Fresh Air and ERVs

Energy Recovery Unit — This RecoupAerator ERV was installed in a window at Charca Casa, the Monolithic Dome home of Judy and David South, and monitored closely.  It proved very efficient. The Souths’ home is now always under 1200 ppm — even with lots of company.

How do you bring fresh, breathable air inside your home, school or church without losing your Monolithic Dome’s energy efficiency? Here’s what I have learned.

Surviving Hurricanes and Tornadoes

Dome of a Home — This fabulous Monolithic Dome home on Pensacola Beach, Florida has successfully survived more than one hurricane. In 2004, the owners and an NBC News crew had permission to stay in this dome during Hurricane Dennis.

Deaths, injuries and property damage caused by tornadoes and hurricanes can be prevented. That’s the primary and most important conclusion FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) reaches in its manual, Design and Construction Guidance for Community Shelters. But this manual doesn’t stop there. It not only says that structures strong enough to survive tornadoes and hurricanes can be built, it actually tells people how to do that.

Major Survivability Concerns in Arkansas: An Ongoing Story

Terry Gray, State Hazard Mitigation Officer and Mitigation Branch Chief for the Arkansas Department of Emergency Management (ADEM) sent an email to more than a dozen State and/or education administrators in Arkansas and to David B. South, president of Monolithic. In it, Mr. Gray explained that during the past six years his department oversaw more than $50,000,000 in grant programs that funded more than 80 community safe rooms, mostly in schools. The email ended with an invitation to an in-depth discussion of disaster survivability, that included a presentation by David B. South — the only invited guest speaker.

Free Email Newsletter

Want to be among the first to know what’s happening at Monolithic? Our free, email newsletter is the best source for that information. It links you to new and updated articles on our website that tell you about new products, techniques, projects and events – in short, anything and everything of interest to domers.

MDI Comic for Everyone

We recently visited your location in Italy and we drew a little comic. We didn’t know where to email it to, but we wanted to share it with everyone.

The “Round” Barn

The Old Round Barn — The Arcadia Round Barn still stands after 111 years! It is one of our nation’s unique landmarks.

The Arcadia Round Barn really is quite the sight to see. Located on Route 66 in the heart of Arcadia, Oklahoma, The Round Barn is one of our nation’s unique landmarks.

School Board News Features Niangua Dome

According to Niangua Superintendent Andy Adams, it’s not unusual for one tornado per week to rip through southwest Missouri during tornado season. That’s one of the reasons why the school district opted to build a Monolithic Dome preschool building.

How to Build a Monolithic Dome

Step One: Foundation

Monolithic Domes are constructed following a patented method that requires a tough, inflatable Airform, steel-reinforced concrete and a polyurethane foam insulation. Each of these ingredients is used in a technologically specific way.

Determine HVAC Needs For A Monolithic Dome: An Engineer’s Advice

Gordon Cuthbertson, owner of Cuthbertson Mechanical Engineers, of Mesa, Arizona and Ontario, Canada, was a skeptic. When Gordon first got involved with Monolithic Domes about four years ago, he, like so many others, had a hard time accepting and believing what the Monolithic Dome Institute (MDI) says about the thermal mass capability of its structures.

Carbon Dioxide Monitoring

Carbon Dioxide (CO2) monitoring is not a new concept, but it’s proving to be a tough one to handle. It has to do with the amount of fresh air in a structure.
Most of us have heard of sick buildings. When the air in a building gets polluted with vapors that can be or are harmful to us, the result is a sick building.

Don’t Give Up Your Dream

Don’t let the current economic tough times take away your dream of owning a Monolithic Dome. The Monolithic Dome is the ideal, high-performance building that needs to be built — now more than ever.

Monolithic Methane Digester Cover Helps Recycle Waste Into Energy

Monolithic Airform — At our Airform factory in Italy, Texas, we design and manufacture Airforms for companies such as USFilter that incorporates the Airforms into its waste treatment systems.

Switzerland has a small one with a 37.75’ diameter. Chile has a large one with a 90.2’ diameter. And hundreds of others with various diameters serve in many installations throughout the U.S. We’re talking about Monolithic Airforms, manufactured for USFilter at Bruco, our Airform factory in Italy, Texas.

Hazard Amnesia — Failure to prepare for the next disaster

Just after a disaster, many people and officials in a ravaged community resolve to do whatever it will take to protect themselves from future losses. Unfortunately, that resolve usually doesn’t last. It’s replaced by something the experts at FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) call hazard amnesia.

Why We Need Io-20 Residence Inns

Nickel and Dimed — Best-selling author Barbara Ehrenreich details one of America’s primary problems: housing for low-income wage earners.

