David B. South, co-inventor of the Monolithic Dome and founder and president of Monolithic, works hard at spreading the word about Monolithic Domes, sharing information and providing suggestions. In the President’s Sphere, David talks about topics related specifically to the construction and care of Monolithic Domes, such as the super insulation and energy efficiency of the domes, their ability to survive virtually any natural or manmade disaster, and Monolithic’s ongoing research and testing of new products. In addition, David talks about and offers solutions to social problems and concerns, such as our nation’s dire need for safe, clean, affordable housing. We invite you to frequently visit the President’s Sphere and review the articles as they’re added.
There’s a nice interview with David South by Off The Grid Radio. It’s a podcast where they discuss how the Monolithic Dome resists hurricanes and other disasters.
I’m often asked if there’s a trick to installing fireplaces in a Monolithic Dome. It’s actually pretty straightforward. The real question is, “Do you need the fireplace?” I see the romantic appeal of visiting around a glowing fire or the desire to reduce your heating bill. However, the energy efficiency of the dome typically changes a need for a fireplace into a want.
John Belles was interviewed on NPR Morning Edition about his Monolithic Dome that survived the largest wildfire in Washington state history. It’s another in a prolific stream of news articles about the dome. We liked what John told the reporter, “You could build a square house that was nonflammable. There’s lots of advanced materials and whatnot. They still build out of stick, though.”
This unique and fantastic Monolithic Dome home could be yours for only an essay and an entry fee! Built by the current owners in 1999, the home sits on 10.37 acres of beautiful, rolling countryside in Lowell, Indiana. Just a hop, skip and a jump away from major shopping and dining locations, and just 45 minutes from downtown Chicago. Thyme for Bed is Chicagoland’s ONLY Monolithic Dome Bed & Breakfast!
The fourth Monolithic Dome built outside Idaho was in Chandler, Oklahoma for Bill Matthews in 1978. I had written an article for a fertilizer magazine explaining how a Monolithic Dome would be a terrific fertilizer storage. Bill read the article and flew to Idaho to see our domes. We hadn’t built a fertilizer storage, yet. His would be the first and it opened the gates to fertilizer domes all along the Mississippi River.
Curling is called chess on ice. It’s easy to see why. It requires a unique combination of strategy, teamwork, and skill. People love it. Its popularity has exploded — especially after it became an Olympic sport. With more players than ever, more curling rinks are needed. One person told me there are 35 proposed rinks for the Chicago area alone. We’ve been receiving more calls and decided to look at how a dedicated curling facility would work in the Monolithic Dome.
We regularly receive emails asking about using hempcrete in the Monolithic Dome or EcoShell. Hempcrete uses natural hemp fibers embedded in a lime binder — usually cement. It can provide some insulation and a little strength, but if used in a Monolithic Dome it actually weakens the dome and reduces its energy efficiency.
From the very first thoughts of geodesic domes to the invention of the Monolithic Dome and finally the Crenosphere, read the personal story of the history of the Monolithic Dome as told by David B. South in his latest President’s Sphere.
Can a Monolithic Dome stop a .30-06 bullet? Find out in David South’s latest President’s Sphere, where he discusses this, and the durability of the Monolithic Dome’s exterior, recounting several stories of domes hit by extreme hail storms with virtually no lasting damage.
In David B. South’s latest President’s Sphere, he addresses the risks of constructing low-profile Monolithic Domes. Using his forty years of experience building Monolithic Domes and thin-shell pioneer, Dr. Arnold Wilson’s engineering expertise, he cautions dome-builders that dropping the profiles of Airformed domes can have catastrophic consequences with no appreciable benefits.
Can you imagine being able to build a concrete dome on the seashore using only the available sea water and beach sand? David B. South addresses the building of Ecoshells using salt water and salty sand in his latest “President’s Sphere.” The use of basalt rebar makes this not only possible, but completely simple and feasible.
The ammonium nitrate storage in West, Texas that exploded on April 17 illustrates how other structures could have that same problem.
This cartoon depicts in a funny way what often happens to building projects. A school or prospective home owner will describe their needs to a contractor and will very often end up with an end result far different than what was needed.
