Friday, December 23, 2011

California Safe House

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A Very Special Home
This geodesic dome home with 4,000 square feet of interior space on a 1600 sq. ft. footprint, is built on a design originated by R. Buckminster Fuller, long known as America's greatest designer-architect.  It is the most efficient, safe and strongest design for dealing with earthquakes, windstorms and fires. All heating, cooling, cooking, light and water costs total $60 a month due to the efficiency, use of sunlight and our well and septic system.  

It is 100% electric with heating and cooling by heat pump because Lake County is served by the largest geothermal electric power producing facility in North America.  This is the only 100% reliable electric power supply in the nation.  It is operated by Lake County residents.  They will never shut themselves off in a national emergency.  The steam well system in Iceland is larger, but sits on a tectonic plate that can rupture.  We are firmly on the North American plate, the part that will move least when "the big one" happens as expected.

Nonetheless, we have a preliminary plan for a sun-tracking array of solar panels with 50% higher output than stationery panels and a payback of ten years, half that of commercial installations, if you need complete independence.  The system will employ a solar water heater to reduce our electric demand by 30%.  We will install the solar water heater whether or not we build the solar system.

During our final inspection Chief County Building Inspector said, "This will be the last house standing in the county if we have a big earthquake." It is made entirely of triangles with patented metal joints that greatly increase strength over such homes without steel joints.  It is a Timberline product. They own the patent on the steel joint system which gives them a superior product.

Major Calamity?

As California and America are collapsing it is important to have a safe place for your family.  If you are in the Bay Area you know well of social decay.  How about a place within driving distance, secure with reliable power, water and food? And, close enough that you could run your business by Internet with occasional visits to the city.

The schools are excellent and within one mile all served by buses, but what kid can't walk a mile in 20 minutes?  It's great exercise.  

Lake County, California is a secure place.  It is within 100 miles of the Bay Area, but a Shan-gri-la powered by geothermal steam wells, The Geysers.   It has robust agriculture, two growing seasons, abundant fish and game and a developing antarchy movement seeking self sufficiency with some success.

Clear Lake is the oldest lake in North America.  It is at an altitude of 1300 feet and ringed by ancient volcanoes with peaks at 3400 feet.   It collects an over-abundance of water every year and our wells are among the best in the nation.  
The ways in are so steep the railroad never came to Lake County.  There are only four roads into Lake County.  It is easily defended.

Lake County has the clearest air in North America.  It is its own weather cell naturally insulated from air pollution or fallout from the Bay Area. It is like living in your own bubble and enjoys rare air phenomena like striated clouds.  Experimental military aircraft fly over on their way to the Pacific where they can go supersonic without bothering people or inciting professional victims.

The county is easily defended by National Guard and local civil defense groups with plans and equipment to control access in the event of violence in the Bay Area.

Clear Lake is shallow, warm and calm.  California Fish and Game has netted and released two Largemouth Bass exceeding the world record. The lake is the scene of many fishing competitions with sponsored cash and equipment prizes.  We will see a new world record bass headline come from Lake County.  The lake is a dream for water sport enthusiasts as it is eight miles wide and 28 miles long and often dead calm, but has wind for sailing much of the time.  It is very photogenic.

All heating, cooling and lighting is electric and the bills average $60 per month year round.  A solar water heater will reduce that 30%.  Domes are naturally efficient compared to rectangular homes as the air flow is unrestricted inside. The design gains heat in the winter.  Change in sun angle and ventilation reduce the effect in summer.  The home is built into a hill to use the 50 Fahrenheit degree Earth temperature to advantage in summer and winter.  We are frequently visited by wild turkeys and deer.

In this design the top cupola and fan permit air control, eliminating hot air in summer while drawing cool air from the first level which is set into the earth on a hill. In winter’s low sun angle the cupola gains heat which can then be blown to the lower levels with the fan.  The home includes such amenities as an eight jet Jacuzzi tub.

The foundation includes 90 cubic yards,  152 tons, of reinforced concrete with "rebar" on nine inch centers for double normal reinforced strength. "It could cap a volcano," according to the Chief Building Inspector of Lake County.
Unique Sustainability
This property has a well with a 20 gallon per minute capacity as it is located at the foot of the Scott Valley acquifer.  20 gallons per minute is more than ten times the requirement for a residence and enough water to support a vineyard or truck farm on the 1.3 acre lot on which it stands and the five acres adjoining, which are available.

