BYU students designed and built a solar-powered Monolithic Dome

Exterior of BYU Zero-Energy Dome Home.

Constructed on the Brigham Young University campus, this zero-energy home consists of three interconnected concrete domes. The house is 850 square feet with two bedrooms and two bathrooms.

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For the first time ever, BYU will be a stop on the Utah Valley Parade of Homes. The reason? BYU students have designed, engineered and built a truly one-of-a-kind sustainable, transportable, affordable home—right on campus.

Nicknamed the “Triple Dome Home” because it consists of three interconnected monolithic concrete domes, the two-bedroom, two-bathroom home is nestled in a plot of land behind BYU’s Snell Building. It will welcome hundreds (if not thousands) of visitors over the course of the event going through most of June.

Tour the triple dome home constructed by students at BYU.

Brigham Young University

Living Room.

The main entrance opens into a lovely living room.

BYU Photo / Submitted Media


A surprisingly roomy kitchen.

BYU Photo / Submitted Media

Dining Area.

A small dining area next to the kitchen.

BYU Photo / Submitted Media

The zero-energy, 850-square-foot house was built completely by students as part of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar Decathlon. It is designed to reduce its carbon footprint, decrease water consumption and maintain a constant temperature through cold winters and hot summers almost effortlessly.

To top it off, the home is transportable and can be taken anywhere a crane can be placed. In fact, the home will be uprooted and moved to California in the fall to be sold.

“Our goal was to build a home entirely outside the traditional status quo,” said student Ally Atchley. “It’s clear that no home like this is readily available in the market today.”

Solar Panels in Front and Back.

There are two banks of solar panels powering this home. The small bank in front is part of the entryway porch.

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A few unique engineering approaches to the Triple Dome Home include

  • using fiberglass instead of rebar as the primary material to reinforce the concrete structure;
  • applying a PVC membrane to the entire exterior of the walls to create an insulating, water-proof envelope;
  • and berming the home with soil, rocks and plants covering portions of the exterior walls.

The home is powered by 34 double-sided solar panels built into a carport and a pergola directly adjacent to the structure. Because of its concrete dome structure, the home is windproof, fireproof and resistant to extreme temperatures. It also has triple-paned windows for added energy efficiency.

The project has stretched the skills, both physical and mental, of the more than 20 students involved in the design, engineering and construction.


A well lit bathroom opens into the bedroom next door.

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Primary Bedroom.

The roomy main bedroom.

BYU Photo / Submitted Media

Second Bedroom.

There is also a second, tidy bedroom.

BYU Photo / Submitted Media

“As students, we learn a lot of book smarts, but this project at BYU has given us a lot of hands-on, real-life experience,” said Andy Rodriguez, a civil engineering major who helped lead the interior design. “That experience is not just from the physical process of building a home, but it’s with the emotional element as well—putting our time and energy into this with a group of people working for a common cause.”

BYU is one of 15 universities from the U.S., Canada and India that competed in the Solar Decathlon Build Challenge. The BYU team and their Triple Dome Home will also compete in the Orange County Sustainability Decathlon later this year.

BYU’s home can be toured as part of the Utah Valley Parade of Homes from June 8 to June 24.

Looking Down at the Triple Dome Home.

From the air, we can see the large bank of solar panels behind the home. The dome is part of a design competition sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy.

Utah Valley Videos / Submitted Media