Dome Home Kits Win Kudos
With their futuristic, geometric design on the outside, geodesic
kit homes differ radically from the typical frame house--too
radically, for some people. But that design brings out the best
in energy efficiency and ease of construction. From the inside,
there's lots more to like, according to James Dulley of The
Journal Newspapers, including up to 5,000 square feet of
available space in three to four levels, 20-foot high ceilings,
triangular skylights, lofts and other unique architectural
Geodesic domes are the most energy efficient of all home designs.
What makes them so miserly is the shape--they have a smaller
exterior surface area for transferring heat. Air flow
circulation is more efficient in the interior, too. The result?
Your dome home's annual utility bills will typically be 50
percent lower than a conventional frame house of similar size.
Some dome owners don't even need air conditioning in the summer.
Domes are not only easy on your utility bills, they're relatively
cheap and easy to build. One common design, called hub and
strut, involves color-coded steel hubs and lumber struts on the
framing. If the adventurous do-it-yourselfer recruits several
people for a dome-raising, the framing can actually be completed
over a weekend. Another design employs pre-cut foam panels with
deep grooves at the joints. To create the framing, you lay steel
reinforcement into the grooves then pour concrete over them. The
resulting structure is practically as strong as a bomb shelter
and good for hurricane and tornado-prone areas. The streamlined
dome shape allows high winds to flow over it. Yet another design
comes in rigid foam insulation panels that are bonded together
and coated with a cement-like cover.
Geodesic dome homes are not necessarily eccentric in design or
exclusive in their appeal. In fact, a more traditional or
conventional appearance can easily be obtained by using vertical
wall risers and room extensions. Add 20 foot-high rooms with
multiple skylights, fireplaces, and multi-angled ceilings, and
you'll be the envy of your neighbors.