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August 01, 2010

Geodesic Domes and ETFE Pricing

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There are various companies that provide geodesic dome kits and systems. Natural spaces is one of them.
The Natural Spaces Domes Building System is the only dome building system specifically adapted to the 5 different climatic regions of the United States. We are long time members and supporters of EEBA, The Energy and Environmental Building Association. Our involvement in over 1000 domes along with the EEBA guides has given us the information we need to adapt our dome system to the 5 major climatic regions:
Cold, Warm-Dry, Warm-Moist, Hot Humid and Marine Coastal.


We knew we wanted to drastically increase the energy efficiency of our dome so that it didn't meet just the minimum code requirement for 1979 (or even 2003). Now we build 15" to 21" thick dome shell systems with r-values from 44 to 71


Natural spaces uses the Superlok sleeve for connecting parts of the dome.

Superlok is made from very heavy gauge steel with an extra thick zinc plating to make it rust proof. What we were looking for was a connector that was self aligning and so simple to put together that any "novice" dome builder could do it. We didn't want you to have to do any of the assembly of the strut hardware up on the scaffolding. With our system all you do is slip the sleeve tongue into the hub slot and pound a hardened, 4 inch plated bolt "pin" in place, securely locking the two together. That's it. No coming back to tighten, no re-aligning, no adjusting. The next step is just moving on to the next strut.


The 50 foot Diamter Framing Kit is about $30,000
The 25 foot diameter geodesic dome framing kit is about $10,000 so presumably the 100 foot diameter custom framing kit is in the $90,000 to 150,000 range.

A 100 foot diameter half sphere geodesic dome would have 15,708 square feet of surface area. This could be covered by 12 foot by 12 foot sheets of ETFE at a cost of $50,000.

A 100 foot diameter building would have 7854 square feet of space on the first floor (0.18 acres).




Steel Frame and Concrete Dome Kits

Dome Incorporated has similar pricing for the different sizes that it provides for Geodesic domes but they also provide steel framing and enable concrete walls.

This enables them to able to withstand hurricanes and extreme snow loading.

Pacific Dome Makes Fabric Covered Domes for Various Uses

Pacific Domes is a maker of fabric covered domes.

Temcor Aluminium Geodesic Domes up to 1000 Feet in Diameter
Temcor aluminum geodesic domes have been designed for snow loads of up to 165 pounds per square foot and windloads of up to 150 mph. And, Temcor's panel design is specifically engineered to support loads of up to 500 pounds on any one square foot.

The Temcor Aluminum Dome is a unique and patented triangulated space truss skinned with aluminum panels secured by a patented Temcor batten closure system. With an ability to cover spans from 40 to more than 1000 feet, Temcor Aluminum Domes are specified for churches, arenas, planetariums and observatories… wherever clear-span roof systems are needed.

Temcor domes have withstood the heat of a Middle Eastern desert, typhoon winds of 300 kilometers per hour on a Pacific Island and uneven snow loads of 1,500 kilograms per square meter in the Antarctic.
NOTE: the conventional construction of the large (up to 1000 foot or 300 meter diameter) geodesic domes is with a tower about twice as tall as the final height of the dome. Hyperboloid tower of 612 meters in height was built for $324 million. It could make a geodesic dome 306 meters tall and over 1000 meters in diameter. A 1200 meter hyperboloid towers could probably be made for less than $1 billion, which would enable a 600 meter tall geodesic dome. They use the tower to lift the dome as it is being built. So all of the work happens at ground level for more speed and safety.


Guide to Building with ETFE and ETFE Prices

Here is article by an architect describing to other architects how to use and design with ETFE

There is online source of Dupont ETFE at about $485 for 12 foot by 12 foot by 0.25 mm thick sheet of ETFE

It is $1800 for each sheet if it is 0.75 mm thick.

Some forums discuss a pricing of 5 cents per square foot of ETFE (probably a lot thinner than the more expensive quote) versus 1.6 cents per square foot for polyethlene

Asahi sells up to 1 million square meters of ETFE each month on Alibaba.com

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