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View Diary: NASA, Showing the Way to a Better Future on Earth - IF We Choose. (43 comments)

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  •  The "roof" is integral with... (31+ / 0-)

    ...the rest of the dome, which is thin-shell reinforced concrete. The panels are wired and mortared together while supported by a temporary dome frame. What you see here has two coats of Sherwin-Williams Loxon paint, and it has leaks. Some I think may be coming from the unfinished areas under the arches, dormers, and around the cupola. Those are all supposed to be finished with ferrocement stuccoing, and then they will be adding waterproofing materials.

    It's been a learning process for us, the architect, and the contractor.

    For more information on the system, visit

    Float like a manhole cover, sting like a sash weight! Clean Coal Is A Clinker!

    by JeffW on Mon Jul 28, 2014 at 07:55:43 PM PDT

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    •  Thanks for the info... (16+ / 0-)

      your combination of dormers and the upper loft roof make it much more appealing visually than most domes, at least to my eye.  

      The more you learn, the less you know.

      by quiet in NC on Mon Jul 28, 2014 at 08:03:40 PM PDT

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      •  Well, that is the advantage of... (19+ / 0-) AI dome. Calamity Jean thought it would lure me out of Chicago, and onto the farm. I just wish we were finished, had our certificate of habitability, and were moving.

        Float like a manhole cover, sting like a sash weight! Clean Coal Is A Clinker!

        by JeffW on Mon Jul 28, 2014 at 08:19:19 PM PDT

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        •  RE: certificate of habitability (5+ / 0-)

          Now there is one item I agree with the Tea Party on...who the hell is the government to say what I can and cannot live in?  I mean these are the same crowd that okays FEMA trailers, and they are the ones making decisions on suitable housing?

          The more you learn, the less you know.

          by quiet in NC on Mon Jul 28, 2014 at 08:26:03 PM PDT

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          •  This is a county requirement... (16+ / 0-)

            ...otherwise the zoning department is pretty easy. They did give us (and the plans) a funny look when we got our permit.

            Float like a manhole cover, sting like a sash weight! Clean Coal Is A Clinker!

            by JeffW on Mon Jul 28, 2014 at 08:28:52 PM PDT

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          •  Well... (15+ / 0-)

            In most other places its called a certificate of occupancy, and its meant to establish compliance with building and fire codes.  

            As a former official charged with enforcing building and fire codes in a major US city, and having participated in the process of setting national standards to guide municipalities in adopting standards, I can say that the intent of such codes is not to stifle innovation, but to ensure minimum standards of safety, habitability, and yes,  sustainability for the protection of the residents and those who live nearby.  

            As to energy usage and sustainability, standards can cut both ways.  We used to get people all the time that didn't want to build their house with the required R-value in the building envelope (my experience was in a very cold climate), and/or the measures to inhibit air infiltration, because they wanted their house to "breathe" through the walls and roof just like houses did in the old days.  You know, 2 x 4 exterior walls with minimal insulation and no air and moisture retarding barrier, cheap double-pane double-hung sliding windows, and the like.  60% efficient natural-draft, natural gas burning furnace (or maybe a wood-burning boiler or coal stoker), old fashioned sub-10 SEER central air conditioner or maybe window units. incandescent lighting, etc.   "Energy usage be damned - we are going to be "healthy" and do things they way we please!"

            There is a provision in most codes allowing for the approval of alternative construction techniques and materials, so long as it can be demonstrated that the structure will be the equivalent in fire, life, health, and structural safety, and will perform at least as well on an energy basis as structures built according to the prescriptive standards of the code.  We used to approve many of such proposals, with evidence.

            In short, what I am saying is be careful in railing against having some kind of standard for what people live in.   In particular, if you are looking for sustainability in construction, you may, and from my experience most likely will, get the opposite of what you intend.          

            "[L]et us judge not that we be not judged." Abraham Lincoln, March 4, 1865

            by ByTor on Tue Jul 29, 2014 at 06:26:04 AM PDT

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    •  DAMNIT! I want to live in a sustainable (7+ / 0-)

      Hobbit Home!

      Lucky Bastard!


      "It were a thousand times better for the land if all Witches, but especially the blessing Witch, might suffer death." qtd by Ehrenreich & English. For Her Own Good, Two Centuries of Expert's Advice to Women pp 40

      by GreenMother on Tue Jul 29, 2014 at 04:31:20 AM PDT

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    •  Sprayfoam Insulation (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      xaxnar, TheDuckManCometh, ozsea1

      Sprayfoam the entire building envelope. That airseals and gives R-6.5 per inch, plus adds about 30% extra structural strength to a traditional wooden/shingle roof, at less than half the weight than more wood, and 5x as fast to apply. Plus seals out mold and insects. Protected from UV and rubbing it will last for centuries. Recycling is complete in a solvent when the house is eventually done, but its lasting for decades is a part of its efficiency.

