50 Ways

50 Ways to please your mother – Earth, that is.

This list represents Earth friendly features we used in building our complex.

Our North Branch, Minnesota, World headquarters has 9 domes. They include our new Bear Creek Dome, Forest dome, Office dome, two shop domes, Bear Creek Cabin dome, and a few others. We invite you to visit our facility and see all of the features we list below. We practice what we preach.
  1. In our new Bear Creek Dome, we utilized 18” thick walls and roof providing an R-value of 55.
  2. Our other non-dome walls are 12” inches thick with an R-40. Most Minnesota homes have R-20 walls and R-38 roofs.
  3. Formaldehyde-free fiberglass insulation made from recycled glass along with insulation made from recycled blue jean material.
  4. Extensive use of triple pane skylights (by Natural Spaces Domes), reduce energy loads, drafts caused by cold inside glass and virtually eliminating glass condensation problems in winter.
  5. Marvin triple-pane windows for all the new conventional (non-skylight) glass areas with Low E coatings and argon gas between panes.
  6. All new appliances have high Energy Star ratings.
  7. Windows positioned to take advantage of morning solar gain and eliminate hot southern and western sun.
  8. 85% compact fluorescent lighting. 15% low wattage halogen.
  9. The floor radiant-heating system should cost around $600/year for a 3200 sq. ft. home.
  10. Two boilers for radiant heating to test cost efficiency. Natural gas “Munchkin” boiler 92% efficient. Electric boiler is 100% efficient.
  11. Instantaneous water heaters provide unlimited hot water without storing 80 gals of hot water 24/7.
  12. Frost Protected Shallow Footing system.
  13. Dual-flush toilets for water conservation. (1.1 gals or 1.6/flush.) Low-flow shower heads.
  14. The “whole house” water filtration and softening system uses less water and no salts while processing all water usage.
  15. The air-to-air heat exchanger constantly brings in fresh air and exhausts stale moist air.
  16. Concrete floors utilizing flyash additive which is ash from coal- burning plants.
  17. Concrete floors were stained, eliminating the need for carpets or other floor covering.
  18. The majority of the wood used is FSC certified.
  19. White oak window sills and bathroom counter tops, entry porch cedar posts, rough- sawn pine door trim, and white pine wall paneling are fallen wood from our property. The white pine for the floors and stair treads was harvested due to road construction (“road-kill”) in the immediate area. The railings are non-debarked fallen cedar from northern Minnesota.
  20. Cabinetry is from IKEA, which builds with non-toxic materials and sustainably managed forest products.
  21. Zero hard-surface exterior paving surface allows water to flow into the ground for plants and trees.
  22. Recycled crushed concrete driveway topping.
  23. Non-toxic VOC-free paints and stains from AFM Safe Coat and Pittsburgh Paints.
  24. Minimal usage of PVC piping.
  25. Ceramic tile made from recycled product.
  26. Reclaimed redwood from the Grainbelt Beer Brewery.
  27. Recycled steel mantle.
  28. Fireplace hearth rock is taconite stone from an abandoned northern Minnesota iron mine.
  29. Galvanized steel entry porch “cool roof.”
  30. Mold-free sheetrock with no paper facing.
  31. All bedrooms equipped with shut-off switches eliminating all electromagnetic fields around the beds.
  32. Electric stove to prevent toxic gas emissions.
  33. Fireplace utilizes outside air for combustion with sealed glass doors.
  34. Fireplace designed with vents to heat other rooms in dome.
  35. Wildflower and native habitat protected and encouraged yard.
  36. Recycling and composting areas planned into cabinet layout.
  37. Handicap accessible throughout main floor, all doors 36” wide, front door is 42” wide, no steps
  38. High levels of insulation
  39. Solartinting on upper south facing skylights
  40. Extensive use of existing Evergreen trees for shading & cooling.
  41. Use of Cupolas on the dome structures combined with operable windows at the floor levels, allowing for natural cooling and fresh air intake thru non-mechanical means. Ground cooling design features mean night time air is cooler in summertime.
  42. 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.
  43. Extensive daylighting from skylights & windows allow outdoor views from all work stations & offices, reduces need for internal lighting during daylight.
  44. Clivus Multrum composting toilet in operation since 1975.
  45. No sealer or coating on interior wood triangle dome panels.
  46. Use (or reuse) of 70 year old frosted glass panels as room dividers and fluorescent light fixture.
  47. Low sone high energy efficient bath fans.
  48. Extensive use of wood flooring, designed for easier cleaning. Carpeted areas use carpet “recycled” from 2 other display homes.
  49. Use of triple pane glass instead of Low “E” coatings in selected areas, increasing the indoor plant growth, creating a healthier, more esthetically appealing indoor environment.
  50. Motion sensor lighting switches turn off lights when you leave the room and turn them on when you enter.