Safe, Green, Peace of Mind Homes For You And Developing Countries
Popping up throughout the “Tornado Belt” are environmentally sustainable, loooooong lasting, homes. Or the most comfortable storm shelter you could ever live in.
Headquartered in Italy, Texas, Monolithic is a family of companies sharing a mutual goal: To improve the lives of people worldwide through the introduction and construction of Monolithic Domes, for personal and public use, that are superior in strength, energy-efficiency and cost control.
Because the shape provides no wind resistance, strong winds and tornadoes slide right over domed structures. Quite literally super structures.
Monolithic Domes meets FEMA standards for providing near-absolute protection and have a proven ability to survive tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes, most man-made disasters, fire, termites and rot.
When a hurricane warning is issued in Sullivans Island, South Carolina, all of the island is ordered to evacuate except for two Monolithic Domes and two World War II military bunkers.
They are cost-efficient, earth-friendly, extremely durable and easily maintained. Most importantly, a Monolithic Dome uses about 50% less energy for heating and cooling than a same-size, conventionally constructed building.
Monolithic designs, manufactures and markets a prime ingredient used in the construction of their Monolithic Domes, Crenospheres and EcoShells: the Airform. It’s a balloonlike, inflatable structure that determines the shape and size of a dome. It’s made of a tough PVC-coated nylon or polyester fabric, that determines the shape and size of a dome. Monolithic Domes are constructed following a method that requires the inflatable airform, steel-reinforced concrete and a polyurethane foam insulation. Each of these ingredients is used in a technologically specific way.
David South Sr. co-invented the dome in 1970, and since starting Monolithic, domes have been built and are in use in virtually every American state and in Canada, Mexico, South America, Europe, Asia, Africa and Australia. In the last 5 to 6 years 169 dome homes have been built in Texas alone.
A couple in Henderson, Texas has lived in their two- bed, two-bath, 16,000-square-foot, 36-foot-diameter house for about five years. The cost of their dome home was about 10% more than a conventional house. But with the home’s energy efficiency, their monthly electric bill is only about $100 and over-all their energy cost is 1/3 of a conventional home, more than making up the cost difference. If the electricity goes off, it can stay off 24 hours or more before the temperature in the dome starts to change. Not to mention their peace of mind during severe weather.
South is also the founder/president of Monolithic Dome Institute, which has been working on small dome habitats for people in developing countries. The small domes are 6 meters in diameters (about 20 feet across). Which gives a floor space of a little over 300 square feet (28 sq. meters). According to the U.N., this amount of living space can accommodate up to 8 people.
South says to build such a dome abode would take a small pile of sand, some bags of cement, and reinforcement. But instead of using heavy steel rebar, he utilizes fiberglass or basalt (made from lava rock). Basalt rebar is 11 times lighter in weight and is 3 times stronger in tension strength than steel rebar. He has found that reinforcement rods made from fiberglass and/or basalt are stronger than steel rebar, weigh less, and do not rust. If a concrete building is not or can not be maintained water can seep into the reinforcement rods. Allowing the steel rebar to rust, causing the concrete to “explode”, in which case the building will self-destruct, just from rain water.
This durable, lightweight rebar allows for building these 20 ft/ 6 meters “Monolithic Ecoshell” homes in a matter of days. A process of pouring the floor, attaching and inflating the airform, attaching the rebar to the exterior of the airform, and hand plastering outside that with the proper cement ratio. According to South, it is very simple, very fast, and the least expensive, permanent building ever seen.
Monolithic Domes are neither restricted by climate nor by site location. In terms of energy consumption, durability, disaster resistance and maintenance, Monolithic Domes perform well in any climate, even extremely hot or cold ones. And they can be constructed on virtually any site: in the mountains, on beaches, even underground or underwater (wow!).
By using the fiberglass or basalt rods to reinforce his concrete dome buildings, South feels there is no reason these abodes can not last for centuries. Especially with an exterior coating (paint or sealant).
The Monolithic Dome is a permanent structure that is energy efficient, cost effective, disaster resistant and attractive. They can withstand the force of a tornado, hurricane or earthquake. They cannot burn, rot or be eaten by bugs. Their lifespan is measured in centuries. Hence they do not need to be replaced. In a word, sustainability – potentially the greenest of all building alternatives.
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