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Green quonset hut insulation ideas

 
Christian McMahon
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I am considering getting a Quonset hut when I move and buy land. These metal buildings are inexpensive and should pass code anywhere. However they are pretty thin on the insulation. I would like to be as green as possible in my construction to minimize costs in heating and cooling. Besides pointing the building south and covering the south side of the building with windows for heating what else should I consider? I want it to be cool in the summer and warm in the winter.
 
R Scott
Posts: 3304
Location: Kansas Zone 6a
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Spray foam is the best thing to do to a quonset. The reduced shipping volume makes its carbon footprint less than most insulation, and you can find corn-based blends.
 
Christian McMahon
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R Scott wrote:Spray foam is the best thing to do to a quonset. The reduced shipping volume makes its carbon footprint less than most insulation, and you can find corn-based blends.


I hesitate to use spray foam because I want the house to be as fireproof as possible. I will be living in a wooded area. This leads me to think about insulation on the inside of the Quonset. I have also read the metal building expands and contracts with heat and cold weather causing a rain of foam to come down.

I was just reading about straw bales. However I don't think the structure of a Quonset couldn't handle the weight without some kind of reinforcement. An arch of strawbale covered with earth plaster would be great if possible. I suppose if I could do that I wouldn't need the Quonset. hmm a cattle panel arch welded together covered with strawbales cut to make an arch. It should work but then I am back to the stupid building code problems.
 
Brian Knight
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Location: Asheville NC
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The plaster layer is what protects strawbale from fire so why not use it over the foam? Keeping brush and grass cleared around the house is probably more important than the actual materials. Insulation performs best outside of the structure and should help reduce the expansion and contraction. Mineral wool board might be a good substitute but it could be a challenge to find some for a good price because its rather new in the states. Airtight, of course, is more important than insulation so be meticulous in that aspect.
 
S Bengi
Posts: 1355
Location: Massachusetts, Zone:6/7, AHS:4, Rainfall:48in even distribution
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Most of the new spray insulation is fire resistant.
I dont see a straw being more resistant that spray insulation.
You can also cover the spray insulation with layer of more fire resistant material.

In theory a straw bale archway is self-supporting, and only the weight of the snow would be passes on to the metal structure.
However I would be weary of such a setup.
 
Christian McMahon
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I am thinking about a Quonset hut with some kind of fireproof condensation protection inside. Then a strawbale arch's as a thermal insulation. I want to have as little heating and cooling bills as possible.
I read a study on why houses burn, it concluded it was what they are made from. If I put nothing but metal and brick outside the building I should have very good exterior fire prevention. The insulation is the hardest part to come up with.
 
S Bengi
Posts: 1355
Location: Massachusetts, Zone:6/7, AHS:4, Rainfall:48in even distribution
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I think that most house fires are started inside not by nature, so you might want to do metal inside and outside.
With the insulation in the middle. So maybe two metal house with strawbale in the middle. I wonder if this is even possible and what the cost would be.
 
Gail Moore
Posts: 168
Location: south central Appalachia, southwest Virginia, US zone 6/7
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H Christian,

Quonsets and vaults are two great shapes. Here are some examples for you to peruse.

You may appreciate viewing these images of Strawbale Vault dwellings.

https://www.google.com/search?num=10&hl=en&site=imghp&tbm=isch&source=hp&biw=847&bih=449&q=straw+bale+vault+house&oq=straw+bale+vau&gs_l=img.3.1.0i24l2.2886.17632.0.19547.14.11.0.3.3.0.232.821.10j0j1.11.0...0.0...1ac.1.SIyq985oCcw

ALso, Kelly Hart built a hybrid Steel Quonset with earthbags

http://www.greenhomebuilding.com/hybrids.htm

There is also a geodesic quonset /plans at Green Trust
 
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