much of the lumber can be reused as interior wall framing. The system is erected with your 2x4's and our steel hub kit, which is returned to us upon completion. On our smallest domes, a simpler radial support system can be used, in which each panel is braced by temporary supports.
· Panels: Following the detailed instructions in the "Assembly Manual", four foot high riser panels are anchored to rebars extending out of your prepared foundation. The riser walls are interconnected with subsequent rows of triangular panels. The steel mesh of adjacent panels is overlapped and hooked with C-rings (commonly called hog rings) The upper panels of larger domes need to be placed using an elementary hoisting system or small crane.
· SEAMS: As the rows of panels are positioned; the seams are first half filled with the special fiber concrete mixed at the job site. Additives supplied with your kit render the same formulation as the panel concrete. Once all the seams are half filled: you start at the top of the dome and come down the dome using the bonding agent and concrete and fill the seams; you finish the seam tops by
sponge rubbing them to match the sand texture of the prefinished panels. To vary the exterior appearance to your taste, the seam concrete can be shaped flat, rounded, accentuated or flat.
· OPENINGS: The many openings for doors and windows are created by structural entryway and dormer panels. They are set in place, connected to the other panels, then finish stuccoed with a layer of our special formula concrete.
· PAINTING: After the final coat of seam concrete, additional sealing with a concrete primer and two coats of good quality exterior latex paint are applied.
· COMPLETION: After your kit is assembled; you have the freedom to finish your home as you desire. Your choice of standard windows and doors are installed within the dormers and entryways in a stud wall which can be finished in concrete, stone, or wood. If you do not purchase the interior board option, for interior finishes you can drywall, panel, or simply trowel plaster or stucco directly onto the flat underside of the rigid E.P.S. insulation. Interior walls are attached to the dome as they are framed, then finished to taste. The second floor joist rests on loading bearing first floor walls and or is suspended from the dome shell.
· SIMPLICITY: This advanced building system makes it easier (even for a beginner) to construct an American Ingenuity dome than a conventional house or a wooden dome. No exterior walls to frame, No roof trusses to set, No sheathing, tarpaper, or shingles to apply, No soffits, exterior trim, insulation or siding to install. Any building experience you have will be helpful when building our dome, but it is not necessary.

ENERGY EFFICIENCY

Q: What Energy Star rating has the American Ingenuity dome received?
A: A 5+ Energy Star rating, the highest rating given. Energy Star is a joint program between the Environmental Protection Agency and the United States Department of Energy that is designed to promote products, buildings and homes that use less energy without sacrificing quality.

American Ingenuity has received the Energy Star endorsement for our dome homes, making us the first among Geodesic Domes. Our domes not only qualified but we far exceeded their efficiency standards that are derived from the Model Energy Code. In an American Ingenuity dome you can receive a 5+ Star rating, the highest rating given. When financing this rating will entitle you to the maximum benefits, like reduced fees and lower interest rates. American Ingenuity Domes have been a constant leader in energy efficiency, we now have the rating to prove it. Energy Star's web site is http://www.energystar.gov

Q: What do I need to consider when searching for an ENERGY EFFICIENT house?
A: To best answer that question let's examine how most of the heating and air conditioning is lost in a house. The major loss is usually through the walls and ceiling with the amount of loss directly proportional to the combined area. Solution, minimize the surface area of the house. Domes have about 20% to 40% less surface area than an equal size conventional house. This results in an equal and significant improvement in the efficiency.

The insulation value of the walls and ceilings are important but you cannot just compare R-values. R-values provided for conventional houses represent optimum conditions. They do not take into consideration that the insulation is interrupted by the framing, has voids, settles and absorbs moisture. In our domes the E.P.S. insulation is continuous, rigid and it will not settle or absorb moisture. R-28 E.P.S. insulation in our dome exceeds the performance of R-45 fiberglass in a conventional house.

Blower tests repeatedly show that wood frame houses loose 10-25% of their heating and AC through the numerous leaks in the walls, attic, electrical outlets, etc. It is very difficult to seal these leaks due to their volume and inaccessibility. American Ingenuity domes are sealed airtight on the outside of the insulation; therefore, eliminating the energy absorbing leaks.

The insulation on Heating and AC ducts is usually only R-6 to R-8. In addition when the fan is running, the air in the ducts is under pressure and thus the ducts are more inclined to leak. Ducts in the attic, or anywhere outside the insulation envelope, account for sizable energy loss. In American Ingenuity domes all of the ducts are inside the insulation; therefore, there is zero loss in the ducts even if they leak and are not insulated at all.

