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Family Builds Glass Greenhouse around Their Home to Warm It Naturally

Even though the average temperature in Stockholm, Sweden, is at a frigid 27 degrees Fahrenheit, Marie Granmar, Charles Sacilotto and their young son enjoy a cozy atmosphre all year round. The young couple have managed to harness the power of the sun by encasing their home in a giant glass greenhouse.

Aptly named ‘Naturhus’ (Nature House), the unique abode is located on the Stockholm archipelago and consists of an old summer house encased in glass. Marie and Charles were originally looking for an empty lot to build a house from scratch, but they eventually settled on repurposing this old summer house for year-round living, by building a greenhouse around it.

“This is a summer house,” Marie explained. “It was not really made for year-round living, but that was part of the idea, that you could actually put the greenhouse around the summer house and actually live in it with nice comfort all year round.” Charles, an engineer by profession, designed and made the necessary modifications himself, drawing inspiration from the work of Swedish eco-architect Bengt Warne, who just happens to be his mentor.

Photo: YouTube caption

There are many interesting features to Naturhus that make the dwelling almost entirely self-sufficient. For starters, heating is taken care of by the four-millimeter pane of glass that surrounds the house. It traps enough sunlight to warm the house during the day, and residual heat is stored in the bedrock below the house. The house also has a roof deck that can be used for sunbathing, reading, or playing, all year round.

The family doesn’t really need running water either as Charles has made arrangements to collect and store rainwater, which the family uses for all their daily needs and to water their plants. And they have an effective waste management system, independent from the city’s sewage, that begins with a urine-separating toilet and uses centrifuges, cisterns, grow beds, and garden ponds to filter the water and compost the remains. The family also composts all their kitchen and garden waste.

Photo: YouTube caption

Naturhus is essentially a greenhouse, so the family doesn’t need to step out for food.  There’s plenty of room in between the actual house and the greenhouse for a wrap-around garden. This ‘bubble’ they have created essentially has a Mediterranean climate, where they grow tomatoes, cucumbers, figs, grapes, herbs and all kinds of produce that could not survive outdoors in harsh Nordic winters. The exterior of the house itself is only covered with linseed oil, given that they will never come in contact with rain or wind.

In case you’re wondering about safety, Charles says there’s nothing to worry about. The $84,000 structure surrounding the house is made from high quality, unbreakable ‘security glass’. “In principle, this can’t break,” he said. “If it ever does, it will break in tiny pieces to not harm anyone.”

Photo: YouTube caption

Of course, Charles admits that no house can ever be 100 percent self-sufficient, and Naturhus is no exception. “This is not a house where you get perfect climatization all year round,” he said. The family still needs to use indoor heaters at times, but they are able to make remarkable use of what nature has to offer as well.

“The greenhouse is the big thing here,” Marie said. “To save your own energy from the sun, to use that heat in a natural way and not be too cold in the winter, even in the Nordic climate.”

 

Sources: The San Francisco Globe, EcoWatch

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