Yurtin’ and Winterin’

So often people who are interested in a yurt ask the same general questions.  Some of the questions I’ve been hearing lately are: Do you get cold in the winter? How does the yurt do in strong winds? And can you connect the yurts if you build several?

So I thought I’d take a second to let you know about these top questions/ concerns…

Yurtin' in the winter…

First off, do we get cold? The answer is yes, we do get cold when we go outside! But of course, we keep our yurt warm and toasty (and our daughter Emilia walks around barefoot…) We do enjoy spending a good amount of time outside, so we do get cold outdoors…. ;)

Our FAQ section provides a lot of information about heating and cooling a yurt, and we’re happy to answer questions, too!  As you may know, yurts were designed for use in some of the coldest climates on the planet. Their circular nature makes them more efficient to heat (with 12% less surface exposed to the elements than their rectilinear equivalents).  We use a NASA-developed reflective insulation which consists of a layer of bubble wrap sandwiched between two reflective foil layers. The foil works by reflecting radiant heat in both directions (to keep the heat inside in the winter and outside in the summer).  Insulating the floor is important. You can use standard types of insulation under the floor (e.g., blown-in or rigid foam) or use stress skin insulated (SIP) panels to build the deck itself.

Now for the second concern: how do yurts do in the strong winds? This answer is simply answered that one of the benefits to yurts is how well they do in the wind! Yurts are ideal in high winds, partly because they are circular (and therefore the wind goes around the yurt, with no corners to catch the wind). Also, the yurts amazing design gives it strength and flexibility because of the integrated roof and wall structure (the whole structure being held in tension between the central compression ring and the encircling tension band).

Becky Kemery's book is a great source on yurts.

Becky Kemery, author of “Yurts, Living in the Round” relates this story: “I heard a story about a fabric yurt in Japan surviving a tornado in Japan that damaged nearby houses. The only thing that happened to the yurt was that the skylight bubble blew off, which I’m told is a design feature to allow for pressure release when a vacuum is created inside, thereby keeping the yurt from imploding.”  Amazing, and makes me happy that I live in a yurt in WNC, where we experience lots of high winds!

The last question we hear from families often, who want to build several yurts that connect, creating a “family compound”.  How do you join these yurts? There are many options, from simplest to most luxurious.  We connected our yurt with our daughter’s by building a connecting deck. This is convenient and increases our space so much! To protect us from the elements, we could build an awning to enclose the deck, or even make it into a screened in porch. A covered walkway, breezeway or enclosed hallway is another popular choice.

Yurts can be as simple or luxurious as you want…

Yurt living is in many ways comparable to any other lifestyle.  It can be as simple or luxurious as you want.  Your yurt can be set up on the ground, used as a nomadic space you move every few weeks or months, or it can be set up on a deck with radiant floors and several real windows and doors… Whatever lifestyle you choose, you can pick and choose your luxuries.  One of our customers owns a small piece of land, has goats and is almost entirely off grid, with one of the most stellar shoe collections I’ve seen… so live it up, live, love, yurt!


About the Author

yurtmanI live in a little sustainable minded yurt village in western NC near AshevilleView all posts by yurtman →