Couple Surrounds Eco-Home With Greenhouse to Keep It Warm (Video)

Video screen capture. Fair Companies

When it gets cold and dark during the winter months, people find creative ways to stay warm, from the common-sense approach of wearing layers to more wacky ideas like setting up a tent -- indoors -- to cut down on the heating bill.

But perhaps one of the most unusual approaches we've come across is building a greenhouse around your existing home to heat it up. That's exactly what this family did near Stockholm, Sweden, by renovating an existing summer home and adding a greenhouse structure outfitted with 4-millimetre single-pane glass around it.

The concept, which we covered back in 2008, was first proposed by Swedish architect Bengt Warne back in the 1970s, and it's called the Naturhus ("Naturehousing"). Now this in-depth video tour from Fair Companies takes us inside to see how this self-sustaining home works:

The owners of the home, Marie Granmar and Charles Sacilotto were inspired by Warne's work to build their own version of the Naturhus some years ago. They found a property with an existing summer home, and installed a conventional greenhouse around it, costing around USD $84,000.

Warne's original intention for the Naturhus was to create a home that is a "sun collector" of sorts, where the cyclic flows of nature are utilized for producing energy, cleaning water, air and generating things like compost, in the Scandinavian climate. The Granmar-Sacilotto home follows the same principles: they built their own centrifugal wastewater treatment system that separates the urine from the solids, which is then purified by plants and then sent to their garden. The greenhouse also allows them to lengthen their gardening season, growing Mediterranean plants like figs, while also helping them to cut down on the heating.

The home's exterior spaces -- once exposed to the elements -- can now be used year-round, whether it's the deck or the rooftop, which the couple converted to an extra "outdoor" space.

It's an innovative, out-of-the-box and under-the-greenhouse idea that not only keeps the house warm but also protects it from weathering due to the elements. It would not work in extremely hot and sunny climates, but for the colder, northern climates it may be a viable alternative to cut heating bills and to extend your growing season. More over at Fair Companies and Ecosol.