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Seth Pogue
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I still haven't found anything to beat the superinsulated concrete dome.  www.monolithic.com
 
                                  
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If and when I look to build, these guys are actually closest to me, so might be considered for that.  I work near downtown Dallas, would look to live and build in south east Dallas, Mesquite, Garland, or Balch Springs to have reasonable driving distance.

The other thing is that I would have to consider what will meet building codes in this area.  I assume Monolithic Domes will, being local, but not sure what else.  I'd probably prefer something cheaper to build, but I haven't been researching long.

And greetings people, this is my first post.  I found this sight by searching for stuff on mike oehler.  I'm glad to know his ideas haven't been abandoned just because they seem to be the hardest to get through building codes.
 
Seth Pogue
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No prob with bulding codes for Monolithic domes in your area.  Or in most.  And insurance is cheaper because they're fireproof, flood, earthquake, tsunami, tornadoproof etc.
dome.jpg
[Thumbnail for dome.jpg]
 
Kathleen Sanderson
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Seth Pogue wrote:
No prob with bulding codes for Monolithic domes in your area.  Or in most.  And insurance is cheaper because they're fireproof, flood, earthquake, tsunami, tornadoproof etc.


I like that picture!  I've looked into the monolithic domes and think they are a great idea, just probably more money than I'll ever have to spend (Mike Oehler's $50 to $500 houses are more in my budget range, LOL!).  But that is the first picture of one I've seen that really looked like it belonged to it's site!

Kathleen
 
jeff bousquet
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You can use Earthbags to create monolithic domes.  They use pretty much all local materials and can be built for very little money as long as you have the labor.  Not to mention you can forgo the use of cement.
Check out earthbagbuilding.com or email me if you are curious, I have built a few complex dome structures and many demos.

peace

jeff
 
Kathleen Sanderson
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earthjeffone wrote:
You can use Earthbags to create monolithic domes.  They use pretty much all local materials and can be built for very little money as long as you have the labor.  Not to mention you can forgo the use of cement.
Check out earthbagbuilding.com or email me if you are curious, I have built a few complex dome structures and many demos.

peace

jeff


I've looked into earthbag construction, and think it's interesting, but it's not monolithic really.  It may look monolithic once the bags have been plastered, but the word monolithic means 'one'.  Cob walls could be termed monolithic, as opposed to adobe bricks.  But in earthbag construction, the bags aren't physically joined to one another, as a number of people building with them have found out to their cost when something failed to work as planned.

Kathleen
 
jeff bousquet
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Hi Kathleen,

I've built a number of unstabalized earthbag domes.  I am curious about the failures of which you speak.  I do a lot of work in this area and would love it if you could share why these buildings did not work out.  I found in my experience two major factors can lead to an earthbag dome not behaving as it should.  The first is improper fill in the bags.  If you use an all sand mix or all clay you run into difficulties.  Sand is a shape shifter and does not compact and harden particularly well.  The clay would eventually harden, but it is very difficult to keep the bags in place while building.  it tend to want to slide out as one tamps.  The best method is something which compacts well and hardens as the wall cures.  A mix close to that of adobe.  There are many other mixes that work, but testing and observation needs to occur before a full size building is undertaken.

Another problem I have dealt with is the bags being not wide enough.  If one tries to build to large a dome with two small a bag, the dome becomes unstable and wobbles.

The double strands of barbed wire between each course serve two functions. They provide tensile strength holding the bags together and in place while building and tamping.  It also creates tension rings throughout the structure.

Once plastered, an earthbag dome behaves just as a poured concrete dome.  The beauty is in the shape, and the transfer of the loads to the Earth. 

Much trial and error needs to happen for sure.  And if anyone has a shake table in their backyard there is great need for emprical engineering tests. Until then, we just have anecdotal evidence.  From what I have read and experienced, earthbag domes when properly built, are incredibly strong and durable.  They can be built on any continent with minimal outside resources.  The main supplies are ubiquitious, poly bags and barbed wire and the method is simple enough to learn and teach very quickly. 

Again, please send me accounts of the failures so that we may learn from them.

