These are some of the questions most often asked about Compass Green Homes. Click on the heading to expand the answer. Some FAQs link directly to the section in which the subject is addressed.

ARE CITY PERMITS REQUIRED TO BUILD A COMPASS GREEN HOME?

Not everywhere, but most of the times, yes, permits are needed. For this, Compass Green Homes will provide construction drawings, with all the details of the technology, structural calculation reports, foundation design, technical installations required by the Building Department in your city. Our technology is an innovative construction system that meets all standards of earthquake resistance and wind loads, to be approved throughout the USA & Canada.

HOW DO THE TECHNICAL INSTALLATIONS, SUCH AS PLUMBING, ELECTRICAL AND SEWAGE, WORK WITH THIS TECHNOLOGY?

All technical pipeline connections are, as in any standard house, included within the foundation. With our technology, the components include ducts and electrical wiring boxes. All plumbing, sewage and gas facilities are directly connected through the foundation.

ARE TECHNICAL INSTALLATIONS AND THE FOUNDATION INCLUDED WITH THE COMPASS GREEN HOMES PACKAGE?

No, we provide the exterior shell, which, when covered with soil, grass and natural gardens, allows you to live in harmony with the environment. We will provide you with the plans to be able to procure local suppliers who can build your foundation and build the entire house to the design specifications.

DOES THE COST OF THESE HOMES INCLUDE ASSEMBLY?

No. We are the manufacturers of the technology. We will assist the General Contractor, Architect or Engineer to build your Compass Green Home. We will provide you with all the necessary manuals and instructions to do so.

DOES THE COST OF THESE HOMES INCLUDE THE SOIL AND VEGETATION?

No. To blend with your environment, you will want to use the soil and plants native to your area. We have a list of plants and vegetation that grows best in the 10 Climate Zones in the USA. You can choose from that list to chose the best vegetation for your area to cover your Compass Green Home.

CAN THESE HOMES BE INSTALLED IN EXTREME COLD WEATHER WITH SNOW, SUCH AS CANADA OR ALASKA?

Yes. For cold weather environments there are special guidelines that include the application of a thick layer of insulating foam to coat the exterior of the shell and then cover it with soil, grass and plants.

CAN THESE HOMES WITHSTAND A HEAVY SNOW LOAD?

Yes. Due to the Dome Shape Structure of Compass Green Homes, the snow load accumulation tends to spread out and down towards the base of the structure. This curved design reduces the possibility of over load. For very snow heavy areas additional structural support through an interior design with internal walls for reinforcement.

CAN THE STRUCTURE OF THE COMPASS GREEN HOMEs BE COATED WITH REINFORCED CONCRETE FOR GREATER RESISTANCE?

Yes, the structure can be externally coated with concrete reinforced with steel rods to achieve higher resistance to load and withstand a thicker soil and vegetation cover. We will review each individual case and recommend the engineering specifications to accord with the desired thickness of the layer of soil covering.

DO INTERIOR WALLS GO UP TO THE CEILING?

Yes, full size walls can be included in the design, as in any standard house. We do not provide the interior walls, nor any of the internal furnishing or fixtures, just the exterior shell.

DO WINDOWS HAVE DOUBLE GLAZING?

Yes, we working with various US manufacturers to be able to provide high-quality energy efficient double glazed windows.

HOW LONG WILL THE PRODUCTION OF A COMPASS GREEN HOME TAKE ONCE THE CONTRACT IS SIGNED AND THE RETAINER FEE IS PAID?

A 1000 Sq Ft unit takes about 10 days to manufacture, but the exact delivery time will be determined at the time the contract is submitted, since it will depend on various factors such as the production queue and the requirements of the customer with regard to optional items. Normally the process from payment of the retainer fee to delivery will take approximately 30 to 60 days.

HOW MUCH TIME IS REQUIRED FOR THE ASSEMBLY AND SEALING OF A COMPASS GREEN HOME?

It depends on the size and complexity of the individual Compass Green Home. A 1000 Sq Ft unit can take 3 people 4 days to assemble and seal, while a 3 bedroom house may take 7 or 8 days.

WHAT IS THE APPROXIMATE WEIGHT OF THE MODULES THAT MAKE UP A COMPASS GREEN HOME?

The weight of the FRP Shell alone for a 1000 Sq Ft unit will have a total weight of approximately 8,800 lbs.

