Sustainable Yurt Dwelling

The Yurt Design concept provides a low cost, rapid construction system, giving the occupants a high quality modern lifestyle, whilst providing a sustainable solution to not use valuable resources.

Dwelling Features and Characteristics:

The Yurt concept can be built in different configurations, using different external finishes, to provide an attractive Urbanisation. Sustainable features have been designed into each Yurt to minimise the requirement for Infrastructure, such as no need for sewage drainage and a centralised electrical power grid. The only infrastructure required would be a water supply, capacity of which is minimised by the occupants using water conservation appliances and reuse of grey water.

The concept design uses Passive features to ensure good natural light without overheating, due to shading of the roof profile. Cooling is available from air movement through the open interior, using thermal chimney characteristics.

The Yurt design ensures comfort and a modern lifestyle, with a minimum of 73 m² open plan area with no structural pillars, equal or better to the quality enjoyed in Architecture modern buildings, without the waste of valuable resources.


Galvanised steel has been chosen to fabricate the structure due to the ease of fabrication, low cost and sustainable characteristics of the steel being recyclable.

In stead of transporting tonnes of bulky material long distances to the work site, as required using the traditional building systems, rolls of 1.2mm gauge steel and lightweight prefabricated sandwich panels are all what is required.

Our design CAD drawings are loaded into the forming machine, resulting in load bearing steel sections being quickly produced to exact lengths and screw holes positioned, to ensure fast assembly into lattice panels. This method of fabrication results in only a 1% of steel waste during the construction process. The thin steel formed creates a rigid, light weight steel structure, to provide a durable, solid building, with the ability of flexing if sited in an area of seismic activity.

The walls, floor and roof is constructed by screwing prefabricated sandwich panels to the erected steel structure lattice. The Sandwich panels have good thermal insulation characteristics and have the finished surfaces already laminated on both exterior surfaces to reduce the construction program.

All finishing materials and fittings are deemed as sustainable, by not using materials that cannot be safely recycled, therefore no material such as PVC shall be used in the building process.

    Main Features:

  • Metal Structure - Fast Build system and Recyclable
  • Flexible design - Can be built in different configurations and in stages.
  • Passive Architecture - Absorbs Solar heat in winter, whilst naturally cool in Summer.
  • Good natural lighting - Natural light from ceiling and wall glazing.
  • Sustainable Building systems - for example Solar assisted Hot Water DHW and Renewable Energy power generation.
  • No Sewage drainage infrastructure required.
  • Low cost but high quality.



The Primary aim of using the Yurt concept is to provide a large open living area, to generate a high quality space for the occupants to lead a Sustainable lifestyle, but also at a low construction cost and fast completion time

The Yurt has the advantage of being octagonal therefore each side being equal in dimension and symmetrical. As the structure will be constructed using steel lattice the building system can be rapid due to each panel (roof, wall or floor) being fabricated identically eight times.

The metal structure is fabricated in panels that can be manually lifted easily. The external panels are cladded on both sides, in a horizontally position, before they are mechanically fixed to the steel structure. This industrial process enables the panelised components of the Yurt to be pre-fabricated on the building site, which are lifted into position quickly and easily.


As the Yurt structural load is supported by the eight sides the total free floor area is approximately 110m² (Interior floor area 74 m² and covered Veranda 37 m²), for a single storey unit.

By adding another storey and a mezzanine floor (ensuring natural light and passive cooling characteristics of the roof Cupola) the interior floor area is increased to approximately 104m².


One of the advantages of the symmetrical, light weight Yurt structures is the ability of expanding the floor area at a later date. This can be done by simply adding units to connect to one of the eight sides, with no concrete structure required except for the foundation footings. Supporting Infrastructure is very limited, providing only water and connection of a local electrical grid (for load sharing).

Below are only some examples of Yurt configurations that can be constructed:

T Quadruple Configuration:

Square Quadruple Configuration:


To improve security the light weight Yurts are best raised off the ground. This enables to the vulnerable Veranda areas to be more secure and more importantly reduces the risk of termite and other insects affecting the building’s contents.

