Choosing the proper yurt insulation package for your climate and use, as well as the proper heating and cooling methods, are key to comfortable yurt living. How well your yurt is insulated is a key factor in deciding the best methods to heat or cool your yurt. Fortunately, we at Shelter Designs are here to help guide you through this process!
Yurt Insulation Packages
We offer two different levels of wall and roof insulation packages – Baseline and Arctic Insulation. The Arctic Insulation is a Shelter Designs exclusive. Most yurt companies offer only a reflective insulation layer, what we call Baseline Insulation – recommended for occasional use in moderate climates. Our upgraded Arctic Insulation is recommended for 4 season use in moderate to extreme climates. You will use substantially less energy (approx. 30-40% less) to heat your yurt with our upgraded Arctic Insulation vs the Baseline Insulation reflective layer.
The Arctic Insulation has two layers of insulation – a radiant reflective layer faces into the yurt, which is then backed with 1/2″ of closed-cell polyethylene foam. Arctic Insulation has kept many, many Shelter Designs customers quite comfortable in very extreme climates. The foam layer will trap conductive heat and lead to a more consistently comfortable indoor environment while using less energy to do so.
Sometimes people ask about adding more insulation into the yurt like fiberglass, rockwool or foam board. We recommend against it. It can lead to condensation issues, which can ultimately lead to mold. The insulation layer we provide is a vapor barrier, meaning that no moisture created inside the yurt (by cooking, breathing, drying wet gear, etc) escapes without being actively vented (opening the dome and/or windows) or using a dehumidifier to pull moisture out of the air. If you do add more insulation and do not hermetically seal it (as in caulking all seams, spray foam around outlets – completely sealed) then you run the risk of moisture laden air from inside the yurt getting inside the insulated cavity, triggering at a dew point, and condensating on the lumber of the frame where you can’t see it. This can lead to some very substantial mold issues.
Ultimately, adding more insulation is your choice, but we like for folks to be fully aware of the risks involved. Additionally, if you add more insulation you will need to cover it up so you don’t see it, meaning more work, and you lose the visual appeal of seeing the beautiful rafters, snowlegs, and lattice wall of the yurt frame. Adding more insulation behind the already supplied insulation from us is tricky as the exterior fabrics are made to exactly fit the supplied insulation package and there isn’t much room to slide more in.
Optimizing Your Yurt Engery
There are some further things to consider to optimize your energy needs when living in yurts. Potentially going with a smaller yurt or combining multiple smaller yurts together would be more energy efficient as smaller yurts have less cubic volume to condition than our larger yurts. Utilizing ceiling fans in your yurt makes a huge difference in temperature control as well. By switching the direction the fan is turning, you can push hot air down towards the living space in the winter and pull hot air up and out of the open dome in warm seasons.
If your primary heat source is a wood stove, we would also recommend that you consider a secondary heat source, like a thermostatically controlled gas or pellet stove. Many of our customers have recently been installing mini split ductless heat pumps in their yurts with very positive results. These highly efficient, wall-mounted electric units provide both heating and cooling capabilities. We always recommend that whatever heating and cooling source you go with be rated for twice the square footage of the yurt.
Stove Types and Brands
We are often asked for our recommendations on stove types and brands. While we do not specifically endorse any one company, we have heard positive feedback about Quadra Fire gas stoves, Blaze King Wood Stoves, and Mitsubishi mini split systems.
Shelter Designs yurts is your premier yurt manufacturer for hand-crafted and sustainable yurts, varying in size from small eco-yurts to large 40′ yurt kits. We are always happy to assist you through all yurt related decisions, so give us a call at (406)721-9878 or email us at info@shelterdesigns with any and all yurt related questions!