5,000 beer bottles!
5,000 beer bottles!

Rusty Orner, of Quiet Creek Farm, in PA, took the idea of insulating an oven floor with recycled beer bottles and applied it to a yurt he was building as a classroom and bunk space for students and interns.

On leveled ground, they made a rubble trench, covered with gravel bags and capped with mortar and slate, to support the lattice walls of the yurt. They filled the thirty foot diameter donut with packed shale, a thin layer of sand, and then 5,000 beer bottles. The empty bottles provide four inches of insulation and a thermal break to keep cold from migrating into the floor.

Rusty wrote, “once we realized we needed 5000 beer bottles, we met John from William’s Sanitation Company. He offered his stockpile of bottles from his Punxsutawney recycling pick-up. When we tapped that resource dry, we discovered the Hourglass Bar. The owners, Tracey and Bud Miller, willingly saved their ’empties’ for us.”

As you can see, the bottles made a lovely mosaic, but it proved an impractical living and walking surface, so they filled the gaps with sand, in preparation for an earthen floor. We await a final report.

One Comment

  1. I’m always looking for alternatives to petrochemical insulation! Has this proved to be a warm floor?

    Was the shale installed as a moisture barrier? Did it work?

    I read ages ago that the Romans used charcoal as floor insulation, but haven’t had an opportunity to try it. With all the biochar interest these days, sourcing it should be easier.

    Bob Theis

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