Another advantage of raising the floor level is due to the risks of extreme weather conditions, due to the effect of Global Warming, increasing the risk of flash flooding.

The Layout has been described in the initial paragraphs of this Section. The Yurt is also raised by 1.75 meters high from ground level to provide security and usable space underneath the living platform, to enable a sustainable lifestyle.

The Plant Room to support the Renewable energy systems (Electrical Panel & inverter, Battery Storage, Solar thermal hot water storage, Pumps, and Grey water collection) shall be located underneath the Yurt in a secure walled area, which can also be used for a workshop and storage.

One important concept of sustainability is to provide the occupants with the possibility of producing their local food. This concept also coincides with the cultural independent background of the majority of potential occupants in Sustainable communities.
A by-product of the food and animal waste can generate Biogas cheaply, for electrical power generation or cooking.




The following Sustainable features have been designed into the Concept Yurt:

  • Solar heated hot water generation – using highly efficient Heat Pipe collectors mounted directly onto the roof panels. Sufficient hot water would be stored inside the utility room, under the Yurt structure at ground level. Sufficient to provide a minimum of 200 litres of hot water per day.
  • Reduction of Electrical power consumption – using LED lighting that consumes 15 times less energy, compared to the traditional tungsten lights. Guidance will also be provided on other types of electrical appliances that con be used to reduce energy consumption.
  • Electrical Renewable Energy generation - Photovoltaic (PV) panels have been designed into the roof, that will lay and supported directly by the roof panels. The number of panels will be assessed to the potential energy consumption required by the occupants, for example of energy would be sufficient to provide 21 hours of lighting daily, throughout the Yurt structure. The electrical systems would be separated into Alternating current (AC) and Direct current (DC) circuits, DC being used for lighting and pump systems. A backup or heavy load electrical energy source should be provided, from a local secondary generating system such as a generator, using conventional fuel or Biomass. The capacity of the backup system would be sized from the number of Yurts constructed, all linked by a local grid.
  • Reduction of Water consumption – by using appliances that use less water and recycling grey water for reuse. All water taps shall have spray heads, hot water pre-mixed to a usable temperature and the negligible use of water for use to flush the toilet. On the assumption of the occupants using bio gradable clean agents 100% of the grey waste water can be reused for agricultural consumption. We have estimated that a family of 3 would consume approximately 400 litres per day, of which 380 litres would be available for agricultural use. Additional water would depend on type/number of animals kept and agriculture grown.
  • No Sewage containment and treatment required - which has risks to pollute the water source if the required infrastructure is not correctly maintained. A modern designed compost toilet has been designed into the Yurt bathroom, with no noticeable difference to a conventional toilet. The difference occurs in using 45 times less water and no waste drainage infrastructure. The solid waste is naturally dried and reduced in volume, without smells. The processing unit is emptied twice a year with a minimal of inconvenience and work, to be safely disposed of locally.
  • Sorting of rubbish to enable recycling and composting of bio gradable waste – using a simple process of separation in the Kitchen. The smell free process would allow for the separation into different containers (Glass, Metal, Plastic, Paper and Composting), stored below the Yurt.
  • Materials used in the construction of the Yurt – provides a large percentage of potentially recyclable material. The steel structure is 100% recyclable, with added advantage of using a minimal of transportation (with related carbon footprint), when compared to traditional construction systems.
  • Design provides good natural light from the Cupola, giving the occupants a positive living environment, in addition to reducing to a minimal of time the use of artificial light (electrical energy).
  • The openable windows in the Cupola provide passive cooling characteristics by inducing movement of air through the Yurt interior during hot days.
  • Deciduous trees should be planted around the Yurt structures to provide shading during the summer months. Other advantages would be a reduction in soil erosion and providing wind breaks.
  • All the external panels for the roof, floor and walls should have a good level of thermal Insulation, provided by the 80 mm thick rigid insulation inside the Sandwich panel components.
  • Local food production is an important agenda in a Sustainable Urbanisation, as the basic diet requirements can fulfilled by the occupants around each Yurt complex.
  • The use of IT technology, such as the Internet, throughout the Urbanisation would be beneficial for Communication, Metering, Electrical Load Balancing, Education and support local Industry & Services.


