My wife wants a country house with lots of windows and big porches. I like them, but I want something that is low maintenance and energy efficient. I want to provide my own water and electricity and the need for air conditioning in Texas makes that very expensive. I like concrete dome houses. I toured a concrete dome house that was 2700s.f. and it only had a 1 ton AC unit outside. These houses are tornado proof, fire proof, hurricane proof(except for flooding), earthquake resistant, and can even be buried for an underground home. A coat or two of industrial paint is the only outside maintenance needed for 50 years. If you have several too close together, it looks like a hippy commune, but it can be done tastefully on several acres of land.
They are made by inflating a dome shaped balloon called an airform. From the inside, you spray in a 3 inch thick layer of polyeurathane insulation. Next, the rebar is installed along with any outside wall conduit for electrical boxes. Then 3 inches of concrete are sprayed inside. After the concrete dries, the doors, windows, and interior framing is done. It costs about $110/s.f., but there is little need for insurance, since the house is so durable. These houses have stood through forrest fires, hurricanes, and even a tornado with only minor damage. (windows broken)
Monolithic Dome Institute
Has anybody done haybale construction, underground homes, or any other alternative building technique.