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R-value Fairy Tale: The Myth of Insulation Values

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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. (Continued…)

Canadian City Considers Monolithic Dome Wellness Center

Because many people still are not familiar with Monolithic Domes, one of the biggest hurdles proponents face when pitching this new technology is a lack of awareness. In Port Colborne, Ontario Canada, resident John Mitchell is making sure that city council members understand the many advantages that dome buildings have to offer. (Continued…)

Arizona School Opens Innovative Dome Campus

Charter schools are known for their innovative curriculum and pioneering strategies. It is fitting, therefore, that the Career Success Charter High School in Phoenix has housed its newest campus in four Monolithic Domes. Located just east of downtown, the brightly colored structures are painted to look like planets - Earth, Jupiter, Saturn and Neptune. The buildings are also totally solar powered and equipped with the latest technology. (Continued…)

David South is Featured on Utah Radio Show

Backcountry Utah is an outdoor radio program that airs weekdays on six radio stations in cities throughout the state, including Salt Lake City. While segments normally center on outdoor recreational activities such as hunting, fishing, camping and hiking, the show recently focused on Monolithic Domes. Our very own David B. South was the guest, and he used the opportunity to take listeners on a tour of the disaster-resistant domes and cabins. (Continued…)

Fertilizer Blend Plant Video

You can’t successfully operate a blend plant in any structure. It takes a building specifically designed for that job. This ten-minute, easy-to-follow and understand video explains and illustrates the advantages of a Monolithic Dome designed and constructed as a blend plant. The video describes the technologically sophisticated process and formula used in Monolithic Dome construction. It also details Monolithic advantages, many of which simply are not available in other structure types. They include: disaster resistance, super insulation that prevents interior temperature fluctuations, strength and durability. (Continued…)

Letter From: Kevin McGuckin- The Inn Place at Brenham, Texas

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On a stretch of Interstate 35, in Central Texas between Waco and Waxahachie, is an enormous caterpillar. The curious stop to explore and come across Monolithic Dome Village. The caterpillar is a manufacturing warehouse; there are dome offices, dome storage buildings and upwards of 60 domes rented out as single person dwellings.  I was informed that these buildings are ‘green’ in every way.  They will withstand winds of 450 miles an hour (FEMA rates them as near absolute protection), they are environmentally friendly and have an R value of 60.  Their lifespan is measured in centuries, they don’t burn, or rot, or get eaten by termites. I decided to sign up for the workshop that Monolithic offers to learn how to build them. (Continued…)

In With The New; Out With The Old

Image: Systems compared — A conventional system brings in the maximum amount of outside air, whether needed or not. No allowances are made for crowd size. The cooling unit functions as an air handler even if CO2 levels are extremely low.  	

In a split system, the cooling unit only recirculates air inside the building. Human respirations increase the buildings CO2 levels and trigger the CO2 sensor to turn on the outside air intake system. So this ventilation system only brings fresh air into the building as needed, depending on crowd size. This dramatically lessens energy consumption and cost.

Within any building, many things affect air quality. Those things include carpeting, paint, paneling, furnishings, etc. Each or everyone can emit gases into the air that are bad for us. Organic materials within a building can harbor their own kind of bad stuff, such as mold, mites, bacteria, viruses, insects and even vermin.
So just what is the solution? (Continued…)

Is it better to build one large dome or two or more smaller ones?

This is a familiar problem. Administrators of various building projects, but particularly schools, often come up with a general plan that allows them to keep making the building bigger and as square as possible. Reason: Have the least amount of surface exposed to the weather because the surface is what generally lets in the heat or the cold. But Monolithic Domes give us a new paradigm – an attractive, practical one. The actual heat loss through the shell of a Monolithic Dome is close to zero, so it is not part of the equation. (Continued…)

Steel Rebar Placement in a Monolithic Dome

Image: Workers attaching hoop rebar to rebar hangers

It’s important to understand why we use rebar (reinforcing steel bar) in concrete. It’s used to absorb tension forces in concrete, since concrete has very poor strength as a tension material. So correct placement of rebar is essential. (Continued…)

From Geodesic to Monolithic Domes

Image: Framework for a geodesic dome — David B. South built this near his home in Shelley, Idaho about 1970.