We are finding that an Io-20 even when rented at an affordable, fair price will turn a profit for the owner. Conclusion: It is possible to provide drastically needed housing and make money at the same time. That’s a win-win!

Niangua to Host Open House at New FEMA-Funded Monolithic Dome School

Niangua, Missouri — This FEMA funded structure which will hold approximately 400 people, qualified for the grant money because Monolithic Domes meet FEMA’s criteria for design and construction of community safe rooms, and also offer near-absolute protection from tornadoes and hurricanes.

Niangua R-V School District made national headlines when it began construction on a Monolithic Dome preschool building that will double as a community disaster shelter. On Thursday, April 16, 2009 at 5 p.m., the school district will open its doors to the public to show off the completed building, which was funded with a grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

Polish Entrepreneur Builds His Monolithic Dome Dream Home

Pregowski Monolithic Dome Home — In 2000, Monolithic Construction of Poland built this two-story Monolithic Dome dream home that has a 50-foot diameter and a living area with 2500 square feet. In 2007, Jan cleaned the Airform and gave it a beautiful, new look with products available in Poland.

Jan Pregowski has three loves: God, his family, and – of all things, but to our delight – Monolithic Domes! Jan, a 53-year-old native of Poland, first heard about Monolithic Domes in 1985. Since then, he has worked on more than a hundred dome projects in various countries, including several in the United States.

Life Above the Treetops at Cloud Hidden

Cloud Hidden — It’s a Monolithic Dome dream-home that’s 85’ long, 46’ wide and 37’ tall, set in the hills of North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Parkway.

Story time in the treetops? That’s the fantasylike environment four-year-old Meili Kaslik enjoys. When it’s Meili’s story time, she and her mom Melanie cuddle into comfy chairs in a cozy, glass-enclosed nook perching above the treetops at the Monolithic Dome home they call Cloud Hidden.

Morrisett Dome Home in Alaska

Morrisetts’ Monolithic Dome Dream Home — It’s on a 2-1/2-acre site in a forested area of Anchorage, Alaska.

If you visited the Morrisetts’ new Monolithic Dome home in Anchorage, Alaska and asked, “Is everybody happy?” you would probably get an enthusiastic “yes” from the three humans and an affirmative bark from their dog. The reason is simple: the Morrisetts — David, who is 42 and a computer programmer, April, who is 39 and an office manager for a vending machine company, Joshua, their almost-4-year-old son, and Chewbacca their dog— all love their new dome home.

An Insider’s View of the Monolithic Dome Construction Process

Spray Foam Magazine — The Emerson’s of Hayes, Virginia allowed Jack Innis of Spray Foam Magazine to witness the construction of their Monolithic Dome Home.

Anyone who has ever sprayed polyurethane foam during construction of a Monolithic Dome knows that even television host Mike Rowe would agree that it qualifies as a “Dirty Job.” Crews have to work on the interior of the dome once the Airform is inflated, and polyurethane foam literally surrounds them as they spray the building’s curved surfaces.

Fairplay Dome Home Featured in Real Estate Guide

Fairplay, Colorado — This 4,000 sf multi dome home is still under construction.

Since Keith and Sylvia Wortman began construction on their new Monolithic Dome home in Fairplay, Colorado, more than 300 people have traveled to the remote site to take a tour of the unusual property.

A Need for Petite Housing

Secret Garden — Dome rentals located in a downtown area.

I have been contacted by various cities about building little rental units as part of the answer to affordable housing in their areas. Many city administrators now acknowledge that their towns lack affordable housing for those who work and live on the lower end of the pay scale. Those same areas often lack affordable housing for seniors, the physically and mentally challenged, and others.

Wind, Water, Corrosion and Monolithic Domes

Eye of the Storm — View of “Eye of the Storm” dome home from the beach on Sullivans Island, SC. The “Eye of the Storm” is much more than a pretty house, it also demonstrates the practical aspects of a Monolithic Dome on beach front property.

Building a beach front home offers a few extra challenges such as wind, water, erosion, flying debris and corrosion. A Monolithic Dome home successfully meets each of these challenges.

Grand Hassle Nets Grand Facility

Children’s Reading Center (CRC) — On its 11-acre site, CRC built a facility with five Monolithic Domes, funded primarily through a USDA loan.

“The result was worth the effort!” That was how Robert Melosh, facility project coordinator, at the Children’s Reading Center (CRC) described all he and school administrators had to go through to get their new school.

New Monolithic Dome Multipurpose Center at Avalon

Avalon, Texas Multipurpose Center  — This Monolithic Dome gymnasium and center has a diameter of 124 feet and a height of 37 feet that includes a 12-foot-high stemwall.