School children were killed in the tornado that hit Moore, Oklahoma in the spring of 2013. That need not happen at your school – or any school. It is possible to have A TORNADO-SAFE and AFFORDABLE SCHOOL.
Since the fall of 2007, financing homes, especially Monolithic Dome homes, has become a big problem. The federal government, determined to keep the banks from failing, established new rules for home financing. Those rules helped the banks and some home owners, but they destroyed the progress being made by builders of energy-efficient, greener, better homes. How do we get those rules reversed?
Recently, the superintendent of the Avalon School District was asked if they planned to let school out because tornadoes were bouncing around the area. He said, “No. My children have no homes that they can go to that are as safe as our school. What I am doing is inviting the parents to come here and be with their children in a safe place.”
Goals are like road maps. If you reach for a goal and get side tracked, it is no more serious than driving for a destination and missing a turn. On the other hand, very few people ever get anywhere by wandering aimlessly.
Like many traditional schools, this building has a line of 20 air conditioning units along its back wall. The companion building has another 20 units along its back wall. That’s 40 AC units at just one school! Consider what it costs to install 20 units. How much electrical do those 20 units require? How much copper? How much just plain expense does it take to install and run 20 units?
People go through one of our Workshops to learn about and actually experience the construction of a Monolithic Dome. Some actually want to start a dome-building business of their own. But what should they start with? What’s their first product – a Monolithic Dome home? That sounds far too complicated for most beginners.
Many people do not know that there are some serious tax implications for designers of public-funded structures. Such buildings include schools, city halls – anything paid for with public monies. I urge architects and designers to review Section 179-D of the tax code. You as a designer can get a tax rebate of up to a $1.80 per square foot when you design these publicly financed buildings.
To those that are in the designing of buildings and the calculating of energy cost, I suggest you look at the following website: www.energy-design-tools.aud.ucla.edu/heed/.
When we talk about tiny houses, we are really talking about living an entirely different lifestyle.
I am writing this piece to give Monolithic Dome owners some hints on getting insurance for their homes as well as commercial buildings.
Recently, a school superintendent interested in a Monolithic Dome for his campus told me about a conversation he had with an architect, who will remain nameless. According to the superintendent, the architect had told him that Monolithic’s Airform fabric and sprayed-in foam insulation were “fragile and would sustain severe damage in a hailstorm.” I’m always concerned about such statements.
In the summer of 2010 I met the wife of a man I was doing business with in Europe. Several times during my visit, I had supper with her and her family. In each case, the supper was a stew.
I am often amazed by a community’s initial response for permission to build affordable, clean, safe, low-maintenance, long-lasting housing.
A home comes in two parts; the first part is the investment. With the investment comes its value as a family domicile, a place of refuge (if it is strong enough to be a refuge), and a place for the family to gather, work, struggle and grow together. The second part of the house is the money pit. That’s the cost of maintenance, fuel, electricity and manpower it takes to maintain and operate a house. The money pit is where you throw hard-earned cash that’s never seen again by you, the homeowner.
As a young man, I recall sitting in church and looking at a large painted mural at the front of our chapel. It depicted the parable of the ten virgins – five wise and five foolish. I knew that the five foolish ones had arrived without sufficient oil while the five wise ones had plenty. I also knew that when the bridegroom showed up, the smarties who came prepared were allowed to go in with him; the others were not. At the time, I didn’t understand that; it all seemed a bit cruel to me. As I matured, I realized that preparedness definitely has its rewards.
In 1943 Abraham Maslow published his eye-opening paper, A Theory of Human Motivation, that featured a pyramid of human needs. Shelter,, a universal human need fell into the second longest level of this pyramid. But just what was shelter for the average American in 1943 and in the years that followed? For most of us it meant having a roof over our heads – a reliable one that could protect us from the rain, wind, cold and heat. That, however, is no longer true.
I keep hoping a day will come when we’re no longer thinking that we may need a bomb or fallout shelter. But it seems more and more likely that the need will occur before that day does.
