Alternative Energy – Is It Stepping Over Dollars To Pick Up Dimes?

For several decades now our federal and many state governments have been singing the praises of alternative or renewable energy systems. They want us to go to a photovoltaic, solar thermal or wind system for our electricity, instead of our local energy supplier. If, during the day, our Monolithic Dome generates the energy we need plus extra that we sell back and only buy at night, we could have a zero-cost home. That’s a practical, reasonable goal, and chances of obtaining it are far better with a high performance Monolithic Dome simply because the dome, by its very nature, uses so much less energy.

Palo Pinto Dome: Eleven Years in the Making

Palo Pinto Dome — By January 2008, this Monolithic Dome home was nearing completion.

Most of us have experienced it at least once — that wonderful feeling when something we’ve planned for a long time finally comes true. In March 2008, Sharon and Terry Smith enjoyed such a euphoria when they moved into Palo Pinto, their new Monolithic Dome home.

Bishop Nevins: Florida’s First Monolithic Dome School

Nightime Glow — Those sparkling structures are the four domes at Bishop Nevins Academy in Sarasota, Florida.

In the morning sunshine, approximately 500 students scrambled into the four new Monolithic Domes of Bishop Nevins Academy, a Catholic school in the Diocese of Venice in Sarasota, Florida. Most had seen the domes and even walked through them before. Nevertheless, excited shouts and ohs and ahs of wonder permeated the air. It was the first day of school — a school of unique round buildings.

New Head Start Center Opts For Monolithic Domes

Centro De La Familia de Utah — These four Monolithic Domes in Genola, Utah were designed and built as a facility for Utah’s migrant workers. It includes a Head Start school for children and various educational programs for adults.

Soft is not a word usually associated with concrete. Yet, soft, round and homey were just what administrators at Centro de la Familia de Utah, the coordinating agency for Utah’s Migrant Head Start Program, saw in Monolithic Domes, as they reviewed possible school designs for their new facility in Genola, Utah.

Woodsboro School District Makes Plans to Build a Monolithic Dome Gym

One South Texas school district is taking steps to protect its students from one of nature’s most dangerous forces. Woodsboro Independent School District is planning to build a Monolithic Dome gym. The dome, which is expected to cost between $2.1 million and $2.4 million, will seat more than 900 people.

Texhoma’s Showplace: A New, Monolithic Dome School

Old and new — In 1910 Texhoma built its first brick building, and in 2000 it built its first Monolithic Dome school facility.

“We’re so big it takes two states to hold us!” So says the town of Texhoma. Now Texhoma has a new, pride worthy accomplishment: a beautiful Monolithic Dome facility for its 426 students, in grades five through 12. The campus features two Monolithic Domes, 108 feet and 66 feet in diameter, connected with conventional construction.

A New Way of Life

This is a video featuring the project by Domes for the World in New Ngelepen, Indonesia. The New Ngelepen project included 77 houses, 6 MCK’s (bathroom, shower facilities), 6 wells, 6 septic systems, a church, and roads.

Modern Day Homes

Click below to watch our Introduction to the Monolithic Dome Homes video.

A Solar Equipped Monolithic Dome in Illinois

Solar Equipped in Illinois — Kati and Robin Millers’ Monolithic Dome home has 6 solar-thermal collectors that collect the sun’s heat and convert it into thermal energy. It heats water that circulates through the radiant heating system to heat the home.

“All great projects start with a spouse!” That was Robin Miller’s reply when asked how and why he got interested in a Monolithic Dome home. He went on to explain that Kati, his wife, had lived in several coastal states but never in the middle of the country until they married and moved to Illinois. When Kati realized that tornadoes occur in Illinois, she insisted on building a disaster-resistant home. So the Millers began researching and found Monolithic Domes.

Podcast: Fabric Formwork Conference

Monolithic Podcast

David South gave a presentation at the Fabric Formwork Conference in Winnipeg, Canada in May of 2008. Among other things, he talked about how we use airforms to build Monolithic Domes.

