The following article compares the American Ingenuity (Ai)
Concrete Dome Building Kit to Canvas and Wood Yurt Kits

So many factors go into building a home, and cost is a major consideration.  However, strength, durability, fire resistance and energy efficiency of your new home should weigh above cost in the long run.   

Ai likes to understand our competitors’ products, methods, costs and construction so we can provide our potential clients an overall viewpoint on why we consider our product superior.  This is especially true of a yurt.  We recently did some investigation into yurts, the following contains info from several articles, one blog and Ai contacted one company which sells solid wall yurt kits, to compare costs. When all is said and done, an AiDome is far more secure, storm resistant, and energy efficient, even factoring in cost to build.

Below you will find a chart comparing a concrete American Ingenuity (Ai) dome kit to a solid wood yurt kit.  The cost to purchase, pay shipping on the kit and build one of Ai’s  dome kits is about the same price as a solid wall yurt but you receive more from the Aidome.  The Aidome exterior is steel reinforced concrete versus the yurt’s wood exterior. The Ai dome is more wind resistant – solid wood Yurt has 100 mph wind warranty when Ai dome has 225 mph wind & F4 tornado warranty.  Plus because the Aidome has no wood in or on the dome prefab panels and no wood interrupting its insulation, the exterior is resistant to fire and insect infestation, and the Ai dome overall will be more energy efficient.  To view photos and utility bills of an Ai dome home, click on 34′ dome.

Although most yurts are tent like structures, there are some that have solid wood walls, in order to compare them to Ai’s dome building kits, Ai searched and found a company that sells sold wall (wood) yurt kits.  Below is a comparison of wood yurt kit to an Ai dome kit, including cost to build. Ai called a solid wall yurt kit company in Washington States.  Yurt is made from wood with a  wood foundation.   Kits range in size equal to American Ingenuity’s 22 ft to 34 ft dome kit sizes in sq. ft.  No insulation or Sheetrock is included in their kit vs the Ai dome kit comes with prefab panels containing seven inches of rigid, nontoxic R28 Expanded Polystyrene Insulation, ½” Georgia Pacific drywall w’ steel reinforced concrete exterior.  The wood yurt kit  has a warranty to 100 m.p.h. wind with 3 second gusts and class D seismic rating versus Ai dome kit is warrantied to  225 mph wind and F4 tornado and class D seismic rating.

Per their website “The best I can suggest as a general rule of thumb to figure the final cost per square foot  (not knowing the complete picture of how you will go about the project and not including  infrastructure) would be to take the price of the yurt kit you would like and figure somewhere between twice and three times that cost. The infrastructure (foundation/floor, well, power and septic) would be an additional cost and can easily cost you the price of the yurt kit. All this considered your yurt home will cost you twice to 4 times the cost of the yurt kit depending on all the factors above.”

The following example includes the cost to purchase and build a 30’ solid wall yurt to a comparable size American Ingenuity 27’ dome at 737 sq. ft.  The Yurt installs insulation in 2x 10 wood framing versus the Ai dome’s insulation is already installed in the prefab panel with no wood interrupting its R28 insulation.

 27′ American Ingenuity (Ai) Dome Kit estimated cost (including parts): $22,660

Plans 3 sets w/seal $1,551 (stock plans) energy report available if needed

Finished or Build cost approx. $104,000

Approx. shipping from Rockledge Fl to Kansas City Mo. 1,270 mi @ $2.70 a mile or $3,483

Concrete Ai Dome approx. total including sealed plans, kit w/build and shipping  - $109,034


Soild Wood Yurt kit from Washington State price: $29,239

Plans 3 sets w/seal $1500-$2500 no energy report available

Finished or Build cost approx.:  $103,000 (per website)

Approx. shipping from Seattle, WA to KC MO. 1,836 miles @ $2.70 mi or $4957

Wood Yurt approx. total including sealed plans, kit w/build and shipping $109,457

The cost to purchase, pay shipping and build one of Ai’s  dome kits is about the same price as a solid wall yurt but you receive more from the Aidome.  The Aidome exterior is steel reinforced concrete versus the yurt’s wood exterior. The Ai dome is more wind resistant – solid wood Yurt has 100 mph wind warranty when Ai dome has 225 mph wind & F4 tornado warranty.  Plus because the Aidome has no wood in or on the dome prefab panels and no wood interrupting its insulation, the exterior is resistant to fire and insect infestation, and the Ai dome overall will be more energy efficient.

The following is from a blog Yurt Drawbacks and Advantages on traditional “canvas” yurts:

“So you have looked at modern yurts, and are convinced that you would love to live in such a structure.  The salesman tells you all of the great things about the yurt (there are many), and you are more enthused than ever.  The price tag is presented, and you learn that yurts cost anywhere from one tenth to one fifth of a similarly sized bungalow. You are told that a yurt can be assembled within a couple of days.  So, knowing that you will be mortgage-free the instant that the home is erected, and you will be living in this space-age creation (that was first constructed several thousand years ago in the Slavic and Mongolian regions), you jump at the chance to go minimal with this unique idea.  But, there’s a lot more to be considered before you buy!