Thanks
Jeff
 
Kathleen Sanderson
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Well, I think the one I'm thinking of is Kelly Hart's house, which you are probably familiar with.  He was stretching parameters, and had some spectacular structural failures in the process, although he did manage to work things out and finish the house.

Kathleen
 
Seth Pogue
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Thanks earthjeffone.  Any data on how earthbag domes stand up (no pun intended)  in earthquakes?  I ask because a monolithic dome will handle a #10.
  Maybe through every three or four vertical tiers of stacked bags, you could pound a 4'-6' piece of rebar down through the bags
 
Kathleen Sanderson
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Seth Pogue wrote:
Thanks earthjeffone.  Any data on how earthbag domes stand up (no pun intended)  in earthquakes?  I ask because a monolithic dome will handle a #10.
   Maybe through every three or four vertical tiers of stacked bags, you could pound a 4'-6' piece of rebar down through the bags


Earthbags have been tested and exceed California's rather rigorous earthquake construction standards, with just the barbed wire between bags.  I thought that was pretty good.  You do need to build a perfect circle, though -- part of the problem that Kelly Hart had with his place is that he tried to stretch the living room circle into an oval, and he ended up having to build a wood framework for part of the upper story.  He said from now on he was sticking with circles.  But they can be joined to one another.  His other problem was with building large arches, but he did eventually figure that one out, too.

Kathleen
 
Seth Pogue
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Has anybody tried filling the bottom of each bag with earth, the top with perlite/pummice, then stacking them with perlite out, earth in, for thermal mass on inside of dwelling, insulation out?
 
Kathleen Sanderson
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Seth Pogue wrote:
Has anybody tried filling the bottom of each bag with earth, the top with perlite/pummice, then stacking them with perlite out, earth in, for thermal mass on inside of dwelling, insulation out?


I haven't heard of anyone doing that, but it sounds like it could work!

Kathleen
 
Emerson White
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Location: Alaska
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That actually sounds like a bad idea to me. Very high danger of shifting causing the whole thing to come down. Two rows of bags perhaps.
 
jeff bousquet
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I agree that the double bag wall might be  a better option.  The reason being the difference in the way the wall compacts.  It would also require each individual bag to be sown shut.  The bags could be filled with an insulative material such as scoria or perlite, than bermed.

As far as engineering, CalEarth has done lots of work with engineering the EB domes.  They have only done static load testing though.  Once plastered, an earthbag dome becomes a monolithic structure, with all of the forces being evenly dispersed to the ground.  f I believe Kelly has a write up on earthbagbuilding.com under articles.

~JeFf
 
                      
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Seth Pogue wrote:
I still haven't found anything to beat the superinsulated concrete dome.   www.monolithic.com



Seth

I happen to live not far from Italy Texas. I've made many a sojourn there to inspect and question their building methodology. I happened there on a very hot summer day and spent an hour or so in their customer center. The 24" dome was air conditioned with 2- 4500 BTU window AC's and even in the dead of a Texas summer (well over 100 degrees) the home was very cool and inviting.

As someone mentioned the cost of a dome isn't $50 however, one could be build for much less than a standard stick built depending on the amount of sweat equity.

These homes are nearly indestructible and can withstand tornadoes, hurricanes, fire and earthquakes. One of the domes in Italy had a tornado go right by the dome and snapped off the domes electric poll. The poll landed on top of the dome and only did some very minor superficial damage.

I'll probably have a small one built, in the near future, on some land I have out in East Texas.

I truly enjoy reading about cob, bail, stacked block, and other interesting building methods. The following is some interesting info on a unique building method:

http://touchtheearthranch.com/tirebales.htm
 
Jonathan 'yukkuri' Kame
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This one has been around for 2,000 years.  No rebar required. 



Still in awe that that the Romans gave us concrete, perfected the dome, and made running water a reality. 
 
Emerson White
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Vitrious China Rope Rebar you mean. a span of concrete with out any rebar has a special name, it's called a pile of rubble.
 
Jonathan 'yukkuri' Kame
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Emerson White wrote:
Vitrious China Rope Rebar you mean. a span of concrete with out any rebar has a special name, it's called a pile of rubble.


When I visited the Pantheon I must have been so awestruck that I missed that bit.  Thanks!  That is one building I will never forget.
 
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