Choosing a Site for Your Dome Home

Monolithic Dome overlooking a Pond — The easiest place to build a Monolithic Dome is on a nice flat piece of land with good drainage. But a Monolithic Dome is so versatile, it can be constructed on a limitless number of sites.

Choosing a proper site for a Monolithic Dome is both simple and complex. Obviously, the easiest place to build is on a nice flat piece of land with good drainage, but a Monolithic Dome is so versatile it can be constructed on a limitless number of sites. You can put it on a mountainside, a valley or even over water. No matter where you build, be sure to take advantage of your property and sight lines.

Monolithic Domes in Alaska

Trinity Christian Center — This Monolithic Dome church in Soldotna, Alaska has a diameter of 80 feet and a height of 27 feet. In 1995, with its congregation of 100 standing in worship and singing, the church successfully endured a significant earthquake.

The number one advantage to building a Monolithic Dome in Alaska is a shaky one — earthquakes! “Alaska is in the highest earthquake zone,” Ansel said. “We have at least one, somewhere in Alaska — very often.” (Officially, Alaska averages 80 earthquakes a month.) “Monolithic Domes successfully survive those shakers.”

Underground Homes – Good or Bad?

Excavation — Crews excavated for the placement of five interconnected Monolithic Domes for this underground home in Buffalo, Texas.

Has the idea of living in an underground home tempted you? If so, you’re part of a growing minority. More and more people, worldwide, have already or plan to build an earth-sheltered or earth-bermed home.

The True Cost of a Dome Home

The initial cost of a Monolithic Dome is usually the same as a custom-built, conventional home of equal interior finish. If you planned on buying a $100,000 house, you will probably have to pay $100,000 for your dome home. However, the long-term, day-to-day costs of a Monolithic Dome will always be lower. And the true cost of owning a dome home is substantially less.

Video by Erika and Hannah

Two of my nieces made a video about Monolithic Domes while they were on Christmas Break. They really did an awesome job. Check it out.

Church Solutions Magazine Features Monolithic Domes

Church Solutions Magazine is one of the publications that pastors and administrators turn to when they are looking for information that pertains to running a medium-sized or large church. The magazine’s web site features information on everything from church marketing to fundraising during a recession.

A Unique Addition

Monolithic Dome addition — This 36’ diameter dome adds needed space with little increase in overall energy costs.

The night after our home addition was inflated, some of the neighbors thought a UFO had landed. A soft orange glow radiated from the elliptical bubble. It almost seemed alive. Sound like something from a science fiction movie? The foam and concrete dome has something to do with science, but there’s nothing fictional about it.

An Agrithermosphere

An agrithermosphere — This Monolithic Dome was designed as an indoor agriculture system.

What do you get when you combine an enclosed heated pool and indoor agriculture system? An Agrithermosphere — a building used entirely for agricultural purposes. That’s what Gregg Swiderski built in Marengo, Illinois on his 100-acre farm.

At Home in Jasper, Arkansas

Home at last! — After many weather delays, Don Pass and Ron Boswell completed this 50′ × 20′ Monolithic Dome home. They finished the dome interior in just 6 weeks, including all cabinet work, floor coverings and sheet rock.

We have finally come to a breathing place, and can write of our “Birthing” of the dome. We finished the dome interior in six weeks! All cabinet work, floor coverings, sheet rock, and appliances are in and done. By doing the electrical, plumbing, and carpentry, I was able to save a great deal of money as well as frustration. We are moved in and have been living in the dome for the past four weeks.

First Monolithic Dome Home in Moscow, Russia

Monolithic Dome in Mocow — Sviet Raikov, a native Russian, built this Monolithic Dome home, 36′ × 18′, after learning the technology in a Monolithic Workshop. An American flag flies from the dome’s top.

Sviet Raikov, a native Russian, who attended a Monolithic Dome Workshop in 1994 and returned to Moscow with one of our Training Paks, reports the completion of a 36’ X 18’ dome home — the first of its kind in Russia!

There’s a Dome of a Home Going Up On Pensacola Beach!

Dome of a Home — Before constructing this fabulous Monolithic Dome, the Siglers had to provide written confirmation of its acceptance by neighbors. An overwhelming 97% responded favorably.