While attending high school in Idaho back in the late 1950s, I listened to a lecture given by Buckminster Fuller. He was promoting his Geodesic Dome. I was instantly fascinated with the concept of a building which, because of its shape, would cover more area with less materials than any other structure. (Continued…)

Grow Your Food in a Monolithic Cabin Grow-Dome

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Why grow your own? Good question! Can’t we just keep making our weekly stock-up trip to the supermarket? Well of course you can. But there are some growing (pun intended) reasons not to. (Continued…)

A Dome Primer

Time and time again, we’ve seen people confuse the Monolithic Dome, invented by David B. South and his brothers, with the geodesic dome popularized by Buckminster Fuller. eHow.com, which posts informative articles on more than 1 million different topics, recently shed light on the difference between the two structures in an article headlined “What Are Different Types of Domes?” (Continued…)

Greener Side Spotlights Monolithic Domes

News Radio 1080 is one of the main sources for local news in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. Recently, the station launched a weekly segment called the Greener Side, which focuses on new green technologies and products. (Continued…)

Woodsboro’s Own Superdome

Image: Rendering: Woodsboro ISD

If you’ve ever been to an inflation of a commercial dome structure, you know how exciting it can be to watch a huge Airform expand before your very eyes. For the students of Woodsboro Elementary, the excitement was contagious. During the recent inflation of their South Texas school district’s new multipurpose center, they got into the spirit by chanting: “Blow it up, blow it up.” (Continued…)

March 2010: Texas Company to hold Disaster Reconstruction Workshop

As relief organizations prepare to begin reconstruction efforts in Haiti and Chile, a Texas-based company is hosting a five-day workshop to teach attendees how to build the earthquake-resistant, concrete structures that have proven to be a viable solution for countries around the world. (Continued…)

August 2010 – Media Advisory: Woodsboro ISD

WHAT: Construction crews building a new multipurpose dome building for Woodsboro Independent School District will be turning heads on Wednesday, August 25 (weather permitting) when they use giant fans to inflate a huge balloon, known as an Airform to create the shape of the building, which will double as a community disaster shelter. (Continued…)

SUBE: Building Monolithic EcoShells in Peru

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With little concern about hearing anything that might impact her life, in 2008 Lynda Eggimann, a real estate investor in Pocatello, Idaho, attended a real estate conference. But there she learned about Monolithic EcoShells and their ability to survive earthquakes. Lynda immediately thought about Peru, a country she knew well and visited frequently, that included loved ones, and that suffered from devastating earthquakes and poverty. (Continued…)

The Next Big Future? Ecoshells

The Next Big Future is a web site that reports on new technology and science that can “impact the future course of civilization.” It covers a variety of topics ranging from new university research to economic forecasts. A recent post focused on the home of the future - the Monolithic Dome – and specifically on the EcoShells that are being constructed in developing countries around the world. (Continued…)

The Ideal Data Center: A Monolithic Dome

Image: Shelters  — Shown here are two Tornado/Hurricane Shelters.  These are for storing bank buildings and emergency response equipment.  They could as well be housing data centers.

Companies need secure buildings – especially if they host computer systems and store data. Monolithic Domes make secure, solid, permanent facilities that can withstand tornadoes, earthquakes, wild temperature fluctuations and even rifle fire. (Continued…)

Dome Storm Shelter Provides Safe Haven

Image: “Open Dome” — Residents of Summit Ridge Estates, a manufactured home development in Pataskala, Ohio don’t worry too much about storms these days now that they have a their Monolithic Dome Shelter/Community Center.

Although a deadly tornado can strike anywhere, about half of all fatalities occur in manufactured homes, according to the National Severe Storms Laboratory. But residents of Summit Ridge Estates, a manufactured home development in Pataskala, Ohio don’t worry too much about storms these days. That’s because they have a Monolithic Dome storm shelter on their property that provides a safe haven when severe weather strikes. (Continued…)

Spray-in-Place Concrete Fences: How to Get Just the Look You Want

Image: Spray-in-place security — Fence with washed aggregate surface

Monolithic has a 25-page manual that details the start-to-finish steps for building an attractive, permanent and economical concrete fence. It comes with diagrams and photos of the construction process and includes a discussion of shotcrete and concrete design mix. (Continued…)

A Monolithic Dome Home with Brick Walls!

Image: Sty Manor — Joel Emerson and his dad, both creative, professional, master brick masons, designed this dome home encased in brick.