If you add up the potential energy savings of American Ingenuity dome living, you will understand why our dome owners often claim savings in excess of 50%.

Q: How does your insulation R-value compare to other wall R-values?
A: The following are comprehensive wall values based on the average value of the complete wall. For example the comprehensive R-value of 2x4 solid wood with 3 1/2" fiberglass is about R-8; 8" Concrete Block, with 3/4" air, 3/4" Celotex is about R-9; 2x6 Solid wood construction with 5 1/2" fiberglass is about R-11; 2x4 solid wood with 3" urethane is about R-13 while the wall value of our 7" E.P.S. insulation is R-28 and our 9" E.P.S. insulation is R-36.

Q: Should I be concerned about moisture and dampness?
A: No. Moisture is added inside a house as a result of washing, cooking, showers, etc. When the air conditioner is operating, the moisture level will be controlled by condensation at the evaporator coil. Moisture can accumulate inside a house when its not air conditioned. It can be easily controlled by occasionally opening a window at the top of the dome where most of the moisture accumulates. If you build without a cupola, simply install an exhaust fan at the peak of the dome which will allow you to remove excess moisture with the flip of a switch.

Q: Does thermal mass effect energy efficiency?
A: No. 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 effect 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) that 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.

During the summer while using AC (substitute cold for heat) the effect remains the same.

Q: Can I use alternative power sources with my American Ingenuity dome?
A: Yes. By providing your own Alternative Power you can live in a remote location (less expensive land) and still have all the amenities of a developed area. The alternative power systems typically consist of a power source, storage device and conversion systems. Most systems use photovoltic cells but is some cases gasoline or diesel engine generators or wind or water driven generators are practical. The storage device is usually large batteries. The conversion system allows you to have 110 volts AC and use conventional appliances. The technology is very refined and the systems are top notch.

The cost of the system will depend directly on the amount of power that you will need. By first investing in an energy efficient house you will reduce your power demand and save money. If you are considering an American Ingenuity dome home you couldn't make a better choice and you will be doing your part to conserve power and lower green house emissions.

If you are also connected to the local power grid, you will not need batteries for backup and in most cases you get paid for putting power back into the system.

If the cost of the system is included in the home financing it can be paid off with a little higher monthly mortgage payment. Not having an electric bill may even it out.

Utilizing an alternate power source does have a few drawbacks: COST: while systems are getting more affordable they are still expensive. It is still less expensive to buy power from mass produced power companies unless you are far from the power lines. MAINTENANCE and RELIABILITY: Most systems are very reliable but occasionally they need attention. Several of our dome owners have alternative power systems and are very satisfied with the results.

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

The following story was covered in the June/July 1998 Home Power magazine.
What do you need when you are going to live in a high desert (7,500 ft. elev.) 40 miles from the nearest town with the winters reaching down 20 degrees below zero? That is where Jim and Mary Collar planned to build their solar retirement home. To extend electric power to their home site it would cost $22,000.00 so the Collars decided to produce their power using photovoltaic solar cells with a back up generator. Their primary source of heat would be their fireplace. In 1995 after researching many alternative-building methods, they found their house, an American Ingenuity 45' Dome Home and 30' Dome Garage. Our dome kit was selected for its strength, energy efficiency and its affordability. They selected subcontractors for the construction of their two domes with Mary being the general contractor. Jim was commuting 40 miles to his job but on evenings and weekends they could work together. They were asked by the state of Utah to participate in “Utahs’1998 Tour of Innovative Homes” which is in conjunction with the American solar Energy Society’s National Tour of solar Homes. The Collar's business email address is jim@footprints-inc.com

Q: Would you give me more information about solar hot water heaters and photovoltaic panels?
A: An article in Mother Earth News reported that since 1970, the demand for electricity has outpaced the World's population growth by more than 20 percent. They continue and explain how we are ignoring the warning signs, that Builders are still constructing poorly efficient housing and others are overlooking the importance of renewable/alternate energy sources.

The first and most important step is to limit or reduce the energy loss in the home. An investment in good, uninterrupted, insulation and a design that does not leak the conditioned air to the outside has the best return. The savings is not only in the reduced energy loss but, also in the reduced cost of a smaller heating and air conditioning system. The next step is to replace some of the energy which is consumed. A solar water heater has proved to have quick payback in most parts of the country. In fact, sometimes they can be financed and save more money in reduced electric bills than the cost of payments. When they are paid off it becomes pure savings. Photovoltaic cells have continued to improve in efficiency and cost.

