Green & Healthy Dome Living

Natural Spaces Domes is a green company, and we are proud of it! Concerns about climate change, including hurricanes, tornadoes, and other extreme weather events, have been on our minds. The challenges of global warming, such as flooding, fires, and glacial melting, have been a focus for us for many years.

We Help You Plan Your Green Dome

Co-owner, Dennis Johnson, has a long-standing dedication to environmentally friendly building practices. He stays current with the latest trends in environmental construction. Dennis’s wife, Tessa Hill, the other co-owner, has been an advocate for environmental conservation since 1989 when her late 11-year-old son founded Kids for Saving Earth. Due to personal experiences with cancer in their families, they are committed to minimizing toxins in their domes and the building process. In addition, they prioritize energy efficiency to reduce costs and protect the environment.

Our domes are designed to provide you with a sense of tranquility and well-being, creating a space that nurtures both you and the environment.   At Natural Spaces Domes, we believe in crafting spaces that prioritize your overall needs and dreams while protecting Earth.

As you are planning your healthy and Earth-saving home keep these important things in mind.  Save energy, keep toxins out, design recycling centers into your home,  buy FSXcertified wood products, search for reclaimed or fallen wood, and decorate with used furniture and other decor as much as possible.

As you are reading this list remember it represents the combination of Earth-friendly features we used in building our complex at the NSD headquarters and additional new innovations that have been developed since Bear Creek Dome was built. Β Many of these suggestions have rebates through President Biden’s Clean Energy Inflation Reduction Act. This act aims to provide incentives and support for the transition to cleaner and more sustainable energy sources. By taking advantage of these rebates, we can reduce our carbon footprint and also contribute to a greener and more sustainable future for our planet. NSD will continue to explore and implement innovative solutions that promote a healthier planet for generations to come.

Dome Structure

🌎FSC certified wood for frame components.

🌎For Bear Creek Dome, built in 2006, we utilized 18” thick walls and roof providing an R-value of 64 when only 49 was required. Now we recommend an R value of 72.

Thickness of walls is based on location and climate and can range from 11 to 21 inches. Non dome walls are two 2 x 4’s to achieve 12” walls.  

🌎Use of Cupolas on the dome structures combined with operable windows for a view allowing for natural ventilation. Ground cooling design features mean nighttime air is cooler in summertime.

🌎Frost Protected Shallow Footing system allows for less concrete.


🌎Galvanized steel on entry roof is a valuable recycle product.

🌎Galvanized steel Renke Shakes on porch dome last for a lifetime.

🌎Use long life 50 year shingles.

Flexible solar shingles

🌎Look for new roofing options such as synthetic slate shingles made from recycled plastic, cool white roof shingles, 


 Skylights and Windows

🌎Use double or triple pane skylights from Natural Spaces Domes to lower energy expenses, minimize drafts from cold glass interiors, and reduce glass condensation issues during winter.

🌎Using glass coatings selectively according to climate requirements can reduce heating and cooling loads while enabling indoor plant growth. Certain glass coatings may hinder plant growth.

🌎Use of Marvin triple-pane windows with Low E coatings and argon gas between panes. for all the new conventional (non-skylight) glass areas reduces energy cost.

🌎Windows are positioned to take advantage of morning solar gain and eliminate hot afternoon.

🌎Extensive daylighting through skylights and windows provides outdoor views and indoor lighting from all workstations and offices, minimizing the need for internal lighting during daylight hours.

🌎Solor Sun Tunnels over work areas provide natural lighting.

Solar tinting on upper south facing skylights.


🌎Concrete floors called Ashcrete, a construction material made from fly ash, lime, and water uses less water, repurposes burned waste, and is more durable than traditional concrete.

🌎Concrete floors can be stained, eliminating the need for carpets or other floor covering.

🌎Use of reclaimed wood flooring on second level.  

🌎The use of area rugs is healthier than carpeting, can be made from recycled” materials and is easier to dispose.

🌎Use of downed wood from road expansion miles from complex for pine flooring.

Heating, Air Exchange, and Water Usage

🌎Whole house” water filtration and softening system uses less water and no salts.

🌎On average, a floor radiant-heating system for a 3200 sq. ft. home should cost around $600 per year, subject to variations in weather conditions and changes in gas or electric rates.

🌎The air-to-air heat exchanger continuously brings in fresh air and exhausts stale moist air providing healthy air.

🌎Dual Fuel heating options in some states provide discounts on utilities if you allow them to control your use during times of peak demand. At Bear Creek we have this option.  It has a Natural gas β€œMunchkin” boiler 92% efficient. The electric boiler is 100% efficient.

