From Dean Dowd on August 14, 2008 in Green Remodeling
In a recent conversation with some close friends, they begin discussing their plans to build a new home. However, this is not just any ordinary house. It is an earth-covered, cement framed, solar powered dome house. Confused? I was confused and thinking they were a little crazy until they described it further. Upon further research, I discovered these homes are called monolithic dome homes and are actually quite popular.
These structures can be free-standing, or built completely or partially underground. Our friends have chosen to build theirs on a hilled location on their property in Eastern Oregon. The house is going to be fully solar powered, so they are situating it to capitalize on the suns rays in each season. Eastern Oregon is known for its bitter weather, and this is part of their motivation for building this type of home. The frame will be built out of a steel-enforced cement frame in the shape of a dome. They accomplish this shape by inflating a large airform specially made for this purpose. The form is pressurized throughout the construction process. A layer of foam is sprayed on the interior of the frame, upon which a steel frame is built. Over the steel frame, concrete is sprayed into place completing the dome. The cement frame will then be covered with two-three feet of earth. The face of the house will not be covered in earth, but will be where the windows are located. On the interior, the home can be finished just like any other interior. The way the home is designed, it will be virtually invisible unless the sun is hitting it just right.
These homes are eco-friendly and essentially self-sustaining; leading to their growing popularity worldwide.
Photo Credit: The Monolithic Dome Institute