Although they have toured nine domes, the Siglers would have liked to have experienced life in a dome before making the major investment of actually building one. Seeing the Eye of the Storm on Sullivan’s Island was the decision maker. “That home was proof that domes could be built beautifully,” said Valerie Sigler.

Workshop Graduate Builds His Dream Dome

Free Will — It’s a unique Monolithic Dome home, 42′ × 18′, with 1585 square feet of living space.

If you said Joe Gora is a man who loves his dome home, you would be right. After completing two Monolithic Dome Workshops, Joe designed and built Free Will, a 42′ × 18′ dome with 1585 square feet of living space, on a double lot in Marietta, Georgia. That process took 18 months and culminated with Joe celebrating Christmas 2000 in his new dome. Since then, his delight with Free Will has not waned an iota.

The Eye of the Storm

Eye of the Storm — This Monolithic Dome home, on a beach site on Sullivans Island, South Carolina, is a prolate ellipse measuring 80′ × 57′ × 34′.

On a sunny morning in 1991, at a home site on Sullivans Island, South Carolina, George Paul, designer and builder of dome structures, anxiously watched an Airform inflating. Paul had watched many such inflations before — but never with this much anxiety.

Beautiful Monolithic Dome Home in the Texas Hill Country

A beautiful Monolithic Dome home — This dream home has a diameter of 50 feet, a height of nearly 29 feet, two stories and 3500 square feet of living space. The dome sits among shady trees on five wooded acres in gently rolling hills.

In 1999, Kim and Robert Reynolds designed and built a Monolithic Dome dream-home, a 5/8th sphere with a diameter of 50 feet, a height of nearly 29 feet, two stories and 3500 square feet of living space. Shaded by more than 80 live oaks, the dome sits on five wooded acres among gently rolling hills, seven miles northwest of Bandera, Texas.

Cleaning the Airform

The Airform — Over time, our not-so-clean environment makes washing the Airform a necessity.

At times it is appropriate to clean the Airform, before or after the building is completed. This may be necessary because of dirt accumulated during shipping or construction, or from our not-so-clean environment.

The Clarks’ Monolithic Dome: A House Built of Credit Cards

Living room — It’s on the main floor and includes a small, wood-burning stove. The owners are not expecting to use the stove. Instead, they rely on a hot water system running along the floor of each level.

You’ve probably heard of a house of cards — one built by stacking playing cards to make a structure. But have you heard of a house built of credit cards? Figuratively speaking, the Gary E. Clark family of Ann Arbor, Michigan did just that. They built a house of credit cards — or, more accurately, financed with credit cards.

This Dome Just Clicks

Thinking round! — Rounded windows reflect the shape of Bill Click’s domicile in Bandera, Texas.

“Confusion isn’t necessarily bad,” said Bill Click, referring to the confusion of tax appraisers and insurance agents. Two years ago, Click and his wife moved into their Monolithic Dome home in Bandera, Texas, located about fifty miles west of San Antonio. “We have five acres of land,” Click said. "We’re on a hill and we have a great view.

A New Look for Randy South’s Monolithic Dome Home

A spacious home — Randy South and his family enjoy living in three, interconnected Monolithic Domes, encompassing a living area of nearly 4,000 square feet and now sporting a beautiful, stucco-like, EIFS finish.

Karen and Randy South and their seven sons and two daughters have liked their Monolithic Dome home since they first moved into it in 1996. After all, what was there not to like? Their nearly 4,000-square-foot dome home adorns a 1,260-acre butte that overlooks the beautiful Snake River in Menan, Idaho and provides them with a unique area for observing and enjoying wildlife.

Podcast: Tomorrows Building Available Today

Monolithic Podcasts

Simply defined, the Monolithic Dome is a super-insulated, steel-reinforced concrete structure that can be designed for virtually any use: office or business complex; school; church, synagogue or temple; gymnasium or sports arena; theater or amphitheater; airplane hangar; factory; bulk storage facility; house or apartment complex; military installation, etc.

