Here’s how Hobbits insulate their homes

When JRR Tolkein conceived the Hobbit trilogy and the quaint under-hill house in which Bilbo Baggins lived, he probably gave little throught to how to keep his lead character warm in Winter. After all, Hobbits wear cosy waistcoats and have furry feet to keep them snug. And the open fire, flickering in the grate would give enough heat to ward off the winter chill.

But what about insulation? Ah yes, insulation.

Just like in the days when the majority of the UK’s housing stock was built - little thought was given to home insulation back in Baggins’s time.

Now, fast forward to the 21st Century and things have changed - especially for Matthew Wright of Hobbit House Ltd, builders of what must be the coolest garden structures in middle earth.

He describes his Hobbit Houses as “durable and versatile garden under- buildings which are perfect for everything from entertainment spaces, to yoga rooms, home offices, glamping pods and just about anything you can imagine!”

If you take a look at the Hobbit House website you will see what he means. His company designs, builds and installs the most amazing, authentic looking under-hill Hobbit Houses that perfectly reflect Tolkein’s concept of the Shire - a rural idyll that was once a corner of Worcestershire, close to where the author grew up.

A Hobbit House; the most amazing, authentic looking under-hill structure that perfectly reflect Tolkein’s concept of the Shire.

Hobbit Houses are custom made below ground buildings constructed to an incredibly high standard of fit and finish. However, building them to modern day specification brings its own set of challenges, as Matthew Wright explains.

“Hobbit House structures are large diameter polyethylene cylinders that have a double-thickness wall in the form of a tubular spiral. This twin-wall spiral structure gives excellent strength and rigidity and is completely waterproof. On the other hand, it is difficult to insulate” says Matthew.

He continues. “Clearly, conventional internal insulation such as mineral wool and the like would be out of the question as it would eat into the living space area. We also tried polystyrene beads, blown into the spiral. This gave us reasonably good insulation levels but we couldn’t be sure of complete fill around the spiral cavity”.

Recently, the Company won a contract to build a Hobbit House for a school in Birmingham where the structure was to be used as a children’s underground library. For this project, they needed to achieve an even higher level of insulation.

According to Matthew Wright, a few options were considered but none satisfied the performance criteria or were able to work with the complex curvature and structural intricacies of Hobbit House construction.


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