Serenity Dome in late 2015.

Serenity Dome in late 2015. (Chris Ecker)

Energy study reveals savings for Monolithic Dome home owners

At last! Five years of utility data has been collected and summarized for our Monolithic Dome nestled along the Blue Ridge Parkway in Virginia. As a quick review, we constructed Serenity Dome in ‘09 -’10. Serenity is a Callisto-based, 2/3 oblate ellipsoid, 50-foot Monolithic Dome on a three foot stem wall, with window and door augments. Our total square footage is 1963 for the ground floor, and just over 700 square feet upstairs for 2675 square feet total.

We are all electric except for an outdoor wood stove. Our utility consumption includes the usual washer/dryer, kitchen appliances, and typical entertainment devices. It is also worth noting that our utility bill includes a two car garage, a hobby studio, warming lights for a chicken coup and water pump-house during freezing weather, and lately, a 500 foot stretch of electrified fence to protect a couple of honeybee hives. Serenity residents include two adults, occasional overnight visitors and at least two K9 companions.

For benchmarks we used data from the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) who track and publish residential billing and usage. Their latest data (2014) posted the average residential Virginia electrical usage was 1172 kWh per month. The going cost was $130.04 per month and Virginians paid an average 11.10 cents per kWh. They also state the American average annual use was 10,932 kWh, which averages to 911 kWh per month. You can research your state data at the U.S. Energy Information Administration website.

With the caveat, “Your results will vary,” here’s our five year summary of electric consumption at Serenity Dome, along with the 2014 data for Virginia and the USA. Virginia and US cost estimates are based on 2014 data.

Serenity Monolithic Dome Average Virginian Household Average U.S. Household
Total kWh used for five years 47,279 70,320 54,660
Total cost of utility for five years $5,249 $7,806 $6,067
Average kWh annual usage 9,456 14,064 10,932
Average annual cost $1,050 $1,561 $,1213
Average kWh monthly usage 788 1,172 911
Average monthly cost $88 $130 $114

Our average monthly utility cost per square foot was 3 cents. Our estimated savings for five years was more than $2500 compared to other Virginian households.