We constructed our 40′ dome last July (2016). The assembly was straight-forward and I was amazed at how smoothly the structure went together. James was helpful at every step in the process and we are very happy with how everything turned out.
I believe the key to the smooth installation was the foundation preparation. For a foundation, we placed concrete piers at each vertex and a treated 4×4 perimeter chord on top of those piers. James came out to the site and laid out perimeter boards so we could precisely locate our foundation both horizontally and vertically. We established precise perimeter elevations with a laser level. The foundation elevated the wall and provided positive drainage away from the structure.
The main reason we went with this dome was its advertised structural strength. As we connected dome struts and worked our way up the walls, everything seemed pretty rickety; but as soon as the last structural members went into place at the peak, the entire structure became very solid and inspired confidence in it’s inherent strength.
In my opinion, the hardest part of the entire project was installing the plastic shell. For that, James came out to direct and assist in the installation of the uppermost plastic panels… he also gave us a clear understanding of how to accomplish the installation of the remaining plastic.
One of the unique features of our dome is the 4′ wall height and 2’x4′ drop-down wall-vent panels. We requested the panel openings to try and keep the dome as cool as possible without having to install vent fans. On sunny days we left the wall vents open. I monitored temperatures within the dome and compared those to temperatures in our 13’x37′ greenhouse about 100′ away. We have vent fans in the greenhouse and none in the dome. In general, on warm, sunny days, ground level temperatures inside the dome were about 10 degrees cooler than the greenhouse. So far we are very glad that we have the panels for passive temperature control. At the 24′ peak inside the dome, temperatures were roughly comparable to the greenhouse.
Lastly, I would like to give an example of the benefits of working with an Alaskan based, hands-on company like Arctic Dome Greenhouses. We are growing 10 trees inside our dome. After giving us a price quote, James thought about how we were using the dome and decided to add about 4′ to the height of the structure to give us more “headroom” for the trees. Doing so also simplified construction (how it did so is a bit too technical to explain here). This modification was made without adjusting the price tag and shows James’ commitment to making sure the dome was the very best it could be …for us.
HM (Butch) and Cindy D.