Insulating miners’ containers – Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia
Andy lives in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, the coldest capital in the world. Right now night time temperatures are hitting -40 F and C. He is an ecologist, fly fishing guide, and now learning green building / energy efficient building / sustainable design. He is doing some work with a local construction firm and is trying to figure out better building methods for his climate.
Andy came to us with a real poser of a question that I became uncomfortable with. We were just helping him with ways to attach insulation to a shipping container, but when I looked at the layers, I became nervous, and now, I’ve made him nervous about it too.
I’d like to help him by getting a few well thought out opinions on this since it’s in such unforgiving conditions and the occupants need to rely on it’s safety.
There is a need to insulate a number of shipping containers for mining and construction sites. As you can guess, there is a limited supply of materials. Andy can get access to XPS or Mineral wool. No spray foam or much else.
His initial thought was 4″ of XPS inside the container with an air/vapor barrier at the face. My concern is that any air+vapor that leaks through a broken barrier will become trapped behind the XPS and grown mold during times when it’s not frozen solid to the steel. Remember the irregular shape of container walls. Those voids would be full of air since we don’t have spray foam.
Would it be better to use mineral wool with with no vapor barrier and let it dry to the interior?
Does any one have any experience in making habitable shipping containers in extreme climates?
All comments appreciated.
The Small Planet Workshop
GBA Detail Library
A collection of one thousand construction details organized by climate and house part