How Do Scandinavians Insulate Their Homes?

The temperatures in Scandinavia can get extremely low in the winter, with some days being unbearably cold.

Scandinavian houses must be built for these conditions with proper insulation, but how do they do this?

Scandinavians insulate their homes with mineral wool, Kingspan Thermawall, and certain types of wood that are better for insulation.

They also use triple-glazed windows to keep the wind and drafts out of their homes.  

This article will discuss different types of insulation used in Scandinavian homes, as well as some other ways Scandinavians stay warm in the winter.

Also, see Why Don’t Swedes Feed Their Guests? to learn more.

What Type of Insulation Do Scandinavians Use?

Scandinavians use a variety of insulation to keep their homes warm and energy efficient during extremely cold temperatures.

Mineral wool, kingsman Thermawall, a timber frame, and triple-glazed windows keep heat from escaping their homes.

This can vary from house to house, but these materials are usually used in some combination, which is why Scandinavian homes do great in the winter and have lower electric and heat bills.

If their home has minimal insulation, the furnace will keep running to keep up with the cold air coming into the home.

With proper insulation, the heat will come on, but the heat used will stay trapped inside the home, and cold air won’t get in to lower the home’s temperature. 

Mineral Wool

In a typical Scandinavian home, 240 mm (9.45 in) of mineral wool is used throughout the ceilings, and then 50 mm (1.97 in) is used on the floor. [1]

Mineral wool resembles fiberglass insulation but is more environmentally friendly.

The insulation also doesn’t seem to wear down over time, unlike other types of insulation used in homes, which makes mineral wool extremely energy efficient. 

This type of wool is fiber insulation that’s usually made from volcanic rock, spun into a fiber material, or made from slag, which is waste from steel production. [2]

Kingspan Thermawall

Kingspan Thermawall is a very high-end type of insulation, which is used explicitly with timber and steel frames used in Scandinavian homes.

How good an insulation material is measured in thermal conductivity, so for this measurement, the lower the number, the better the insulation is.

Thermawall has a thermal conductivity of 0.022 W/mk. [3] Considering the number for Thermawall is less than 1, that makes it one of the best. 


Regarding the frame of Scandinavian homes, timber is often used because it’s a natural insulator.

Timber has tiny air pockets throughout that create a natural barrier against temperatures.

Additional flooring and ceiling insulation are possible with a timber frame, which results from how it is constructed and the space available inside the frame.

Timber is 400 times better than steel and 1770 times better than aluminum when it comes to insulation. [4] This is why it is so commonly used in Scandinavian homes. 

Triple-Glazed Windows

Another insulating material used in Scandinavian homes is triple-glazed windows, which consist of three layers of glass used in a triple-glazed window to increase insulation.

Sometimes cold air can be felt coming through the window when living in certain houses, which usually indicates that they’re not insulated well.

With triple-glazed windows, there won’t be much cold air coming through at all. This keeps the home warmer and keeps heat from escaping through the windows. 

Other Ways Scandinavians Heat Their Homes

In addition to building homes to withstand the harsh temperatures, Scandinavians also use other clever ways to keep warm in the winter. 

Geothermal Heating

Geothermal heating uses natural heat from the earth’s core by extending a pump underneath the house and into the ground to transfer the heat, and it’s one of the best ways to heat a building. [5]

It does an exceptional job of keeping Scandinavian homes warm.

However, it can be expensive to have one of these installed, but it’s worth it in the long run because of how much money will be saved on an electric bill. 

Geothermal Heating can also be used as an A/C unit in the summer, making it an even better investment. 

Solar Power

Solar power is becoming more popular in Scandinavia for using it in their homes, as it’s a great way to heat the home and use it for other things requiring electricity. 

Two types of solar heating can be used in a home.

The first is passive solar heating, where elements are placed strategically throughout the home to maximize exposure to sunlight.

Then there is active solar heating, where specific devices are put into place to absorb sunlight and transfer it to a water heater within a home. [6]

Usually, active solar heating is more expensive than passive solar heating, but this can depend on what type of heating device is used.

Some types of solar power are more affordable than one would think, but all are sustainable. 

And since it saves a lot of money in the long run, it’s a good investment.

It’s great for the environment and does a great job heating Scandinavian homes in the cold winter. 

Natural Gas Furnace

A furnace isn’t usually the first choice in Scandinavia when it comes to heating a home, but it still makes a list.

A natural gas furnace is better for the environment than other furnaces and does a decent job of heating the home even in the coldest temperatures. 

It’s also very affordable because it will save a lot of money on the electric bill.

The reason behind this is that electricity cannot naturally generate heat, so it takes a lot more energy to work than natural gas. 

Natural gas generates heat at a fraction of the cost.

Water-Based Heating 

Another way to heat up a Scandinavian home is by using a water-based heating system.

This system works by heating water and moving it through pipes to radiators throughout the home. [7]

These are usually installed on the floor to distribute heat evenly throughout the house. 

A water-based heating system can be expensive, depending on the size of the house.

However, how it heats up the home and evenly distributes the heat saves money on the electric bill, so it’s worth the initial cost. 

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Christian Christensen

Christian started Scandinavia Facts to explore his family heritage, raise awareness of one of his academic interests as a professor, and civilly promote the region. Please see the About page for details.

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