      For bonus savings, when the foam has expanded but before it dries, press polyiso (R-6.5) panels into the still (extremely) sticky foam surface. So you can fill in more inches at 20% the cost. Put as many inches as will fit in the structure - even 12 or 20 inches is worth it.

      Sprayfoam was the best investment in my (1950s) house renovation. It cost $20K, but it's saved me at least $2K a year in energy costs, plus other benefits. That's 10 year payback, but I didn't learn the "panel fill-in" technique until late in the project. And 10 years means 10% ROI - for the lifetime of the house, an excellent investment even before rising energy costs increase the ROI instead of sending that money to the power corp.

      "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

      by DocGonzo on Tue Jul 29, 2014 at 06:01:49 AM PDT

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      •  Any idea on details of outgassing (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        xaxnar, Simplify, Calamity Jean

        during the curing process of sprayfoam?

        I've been wondering about it for my 1940's house. With typical poorly insulated walls and random insulation added to the ceiling areas (with no attention to dormers or the triangular roof space between dormers)....

        The contractors here are not familiar with it as far as I can tell, I got a lecture on attic ventilation sq. footage and soffit/facia "aeration" with one guy...

        •  No Big Deal (5+ / 0-)

          The outgassing is CO2 and probably just a little bit of isocyanurate. It smells for a few days after it expands (which takes about 15 minutes), inside the airsealed building (so the outgas is trapped). I have seen nobody say the outgas is dangerous.

          You do need a contractor with the right equipment: a dedicated panel truck and long hose that sprays. My contractor had a team with probably dozens or hundreds of buildings experience, and they weren't too great - they sprayed unevenly and I had to have them come back a second day to fix things. But overall if they get the right average thickness it doesn't matter if it's totally uniform (as long as it's at least 2-3" thick), since the thicker parts will perform that much better, compensating for the thinner parts.

          If you want to press in panels to the expanded but sticky stuff to get extra thickness you'll need pretty uniform application, so a team with good skills. It's just a money saver, and some labor cost sucks up some of the materials savings.

          Traditional contractors don't get the sprayfoam way. They want ventilation through the attic, and the airsealing is against their nature. If you don't have mechanical ventilation (fans with probably heat exchangers) to cycle the indoor air, you will indeed run out of oxygen, and moisture can indeed condense inside ceilings. But the mechanical ventilation is also an energy efficiency system (with heat exchangers, preferably ERVs with humidity traps) that further cuts overall energy even though a 15-20W fan will run.

          The key is to get an energy audit by a good auditor who will make recommendations of specific "measures" tailored to your house. It should cost under $500. NY requires the audit for any of its subsidies to be paid, and often an audit can cost $50 or $0 through a state programme.

          It's totally worth doing. But like anything else you're going to live with for years, it's worth doing right.

          "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

          by DocGonzo on Tue Jul 29, 2014 at 08:23:56 PM PDT

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      •  Under the concrete, the dome has five inches (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JeffW, xaxnar

        of solid foam insulation already.  I hardly think it needs more.  

        I'm hoping that come wintertime, the dome will be mainly heated by sunlight (has big windows facing south), body heat, and waste heat from cooking.  It has a heat exchange ventilator because it's going to be so tight.  

        "My country, right or wrong; if right, to be kept right; and if wrong, to be set right." -- Sen Carl Schurz 1872

        by Calamity Jean on Wed Jul 30, 2014 at 09:13:13 PM PDT

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    •  speaking of leaks (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I hope you have a plan for rain runoff. It'll run straight down the sides and into the foundation if not. I would consider installing a French drain. If the photo is recent it looks like it could be done with a minimum of hassle.

      I'm no expert on these things, btw.

      Cool house. I'm sure it's going to look great.

      All things in the sky are pure to those who have no telescopes. – Charles Fort

      by subtropolis on Tue Jul 29, 2014 at 07:22:31 PM PDT

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    •  We...well, I...demand a full-blown diary. And... (7+ / 0-)

      ...if I've missed one you have already written, then do it again with an update.

      Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

      by Meteor Blades on Tue Jul 29, 2014 at 08:19:43 PM PDT

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      •  I feel that it would make the most sense to (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JeffW, xaxnar

        write a diary about the house after we've lived in it a while, so we can tell how it actually works.  

        "My country, right or wrong; if right, to be kept right; and if wrong, to be set right." -- Sen Carl Schurz 1872

        by Calamity Jean on Wed Jul 30, 2014 at 09:16:44 PM PDT

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