PREFAB FRIDAY: Sustainable Homes from Easy Domes

by , 09/12/08

Easy Domes, sustainable homes, geodesic dome homes, geodesic homes, Kari Thomsen, Ole Vanggaard

Echoing the structures of Buckminster Fuller’s Geodesic Domes, Danish Architect Kári Thomsen and Engineer Ole Vanggaard have created Easy Domes, a series of quick assembly, low-energy homes! Following the success of the first Easy Dome home built in 1992 for the Greenland Society on The Faroe Islands, a number of dome-shaped cottages were erected as tourist getaways. Since then, the buildings have been put into production and delivery of these fabulous prefab buildings was initiated early this summer!

Easy Domes, sustainable homes, geodesic dome homes, geodesic homes, Kari Thomsen, Ole Vanggaard

The unique shape of the Easy Dome, called an icosahedron, is designed to optimize the amount of interior space inside each home. Made up of several hexagonal pieced together, the dome hosts a wealth of interior nooks and crannies, making it stand out from other prefab home designs.

The dome offers individuals the opportunity to build their own high quality homes, coming with pre-built wooden sections, ready to assemble on either a concrete or timber plinth. Once on site, the dome houses take only one day to raise and seal, and for domes less than 500 square feet, no crane is needed to complete construction. The load construction is extremely strong and built for extreme weather, including wind speeds of 200 mph with one meter of wet snow on the roof.

The completed two-floor homes come with living room, kitchen, bathroom and two bedrooms and are constructed using only sustainable and recycled materials. The exterior is covered with non-toxic impregnated pinewood, and the roof is covered with grass. The construction is ventilated on the exterior and insulated with wood-wool or flax, with fiber gypsum to cover all installations and cables. The floor is made up of a plate of reinforced concrete with pressure-resistant insulation and vitrified gravel underneath. Laying on top of the concrete are insulation and floorboards. Furthermore, each home is installed with solar panels and a brick stove, both of which are thermostat-controlled and connected to a water tank. Other renewable energy systems are also available

With a minimum use of materials, the domes are sustainable, energy efficient, spacious and cost-efficient. There is also the potential to erect two or three domes together.

+ Easy Domes

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  1. Galloworth September 2, 2010 at 9:02 pm

    I like the idea of a dome because of the earthquake safely but wish there were someway to make one with a green roof so I could enjoy my view of the ocean without overpowering a neighborhood with homes under 2,000 sq. ft.

  2. bnlaneville March 3, 2009 at 9:35 pm

    Although these homes are efficient are the truly green? I haven’t read a very good explanation of the building process, and I think SIP’s would be a major bonus. The photos that I viewed on the official website didn’t present a minimal footprint approach. Aside from these concerns it appears to be great aesthetically. I would like to see a metal roof option also.

  3. EgoMartini February 11, 2009 at 9:13 pm

    I think these structures are brilliant. Every few years I put in much web research into geodesic domes and I’ve always come to the same conclusion – simple idea but if you get your math wrong (and sometimes when it get it right) you get wet. I am happy to see someone get a mass produced dome right – and with a sod roof – bonus. I am excited to see an architect put their mind to the task of building an inexpensive – low energy – green home with so many possibilities. To me this is the Holy Grail of architecture – its like the VW Beetle of home design. With the modular concept of these domes you could build a home as big as you would could ever wish for but for me it offers the idea of doing more with less or making smaller spaces work more efficiently
    I would love to see Kari work with Andy Thomson of Mini Homes and Rapid rooms to build an interior for these structures. Andy can make a 250 sq.ft. home space feel and work like 500 sq.ft. with ideas like his book shelf stair case , raised cabinets and fold away work spaces.

    Great work Kari

  4. Inhabitat » Solar... October 30, 2008 at 11:58 am

    […] a lucite cover, while the micro wind turbine is mounted on a 35′ mast. The studio features a geodesic skylight for daylighting and head room in the work area, and a side wall lowers down to become a […]

  5. kari September 27, 2008 at 11:15 am

    For heating purposes all available technique can be used. For the cottages a small wood-burning stove quickly heats up the entire room (kitchen and living room) when no solar energy is present. Of course depending on where on the globe – climate zone – you are situated, the energy technique will be suited to this. Solar regions will use solar panels for both hot water, room heating in nighttime, as photovoltaic panels or thin film membranes for electricity. Bio fuel (methanol or ethanol) from waste and third generation organic material, or hydrogen produced from renewables like wind, solar etc. can be used in different techniques either by direct use in an combustion engine (too much noise and low efficiency) or by injection in a fuel cell stack.
    Heat pumps are useable – hopefully with needed electricity provided from renewable sources.
    Traditional techniques as gas or oil burners can be used – but, as we are aware of climate impacts from burning off fossil fuel, we and our future generations will have to look in other directions for sustainable and renewable energy supply.
    Hope this can support Drop.

  6. Drop September 20, 2008 at 4:28 am

    very interesting project and the development of ideas Fuller, what equipment is used for heating?

  7. Avarana September 17, 2008 at 4:57 pm

    Thanks for the info, Kari

  8. kari September 14, 2008 at 5:28 pm

    Easy Domes Ltd will like to make a short comment to TankFox concerning the “wooden box sitting out in the rain” – and leaks followed by expensive repairs. Our first dome is more than 25 years old and still no raindrop has come through roof, windows, walls or technical installations/pipes. None of our domes has yet had the need of any repair from rain. The reason is mainly because the outside wall is double – first the inner load construction where all edges are sealed with rubber – next because the outside membrane – here first class vertical mounted profiled pinewood is laid with aluminum list under / and over each section – the pentagon, the hexagon and quadrangle.
    The handmade windows in each pentagon – not standing vertical – have a special drainage system leading rainwater to pass smoothly.
    Compared to many domes based on the triangle system, our solution is a plate structure with ventilated space between the in- and outside cover. This both makes a good inside climate without the risk of condensation on the inside of the outer cover/membrane as prevents possible raindrops going through e.g. the roof – covered with an outside waterproof asphalt membrane next an plastic membrane beneath the grass turf .
    So, we can secure all interested home builders that our dome constructions and technical solutions are proven and 100% waterproof.

  9. GoGreenTara September 14, 2008 at 2:59 pm

    These homes look awesome. I would love to see the inside of one.

  10. TankFox September 13, 2008 at 2:56 pm

    I love the way they look, but in the end they’re a wooden box sitting out in the rain. When it starts to leak the repairs tend to be expensive.

  11. badger-bot September 13, 2008 at 2:37 am

    If you’d like to explore the future of sustainable/affordable prefab utilizing a new bamboo based arch system then please visit: Our “Perma Yurt” is merely a logical beginning. We’re creating a new “organic steel” building material using banded bamboo strips. If banded swamp reed tea houses can stand for 3-5000 years then the possibilities are virtually endless with bamboo. We seek support to launch this project so that we can promote sustainable development all over this planet while empowering people and combating global warming. Prepare to be bamboozled, but in a good way.

  12. Guillermo September 12, 2008 at 12:57 pm

    I love the idea and efficiency of these. I just can’t see myself living in one, though, because the extremely modern, non-natural look of them would just stress me out! I realize that’s a silly excuse, but I bet there’s a way to make these look almost like a cottage if you decorate the exterior right. That would be really nice.

    At the same time, I wonder why more people don’t look into living in underground homes (especially in hot areas). They’re energy efficient, relatively earthquake- and natural disaster proof, and I would think that they wouldn’t be too difficult to build…

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