Roof Components:

  • Concept - Metal skinned sandwich panel (steel sheet, rigid polystyrene insulation 80mm thick, and plaster board dry-lining). The sandwich panel could have a thin film PV electrical generation film glued to top surface, instead of PV panel modules. Speed of fabrication is partly due to the panels being assembled horizontally at ground level, in a workshop environment.
  • Alternatives - could be local fabricated using a thatched roof or other local hybrid solutions, as long as they are light weight, therefore use of ceramic tiles is not advantageous.

Wall Components:

  • Concept – Sandwich panels made from 80mm thick thermal Insulation, covered by Plaster board dry-lining (interior side) and Marine plywood (exterior side).
  • Alternatives – The exterior side of the sandwich panel can be covered in a synthetic screed therefore painted or in natural stone.
  • Optional Panel Infill – Each identical wall structure panel can be finished with different options.
      1. Double door glazing i.e. Patio doors
        Fully in filled by Sandwich panel, with or without window.
        Fully in filled by Sandwich panel with aperture for Entrance door
        Linkage Corridor between Yurts.

Floor Sub structure:

  • Concept – Sandwich Panel panels made from 50mm thick thermal Insulation, covered on both sides with Marine Plywood. Screwed to Floor steel lattice structure.
  • Alternatives – Underfloor heating tubing could be installed on Panel Layer.

Interior wall & ceiling finish:

  • Concept – Both surfaces shall be Plaster board, which is painted a light colour to enable natural light reflection from the Cupola and Perimeter glazing. Areas of the Bathroom walls shall require to be covered in Ceramic Tiles.
  • Alternatives – A Ply wood could be used or other wood finish, as shown in the pictures below.


  • Concept – Wood framed windows were assumed, which could be fabricated locally
  • Alternatives – Non PVC alternatives, such as Aluminium or Polyolefin


  • Concept – All internal and Entrance doors are wooden. Ground level storage and Plant room door is made out of metal for additional security.
  • Alternatives – Plant room door could be made out of steel to provide additional security.

Floor Finish:

  • Concept – Single floor Yurt would have a mixture of laminated and ceramic tile floors throughout. The Mezzanine floor of the double storey Yurt would be in laminated wood.
  • Alternatives – If local manufactured materials are available these could be used.

Public Health:

  • Concept – Polypropylene pipework for Plumbing and drainage; Grey water collection tank directly under floor therefore gravity fed to ground level outlets; Toilet compost system with vent reduction unit; Bathroom has Basin and Wet Room Shower; Kitchen Sink; All taps are spray outlet; Hot water temperature premixed from Plant Room.

Mechanical Services:

  • Concept – Solar thermal heat pipe collectors installed directly onto south facing roof; 200 litres Hot water storage cylinder; Hot & Cold Water gravity fed; Grey water irrigation pre-filtered; Rubbish separation design.
  • Alternatives – A solar assisted Heat Pump could be installed to provide Under floor heating if required.

Electrical Services:

  • Concept - Photovoltaic panels capacity 410Wp, roof mounted; Battery electrical storage capacity; All lighting uses LED technology. Depending on the location a small wind turbine could be used to work in parallel with the PV panels. A Standby 5 kW generator would also be installed to automatically recharge the batteries if required or provide direct power to appliances with AC motors, such as a washing machine.


After the initial meeting with the client we would issue a Final Design Specification and Drawings for Client agreement.

Once the client input has been commented on the Preliminary Issue of the Detail Design documentation, they shall be re-issued as Tender Packages to enable Costs, Resource Planning and Project Program to be generated.

The specification would indicate which materials would be used throughout. Due to fast construction process the Material sourcing and ordering process would be planned through logistically.