Wrap Your Home in A Greenhouse

Would You Wrap Your Home in a Greenhouse?

In 1976 Marie Granmar and Charles Sacilotto  in Stockholm wrapped  their summer home in a greenhouse according to an article written by Yuka Yoneda in 2010 and published in http://inhabitat.com/naturhus-an-entire-house-wrapped-in-its-own-private-greenhouse/

Wrap Your House in a Greenhouse
Wrap Your House in a Greenhouse

A New Way to Insulate Your Home

They implemented this method of insulation, after deciding to use an existing summer home to live in year round.  

Since they were unable to find a lot near their current location to build a permanent home, they took a different approach!  

Since Charles is an engineer, he evidently thinks outside the box plus he was acquainted with an architect who had been designing similar houses since 1974.

 Some changes were made to the home before enclosing it in a permanent greenhouse.  The “roof” was no longer needed so that area was turned into living space and “outdoor” playing space for children.

The greenhouse   is made of extra thick pressure treated safety glass which means if it is broken it shatters into small pieces. 

Compare it to the safety glass used in cars, to give you an idea.  

Originally Sacilotto looked for an empty lot to build an entirely new Naturhus, but he eventually settled on an old summer house on the Stockholm archipelago.

Using Warne’s design, he covered the small summer house, plus an addition, in 4 millimeter glass. The footprint of the greenhouse is nearly double that of the home, leaving plenty of room for a wrap-around garden, and since inside the bubble it’s a Mediterranean climate, the couple now grow produce atypical for Sweden (e.g. figs, tomatoes, cucumbers).

The favorite spot is the glass-covered roof deck. Since there’s no longer need for a roof, the couple removed it and now have a large space for sunbathing, reading or playing with their son on swings and bikes.

The greenhouse isn’t the only novel point to the Granmar-Sacilotto home.

They are also completely independent from city sewage. Built by Sacilotto- an engineer by training-, the sewage system begins with a urine-separating toilet and uses centrifuges, cisterns, grow beds and garden ponds to filter the water and compost the remains.

* In the video, Granmar mentions architect Bengt Warne’s influence in the 1990s since this is the date he reached a larger audience with his book release.  Original story: http://faircompanies.com/videos/view/…

Will living in a Greenhouse Save Money

Their results are amazing.  They were able to cut their electric consumption in half.  Also able to reduce the months when they need heat by two. 

A More recent article about their unusual home was featured in In Habitat which emphasized the wrapping as  protection from the cold.  

One of the benefits of the glass enclosure is that it expanded the living area of the home because of added decks, and use of the now flat roof as living space. 

Greenhouse saves on maintenance creates more living space
Wrap Your House in a Greenhouse Greenhouse saves on maintenance creates more living space

Of course they enjoy the benefits of growing vegetables, figs and other tropical plants that normally will not survive the sever winter cold in Stockholm.   

There is an suggestion at  Build it Solar that bubble wrap is being  used to insulate green houses. 

It would be a daunting undertaking to install bubble wrap on this greenhouse.

But Build It Solar wondered if it would work on their  windows in their home. 

Amazingly it made a big difference.  They estimate that their energy savings paid for installing the bubble wrap in just two months. 

There are detailed instructions with some nice pictures on the site.

How to Install Bubble Wrap on Windows as Insulation

 

To make it simple, cut your bubble wrap to the correct size for your window. 

Use a spray bottle and spray plain water on the window and apply the bubble wrap with the bubbles towards the window

Press in place and it usually stays in place. 

No glue needed.   

It seems that larger bubbles give a clearer view, but the small one work just fine. 

Also they added a second layer on top of the first layer when they used the small bubble wrap. 

Apply exactly the same as  when applying to a window.   

Why Haven’t More People Become Interested In Living in a Greenhouse?

It is amazing that this house and its greenhouse haven’t created a stir.

Since there is no exposure to the elements, the house’s exterior is really simple to maintain.  On the wood siding they applied an oil rub and nothing else.

The video on the page explains quite a lot of other things that they have done, even about how they handle waste water from the bathroom.  They have several methods of disposal and use a great deal of the water for growing plants. 

But to me, the amazing thing was the almost  outdoors feeling  you get on the roof and the balconies.  

Summer of course means opening and venting to reduce heat. 

Currently the greenhouse will not totally heat the house in the dead of winter, but if there is sunshine, it certainly lowers the heating requirements.  

I have a small above ground swimming pool and was looked at like I was not all there when I expressed a desire to build a greenhouse over it. 

Just wait till I tell the naysayers  about a house in a greenhouse! 

references:

  1. http://liveoutdoor.us/family-wraps-their-home-in-a-greenhouse-to-protect-it-from-the-cold/nggallery/image/floors/                                            2. http://inhabitat.com/naturhus-an-entire-house-wrapped-in-its-own-private-greenhouse/  3. http://www.builditsolar.com/Projects/Conservation/bubblewrap.htm

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