🌎Instantaneous water heaters provide unlimited hot water without storing 80 gals of hot water continuously being heated 24/7.

🌎Ductless minisplit systems are energy efficient air conditioning and heating options.  We have them in Bear Creek but mainly for air conditioning.  As the season changes, we sometimes use the heat before we begin using the radiant floor heating.

🌎Heating vents can be added to the fireplace if needed.

🌎Use of dead & downed trees from only a few acres of our 50 acres in a detached high efficiency wood heating system, providing heat for 10,000 sq. ft. of enclosed space.

Insulation Options

🌎Formaldehyde-free fiberglass insulation made from recycled glass made from recycled glass.’ Insulation made from recycled blue jean material.

Sheep wool insulation.  While spray foam has great energy-saving benefits it is possibly a toxic material with on-going studies for hazardous.

🌎Blower-door test to find any air leaks in construction and insulation.


🌎LED lighting.

🌎Motion sensor lighting switches turn off lights when you leave the room and turn them on when you enter.

🌎An air-to-air heat exchanger constantly brings in fresh air and exhausts stale moist air.

🌎All bedrooms are and should be equipped with shut-off switches eliminating all electromagnetic fields around the beds.

Interior Walls

🌎Mold-free sheetrock with no paper facing.

🌎Non-toxic VOC-free paints and stains from AFM Safe Coat and Pittsburgh Paints.

🌎Wood log interior wall from trees on property.

🌎Sheetrock areas that are slightly textured to replicate plaster look.  No sheetrock sanding means a healthier environment and less expensive labor.

Cabinetry, Paneling, Fallen Wood Accents

🌎Bear Creek Dome Cabinetry, available at IKEA, is constructed using non-toxic materials and sustainably managed forest products. You can choose eco-friendly options like these when shopping for cabinetry.

🌎Arrange cabinet layouts with a designated area for recycling and composting.

🌎The interior FSC certified wood triangle dome panels do not have sealers or coating, eliminating the need for re-staining or repainting.

🌎Look for fallen or reclaimed wood products, such as white oak windowsills and bathroom countertops, entry porch cedar posts, rough-sawn pine door trim, and white pine wall paneling at NSD headquarters. These materials are sourced from fallen wood on our property. The white pine used for floors and stair treads came from nearby road construction. The railings are made from non-debarked fallen cedar from northern Minnesota.


🌎Like Bear Creek home all appliances should have high Energy Star ratings.

Choose electric or induction stoves over gas to prevent toxic gas emissions and less fire hazard.

🌎Select a two-oven electric stove as a energy-efficient option for regular oven use. The small oven heats faster and uses less energy. Having two ovens is convenient.

🌎Choose a two-oven electric stove for energy efficiency. The smaller oven heats up quickly, consumes less energy, and is used most often. Two ovens offer great convenience and fit in the same space as a standard range.

🌎Low water use dish washer and clothes washers.


🌎Low sone high energy efficient bathroom fans.

🌎Low flow faucets

🌎Low water use toilets dual-flush toilets for water conservation. (.8 gals or 1 gal/flush.) Low-flow shower heads.

🌎Ceramic tile made from recycled porcelain.


🌎The Bear Creek fireplace: utilizes outside air for combustion with sealed glass doors,

🌎Is designed with vents to heat other rooms if needed.

🌎Uses wood from fallen trees and left-over wood from NSD dome fabrication process.

🌎Is built with concrete manufactured stone rather than natural stone quarrying creating less of an environmental impact. 

🌎The Bear Creek fireplace includes a hearth made from leftover taconite stone from a Minnesota iron mine, repurposing it as a highly beneficial green product for landscaping, fireplaces, and countertops.


🌎The lack of hard-surface exterior paving surface allows water to flow into the ground for plants and trees and lowers flooding concerns.

🌎Crushed concrete driveway topping uses a recycled product.

🌎Wildflower and native habitat protected and encouraged throughout grounds.

🌎Extensive use of existing Evergreen trees to aid in shading & cooling

Composting area.

Other Earth-saving DΓ©cor at NSD

🌎Use reclaimed whenever possible.

🌎Bear Creek used fallen wood from the property.

🌎Redwood from vats from the Grainbelt brewery in Minneapolis for island and paneling. Use of 95-year-old frosted glass panels as room dividers and LED light fixture.

🌎Recycled Corten steel mantle.

🌎Fallen cedar tree posts for porch roof.

🌎Fallen wood was cut into planks for kitchen accent ceiling.

🌎Recycled/antique decor throughout facility/home.

🌎Use of natural fallen wood with bark edges for all sills.

🌎Natural birch branches for curtain rods.