Family Builds Greenhouse Around Entire Home, Saves Big on Heating Bills

An ingenious couple living outside Stockholm decided to harness the power of the sun, but they didn’t install solar panels. Instead, Marie Granmar and Charles Sacilotto wrapped their house in a greenhouse to save money on heating and help keep the long Scandinavian winters at bay.

The idea was inspired by architect Bengt Warne, who designed the first home within a greenhouse, called a Naturhus (Nature House), in 1974.

The 4-millimeter safety glass that encompasses the converted summer house not only keeps the elements at bay, but it helps insulate and heat the home.

According to Sacilotto, “At the end of January it can be -2°C [a nippy 28 Fahrenheit] outside and it can be 15 to 20°C [58 to 68 Fahrenheit] upstairs.”

Besides the added warmth, the greenhouse has provided other benefits. The couple has been able to increase their living space — since they no longer need a steeply pitched roof, they’ve converted it into an “outdoor” terrace. 

They’re also able to grow fruits and vegetables that normally wouldn’t survive the winter.

And the entire addition cost them only about $10,000 to complete.

The couple saved enough money using solar energy that they were able to redo the exterior of the house, and because their home doesn’t come in contact with wind or rain, they treated the new wood façade with only linseed oil, instead of heavy-duty weatherproofing.

It still requires some getting used to, however.

“This is not a house where you get perfect climatization all year round,” Granmar admits.

In fact, when temperatures drop below freezing, they do have to rely on heating systems, but overall the design can help reduce energy bills by as much as 50 percent.

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