5 Comments to “Floor Insulation; to insulate or not … that is the question!”

  1. Ronny Christianson

    Sep 23rd, 2011

    Hi Canada!

    I write from Sweden, northern Europe with same climate zone as parts of Canada. Well there is not any earthship raised yet here. I am to participate as volounteer next summer in mid county Värmland. I have checked the ground frost depth to be down to and even more than 79 inches there. That’s deep! As I understand the following pdf I see the depth in Darfield can be 50 inches. http://www.agf.gov.bc.ca/resmgmt/publist/500Series/590307-1.pdf
    For Ontario, Bancroft, I used this map (page 5) to encount the depth. http://weather.nmsu.edu/News/nl-climate-spring-08_vg_comments.pdf It tells me 55″. At EarthShipSweden the disussion goes about a ‘new’ insulation made of old car windows. How far have you come to this query in Darfield? For me, 18°C (65°F) is to low inside. Hotwater pipes in my earthshipfloor it will be.

    Sincerely, Ronny

  2. Chris

    Sep 30th, 2011

    Four feet is about the depth for frost depth in our area. Interestingly, I do not think we have had a winter recently (the last ten years) that has come close to that frost depth.

    We intend to insulate the travelled portions of our floor … otherwise it will be too chilly for us!


  3. Steve Christenson

    Oct 23rd, 2011

    My 2 cents. If the ambient temp of the earth envelope is 55F, then when the interior temp of the house is below 55F, the house will “take” heat from the earth until the temps are equalized. Similarly, if the house temp is greater than 55F, the process will reverse, with heat “leaked” into the earth. IMO, insulation would help to slow, if not stop, the leakage.
    IMO, the energy efficiency of an earthship is that the ambient ground temp is a moderate 55F, and not the -20F or so of the air temp. I would certainly insulate, at least the floor, which is otherwise in direct contact with that 55F! (And I like radiant floor heat too!)
    best of fortune with your very significant project!

  4. Bob VonMoss

    Jan 19th, 2012

    You really wrapped yourself around this subject. I tried to understand the Mongolian situation. One mining info page suggested that the max frost depth here was 1.9 meters. Actually in the southern half of Mongolia that is probably true. I found other research which took soil temperatures at various depths. They had a map of Mongolia with various types of permafrost. Some places it’s discontinuous and spotty. Under UB generally there is permafrost at a depth of 5-15 meters at a temperature of around -0.2C. Below 15 meters it very gradually gets above freezing. Above the depth of 5 meters it is influenced by the seasonal temperature. So it’s not practical to dig deep below frost. We get lots of sun. What are the alternatives besides insulating maybe 2 tire courses under the ground with high load bearing expensive insulation?

  5. Bob VonMoss

    Jan 21st, 2012

    The “thermal battery” concept is misleading. In New Mexico it is fairly warm underground. Yes, some heat may be stored nearby in the ground. If you’re on permafrost or near permafrost several meters under the ground, there’s no avoiding it. It will definitely suck heat out of your house. If you get under the max frost depth, it is above freezing, but might not be +58F immediately below that either. You might contain some heat in the thermal mass below the house, but more likely heat will transfer further down into cold earth below +58F further below.

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