While the population count of Avalon, Texas may be in doubt and small, its pride and interest in their school is not. Most recent proof of that is Avalon’s new Multipurpose Center, for its 250 students in pre-kindergarten to Grade 12. Designed by Monolithic Architect Rick Crandall and built with a 12’ stemwall, this Monolithic Dome measures 124′ × 25′ with a total height of 37 feet.

The Monolithic EcoShell II

The Monolithic EcoShell II — The EcoShell II is a  super-strong structure that can withstand hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, fire, termites and rot.

In the United States and other industrialized nations, an EcoShell II can serve the same purpose as an EcoShell I: It makes an ideal, durable and low maintenance garage, workshop, grain storage, small warehouse or shed. Nevertheless, some people feel that the EcoShell II is an improvement over EcoShell I, since its construction system allows Shotcrete to be applied to the interior of the Airform. This difference does not seem like much to some; others think it makes EcoShell II’s construction process more technologically sophisticated and therefore more appropriate for a nation with a developed economy.

Timeline for Monolithic Dome Construction

Construction Timeline

A frequently asked question here at Monolithic is, “How long will it take me to build a Monolithic Dome home?” The quick answer is two to four weeks for the shell. But the real answer is determined by many contributing factors. The timeline here is intended to provide potential dome owners with a general building timeline.

The Monolithic EcoShell I

The Monolithic EcoShell I — The EcoShell I is a super-strong structure that can withstand hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, fire, termites and rot.

An EcoShell I is a super-strong structure that can withstand hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, fire, termites and rot that has different uses. In industrialized nations, particularly those with temperate or cold climates, such as the United States, Canada and Great Britain, uninsulated EcoShells make an ideal garage, small warehouse, grain storage, shed or workshop. But in the developing world, most of which has a tropical or equatorial climate, EcoShells can provide permanent, secure, easily maintained and – most importantly – affordable housing.

March 2009 – Missouri School District Adds Two More Domes to Campus

A small Missouri school district that recently completed the last of three Monolithic Domes, will begin construction this spring on two more dome buildings to accommodate students in kindergarten through second grade. Valley R-6 School District in Washington County plans to build the two new dome structures on the same site as the three existing domes.

Can EcoShells Be Insulated?

EcoShell II — Insulating an Ecoshell is simply another low cost alternative.

An EcoShell, like a Monolithic Dome, is built of reinforced concrete. But unlike that of a Monolithic Dome, the EcoShell’s Airform is removed and reused. Nor is an EcoShell usually sprayed with an insulating blanket of polyurethane foam. Obviously, an EcoShell and a Monolithic Dome are very different structures. Nevertheless we are often asked: Can EcoShells be coated with foam? The answer is a very cautious Yes because it’s not a smart solution.

The EcoShell vs. The Monolithic Dome

Ecoshells in Haiti — This EcoShell, located in Haiti, provides protection from hurricanes and infestation. A standard mud hut measures 160 sf. This EcoShell is twice the size – measuring 314 sf, yet costs the same to construct.

At times, we have repented of teaching people how to build EcoShells. The EcoShell is the epitome of a thin shell concrete structure. It’s the best building, if you want a storage shed or ultra low-cost housing. An EcoShell can be built with few materials. Low production costs enable EcoShells to compete with metal buildings. Yet EcoShells have the advantage of being much stronger and longer lasting. But an EcoShell is not a substitute for a Monolithic Dome.

Tolchii Kooh’s Monolithic Dome Schools – 1998

Traditional Decor — Entrances to the Monolithic Domes are enhanced with traditional Native American patterns.

When the Native American community saw their need for not one, but two, new school facilities on its Navajo Indian Reservation in Arizona, they got innovative. Superintendent Mark Sorenson explained, “We designed Tolchii Kooh to be like a district office, with Leupp and Little Singer as independent schools, subcontracted to Tolchii Kooh.”

Ananur’s Monolithic Dome Home

Ananur’s Home — This Monolithic Dome is a 35′ × 15′ sphere. Its exterior is elastomeric Elray stucco. The eyebrows are hand formed out of expanded steel lathe filled with straw.

This is a 35′ × 15′ sphere. Exterior is elastomeric Elray stucco. Eyebrows are hand formed out of expanded steel lathe filled with straw.

Monolithic Domes Create 25th Century Art School

School of Communication Arts — Roger Klietz, founder and president of SCA in Raleigh, North Carolina, designed the sculpture at its entrance.

