After reviewing the FEMA requirements for a structure capable of providing a safe shelter for people in areas where hurricanes and tornados represent a real danger, the Monolithic Dome, because of its very nature, heads the list for economy and strength to resist extreme loads.
There is no such thing as a free lunch, but the Monolithic Dome comes close. The original cost of a Monolithic Dome is generally less than that of a similar- size conventional building. Often it is much less. Then there is cost recovery. Generally, over a period of twenty years, savings in energy costs will equal the full cost of a Monolithic Dome facility. So, in effect, it becomes free.
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.
For Nanette South, David B. South’s daughter, years of study and work have culminated in a thesis titled, “A Finite Element Analysis of the Monolithic Dome.” Its ten chapters, figures and tables discuss the history of thin-shell and Monolithic Domes, shell theory, finite element analysis, comparisons of shell theories and a buckling analysis.
When David South founded Domes for the World in 2005, he envisioned the construction of safe, low-cost dome homes for the poorest people on the planet. His vision has turned into reality as EcoShell domes have been built in countries like Indonesia, Ethiopia, Mongolia, Sudan, Sri Lanka and Bolivia
Chris Zweifel, now 41 and successfully operating ZZ Consulting, said that he always wanted to be an engineer. The question was what kind since engineering encompasses many branches. “I couldn’t make up my mind – had a hard time figuring it out,” Chris admits. Finally, about the time he began working on his bachelor’s degree, he decided on Civil Engineering.
Monolithic Dome walls are not only good for our environment, safe from natural disasters and cost effective, they’re easy and fun to decorate. Yes, curved walls are finally coming into their own. What decorators used to puzzle over and dread now has them cheering and praising.
Thanksgiving is still a few days away, but we are already giving thanks that HGTV is planning to feature the beloved Hobbit House of Montana on the show Home Strange Home on Thursday, November 24 at 8 p.m. Eastern/Pacific time. Host Chris Grundy will take viewers on a tour of the “magical shire in mystical Montana.”
In 2004, Monolithic designed a dome for DuPont. They wanted a structure that could survive a category 5 (155+ mph winds and 18+ foot surge) hurricane, for their plant in DeLisle, Mississippi. It got tested by Hurricane Katrina.
With the end of the Mayan calendar just a little more than a year away, The Huffington Post is reporting that interest in doomsday shelters is on the rise. Those who fear the end of the world will occur on December 21, 2012 are also helping bring attention to the Monolithic Dome’s features that make it virtually indestructible.
On their website and with a touch of humor, Major Pandemic describes itself as “not Pandemic” and “not a Major.” What it does do is evaluate products and programs and publish impartial, honest, full reviews of them. Read their comprehensive review of the Just Water Ceramic Filter.
Since early childhood I have felt total awe to the magnificence and splendor of God’s wild elements.
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.
St. Mary and St. Mercurius Coptic Christian Church in New Jersey may soon be the first congregation in the state to build a Monolithic Dome. The new structure, which is pending approval from the Belleville Zoning Board, would serve as a youth center.
Hooray! They’re still cheering at Monolithic. Thanks to the cooperation and work of domers scattered across America and a healthy media response, this year’s Tour was a big success. Here’s what we’re hearing from our participants:
Monolithic’s David B. South traveled to South Texas recently for the dedication of the new Eagle Dome at the Woodsboro Independent School District. The new Monolithic Dome, which was financed in part by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), is being billed as a prototype for shelters of last resort in coastal areas, according to the Corpus Christi Caller-Times.
We received a call from a homeowner in Forreston, Texas. She wanted us to examine the creek bank in front of her house. The creek had seriously started to erode and her house was seriously getting closer to the creek. She was really worried about it falling into the creek if she lost a few more feet.
For many years Monolithic has been researching and developing protection for the Airform, the exterior fabric on a Monolithic Dome. That fabric is the weakest link of the Monolithic Dome, yet it serves two absolutely vital functions. As its name implies, the Airform forms the critical shape of the structure. That’s its primary function. But it also has an equally vital secondary function: An Airform protects the dome’s polyurethane foam insulation from sunshine and weather. But it’s made of fabric materials that, over time, the sun can slowly degrade. So to do its job, obviously the Airform needs help.
Fathers Day, 2011: On that day the Antelope Springs Ranch in Blackwell, Texas fell victim to a wildfire that blazed across the Lone Star State. This fire destroyed 100,000 acres before it was stopped.
Brigham City, located in Box Elder County, Utah, population 18,000, is home to Lori Hunsaker, editor of the Box Elder News Journal and owner of a beautiful 32′ × 18′ elliptical Monolithic Dome home.
In 1986 John Ayers of Presidio County, Texas became concerned about nuclear fallout from a dropped bomb. He wanted to be safe and asked me to build an underground house for him, which we did in the late summer of that year.
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.
Managed Organic Recycling (MOR) has developed a new composting technology. Its called Aerated Static Pile or simply ASP.
During the 2010 Annual Monolithic Dome Tour, we had more than 100 curious visitors to our dome home in Galax, Virginia. One of those visitors remembered the efficiency of our Monolithic Dome and invited us to a LandCare Grayson (County, Virginia) meeting.
Trinidad, a Texas rural community of 1100 and school district with about 300 students, has been using its Monolithic Dome gymnasium and field house for about seven years now, since their completion in October 2004.
When Monolithic began offering water filters, David South, our company president, began getting questions. “Why is Monolithic talking about water filters?” someone asked. “What do water filters have to do with domes?” another queried. And a third simply asked, “What’s the connection?”
Doing well by doing good. That’s a motto that David B. South has lived by since he first started building Monolithic Domes back in the 1970s. Now his philanthropic efforts are being highlighted by one of the nation’s savviest young entrepreneurs.