IS THE COMPASS GREEN HOME SYSTEM CALCULATED STRUCTURALLY BY ENGINEERS TO WITHSTAND THE WEIGHT OF SOIL AND VEGETATION? HOW MUCH MORE CAN IT SUPPORT?

Yes. The system is designed and calculated structurally by our engineers, using the latest simulation software, in compliance with national and international standards, the IBC, and international building codes. These calculations are additionally supported by actual tests of materials and structures already completed. Compass Green Homes are designed to withstand the weight of over 100 pounds per sq ft.

WHAT LEVEL OF SEISMIC MOVEMENTS (EARTHQUAKES) CAN COMPASS GREEN HOME WITHSTAND?

The specific conditions of each place and the relative location of each Compass Green Home will influence the amplification or moderation of the wave that causes an earthquake, and this must be taken into account in any simulation of seismic resistance. However, considering that Compass Green Homes are low structures, completely integrated with the surrounding terrain and with an ideal geometry based on curves and vaults, as well as a structural shell made of a flexible and strong material that can adapt to any movement of the Earth, they are perhaps the strongest structures imaginable. Under normal conditions, they can easily withstand an earthquake with a magnitude of 8.5 on the Richter scale.

CAN COMPASS GREEN HOME BE BUILT IN HURRICANE PRONE AREAS, OR AREAS WITH VERY STRONG WINDS?

Yes, and better if they are in relatively high places that are not prone to flooding. The design of the Compass Green Homes system has several characteristics that are ideal for wind resistance: on one hand the high load of the earth and it structuring with geo-textiles, and the way the modules are anchored to the foundation beams, guarantee optimum resistance to the suction and buffeting produced by strong winds. Also, the rounded shapes of the earth berming, its low height, and the way it integrates to the surrounding terrain ensures that vertical wind loads are deflected horizontally and horizontal wind loads are directed vertically, presenting a profile with the lowest possible resistance to the passage of the wind.

WHAT IS THE EXPECTED DURABILITY OF A COMPASS GREEN HOME?

The materials used in the modules are of the highest quality, and as long as the instructions of the technical manual are strictly adhered to, and all additional materials (sealants, fasteners, waterproofing, geo-textiles) are used according to specifications, you can expect a lifetime of use with very little maintenance. With the passage of time, the necessary maintenance or repairs required are minimal and simple address. The soil, grass and plant covering protect the structure from the sun’s UV rays and adverse weather conditions.

ARE COMPASS GREEN HOMES SUSCEPTIBLE TO HUMIDITY PROBLEMS AND WATER FILTRATION, BEING COVERED WITH SOIL AND VEGETATION?

Not when installed correctly per the instruction manual and when recommended techniques and materials are used. The Compass Green Homes structure consists of modules, which are assembled using stainless steel screws, epoxy and polyurethane adhesives and sealants, ensuring complete tightness. This is very important, since the material used in the modules that make up 95% of the structure is completely waterproof, and the only possibility of filtration occurs in the joints. Following instructions and carefully assembling the modules ensures a perfectly watertight environment over time.

WHAT TYPE OF MAINTENANCE DOES THE GARDEN COVERING THE COMPASS GREEN HOME NEED ONCE CONSTRUCTION IS FINISHED?

The type of vegetation used is always dependent on the climate conditions of the area where the structure is installed. As in any garden, if you use plants native to the region, in many cases you can have zero or very low maintenance. What must be taken into account is that when building an earth-sheltered house, the surface of the earth tends to revert back to its natural state eventually. One can decide to modify or improve these conditions with improved soils, watering systems, ornamental plants, or anything other landscaping methods available.

WHAT IS THE PROCESS OF STRUCTURING THE EARTH WALLS AND ROOF OF A COMPASS GREEN HOME? CAN SOIL FROM THE EXCAVATION BE USED?

The Compass Green Homes system is well suited to building on land with diverse topography, and often on sites that would hardly be suitable for other types of buildings. In sloped terrain the system presents solutions that in many cases eliminate the need for costly retaining walls to form flat areas where to build, since the House itself becomes part of the land. In most conventional systems it is necessary to excavate and remove the top layers of soil, and then replace with filling materials suitable for this purpose. In the Compass Green Homes system the topsoil along with any other underlying soils, can be saved and then placed over the house and used to form the earth walls and berms. The various treatments that can be used to structure the ground around the structure depend on several factors that include the topography of the terrain and the types of soil contained in the necessary excavations for the foundations of the Compass Green Home. For additional strength the land cover is structured by means of geo-textiles (landscape fabric) in berms with steep slopes or on level ground.

