Author Topic: Dome-a-rama  (Read 11138 times)

Offline RE

  • Administrator
  • Jr. Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 51
    • View Profile
Dome-a-rama
« on: April 17, 2014, 11:56:01 PM »
This thread is to discuss the various applications of different types of Domes.

I'd like to hear from the other folks who attended the Monolithic Domes Workshop on how they think Domes can be applied in transition, and any plans for putting into practice dome construction.

RE

Offline jdwheeler42

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 24
    • View Profile
Re: Dome-a-rama
« Reply #1 on: April 18, 2014, 01:31:03 PM »
Well, I wasn't there, but I'll ask some questions I more or less asked before the conference, and I hope people have better answers now.  Can this be used for a solar greenhouse?  I would be willing to do a little supplemental heating with a rocket mass heater, but I would want 100% of the light to come from the sun.  If so, any guesses as to how much it would cost?  Ideally I would want a usable space at least 10 feet deep N-S, 20 feet wide E-W, and 6 feet 8 inches tall on the inside. 

Offline Eddie

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 28
    • View Profile
Re: Dome-a-rama
« Reply #2 on: April 18, 2014, 02:12:37 PM »
Not the best application for one of these particular domes imho.

They truly are a monolithic structure, and putting windows into them requires some fairly major mods, like lots of extra rebar around skylights and windows. Their beauty is in their strength, which comes from the unbroken spherical or ellipsoid shape.

However they are fairly perfect for growing hydroponically using artificial light. Easy to heat or cool, airtight for CO2 control.

A twenty foot oblate ellipse dome (cheapest Monolithic design compatible with human occupancy), with about 300 ft2 inside would cost about 25K retail. Could be owner built for maybe 16-18K I'm guessing, but not much less, and the techniques are not easy to learn or apply. Too expensive for a greenhouse, unless you use it for your house too, which isn't out of the question.

A larger dome, a 40 footer (1400- 1600 ft2 could be engineered to have nice natural lighting and some grow space for plants, and would still make a good home too. The cost for a building this size (shell only) would be 75 to 80K).

Offline Eddie

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 28
    • View Profile
Re: Dome-a-rama
« Reply #3 on: April 18, 2014, 02:25:30 PM »
Monolithic.org is David South's attempt to make all the dome knowledge open source, and that site has 30,000 pages of free info.

His experimentation right now centers around indoor growing using these new hydroponics wheel systems they have recently designed.

They are designing big systems and small systems. On paper, they have a small system now that uses one of their cheaper truckable pre-fab domes (think about the size of a 24 ft RV) with three of their patented grow wheels (the innovation here is that they have designed a wheel that increases in diameter as the plants grow, keeping the light a fixed distance from the plants).

I can envision a very nice community of perhaps five to ten tiny dome houses (20 footers make a nice efficiency size cabin) arranged around a central grow dome.

The cost would be 25K per tiny home and perhaps 40K for the fully outfitted grow house. The grow house could be a community project or set up with community members participating in a CSA arrangement with one farmer running the system.

This is the most promising model they have, in my eyes, although they have big money guys looking to build huge grow domes with  thousands and thousands of square feet and hundreds of wheels. that's too much like BAU for me, although it is still considered to be a de-centralized system for local production and consumption. David South is serious about feeding nine billion people, and he thinks bigger than I do. Maybe he's right, but I like staying small.

Offline RE

  • Administrator
  • Jr. Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 51
    • View Profile
Re: Dome-a-rama
« Reply #4 on: April 18, 2014, 02:29:27 PM »
For Greenhouses utilizing natural light, Monolithics are NOT the way to go.  You're much better off with a Geodesic for Greenhouses.  The Kits are quite reasonable, this 18' model goes for $2495 (poly-carbonate cover is extra, standard comes with plastic sheeting)


You can go 30' for $4295


Monolithics are the ultimate Fuk-U-shima Prep.  Airtight, recycle the water, filter the air and water you use and hunker down while everyone around you dies of Leukemia.  :o

RE

Offline RE

  • Administrator
  • Jr. Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 51
    • View Profile
Re: Dome-a-rama
« Reply #5 on: April 18, 2014, 02:38:13 PM »
Now, my idea here is to use one of these garden geodesics as a scaffold for building a ferrocement dome instead of using the Balloons from Monolithic. After the ferrocement dome sets up, you can remove the geodesic scaffold and use it again. I want to try this with a small dome at the next Convocation.  ::)

RE

Offline Surly1

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 18
    • View Profile
Re: Dome-a-rama
« Reply #6 on: April 18, 2014, 04:11:06 PM »
Hi gents.

