Why a dome home?

Type of building considerations:

North Central Florida: Hurricanes – we have experienced 90 MPH winds and torrential rains. The original design surpasses the hurricane requirements in Florida. Most property owners in the area remove all trees surrounding the dwelling. Florida summers are quite severe and the cost of energy cooling these buildings exposed to the bare elements must be considerable.

Termites, a real problem. Eating away quite nicely as we speak. Cocky – cockroaches and other creepy crawlies. Most buildings up here are pre-fab or wooden and do not have a long life expectancy. Rebuild every 40 years? Good for the economy.

Earth bag construction is a natural counter for all of these challenges. We studied a few different designs and modified one we felt we could work with. The engineer modified the basic layout to satisfy code. It was further modified during construction, so that the final building is vastly different to what we originally planned. The top floor was eventually cut off and a sloped roof is being built.

We moved the whole bathroom inside the main 20 ft. main dome.This is phase One. Phase Two adds another two domes to the original. One bedroom and a meditation dome. This way we can make use of a self-sufficient fully equipped dwelling while the other two domes are under construction.

DomePic Why a dome home?We also wanted a good footing in the ground as we get some heavy torrential rain. Building code here calls for a 3 ft wide by 5 ft high fireman’s egress window on the upper floor, so we modified the plans to accommodate this.The final update removed the top story anyway… (So we donder on ou maat). Doorways have been added for the other two domes and we have moved the windows as well.
We are trying to keep away from the hot Florida sun in Summer whilst allowing warmth and light into the building during Winter months.

Initially we hoped to go a lot “greener” than we are. Weather considerations  moved us toward cement stabilization of the first few rows of bags as well as some give and take with the building department. We need to compromise to fit in to others requirements as well? Home owner builder is a big help too. This allowed us to put in our own electrics, sewage and water systems. Local suppliers of hardware are keen to help, as is our building inspector.

The property has existing power, a water well and septic and a well equipped workshop. A good start.

The best reason of all is to own a home, which you can build. Be debt free. How many people do we know that pay a mortgage every month for a depreciating asset? Most Americans. After 40 years it needs major remodeling anyway. Own a building that will still be there hundreds of years later and is virtually maintenance free. Say no more. The system is killing us… and we are the victims.
Be done with the banking industry.

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  • wp socializer sprite mask 32px Why a dome home?
  • wp socializer sprite mask 32px Why a dome home?
  • wp socializer sprite mask 32px Why a dome home?
  • wp socializer sprite mask 32px Why a dome home?
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29 thoughts on “Why a dome home?

  1. Lynne Cimino

    Mike, Thanks for letting us follow your progress, this will be fun! This brings back many fond memories of when we built our house. Yes, my Twist Mattress Kit is finished and I have officially opened openyoureyesbedding.com !

  2. Jion

    I have always wanted to know if an e-bag home was doable in Florida.
    I have property in north central florida that would be perfect for it.
    I will be following your blog closely.
    Good luck!

  3. glenna

    Hi….Hope to get informed about workshops. How they turn out. And of course ones that will be coming up soon. Sadly I have to plan my trips out of town way in advance, But would still like to make a workshop. Or even a informal work weekend. glenna

    1. admin Post author

      Hi Glenna
      Just posted new workshop dates… every 2 weeks. Very successful. Blog has some photo’s. Come over some time.
      Mike

  4. Homepage

    Wow, superb weblog layout! How long have you been blogging for? you make blogging appear effortless. The overall appear of your internet site is magnificent, as effectively as the content material!

  5. April

    Hi, thank you so much for providing this info!
    I am curious about meeting flood heights. I am in SC, where we have to elevate the finish floor to meet FEMA/flooding requirements, I’m assuming FL is the same. Did you just regade the site so that your finish floor is above the flood level?
    Thanks!

    1. admin Post author

      My FF is way above flood line so it was not an issue. It will be a 3 dome building. One dome is a little below FF height, but it is all bermed anyway. Put concrete filled bags in the low areas to above FF height?
      Don’t know if that helps?
      Mike

  6. Muhammad .M Khan

    Dear mike,
    Your blog is fantastic.I am a pakistani born Canadian citizen.trained as a civil engineer I supervised many const.
    projects . After I came to canada I focused myself on sustainable earth buildings as It seemed to me only solution
    for homeless people. Now a days I am in Pakistan ,& I build a 14 Ft EB dome in flood hit area. This was sponsored by UNO .Now I am developing some dome clusters .I will send u photos of that dome if you like.
    How is ur dome going & when it will be completed. I am in touch with Dr Owen & Kelly Hart.They help me out
    when I am having some Technical. problem .I will remain in touch with you for ur guidance.
    best Regards,
    Khan
    /

  7. admin Post author

    Hi Kahn
    I sent you an email. Sounds like fantastic work you are doing an I am very interested to see photo’s and keep in touch. At the moment it’s been bit slow I am researching and looking at rocket heating and ovens etc. Looking good! Will post as we go along. Best of luck. My twin immigrated to Chilliwack BC when I came to the States. It’s beautiful up there.
    Mike

  8. Claudia

    Mike, it was such a pleasure meeting you this weekend at the plaster workshop in Georgia. I can’t tell you how exciting it is to have met someone so nearby making an earthbag home! So inspiring! I’m going to try my best to swing by with Dandi and Mat sometime in the future to lend a hand.

    Thank you for all that you do!

    Claudia

    1. admin Post author

      It was just great being there with so many like minded people. The workshop was just great, and let’s not talk about the chocolate cake. Lol.
      Please drop by anytime. Mike

  9. Terry Ann

    Hi!
    Please advise if you are going to allow volunteers to work on your additions. I would love to attend workshops & help work on it with you all!!!

    1. admin Post author

      Hi Terry
      I sometimes have free workshops, please check dates in “workshops” you are welcome to come and help. At the moment I am building a cob oven using so many bagging techniques as well as Rocket heating technology and cob work! See “ovens”. Let me know where you live etc, and we can schedule some time.
      Mike

  10. Ana

    Hello Mike,

    Congratulations for building a mortgage free home in Florida! I want to buy some land in Florida and build an earthbag dome home too. Do you do any consulting? This will be my first time buying land and owning a home. I have some questions about buying land and I was wondering if you’d be able to help me.

    1. admin Post author

      I emailed you (I think..lol)
      I will help as much as I am able. Let me know where you live. Can you drop in?
      Regards
      Mike

      1. Brooklyn

        I also have the same question as Ana and am looking to purchase a lot in the central Florida area. Right now I am researching zoning and code laws for building an earth house?? I am hoping to construct a bit of a different design (a little harder to draw than a house that has angles). I want to meet the codes and requirements but don’t want to hire a contractor. My main concerns are the roof structure and how I’ll work electricity through my earthbag” house….This is just a starting point so I will check back later. Great blog btw, and, as someone said before.. you make it look so easy!

        1. admin Post author

          You seem to be on right sequence to follow before considering earthbag.
          Ok. If you have little construction experience but access to help you should be get it done. If your a home owner you can put your own services in.
          Electrical services are really quite easy. Please refer to the resources section and buy the book. It’s awesome.
          Mike

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