CAN YOU PLANT TREES ON TOP OF A COMPASS GREEN HOME?

Yes, you can plant trees species of moderate size with non-invasive roots in parts of the house with a suitable depth of soil between connecting spaces and on the earth berms around the house. Directly on top of the spaces where there is little thickness of Earth, it is preferable to plant smaller species. However, even in these areas the depth of Earth is approximately 8 inches there is enough space to plant large shrubs. It is important to get advice on local plants and planting techniques from professionals in the area.

CAN YOU GROW CROPS ON THE COMPASS GREEN HOME?

Yes, it is possible. The type of crops you can grow will always depend on the climate and conditions of your area.

WHAT TYPE OF FOUNDATIONS IS REQUIRED BY THE COMPASS GREEN HOME SYSTEM?

The typical slab foundation system, applicable in most of cases, is a simple reinforced concrete beam of that go under all the modules and also serves to anchor them. Foundation depth will be dependent upon your local building codes. A soil study is always important to determine the load bearing capacity and other characteristics which may affect the foundation.

HOW IS THE COMPASS GREEN HOME ANCHORED TO THE FOUNDATION?

Compass Green Homes modules are anchored to the foundation beam using expansion bolts placed in holes drilled into the beam.

CAN COMPASS GREEN HOME WALLS BE PAINTED?

Yes. Compass Green Homes delivers modules finished in a white sandable surface which can be painted with any exterior-grade acrylic paint.

CAN NEW SPACES AND ROOMS BE ADDED ON TO A COMPASS GREEN HOME AFTER IT IS FINISHED?

Yes. The system supports the connection of additional modules, but future growth should be planned from the beginning so the appropriate parts can be pre-configured for later expansion.

WHAT HAPPENS IF A CRACK IS ACCIDENTALLY MADE IN ONE OF THE WALL? CAN IT BE FIXED?

The force required to crack a module of the Compass Green Home system is very high and is not likely to happen accidentally, since it would require a strong blow with a steel cutting element or something similar. However, if this were to happen the repair work is relatively simple with materials that can be purchased through us, or in any hardware or construction materials store.

ARE COMPASS GREEN HOMES GOOD FOR VERY HOT OR VERY COLD CLIMATES?

Yes. An environmental properties study is available from us, containing an extensive chapter on the climatic properties of the Compass Green Homes system, with figures, graphs, and tests of the system under various conditions. In addition, it contains an annex with design recommendations for different climates.

WHAT IS THE - R - FACTOR OF THE COMPASS GREEN HOMES STRUCTURE?

The R factor, or resistance to the transfer of temperature factor, is approximately 1 for every 3.93 inches of soil. A typical Compass Green Home has an average of 24 inches between walls and cover, which gives an R factor of 6. But it can be increased up to a R factor of 50 by first applying a layer of 7.5 inches of closed-cell polyurethane foam, whose R factor is 6 per inch and then covering it with 7.5 inches of soil, grass and natural gardens.

WHAT IS THE RESPONSE OF THESE MATERIALS TO FIRE?

The FRP components are made with materials to meet ASTM E84 fire resistant test – this effectively reduces burn rate, spread of flame and smoke.

WHAT IS THE MELTING POINT OF THE POLYMER COMPOSITES?

The ignition temperature, typically is 650 °F or higher for FRP components.

IS IT POSSIBLE TO HAVE SKYLIGHTS IN THE SYSTEM?

Yes, skylights can be installed into some components in the system.

CAN AIR CONDITIONING OR HEATING SYSTEMS BE INSTALLED IN A COMPASS GREEN HOME?

Yes, easily. Firstly we recommend adding radiant floor hearing into the foundation which is a very cost effective way of heating the house. Also, we use a ductless HVAC system in that are supremely efficient in the Compass Green Home due to its thermal qualities.

CAN VENTILATION OR AIR EXTRACTION DUCTS BE INSTALLED WHEREVER NEEDED?

Yes, small diameter ventilation ducts with or without extraction fans can be installed in most areas as long as they are specified in the initial design so that they can be incorporated into the production of the modules.

DO COMPASS GREEN HOMES PRODUCE GAS EMISSIONS THAT MAY BE TOXIC TO HEALTH?

No, gas emissions occur only during the manufacture of components in our plant, but once finished, they are completely inert and are no longer producing emissions or outgassing, making them suitable for permanent housing.

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