The Mathes' dome (34' dome home with 30' garage dome) in Florida utilizes a solar water heater and photovoltaic panels to power their lights and refrigerator. Although, their A/C, washer, well pump and TV are still connected to the meter, their total electric bill was less than $150.00 for the year. The domeowner says our proposed heating and A/C savings are "way, way off." The owner/builder also states, "This has been a wonderful experience that I would not trade for ANYTHING!"

Q: How did the American Ingenuity dome perform in the energy efficiency tests at the Florida Solar Energy Center?
A:
Superbly. Test findings were released after a yearlong study prepared for the U.S. Department of Energy by the Florida Solar Energy Center, a governmental consumer agency, in cooperation with the University of Oregon and the University of Central Florida. This study compared an American Ingenuity dome with an energy efficient, conventionally built structure and a super efficient styrofoam house designed by Dow Chemical. It came as no surprise to us that our test dome far surpassed both the conventional and Dow test houses in being THE MOST ENERGY EFFICIENT.

Although the test was conducted in a temperate locale without summer and winter temperature extremes, the American Ingenuity dome outperformed the other structures. In the summer, the energy savings for the dome exceeded 36% and during the winter, the energy savings exceeded 42%. In areas of severe cold and heat, savings would be expected to be considerably higher.

Also, the blower door test showed the dome to be 56% tighter than the conventional test structure and 29% tighter than the Dow house. In tests using infrared, thermal irregularities in the dome were shown to be insignificant.

You can call the Florida Solar Energy Center at 321-638-1000 or write them at 1679 Clearlake Rd, Cocoa, FL 32922. Their web site address is http://www.fsec.ucf.edu

Q: Which heating and air-conditioning system is the most practical and efficient for my location?
A: Keep in mind that because of the superb energy efficiency of the dome the required size of your air conditioning and heating system is reduced to half that of a typical home. It is usually not economical to purchase super efficient systems because the energy savings is also reduced. The smaller sized domes can be cooled with a window air conditioner. The best heating system will vary with the area and the type of fuel that is readily available. A ventilated wood stove may provide all the needed heat for even our larger domes located to cold climates. A ground water (or water-to-air) heat pump is very efficient for both heat and cool. It uses the constant, moderate temperature of the underground earth to absorb or provide the heat instead of outside air. Besides, being more efficient than an air-to-air unit, it can efficiently produce heat when the outside temperature is below freezing.

Q: Can a radiant in floor heating system be installed in my dome?
A: Yes. The following are companies that provide this product.
Radiantec Company: POBox 1111, Lyndonville, VT 05851, 800-451-7593, fax 802-626-8045 ask for their Design and Construction Manual. Their web site address is http://www.radiantec.com

Vanguard Piping Systems Inc: 901 N. Vanguard St. McPherson, KS 67460 800-775-5039, fax 800-775-4068. Web site address is http://www.vanguardpipe.com Their email address is service@vanguardpipe.com

Q: Why are your dome homes so energy efficient?
A:
You can save 50-70% on heating and air-conditioning costs with your American Ingenuity dome over a conventionally built home. Some of the reasons for this superb energy efficiency are:
· Super insulation that does not degrade with time, moisture, or compaction.
· Spherical shape means reduced exposed surface.
· Airtight exterior virtually eliminates energy leakage.
· Solid thermal envelope.
· Uniform R-value. The insulation is not interrupted with structural members (e.g. 2X4's roof trusses). The only breaks are for doors and windows.
· Downsized heating and cooling equipment.

Your kit comes with lifetime R-28 EPS insulation (22' with R-14), or if you choose, thicker R-36 E.P.S. insulation is available. Even in cold climates, you may find that a single ventilating wood stove will provide all the heat your home will need.

STRENGTH

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 our domes and how they 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.

They then drove up to our corporate offices. The segment went on to show our five dome complex including the attached screen some and 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: What wind, seismic, and snow 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 150 mph. winds, 50 lb. snow loads and #9 earthquakes. If that is not enough, just tell us what you need.

Our dome design has proved itself by withstanding Hurricane Andrew's 200 mph winds, a tornado that rolled up a steel horse trailer and slammed it against the Menendez dome, sub zero temperatures and heavy snow loads of the Northwest Territory of Canada, a 115 foot tall hickory tree impact, a lighting strike and many other conditions over a 25 year period.

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 Napolitan and Tom Kramer's dome in Idaho. Robens was enthusiastic, but Tom was not. He said "...its all HER idea, I didn't want a dome. Mary phoned them in 1996 after their basement was finished. Mary said you couldn't keep Tom quiet this time: he had nothing but wonderful things to say and had completely turned around.....ROOFS HAD COLLAPSED in their area under several feet of snow, but NOT HIS DOME! Tom's turnaround sold Mary and her husband on a dome and they bought a dome from us.