At one time, Joel Emerson, a professional, creative brick mason, jokingly told Debbie, his wife, that someday he would build her a brick igloo. In the years that followed, Joel learned about Monolithic Domes, and in 2003 he attended a Monolithic Workshop. So what started as a casual joke became a serious project – with a little modification: Joel’s original brick igloo became a Monolithic Dome enhanced with brick. (Continued…)

Monolithic Dome Housing for the Caribbean

Like most of the Caribbean islands, St. Lucia is vulnerable to hurricanes. On the average, a severe storm brushes the area about every four years. The last one was Hurricane Dean, which blew by with 100 mile per hour winds in 2007 and tore many roofs away, even in the elegant community of Vigie, Castries where residences are supposed to be built well. The area’s vulnerability to hurricanes is one of the reasons that real estate developer John Craciun is looking to build Monolithic Domes in St. Lucia and the wider Caribbean. (Continued…)

Fire in Monolithic Dome Extinguishes Itself!

Image: Fire! — Apparently, a coffeepot started a fire in this Monolithic Dome rental unit.

A Thursday evening in September was quiet until the Fire Department and Sheriff’s Department were called to a fire in one of our rental domes. But the interesting part of this story is that the fire, inside the dome, extinguished itself! (Continued…)

Are Monolithic Domes’ exterior coverings fireproof?

The Monolithic Dome is as fire safe as you can build. The outside cover fabric can be damaged by fire. It can be covered using coatings, but if we are building in a high fire area, we recommend that the exterior of the dome get a 2” coat of concrete as well. Where we have done that, fire has passed right over the dome with virtually no damage. (Continued…)

How does Monolithic control/negate cracking as the concrete dries?

There is an old saying: “If you do not want concrete to crack leave it in the sack.” We subscribe 100% to that saying. So, what we do is control the effects of cracking by using reinforcing steel and/or other reinforcing such as basalt. Basalt rebar is relatively new, but as a replacement for steel rebar because it has the advantage of not rusting. (Continued…)

Can you turn an EcoShell into a Monolithic Dome?

The obvious answer is yes. Can you make it cheaper? Not in our opinion. One such process suggests inflating an EcoShell II Airform, applying stucco, foam, rebar and concrete, then peeling off the Airform so it can be reused. In Monolithic’s very early days, we peeled off Airforms for reuse. (Continued…)

Hurricane Keith Huffed and Puffed and…

Image: Hurricane Keith — Satellite imagery of the hurricane as it plowed inland over Belize.

Two Monolithic Domes endured and survived Hurricane Keith’s rampage virtually unscathed! They are the Monolithic Domes at the Xanadu Island Resort owned and managed by Ivan and Judy Sheinbaum on Ambergris Caye. (Continued…)

Xanadu— A Dome in Paradise

Image: Xanadu Island Resort — Ivan Sheinbaum’s first completed Monolithic Dome has three fully furnished apartment suites at Xanadu Island Resort.

Xanadu – Samuel Taylor Coleridge coined that name for his imagined paradise in 1797. Some two hundred years later, Ivan and Judy Sheinbaum began creating their Xanadu – a Monolithic Dome tropical island resort on Ambergris Caye in the West Caribbean nation of Belize. (Continued…)

Tune in to “This New House” on August 5

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A Monolithic Dome home in Wisconsin will be featured on an upcoming episode of This New House a 13-part series that premiers on the DIY Network this summer. The episode, scheduled to air on Thursday, August 5 at 8 p.m,, will focus on the unique approach used to build the energy-efficient and disaster resistant dome home that overlooks Lake Michigan in Manitowoc. (Continued…)

Is the Monolithic Dome code compliant?

Yes, Monolithic Dome buildings comply and exceed all of the usual building codes in every way. In many cases the Monolithic Dome can be placed immediately adjacent to other buildings because of its superior fire code conformance. This can be really important in commercial buildings, schools, and churches. (Continued…)

Can I use steel fibers as the primary reinforcement?

Concrete is a fantastic construction material. However, the real strength of concrete is in compression. In tension, concrete has little reliable strength. We make up for lack of tension strength by using reinforcement. We have learned that steel reinforcement bar (rebar) adds the best tension strength for the lowest cost of any reinforcement material. Many other reinforcements are available. (Continued…)

How Much Does A Monolithic Dome Cost?

There is so much variety in sizes, shapes, and uses of the Monolithic Dome that developing a general price sheet is impossible. Even within a single category such as homes, costs can vary drastically. A small, one bedroom home may cost only $45,000 where a three bedroom home, complete with chandeliers and gold plated faucets, could cost $500,000. What you put in your home is as important to its cost as whether you build a dome or a conventional structure. In an effort give a general idea of how much domes usually cost we have compiled the following guidelines. But just like your home, one size does not fit all. Click here to read more about the True Cost of a Dome Home. (Continued…)