Houston Dome Project: Are the Environmentalists Right?

Can a Geodesic Dome Save the City of Houston?

Recently the Discovery Channel aired an episode of Mega Engineering that mentioned constructing a geodesic dome over the city of Houston. Could this Houston dome really be the fourth most populated US city's only hope, as some environmental experts urge? As a resident of Houston, I have to admit that I am skeptical of the Houston dome project for a few reasons.

The dome must contain a clear material that can fill in all the holes in the frame, act as windows, and be able to withstand very high winds and other forces of nature. However, for a structure large enough to cover even just Downtown Houston, the material would need to be lightweight, but durable at the same time. According to clips shown on the Mega Engineering episode, a material called Texlon ETFE can make that possible, as well as protect the Houston dome from winds of up to 180 MPH.

That wind speed is faster than even the most forceful winds of the strongest category 5 hurricane. This brings experts to the conclusion that in combination with the specially-designed steel structure, the Houston Dome project could be successful. The Texlon ETFE also can hold up to fire and water.

That's great that there is a protective solution to hurricanes and other natural disasters that plague Houston, such as flooding. But, how will life be sustained inside this geodesic dome? True, there will be air conditioning (and boy does Houston need that during the summer), but what about growing plant life? How well will it do under the dome?

What if people in Houston want to actually feel the rain or the sun - you know, the way it feels naturally. What about feeling the warm Houston breeze on my face or picking flowers in a field (or the backyard)? Would the kids and I still be able to do that under a giant geodesic dome? True, there would be entrances and exits, but I wonder how many people would really travel to the other side of town every single day just to get that taste of "outside" air.

Some environmentalists seem to feel that the Houston dome project is the only way to save the city. I'm all for preserving nature. In fact, being Earth-friendly is high on my list of everyday living. But, I want to know how exactly the very nature being potentially saved will thrive inside of a man-made structure instead of being in...well, nature itself. Houston has been referred to as the number one contributor to greenhouse gas, which comes from energy use. Increased emissions of these gases could cause climate change, which is one of the the main reasons these environmentalists say Houston needs saving.

While the dome would just go straight over the buildings and nature located in its designated area, for me it just would not feel the same. Plus, is a large air-conditioned dome even good for the environment? It may save the city from hurricanes and tornadoes, and perhaps even climate change. But, what sort of damages could it potentially cause?

Since these materials are so strong, what happens to them if this structure gets built and then its discovered it either doesn't work or it's unwanted? That would be a very large amount of waste being contributed to the Earth. Also, if the entire city is under a dome, where are the greenhouse gases going to go? Will the people, like my asthmatic children, be breathing that in? Are the benefits greater than the risks?

Perhaps experts have thought of these things and perhaps the geodesic dome could actually work. I have many more questions and am still questioning whether the city of Houston really needs such drastic saving measures as the Houston dome project.

Sources:

http://dsc.discovery.com/tv/mega-engineering/explore/houston-dome.html

http://www.huliq.com/1/81975/experts-say-houston-dome-may-help-environment

http://www.breakingtweets.com/2009/06/08/mega-engineers-propose-dome-over-entire-city-of-houston/

Published by Lyn from Yahoo - Community Manager & Advocate

Lyn Lomasi is the Community Manager & Advocate at Yahoo Contributor Network. Email her with community issues, concerns, & ideas (contributor-lyn@yahoo-inc.com). Read her tips for success on the official YCN...  View profile

4 Comments

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  • CJ 12/23/2013

    The show didn't answer the OP's objections for me. I think the OP's questions have merit. I would love to see something like this built over a large city. It sounds very fanciful.

  • Aris 12/7/2013

    Continue comment .....more than 10 years. So at this point the engineering part of the project is not so much an issue. The real problem comes with actually getting people to open their minds to new possibilities (Think outside the box).

  • Aris 12/7/2013

    The questions asked in this post about the dome seem to be asked before the mentioned Discovery Channel episode aired; kind of stupid if you ask me since most of these questions were answered in the show. Not to mention that they used the main example of an already existing dome project (The Eden Project in England) that is in perfect working order today & has been for over ten years. Not to mention all the different conditions & climates that can be set up by controlling the humidity and temperature via the vents at the top and bottom of the dome structure (Amazon, Desert, tropical & more). The vents also answer the pollution question as well since no air conditioning is needed & the vents can keep the dome at a controlled temperature & humidity. Growing plants is obviously not an issue at all (Green House gasses & air pollution are filtered by plants as well). Just look at the Eden Project; the main purpose of this project was to house many different plant life, and it has been for m

  • Evgod 10/11/2013

    yea lots of questions. why dont you go look for the answers rather then posting them all and spreading your wild fears

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