Q: Have you performed a load test on your panel?
A: Yes, in October 2000 we performed a load test on one of our 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 3/16 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 50 lbs. per sq.ft. is rare. Our panel withstood 170 lbs. per sq.ft.

Q: The 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 steel reinforced concreted seams which are about 6" wide and 4" deep. The seams almost act like steel beams.

FINANCING

Q: What is the resale value of American Ingenuity domes?
A: We do not know
of any of our dome owners who have moved or sold their dome. Which is a compliment in itself. Therefore, we have no resale statistics on our dome, but we have heard of other domes being sold at a profit well above their initial building cost. Also, with the increasing popularity of domes and rising energy costs, the market for an exceptionally energy efficient, low maintenance home should be excellent.

Q: Will it be difficult to get a loan to build my dome?
A: Conventional mortgage lenders tend to be ultra conservative when considering a dome. Mortgage brokers or indirect sources for financing may be more flexible and quicker for you. Ask us for our list of possible lenders. Refinancing other property or acquiring loans from other sources may be easier while avoiding the restrictions and requirements of conventional construction loans. Another popular option is the pay-as-you-go method. Combined with partial financing, this can get you into your new dome. For a helpful, in depth look at financing, click on this page Financing Your Dome.

Q: Do you sometimes have special pricing? Is there a way to secure lower pricing if I am planning on purchasing in one to five years?
A: Typically, we offer a discount on the building kit during the winter months. Every year as temperatures fall, construction activity also drops. If you take delivery of your dome kit(s) during our slower winter months you can save hundreds of dollars. For example, kits shipped in February and March of 2002 receive 10% off our 2002 kit pricing. Kits shipped in April and May of 2002 receive 9% off our 2002 kit pricing. The building kit options receive a 4% discount. These special prices cannot be combined with other discounts or savings. Note: even severe freezing weather will not damage the panels when stored outside.

If you are planning on purchasing your dome kit in one to five years you have a couple of options to pursue in order to secure lower pricing. One is to Place a 10% deposit on your dome building kit before April 2002 and lock in a 6% discount off our 2002 kit pricing until January 2003. If you are not ready to receive shipment by then you may continue to hold the discounted pricing by placing an additional 10% deposit each year that you delay shipment. Or you can do nothing and receive 6% off the current building kit prices when you do take delivery.

The second way you can save money on your building kit is to utilize our five year layaway program. Patience is a great virtue. It is typical to take years before a person can purchase their dome kit. So hang in there! Sometimes saving or setting money aside is a difficult task and a little incentive is needed. We've often had requests from those who would like to make monthly payments towards their kit. Now with 5% down and a monthly payment, a dome can be yours in just a matter of time.

Layaway requires an initial 5% down payment with up to 60 monthly payments thereafter. For example, a dome kit costing $12,630 would require $630 down, with 60 monthly installments of $200. You may reduce that time with larger monthly payments. The incentive is while you are making your payments, the price of your dome kit will not change as our prices increase. You will automatically freeze the kit pricing for up to five years and realize a considerable savings. If you change your mind, all payments on your kit are completely refundable prior to the manufacture of your kit.

Anytime after the payments exceed 30%, you can order your kit and schedule a shipment date (allow 3 months). The balance is due 7 days prior to shipment. All payments on your kit are refundable until you place an order for your kit. After you place an order and we begin manufacturing your kit, our "Conditions of Sale" limits refunds to compensate for handling, material and labor costs.

The following is a listing of minimum required payments for each dome size. 22' Dome $339 down and $107 per month; 27' Dome $467 down and $148 per month; the 30' Dome $622 down and $197 per month; 34' Dome $759 down and $241 per month; 40' Dome $949 down and $300 per month; 45' Dome $1,147 down and $363 per month; 48' Dome $1,297 down and $411 per month; 60' Dome $1,881 down and $595 per month.

Main
Dome Pictures |Floor Plans
Planning Kit / Video / Model Dome Kit
Mail | Dome Prices | Specifications | FAQ | Maps
Construction Cost Estimates | Virtual Reality Modular Home Tour
Dome Home Financing | Dome Construction |Job Opportunities | Links

NEW - The GEO POD - Utility Dome - NEW

AMERICAN INGENUITY, INC.

8777 Holiday Springs Road, Rockledge, Florida 32955-5805

PHONE: 321-639-8777 FAX: 321-639-8778

Established in 1976

WEB: http://www.aidomes.com EMAIL: info@aidomes.com

© Copyright 2002 American Ingenuity Domes