Surrounded by Nature’s Antiquity

What a Site! — The Wortman dome home is surrounded by Rocky Mountain Bristlecone Pines.

It was love at first sight when Sylvia and Keith Wortman found their 10-acre plot in Fairplay, Colorado. At an elevation of 9,953 feet, the area had an intriguing history dating back to the 1850’s Pike’s Peak Gold Rush, spectacular scenery and natural beauty that included Rocky Mountain Bristlecone Pines. Sylvia and Keith saw it as the perfect place for the Monolithic Dome dream home they had been envisioning and planning for many years.

Going Small, Cozy and Safe!

Irie at twilight — Jerri Hudson named her 1000-square-foot Monolithic Dome home “Irie,” which means “alright” in Jamaican.

Irie is Jamaican for alright. And Irie is the name owner Jerri Hudson chose for her new, 1000-square-foot Monolithic Dome home that sits on a 40-acre, wooded site in Missouri. Since moving in this past November, Jerri has found her new home both comfortable and secure — exactly what she wanted.

Trinity Dome

Trinity Dome — It has a Caterpillar-like design of three interconnected domes, each with a diameter of 24 feet, a height of 13 feet and a total area of 1232 square feet. Accent siding was installed below the north-side windows and the front entry. The stone look complements the Airform fabric.

Helen and Pat Meylor call their Monolithic Dome home “Trinity Dome” because of their belief in the Holy Trinity and because it is a tri-dome structure.

A Dome Fit for a King

Eagle’s Eye — This Monolithic Dome home looks like a medieval castle, but it was designed and built with 21st century technology.

Bob Warden may call it “Eagle’s Eye.” But his new Monolithic Dome home suggests a castle. It even has a tower that looks medieval and a balcony on which you can easily picture a princess awaiting her knight in shining armor. Eagle’s Eye sits among stately trees, on 46 acres of quiet forestland, undisturbed by the big city sounds of busy Cincinnati, 45 miles west of it.

Keeping Up With the Joneses

The Jones Monolithic Dome Home — The family made picture boards about this dome and its qualities. They would place these in the driveway and answer questions from curious visitors.

Keeping up with the Joneses? That’s some challenge if you’re talking about matching what the Scott Jones Family of Colorado did in building their Monolithic Dome home. This Jones Family, Scott, Luann and their children Gregory, David, Melissa and Jeffrey, completed much of the work for their two-story, 46′ × 23′ dome as a do-it-yourself project.

Senior Housing

Ariel II

Seniors often come to Monolithic, looking for help in designing a home for their golden years. Some are very realistic and practical about what they need, what they can comfortably afford and how they want to spend the rest of their lives. Unfortunately, others are not.

Off Grid Central Alberta Monolithic Dome

Monolithic Dome home in Canada — This 55-foot diameter dome-home was designed by Mike Forsyth and built by Canadian Dome Industries in 2005.

A Monolithic Dome home, with a diameter of 55 feet, is owned by Lynn Cain and Mike Forsyth in Canada. It was designed by Mike Forsyth and built by Canadian Dome Industries in the fall of 2005. This dome incorporates the concepts of a passive solar house with a Monolithic Dome.

The McMansion!

A McMansion — It’s a big, very pretty house that stays that pretty only as long as it’s properly maintained — often a 24/7 job.

I recently passed a new McMansion, just built this past year. It sits on about ten acres of land, and it’s gorgeous. What disturbs me is the care such a McMansion requires, especially since its owners are older folks on the brink of retirement. Consider their future. The years will weaken them, but the McMansion will continue requiring the same or a greater amount of care and money.

Memory of a Compound House

A Compound House — It’s an attractive, add-as-you-need-to-add, far more practical alternative to a McMansion.

Several years ago, in Palestine, Texas, I met an elderly but active couple who lived in what the husband had designed, built and called “a Compound House.” Over the years I have thought many times about that Compound House, the husband’s reasons for designing it as he did, how it made sense and how adaptable it would be to our lives.

The Most Eco-Friendly Church in Canada

The pastor of All Nations Church in Canada wanted to build the most eco-friendly, energy-efficient church in Canada. That’s why he opted for Monolithic Dome construction.

