Here are some questions that we get asked:

1. Question:
I was wondering if these domes could be stored over the winter in Northern Canada. I am concerned about the snow fall and I have read that the domes would need to remain heated so they do not collapse from heavy snow. What are the options for storing them over the winter?
The geodesic shape by itself is very effective by shedding dry snow off with help of some wind. The problem may arise if the snow is wet and there is no wind to blow it off. Here is the list of solutions you want to consider to protect your Dome frame structure, if no one is available to look after the Dome:

  • the best solution is to take down the structure and put it away for the snow season 
  • our Dome frames are made of 1" galvanized pipe with 1/16" thick walls, so we could build custom domes using 5/64" thick wall pipe to make the structure  even stronger
  • in the snow season it would be a good idea to set up centre crown support - 2x4 board cut to the height of your Dome and stood up in the middle to provide extra support to the frame
    As for PVC membrane cover, it is harder to keep in good condition in the snow season. Under the weight of the snow and melt the cover can pocket and sag. So it is necessary to dump snow or melt out of such pockets. And there is a chance that the pockets will not go back to their original shape, and will look terrible. So,
    • the best solution would be to remove and store the cover for the snow season
    • we can provide thicker membrane cover which has less chance of stretching under the snow and water load
    • cold temperatures will help to keep PVC hard, so properly set up and pulled tight cover will have minimal risk of being stretched  
    2. Question:
    Hi I'm looking at living in either canvas tent, yurt or geodesic dome. How the domes compare and differ to canvas tents or yurts?
    The main advantage of the dome structure over tens and yurts is its shape. Domes are very aerodynamic and can withstand hurricane winds without collapsing, if properly anchored. Secondly, domes are much more energy efficient as the surface and energy losses are minimal. Geodesic domes easily shed snow with help of wind. They have been used in Antarctica to protect equipment since 1971. 
    3. Question:
    What about in the summer or in hot climate? How do you keep them cool?
    To keep the domes cool they can be installed in the shaded area, definitely pick white cover for maximum heat reflection, add multiple vents. We also sell solar powered fans that help with air circulation inside if you off grid. Or if you have access to utilities - AC unit is also an option.
    4. Question:
    Will the dome tent keep mice and rodents out?
    We would be not honest if we say that PVC cover will stop mice and other small wild life from entering the dome. The solution for minimizing mice problem lies in structurally raising the dome deck off the ground and limiting the possible routes of entry.  And also proper outdoors behavior: airtight garbage disposal, cleaning up and storing food in airtight containers.
    5. Question:
    I wonder if the dome would require a building permit?
    Building permits and codes for geodesic domes in every state, province, city and county are different. Municipal officials have their different opinions on them. It will be your responsibility to contact your local building department and see how they interpret your dome and how the codes apply. The domes are generally known as a “semi-permanent or temporary” structures so that will give you some flexibility. We will assist you by providing any requested data on the structure that we possess.
    6. Question:
    What is R-Value of your Insulation layer?
    Our cloth insulation has been tested and rated in clo units, just like insulative qualities of clothes. And the R-units apply mostly to construction materials.
    But the measurement units of both clo and R are the same. So we can convert one into another. Here is a quick glance at the clo units:

    Clo value is a measure of the thermal resistance value of clothing, especially as it relates to relative human comfort within that clothing at a given set of conditions. Clo value is approximately calculated by multiplying R value by 1.136:
    • ICL = R * 1.136
    Clo has the same units as thermal resistance R but has specific magnitude relative to human comfort:
    • 1 clo maintains the temperature comfort of a sedentary man indefinitely at 21°C, 50% RH, and a wind speed of 0.01 m/sec.
    • Wind speed effects clothing insulation
    • Porosity - water vapor transfer through clothing affects its insulation
    • 1 clo = 0.155 m2 °C/W
    • Lowest clo value is 0 (naked body)
    • Highest practical clo value = 4 clo (complete body coverage with high R value items – aerogel coat and gloves, etc.)
    • Summer clothing ~ 0.6 clo
    • Winter clothing ~1 clo
    • Aerogel fabrics, because they have such a large relative R value compared to traditional clothing insulation materials, will change the relative weight of a garment required to meet a given clo value.
    So, we have a report where a testing company measured our insulation as 3.24 clo. 
    3.24 / 1.136 = 2.85 
    The R-value equivalent is 2.85 R