Home News Local news New St. John Subdivision Will Feature Energy-Efficient Dome Houses

New St. John Subdivision Will Feature Energy-Efficient Dome Houses


March 4, 2008 — Coral Bay Design Build on St. John is taking a different tact when it comes to building homes: Instead of the concrete boxes prevalent all over the island, the company plans a dozen energy-efficient dome houses.
The subdivision, located on five acres off Route 107 at Saunder's Gut outside Coral Bay, is called Domain. The houses will allow for an off-the-grid lifestyle, but will be hooked up to the V.I. Water and Power Authority to take advantage of the agency's net-metering program.
Builder Ken Yolman, who is in business with his brother, Rick Yolman, said he's had a long interest in building dome houses. His interest started with an early alternative-lifestyle publication that featured dome houses.
"I've been fascinated since 1967 when I read the Whole Earth Catalog," Ken Yolman said. In 1978, he began building dome houses in Florida.
Dome houses are hurricane-resistant since they have less surface exposed to the winds, according to Coral Bay Design Build's website. They are also more earthquake-resistant than conventional homes.
The St. John houses will utilize solar and wind energy. Wind generators have come a long way since the noisy versions of yesterday, Yolman said, with the new versions operating quietly.
"They've really developed them," he said.
Toilets will utilize composting waste systems. A gray-water system will irrigate landscaping. After about three years the composting toilet needs to be emptied, but the residue can be used as fertilizer.
"It's earth-friendly," Yolman said.
The builder has begun to explore federal and local tax breaks for using alternative energy.
Each house will have a 5,000-gallon cistern to hold water.
The 34-foot, one-bedroom dome houses will have a pre-construction price of $595,000, with the price rising to $675,000 once the houses are complete.
The houses come complete with wood floors, cabinetry and custom trim, eat-in kitchen booth, stone counter tops, refrigerator, gas oven, garbage disposal and washer/dryer, skylight, glass block, ceiling fans, fully insulated shell and exterior walls, private entry deck, as well as a common pool, Jacuzzi and decks.
Ten of the dozen houses will be for sale. The houses will have 900 square feet of living space with a 200-square-foot loft. Most will be duplexes.
Yolman said he's currently working on the plans, and expects to have the first house done in about a year. To learn more about the dome houses, visit coralbaydesignbuild.com.
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