There is space for a 1/4 acre pond that could raise fish to supply a family if they were were fed and managed.  We receive sufficient rain runoff to fill the pond every year and can easily maintain it with well water. Evaporation can be greatly reduced with floating plastic "Lily pad" circles made with "Hoola Hoops," that do not interfere with fish culture.

We have an adjacent five acre parcel available for development.  With this in cultivation the property could easily be a producing vegetable, fruit farm or vineyard.  It was a walnut orchard many years ago.
Given its natural security there is a developing antarky movement in Lake County to make it possible for the people to thrive regardless what happens in California or America.  With the prevailing winds coming from the Pacific Ocean rainfall is dependable.  
High Security
In addition to the natural security of the open, visible position this home is within one mile of the county Sheriff's main office and a Sheriff's car passes by Route 29 every hour.  We are within an easy half-mile walk to a shopping center with the largest drug and supermarkets in the county plus other shops and restaurants.  It is within one block of north and south Route 29 on-ramps and within six miles of the largest hospital in the area and 1.5 miles of the county seat.

A Lakeport city fire plug is on the property as we are contiguous with the town and while not in it the Lakeport Fire Department is our designated fire service.  They are 1.5 miles or three driving minutes away at the speed limit of 30 mph.

This property is contiguous with the Town of Lakeport, but is in Lake County so we cannot connect to high speed Internet from Cox Cable, but have had satellite uplinking.  The first version was not satisfactory.  We now have DSL on a telephone line, but it is only 350 mb/s and not the 3,000 mb/s we could get from Cox or a better DSL line.  We are told satellite transmission has improved and it could be a link to the world requiring only electricity of which we have the most reliable source in the nation.   Nonetheless...

We are engineering a solarpanel system that would maintain us with a panel and materials cost of about $3,000, labor extra. Anyone with technical skills should be able to put it together.  In one version the panels are actuated to track the sun for a 50% gain in performance over the stationary systems.  The cost of actuated or not will be about the same which tends to favor stationery as it is simpler and more reliable.


In addition to world-famous bass fishing and fresh water sailing, this location is ideal for walking, hiking and cycling as there are good and interesting roads very little traffic and interesting locations.  The best shopping center in the county is 1/2 mile from the home.  Access to Bureau of Land Management forest is within 1/2 mile and much  interesting wildlife is present.  Deer, hawks, crows, turkey,and vultures are seen daily.  The moon and stars virtually leap from the sky. The lake is very calming. The Milky Way and many constellations are easy to see and recognize.  A planetarium and working observatory, with public access, is a few miles away in Kelseyville.  Several small, interesting restaurants are on Main Street and by the lake 1.5 miles to the east.  There are many regular events like the September seaplane fly-in. 


Before the real estate market crash we were appraised for $615,000 (document on file), but have no idea what the current appraisal would be.  We know the Internet appraisals for all California property are very low, but we can  come to an equitable price in negotiation. 

The unfinished first level is 1,000 square feet with two 200 square foot rooms and one with more than 300 square feet, a half bath and halls and includes a 500 square foot, two car garage.
The rooms could function as two more bedrooms and a family room or two offices and a large workshop or laboratory. A shower could be installed to make a full bath at that level as we have the stall and space for it.

The last ten homes to sell in our area were 1/3rd our size and went for an average price of $184 per square foot.  None were geodesics, thus all are weak and unsafe in an earthquake, hurricane or tornado, but using their per foot sales figure values this home is worth $731,922 and we have 1.3 acres where they are all on city lots 1/9th the size of our property and we have independent water and private septic system. 

We are not anxious to sell, but it would facilitate a move we would like to make.  We feel our home is worth $500,000 in today's market and we are open to offers as we have opportunities in other locations. We would like to sell the adjacent 5.5 acres, which when divided into four lots will have a present market value of $200,000 to $400,000.  We are open to offers on that parcel in a package or separately.

Contact:  Adrian Vance 707-263-6739 or


  1. Adrian I see why you are hesitant in getting out now.I know the area well.I lived in sebastapol and used to fish clear lake,Great cat fish.I don't miss the politics but I do the weather and views.Thanks for the link.Dan

    1. To be sure there are advantages here, and I have some friends I would miss, but I am more wanting opportunity than anything and would even go to New York City if I got a gig or project. Believe me, that is something for a guy from Normal, Illinois.