Yumadome — A Multigenerational Monolithic Dome Home

Eight suites — They are located off the atrium. French doors open to a balcony overlooking the atrium.

Comedian George Burns once quipped, “Happiness is having a large, loving, caring, close-knit family in another city,” and his audience probably laughed and nodded in agreement. But there’s a unique family of eleven adults in Yuma, Arizona, who — while they might laugh — would not agree. This group — related to one another either biologically, through marriage, or simply through friendship and a shared sense of values — all live at Yumadome.

SketchUp: A New Planning Tool

Ariel Outside View

SketchUp is a drafting/rendering program produced by Google. On sketchup.google it’s defined as “software that you can use to create, share and present 3D models.” It’s new and it’s fun, and with it you can design a Monolithic Dome home, school, church, gymnasium — or whatever.

A Curved Slice of Heaven

Merrell Residence — Ray and Beth Merrell’s dome sits on a bluff in the Hatchet Ranch development south of Pueblo.

The headline of the Pueblo Chieftain article on a Monolithic Dome home in Colorado says it all. For the Merrell’s, living in a dome home is like a little piece of heaven.

American Society of Civil Engineers Highlights Dome Buildings

Construction Institute

The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) publishes a bimonthly newsletter called the Construction Zone for professionals who work in the construction industry. In the September/October issue, the newsletter featured Monolithic Dome buildings.

Due Sorelle: Two Sisters Design a Monolithic Dome Home

Let’s talk! — This small but cozy conversation area features soft-white, curved walls and plump, colorful sofas.

Due Sorelle in the romantic language of Italy means Two Sisters. Thanks to Melinda and Sarah, two daughters of Monolithic’s President David South, we now have a Due Sorelle at our headquarters in Italy, Texas. It’s a 32-foot-diameter Monolithic Dome home, whose 804 square feet include two bedrooms, one bath, a living/dining area and a kitchen.

A Monolithic Dome Home With A Texas Motif

A Texan’s Dome Home — It consists of 3, interconnected Monolithic Domes. Central dome is 28’ in diameter and 14’ tall. Two slightly larger domes, each 32′ × 14′, flank the middle dome.

Can the innocuous armadillo inspire the building of a Monolithic Dome? I wondered about that when I drove to Clifton, Texas to interview Jim Gibbons and see his new dome home. After all, the armadillo is both Texan and the inhabitant of an impenetrable, dome-shaped shell. And, as I soon learned, those are qualities Jim admires.

Compromise or the Best of Two Worlds?

Atalaya del Vulcan — The Cunningham home, named Atalaya del Vulcan, features a Mission Revival style of architecture.

So while some dome-purists might object to a compromise that disguises a dome, Cindy Sue and Daryl Cunningham of Menan, Idaho feel they have the best of both worlds: a Monolithic Dome, or what Darryl calls “the future of building,” and a classic Spanish Colonial home that would appeal to a huge number of modern Americans.

Downsizing Has Advantages

Welcome — A soft-pink front entryway greets and welcomes visitors to the O’Dell Monolithic Dome home in Harrisonville, Missouri.

Theresa and Patrick O’Dell have always been interested in energy-efficient structures, but their interest peaked in 2000 when they saw an ad for Monolithic Domes in Mother Earth News. Patrick said, "Our last house was a conventional, 2000 square-foot home. It was all-electric and our utility bills averaged about $120 a month.

Canadian Dome Builders Greet 400 Visitors during 2004 Dome Home Tour

Monolithic Dome Dream Home — Rebecca and Sunny Cushnie of Southampton Ontario, Canada enjoy these two interconnected domes. The larger dome includes the main living/dining area, a kitchen, laundry room and two bedrooms. The smaller come encompasses the master suite.

Southampton, Ontario Canada is famous for its beautiful sunsets. And now Rebecca and Sunny Cushnie share that fame because of their newly built Monolithic Dome home. An article describing this dream-home in the Toronto Star captured media attention and sent more than 400 visitors to the Cushnie home during Monolithic’s 2004 Dome Tour.