One of our recent workshop attendees submitted a slide show that shows the construction of a Monolithic Gazebo. Monolithic Gazebos are constructed using the Ecoshell I construction method. This Monolithic structure as well as a Monolithic Grow Dome were constructed by the workshop attendees during the September 2011 Workshop.
On October 21, 2007, in Santiago Canyon, a hilly, wooded area of Orange County California, an arsonist and the dry, ferocious Santa Ana winds formed a devastating alliance. Together they created and quickly spread a blaze that forced 3000 residents out of their homes. The wood house of Melody and Phil McWilliams was one that was totally destroyed. “All of a sudden, there we were with no home!” Phil said.
The wonderland that Steve and Christine Michaels have created around their Monolithic Dome home is once again making headlines. This time it’s the hometown newspaper, the Billings Gazette, that is putting the spotlight on the unusual property. As we’ve reported, the New York Times and MTV Extreme Homes have also come calling.
Time and time again, we’ve seen Monolithic Domes survive Mother’s Nature’s greatest wrath: from Category 5 hurricanes in Florida to EF5 tornadoes in the Midwest. Awareness has been growing in recent years of just how strong these building are. So strong, in fact, that the Federal Emergency Management Agency is now providing funding to schools and other public entities that build domes that double as community disaster shelters.
When sprayed on the interior of a building, with no covering such as shotcrete or drywall, polyurethane foam can create a dangerous fire hazard. Monolithic Domes are as close to fireproof as you can make a building with today’s technology. Yet they have urethane as a major component. Currently, urethane foam is the world’s best insulation, but let me tell you the rest of the story.
Can a quality bandshell be designed and built economically? Yes – with a Monolithic Dome as the curved form that a bandshell needs.
Monolithic, Inc. has been building fertilizer storage facilities for decades. The strong, steel-reinforced concrete structures are well-suited for chemical storage because they can handle the corrosive elements in the fertilizer. They also can withstand the abuse of front loaders and other heavy machinery used to move the chemicals from one location to another. An added bonus is the dome’s energy-efficiency, which makes air-conditioning them cost-efficient, keeping condensation to a minimum.
Fly ash closely resembles volcanic ashes used in production of the earliest known hydraulic cements about 2,300 years ago. Those cements were made near the small Italian town of Pozzuoli – which later gave its name to the term pozzolan. A pozzolan is a siliceous/aluminous material that, when mixed with lime and water, forms a cementitious compound. Fly ash is the best known, and one of the most commonly used, pozzolans in the world.
One of the greatest advantages a Monolithic Dome has over other structures is the lack of exterior sound transmission through the structure. Outside noises are rarely heard on the inside of the Dome.
It’s perhaps the best known of all the Monolithic Dome homes in the world, and it continues to make headlines every time a hurricane threatens the U.S. mainland. Eye of the Storm on Sullivan’s Island, South Carolina, was the focus of another news feature after Hurricane Irene hit the East Coast.
Indoor golf may now be affordable utilizing the Monolithic Dome. A nine-hole course could be built perfectly in four, 400-foot domes. Proposed plans include two holes in each of three domes and three holes in the fourth dome.
Somewhere between 24 to 36 hours after Katrina made landfall, Pastor Jeff Ulmer of New Life Family Church returned to the 150-foot diameter dome church to assess damages. After finding the building to be structurally sound, he quickly opened church doors to relief workers.
The wildfires raging across Texas have heightened interest in fire-resistant Monolithic Domes, as home owners look for greater protection against all types of natural disasters. The general public will have the opportunity to learn more about these unusual homes when the Monolithic Dome Institute opens many of the dome homes on its property for public tours from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, October 15 as part of the 11th annual Fall Dome Tour.
“Polyurethane foam is no stranger to us,” said Monolithic’s President David B. South in a recent discussion of home insulation at MDI headquarters in Italy, Texas. “After all, it’s a major component of the Monolithic Dome building process,” he continued. “But I’m still continually surprised by how little the construction industry and the average American homeowner know about this wonderful product.”
Bulk Materials is a term used for large quantities of similar material. Bulk storage is the term for buildings that store bulk commodities such as cement, sand, frac sand, salt, fertilizer, feed, grains, aggregates, carbon, chips, seeds, peanuts, coke, blasting powder – and the list goes on. Capacities may vary from a few hundred tons to many thousand tons.
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:
To bend or not to bend? That is the question if you’re talking about bending reinforcing steel bars (rebar) that are partially embedded in concrete, as we do in the Monolithic Dome construction process.
Monolithic Domes — those sturdy, most stationery of stationery structures — have entered a new realm — the realm of fantasy. Rick Crandall, Consulting Architect, says, “Monolithic Domes make perfect fantasy domes, and they are rapidly gaining popularity for fantasy environments such as those in theme parks, water parks, zoos, theaters, planetariums — even shopping malls.”
One of the characteristics of polyurethane foam is density. Density equals how many pounds per cubic foot it weighs. So when we say we want two-pound density foam, it means we want two pounds per cubic foot of foam weight. This can be a little confusing.
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.”
When we think of people who do not have access to clean drinking water and sanitation, the image of refugees in Africa or other parts of the developing world usually come to mind. But the poor and homeless in the United States often face the very same problems, according to a U.N. Special Rapporteur on the Human Right to Water and Sanitation. After a U.S. visit earlier this year, the U.N. investigator Catarina de Albuquerque found that the challenges faced by U.S. homeless are in violation of international human rights standards.
As my wife and I prepare for future exterior work on our Monolithic Dome, and to keep up with recommended Airform maintenance, it’s finally time to wash our Airform again.