During the last week I have been driving at night down to Sandbridge, where some of Contrary's relatives are staying. As I drive through what used to be rural countryside, I pass a dwelling that has what looks like a quonset hut covered in thick plastic as a greenhouse. TO me that looks like an eminently practical idea.

I know nothing about the construction, but from the road and with the unaided eye it looks like this:



Any idea of the pros and cons of the dome v. quonset model?

Not my area at all. I just recall thinking, "Now THAT's a greenhouse."

Offline Eddie

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 28
    • View Profile
Re: Dome-a-rama
« Reply #7 on: April 18, 2014, 04:36:42 PM »
Most commercial grow houses are those quonset style buildings now, generally called "hoop houses". Their main benefit is low cost. I have one, a big one, that needs to be recovered and has a lot of junk (accumulated by the prior owners, who used it mostly for storage) that still needs to be hauled off.

Joel Salatin likes hoop houses and uses them for a variety of things, including chicken houses and (if I remember correctly from my reading) for raising pigs, too. Just a cheap, semi-temporary structure that can be purposed in a variety of ways.


Offline H

  • Administrator
  • Jr. Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 51
    • View Profile
Re: Dome-a-rama
« Reply #8 on: April 18, 2014, 08:14:48 PM »

A larger dome, a 40 footer (1400- 1600 ft2 could be engineered to have nice natural lighting and some grow space for plants, and would still make a good home too. The cost for a building this size (shell only) would be 75 to 80K).

A 40-foot dome has 1260 square feet.  A 37 foot spherical dome on a 1.5 foot stemwall would give 1,075 sqf ground floor, and  400 sqf second floor.  We're working on designs for a four-plex for rental, that would also make a good four-family retreat for a potential investor. 




Offline jdwheeler42

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 24
    • View Profile
Re: Dome-a-rama
« Reply #9 on: April 18, 2014, 10:06:58 PM »
For Greenhouses utilizing natural light, Monolithics are NOT the way to go.  You're much better off with a Geodesic for Greenhouses. 

Monolithics are the ultimate Fuk-U-shima Prep.  Airtight, recycle the water, filter the air and water you use and hunker down while everyone around you dies of Leukemia.  :o
You don't understand....

I'm not looking for a good use for a monolithic dome....

I'm not looking for an "efficient" greenhouse space....

I tried the latter already.  For my effort I got a load of shredded 1" steel electrical metal conduit.

I routinely (like, every year) get 50+ mph wind gusts in the area of my property that gets the sunshine for a greenhouse.

If I want to ever have anything human-scale, it will either have to have some serious lumber or masonry to hold it together.  My question, therefore, really is how does this compare to stick-built or traditional masonry.  Unfortunately, it does sound like it is a little pricey (although, $100 / sq.ft. is not unreasonable).

Offline H

  • Administrator
  • Jr. Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 51
    • View Profile
Re: Dome-a-rama
« Reply #10 on: April 18, 2014, 10:45:41 PM »
Short answer - yes, you can make a good greenhouse with one, it's part of our plans and now I've got real figures, data, and an understanding of the process, I'll have the costs and a design for you shortly.

My plan is for a 38 ft dome, 1,000 square feet with around 600 square feet of windows.

IIRC, you are on a hillside.  In your case, we'd  dig into it to create a good level, then we'd put a retaining wall, and reflect into the north and east side of the grow dome.

The center eight feet of the dome top will be clear.  For a greenhouse, I'd put a big parasol up there, that I can retract down to seal the dome, or raise for air flow.  Alternatively, you could take advantage of the air flow over the dome and put in a wind generator.  Our design allows for different things to fit into the center area.

We could run storm shutters in rails down each window, the storm shutters can be released remotely, either by command, when X number of gusts over Y in time Z, or similar metric that would cause you to batten down the hatches (solenoid holding a pin up, power goes out, gravity does the rest).   
   
I'll be posting a few ideas over the next few days.

Offline H

  • Administrator
  • Jr. Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 51
    • View Profile
Dome-a-rama - Update from H
« Reply #11 on: May 11, 2014, 09:24:38 AM »
I've put work on the "domestead" business project on indefinite hold until the animosity against domes at places like NBL has died down.  Where it's been discussed outside of those who attended, I've seen more negative than positive comments. 

I'm still working on the rental development idea as an alternative career path that gets us moving further east, away from the worst of the drought.