Here is a suggested way to settle an estate. As the oldest in our family, this is the plan that I devised at the time of my mother’s death:
Several years ago a teacher in our school district decided to show the modern version of Last of the Mohicans as part of her literature class. The movie is R-rated and one of the students protested. She said that she and her family “never watched R-rated movies.”
To understand the Seismic Zoning method and how it pertains to the Monolithic Dome, we must first understand what effective peak ground acceleration means and how it is measured against gravity.
We’re having a heat wave! A tropical heat wave! When this photo was taken, we here in Italy, Texas were enduring our 60th day of daytime temperatures of 100F degrees or more! And our nighttime temperatures stay in the 80s.
It is a well known fact that if you get below the surface of the earth a few feet, the temperature tends to be very even and at a constant 55 to 60 degrees, depending on latitude. So, it does not take a genius to understand that if you could move outside air through a buried pipe, you could alter its temperature and then move it into a house where it can warm or cool the home’s interior.
If you want to start a fight, just ask a room full of spray concrete operators: What’s the best system for applying concrete?
Many years ago I decided I wanted a fire-suppression system in my home. I was not interested in fire extinguishers that may or may not work and seem always in the way. I wanted an actual, simple, but extremely effective water system.
Monolithic Domes make the world’s best Grow Domes. We must have them to allow us to grow the food we need in the years ahead.
At a presentation to a school board, I ran into an interesting situation. One of the school board members said, “It is extremely important that we bid this project out.” He was inferring that if they selected a Monolithic Dome they wouldn’t be able to bid it. I explained that there were several people who could bid the Monolithic Dome and that every single piece of the construction of any school building had to be bid. On further reflection, I realized how fickle the bid process is.
Monolithic has been teaching, training, promoting and building these domes for 35 years. Some 4000 Monolithic Domes are in use, working and well proven in 52 countries and 49 American states. But they are still a secret!
I believe now is the time for Americans to rethink how we design and use our living areas. More specifically, I think we need small, easily and economically maintained dome-homes in which the same space is used for both day and night activities – in other words, a space twofer!
When you first begin really looking into current living conditions worldwide, what you hear and read appears overwhelmingly staggering – a situation impossible to correct or even improve. We do not believe that. For one, it’s too easy – too easy to just look at the bigness and give up. Secondly, we do believe we have solutions: 21st Century technology. We know it’s practical and we believe it’s doable.
We need you to help this world into the 21st Century. That means understanding and using 21st Century technology that’s now available. Seriously consider learning and using this technology in your practice.. We will help you all we can.
Zoning is a huge subject. It could easily take a book or two. But fortunately as it pertains to Monolithic Domes, we have just a few things to cover.
During our past century, it seemed wise to live far from smelly factories and noisy industrial areas. That’s no longer true. Most smelly factories and industrial areas have been cleaned up. So why are we still settling for two-hour commutes to work?
I met William Singer in 1995, first by phone, then through the Monolithic Workshop he attended, and we have talked considerably since then. I am guessing that William was sixty plus when we first met, and, of course, the years piled on us all. After graduating from that Workshop, William, one of those independent guys who makes things happen, built his own dome-home.
We now have the technology! It’s here. We have it! We now know how to construct domes affordably. Monolithic suggests that architects, engineers and anyone else involved in structural design or construction learn the advantages of modern domes, and study the technology it takes to build them. Let us teach you.
Permafrost is something most of us don’t ever have to worry about. In some parts of the United States, such as Florida, South Texas, Southern California and Arizona, the ground never freezes. You go further north and the ground only freezes a foot deep during the coldest winter months. But as you travel north, the ground may freeze two or three feet, then five or six feet.
Green construction – that term has now taken on a lot of new meanings. It obviously can mean something as simple as painting a building green. But it more likely means something we do that helps keep our planet user friendly – since we and all living things are the users. There are many ways to make our planet greener. One, obviously, is to build smaller homes.
In the following sample chapter of the ebook Urethane Foam: Magic Material – And the Best Kept Insulation Secret, David explains why the R-value is misleading, how it was devised and why it’s flawed and biased. It also includes case histories and discusses the purpose and workings of insulation.