A Swedish family in Stockholm constructs a greenhouse around their home to stay warm and grow food all year long.
In Stockholm, Sweden, where winter lasts 9 months out of the year, that’s a huge advantage and the average temperature in Stockholm in January is below freezing. In fact, a normal family in Stockholm switches their heater on sometime around mid-September and doesn’t turn it off again until mid-May or so, Marie says.
“For example at the end of January it can be 28°F outside and it can be 68°F upstairs,” says Marie.
The greenhouse allows them to decrease the number of months they need to heat their home from 9 to 6 months per year and reduces the amount of energy they use doing so. Any supplemental heat they need, that is not provided by the sun, is provided by a wood-burning stove.
Marie says she is more or less prone to the winter blues many of her friends’ go through during cold weather. Seasonal affective disorder due to the cold is one common thing that occurs in the winter in cold countries.
Then, during the warmest parts of the summer, the glass roof automatically opens up when it hits a certain temperature, to let the heat out so it doesn’t get too hot.
Creating a Mediterranean climate for themselves, they can grow any fruits and vegetables
As they have created a Mediterranean climate for themselves, they produce crops that typically aren’t grown in Sweden, like figs, grapes, tomatoes, cucumbers, and herbs. Outside the glass, they have cherry and apple trees.
They have also installed a rainwater collection system for free water, and a composting toilet system that provides free fertilizer for their plants. Also, the plants that thrive in their home return the favor by cleaning the air and providing more oxygen.
It starts with a urine-separating toilet and uses centrifuges, cisterns, ponds, and garden beds to filter wastewater and compost the remains.
For the future, the couple is working on designing a system to capture excess solar energy during the summer and store it for the winter.
Charles and Marie weren’t the first ones to build a house inside a greenhouse. Their idea was inspired by Swedish architect Bengt Warne who built the first “Naturhus” (Nature House) in Stockholm in 1974: