By now, most of us have heard of “green buildings.” Now we’re hearing about “micro-energy buildings,” structures designed to use very little energy.
In today’s world we have a tremendous amount of publicity about both. But when we get through all that rhetoric, what are we talking about? We’re talking about buildings that use less energy to construct, maintain and keep warm or cool.
No building is more of a micro-energy user or greener than a Monolithic Dome – unless you simply don’t care what the building costs.
The Monolithic Dome is absolutely micro-energy efficient. Its energy needs for maintaining a comfortable interior are one fourth of any other normal structure. A Monolithic Dome would require less energy to heat or cool than a super-insulated metal building or a conventional house covered with an air-tight wrap. See Thermographs of Dome in Canada.
Compared to most concrete structures, Monolithic Domes use small amounts of concrete. Generally a Monolithic Dome home has a concrete thickness of 2 1/2 to 4 inches. On a large gymnasium, school or church, the concrete is another inch or so thick. It takes a very large dome – something with a diameter of 250+ feet – to require concrete 6 inches thick. These thicknesses are 50% to 75% less than that used for conventional concrete structures.
It takes energy to produce concrete. But the small amounts Monolithic uses makes concrete an efficient construction material. And it is not chewing up our forests needed for carbon dioxide uptake.
Because concrete is a long-lasting material, buildings need not be replaced every few years. Nor do they require inordinate amounts of money for fire protection since concrete is fire-safe.
A Monolithic Dome will last many times longer than any conventional building. If you divide the amount of energy it takes to build the dome by its lifespan. you get a result that shows the energy per year as extremely small.
There will be some maintenance over time. The use of the building may change and interior walls moved. They will obviously need to be painted to keep them looking neat and pretty. But they won’t have to be torn down and rebuilt.
The best energy we can consider for a building is that energy that is not needed. If we can eliminate 75%, then we only need 25%. To date, alternative energy costs more to produce than conventional energy. So if we only have to produce 25% using alternative methods, we can do that for a fraction of what it would cost to produce 100% of the energy needed for a structure.
Micro-energy buildings are an absolute necessity. If we can eliminate the need for the power, we become greener, and we don’t have to spend money producing alternative power for the energy hogs that most of our buildings are today.
March 23, 2009