While yurts do hold great appeal, and while yurt living has a lot of advantages, there are myriad drawbacks, impediments and disadvantages to consider, as well as significant design and sizing options, depending on your region and geography.

Before we look at design considerations, reflect on a few of the more obscure issues that become very significant once you have moved in.  In our locale, for instance, we commune with nature in a very intimate way, with black bear, deer, raccoons & skunks, wolves & coyotes, weasel, mice, squirrels, an army of insects, garter snakes, birds and so on.  This interaction with nature is, for the most part, enjoyable.

When the skunks, weasels and squirrels take up residence under the building, there goes the neighborhood.  Consequently, an effective mesh screen and lattice barrier is vital to keep the predators and vermin away.  Sure, the weasel will eradicate the mice, but that leaves the problem of a noxious weasel!  Skunks are fairly easily relocated, since they do not care to be in close proximity to us.  It is reciprocal.  Squirrels offer greater resistance and, like raccoons, can wreak havoc on the tarpaulins.  Our yurt integrates so well into its surroundings that a raccoon family has torn holes in the roof tarpaulin, merely by climbing onto it.  Squirrels leave only pin-sized holes, but more of them.

The basic yurt design lends itself to several drawbacks.  Flexible wall yurts, for instance, have walls that are less than two inches thick.  Even with the space-age bubble and foil insulation employed, you will experience more rapid heating and cooling variations inside this building.  However, a solid wall yurt can be constructed of conventional studding, and insulated to higher levels using fiberglass mat insulation as well as bubble & foil or Styrofoam foil combinations.  On the other hand, a yurt, because of its circular design and open concept, heats and cools much more effectively than a similarly sized bungalow.  For example, our 600 square-foot yurt can be heated during minus 25 temperatures with a small radiant propane heater (4-6,000 BTUs), and a 20 pound tank will last nearly a week.  A 600 square foot house would require triple that amount of fuel and still have cold and hot zones.

It is impossible to use standard glass windows in a flexible wall yurt.  Consequently, the norm is to install single-sheet heavy plastic windows, which transmit a great deal of the heat or cooling between interior and exterior.  A solid wall yurt, on the other hand, can accommodate standard window units (smaller sizes).  Doors pose similar issues, and, more so, because most yurt vertical walls are 6’6” to 7’ – less than standard door frame height.

Other infrastructure poses challenges, too. All wiring must be routed through conduit, as it is installed on the outside of the walls framing, rather than through it.  An option is to use low voltage wiring and inverters throughout the building.  Plumbing, too, is installed in plain view.  Of course, this method of installation is much easier and quicker.

Due to the open design of these homes, privacy is impacted, and closet space is at a premium.  Creative layouts can offset these concerns.

Other considerations include safe heating systems.  Open flame is very risky in fabric yurts.  With solid wall designs, flame retarding materials and fire-rated wall boards can be installed.  Yurts may be purchased with mounting for chimney egress, but pay close attention to sparks that may burn through the roof tarpaulin!

Other problems that may arise include condensation issues in cold weather, when warm, moist air rises and contacts the thinly insulated ceiling materials, condensing and falling inside the building.  If tarpaulins (particularly roof tarpaulins) are not skin-tight, wind causes the tarp to billow which, in turn, packs down any matt insulation used and reduces that R-value. While the wind effect against a yurt is minimized because of the round design, this means that there are no leeward sides or areas next to the yurt, where you can huddle against the cool breeze.  That also allows smoke and loose sparks to migrate around the building during the winter.

Yurts, almost always, do not meet zoning demands of any urban jurisdiction, and, therefore, do not qualify for permits.  If you are building in remote locations, this will not be an issue, and some solid-wall designs, indeed, can obtain engineer certification.  Proper design and construction practices should be employed regardless of whether the building meets code. The yurt offers a wonderful escape and alternative to conventional housing, but be prepared for the drawbacks, as well as the advantages.” (end of quote from Yurt Drawbacks and Advantages)

We hope you will compare apples to apples when researching the contents and advantages of solid wood Yurt Kits and Canvas Yurt Kits to the contents & advantages of American Ingenuity’s dome building kits.  To view information on the composition of American Ingenuity’s prefabricated panel, click on Prefab Panel.    To view stock plans for each of Ai’s ten dome kit sizes, click on Stock Plans.  If you do not find a stock plan to fit your life style, Ai can modify or customize a plan to fit your desires.  Ai dome plans are flexible to meet your criteria.  On our Stock Plans post there are blank floor planners, elevation views and to scale furniture which can be used to design custom plans.   We look forward to hearing from you and hope you are having an enjoyable life.