A Swedish couple have gone the extra mile when it comes to living a greener lifestyle by building an enormous greenhouse around their existing home.
Marie Granmar and Charles Sacilotto, from Stockholm, have taken matters into their own hands to ensure year round warm temperatures and a consistent supply of fresh food without needing to leave their house.
They benefit from having free heat and also shelter themselves from the wind and rain during winter.
You really can’t blame them from going to these lengths; after all, winter time in Sweden means sub-zero temperatures lasting up to 9 months.
A normal family in Stockholm switches on their heater on sometime around mid-September, and doesn’t turn it off again until mid-May or so.
Living in the greenhouse means they can rely a lot less electricity to heat their home for most of the year. When the sun can’t provide them their heat, they use a wood-burning stove instead.
Whilst the temperature outside may be freezing, inside their bubble it’s an entirely different world. As stated in the video below:
“For example at the end of January it can be 28°F outside and it can be 68°F upstairs,”
They say they are a lot happier and get to avoid the winter blues like others would experience because of miserable weather.
Although the sun rarely appears, they do still enjoy siting out on the balcony or on the roof-top terrace which is not something many people say they can do in Sweden.
But what happens in the summer?
They have a glass roof which is set to automatically open when the temperature hits a certain point.
“It can get warm a few days in the summer,” she says, “but that’s not really a problem because we open the windows and we enjoy the heat. We like the sun!”
They say the roof-top terrace is their favorite place to hangout. As they have a glass ceiling, they decided to remove the roof which resulted in a huge open space for every activity: sunbathing, gardening, playing on swings and bikes.
Besides keeping the family happy and warm, they do have to attend to a lot more gardening than most of their neighbors. The entire greenhouse itself is actually double the size of their house, leaving ample room for planting food.
They effectively live in a Mediterranean climate and can produce fruits that don’t normally grow in Sweden, such as grapes, cucumbers, figs and tomatoes. They even have apple and cherry trees.
Marie says in the video:
“Growing things here is not easy…We need all the extra energy we can get.”
When it comes to a water supply, they endeavor to make the most of the rainfall, with their own collection system.
The eco-system they’ve created pays them back for their efforts; the plants actually supply oxygen as well as cleaning the air around them.
They’ve built composting toilet system which also provides free fertilizer for the plants. It consists of a a cleverly constructed toilet which separates waste accordingly. Using centrifuges, cisterns, gardens beds and ponds to filter human waste. Charles said:
“It’s all a philosophy of life, to use nature, sun and water to live in a another world,”
The couples quest for a greener, independent life hasn’t stopped there as they’re working on a system to store excess solar energy to be used during winter. Marie said:
“If you want to be self sufficient, and not dependent on bigger systems, you can have this and live anywhere you like,”
Well, Marie and Charles are certainly creative and determined and so were many people before them, which have inspired them to achieve their dream. Such people as Bengt warne (a Swedish architect) who, in 1974, built the very first Nature House (“Naturhus”) in Stockholm.
The idea of building a simple natural house is likely continue into the future as many people seek environmentally friendly ways to live.