“This looks like the art school of the 25th century!” According to Roger Klietz, founder and president of the School of Communication Arts (SCA) in Raleigh, North Carolina, that was the reaction one consultant had after seeing SCA’s new Monolithic Dome campus.

A New, Monolithic Dome Technology Center

Rock Port Technology Center — This Monolithic Dome’s single floor design of 14,500 square feet includes 7 labs, classrooms and a library for its 423 students and 45 teachers.

If you want to talk to happy, excited people, just call or visit Rock Port, Missouri. This mainly agricultural community, populated by only 1500 and located a short eight miles from the great Missouri River, recently completed a new, Monolithic Dome Technology Center for its school.

February 2009 – Open House to Benefit Helping Hands of Yuma

One of most unusual homes in Yuma will once again be open for tours as part of a charity fundraiser. The Monolithic Dome home, known as Yumadome, will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, February 7th. Admission is $10 per person, with a portion of the proceeds benefiting Helping Hands of Yuma.

February 2009 – FEMA Funds Monolithic Dome Tornado Shelter

Niangua Tornado Shelter

A small Missouri school district has received funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to build a Monolithic Dome shelter that will double as a preschool classroom. The dome is the first building of its kind approved for FEMA funding.

January 2009 – Woodsboro ISD Unveils Multipurpose Facility Plans

Woodsboro ISD

The Woodsboro Independent School District has scheduled a community meeting for Monday, February 9 at 6:30 p.m. to unveil plans for a new Monolithic Dome multipurpose facility that will double as a community disaster shelter. The building will serve as the school district’s gymnasium and auditorium in addition to providing a safe haven for area residents when severe weather threatens.

January 2009 – Monolithic’s Energy Efficient Freezer Storage

Monolithic Inc., a Texas-based company that specializes in the construction of energy-efficient Monolithic Domes that can be used as freezer storage facilities, is proud to introduce an innovative new structure equipped with an automated storage and retrieval material handling system (AS/RS). The introduction of the new handling system makes it possible to build larger, more cost-effective domes for storage of frozen foods.

October 2008 – Monolithic Domes Open for Tours

If you’ve ever driven by the giant caterpillar on Interstate 35 between Dallas/Fort Worth and Waco, and wondered what in the world it was, you’ll have the chance to find out on Saturday, October 25th. The Monolithic Dome Institute in Italy, Texas, home to Bruco, the giant caterpillar, will be opening many of the dome homes on its property for public tours from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. as part of the eighth annual Fall Dome Show.

October 2008 – Geronimo School Builds Fifth Tornado-Proof Building

Construction crews building a new middle school and high school in Geronimo, Oklahoma will be turning heads on Monday, October 6th (weather permitting) when they use giant fans to inflate a huge balloon, known as an Airform to create the shape of the school’s fifth and final dome building.

September 2008 – Dome School Facility Proposed for Fowler, Kansas

USD225 in Fowler will find out in November whether it can build a futuristic, energy-efficient dome building to serve as a new multi-purpose facility. Voters will decide on November 4th whether to approve a $1.94 million bond issue that would fund construction of a Monolithic Dome structure that would house a computer/technology lab, a new band/vocal room, a new gymnasium, two locker rooms, and a commons/concession area.

February 2008 – Conference on Dome Homes and Buildings

Global warming and the severe weather associated with it have heightened interest in energy conservation as well as tornado and hurricane preparedness. It also has generated increased interest in a futuristic type of building that may offer one of the best solutions to both these concerns: the Monolithic Dome.

January 2008 – Church in Commerce, Texas to Build Dome Sanctuary

St. Joseph Catholic Church in Commerce, Texas is scheduled to begin construction later this month on a unique, tornado-resistant building that will serve as the congregation’s new sanctuary. The new building will be a Monolithic Dome, a one-piece, steel-reinforced, super-insulated concrete structure best known for energy efficiency, longevity and the ability to meet the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s criteria for near-absolute protection from natural disasters.

November 2007-Monolithic’s Gas-Powered Concrete Pump

Monolithic Equipment Manufacturing of Italy, Texas has introduced the MudSlinger GHP 1500 Direct Drive, a new gas-powered concrete pump that eliminates the need for electrical access or the use of generators at job sites, and also features a direct drive to the carousel.

May 2007-DFTW Completes First Major Project: 71 Homes in Indonesia

Domes For The World (DFTW), a Salt Lake-City-based nonprofit foundation established in 2005 with a mission to improve the lives of people worldwide through the introduction and construction of Monolithic Domes and EcoShells, has completed its first major project: a village of 71 dome homes, six public lavatories, a mosque, a medical clinic and a kindergarten on the Island of Java in Indonesia.