Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Living in the Round: TMS Yurt Gets Eco-Friendly Upgrade

The largest of three Meeting School yurts, tucked away behind Red House and some fields (where the new piglets are now scrambling about), just had its ceiling and bathroom insulated in preparation for Sheila Garrett's upcoming move there from Thomas House.

In keeping with our commitment to be increasingly sustainable, we used a new insulation technology called Icynene foam insulation, put in by 4 Seasons, an insulation company based out of Keene, New Hampshire. The insulation can reduce heating costs by as much as 50%, which also reduces greenhouse gas emissions. Additionally, it is 100% water blown, contains no harmful PBDEs, contains renewable content (it substitutes some castor oil for petroleum) and has no loss of R-Value over time. (Please visit www.4seasonsfine.com if you want to know more - posting a question on the blog probably won't get you an answer.)

And for those of you not yet familiar with The Meeting School yurts (or yurts more generally), they have an fascinating and multi-continent history.

Our yurts were designed in the early 1960s by Bill Coperthwaite, a faculty member teaching mathematics who was inspired by the Mongolian yurts he read about in a National Geographic magazine. Chuck Cox, who was one of Bill's students, built the yurts. (Later Chuck and his wife Laurel produced a set of portable yurt plans that became the basis of modern canvas yurt design in North America.) Bill Coperthwaite is also the author of the book A Hand-Made Life: In Search of Simplicity, which won the Nautilus Award in 2004 for Ecology/Environment.

Sheila was not on hand to see her new dwelling insulated, as she was on her bicycle headed for New England Yearly Meeting.

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