Yurts are a most brilliant and energy efficient form of housing. They comes to us from central Asia. The Mongolian people created the yurt as a movable dwelling, appropriate for their life style. Since most mongolians have large flocks of sheep, and are constantly moving them for the purposes of finding good grazing areas, this form of dwelling became the dominant form. From an engineering standpoint, yurts are simple yet highly efficient.
Technically there are real reasons why the yurt developed in Mongolia. There are high winds on the plains of central Asia so the round dwelling needed to be wind resistant. Because of it’s round shape a yurt is easier to heat than most dwellings. This of course would be very important in Mongolia where there are few trees or combustible material. As a matter of fact dung is one of the fuels used. Another factor that works in favor of the yurt is the ease with which insolating materials can be applied to the interior. Actually, a rather large yurt can be easily heated with a small cast iron stove. Furthermore, a yurt is easily erected and taken down. This is imperative for a person who must constantly move. In the summer, a yurt can be cooled by simply opening the top flap on the highest point of the dwelling. By providing an outlet for the heat, the continous movement of the hot air out of the top, creates a slight vacuum in the yurt. This vacuum can then pull in air from the screened windows. The breeze created can help to cool the yurt better than most cabins or homes without air conditioners.
The shape of the yurt (a cylinder with a pointed top), lends itself well to shedding snow and rain. Depending on the construction materials the yurt can be like a permanent home or cabin. Of course if you want a yurt that is just for camping, those are available as well. I recommend that those who are attracted to efficient dwellings with a very low carbon footprint to try living in a yurt for a week. Perhaps at first the experience might appear to be a bit primitive. However, once you accept the loss of huge electronic consumers of energy you might find you enjoy the low costs. The yurt can also be surprisingly roomy and with the addition of a simple kitchen and a composting toilet, they are quite homey.
Another attractive feature of a yurt is the very low price to own one. If you have a piece of property and want to have a temporary dwelling there even as you build a new home, you can live in a yurt for the time it takes to build your permanent home. Of course you could just make your yurt big enough and comfortable enough so that you decide to make it your permanent dwelling. Better yet put up a couple of yurts and voila! You have a two room cabin.
Living in a yurt is an efficient and comfortable way to live for those who favor a green lifestyle. As an artist and designer I am fascinated by them and would recommend them to anyone who is tired of the domination of the world of modern devices and mega energy consumption.