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Full Version: Measuring Time to Cool?
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We've all seen insulation R-values and spec sheets, but what if there was a more practical way to measure a van's heat retention? Here's what got me thinking about this...

I woke up at 4am this morning with mr heater burning away on low. I was too warm, so I cut it off and went back to sleep. When I woke up three hours later, I was cold again. I wondered how well my van's insulation compares to others. More importantly, I'm curious to know how could this be objectively determined.

When it comes to insulation, as with most other vandwelling activities, there seems to be a large gap between conventional wisdom and consensus. By that, I mean many of us do things a little differently each time, even if there's already a good way to do it. And I love that about this community! That means we're innovating, testing, and adapting. Now, I want to take that spirit of experimentation one step further with the power of nerdy data.

If there was a way to gather data on what I'm calling 'time to cool', I imagine it would involve the outside temperature, wind chill, inside temperature, and interior activity (sleeping vs moving around because body heat). These data points might even be plotted on a simple chart for quick reference. The charts might also be good for gathering data because there's nothing more boring on this earth than a lengthy spreadsheet. Once we have several charts, we could begin to compare how the insulation was installed to better identify best practices.

I say "best practices" with some hesitation. I don't mean it in a limiting, prescriptive way. I mean it as a clarification of procedure to figure out what works most effectively. I also don't propose we look at this as a competition (although that could be fun), but rather a collaboration.

This effort may not be immediately helpful for everyone. But it could prove useful for future vandwellers, or for those of us who go onto subsequent builds.