living in a greenhouse mansion
Sustainable Living

Living Inside A Greenhouse- Sustainable Living

Wow, I saw a beautiful picture of a Swedish house that was built entirely inside a greenhouse. How to live sustainably by living inside a greenhouse? This picture has impacted me that I did my research to find out what is behind this idea. And I was amazed! Even in the Netherlands, we have brought into reality to combine a house with a greenhouse. This is a beautiful idea of living sustainably and independently. I would certainly be interested in living this way if I had the opportunity.

Living inside a greenhouse-Sustainable living
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The Swedish House Inside a Greenhouse

In colder countries, we suffer from the weather to grow vegetables effectively in wintertime. Now there are lots of possibilities for how to grow vegetables in the winter. I wrote an article about it, and if you are looking for a way of growing your vegetables, a greenhouse is always convenient. The fact is that most people nowadays do not have much garden, and the rainy weather in summer is supporting the snails to settle for the vegetables in our gardens. I have very much to do to keep the snails from my vegetables, but also fruits. Because I don’t use any pesticides and herbicides, I need to find a natural way to get rid of the snails, for example, collecting them and bringing them to a wildflower field. I had hedgehogs coming to my garden for years, but we didn’t observe hedgehogs in our surroundings this year, only for one afternoon. However, it didn’t come back. Maybe because many hedgehogs are dying in car accidents, many of them are lying dead on the streets in autumn and the summer. These beautiful little animals have an unsafe environment in the cities, with nearly no gardens with many plants and wood for making a house. The communities need to make more room for the animals and save as many hedgehogs as possible.

a house, a greenhouse attached
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We experienced a rainy summer with cooler temperatures this summer, so the snails have eaten many of my vegetables. Living in a house that is surrounded by a greenhouse is not only excellent for saving energy but also for growing vegetables that are not eaten away. During the day, the greenhouse can be opened so that bees and bumblebees can come in. It is like our own ecological system in our house. I love the idea!

On the sunny winter days, we could sit outside in our greenhouse, warm and dry. And it is possible to harvest vegetables all year. It is very convenient for northern countries and very southern countries that also have a strong winter. I think sunny countries like South-Europe could also profit from this design, especially since the greenhouse is somewhat tropical in hot summers, which might be a plus point for preventing the lack of water in such countries.

Growing Vegetables in a Cold Country

living in a greenhouse
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I know in my youth that we still had freezing winters where my parents have harvested kale and other winter vegetables. I love it very much because my mom is an excellent cook, and the stews have given us warmth and energy. Nowadays, families buy food from the supermarket, eating a lot of bread and pizza, pasta, fries, and junk food. I don’t know any young woman who can cook real food. However, there are excellent possibilities to grow food and store food in glasses, cellars, and fridges, especially winter.

The aero garden is a great tool to grow vegetables inside the house. Of course, you need electricity which is quite expensive at the moment.

These are excellent points to build houses with greenhouses attached or surrounded by a greenhouse. It saves energy, keeps the plants warmer and out of snow and ice and the wind. But, of course, you still need to water and fertilize the plants. However, kale could still be grown outside the greenhouse, but lettuce, pepper, cucumber, and tomatoes are something we can grow inside.

I would always prefer to grow my winter vegetables outside because this is an excellent condition for such vegetables, like carrots, cabbages, Brussel sprouts, and kale. Nowadays, the winters are pretty mild in the Netherlands, and there is falling more rain than snow. I noticed that many flowers and plants that can’t exist in cold weather are still alive in spring and start to grow again. I cover most plants with the leaves coming from my trees, which keeps them and the insects warm and gives the birds still food, a reason that I don’t cut old flowers until March or April when the flowers start to grow again. Everything needs to follow the biological cycle of Nature; it is essential for me.

If you do research, you find many plants you could still grow outside in winter. We have a partially flat roof where we can grow some vegetables and other plants. However, the static needs to be controlled to determine if a roof is stable enough to make a little vegetable garden.

But how convenient is a greenhouse that is attached to the living space?

I did my research and found primarily positive points, like saving energy, water, no bugs in the vegetables, creating an own beautiful cozy terrace with flowering plants, even some fruit trees could be placed that don’t like winter, like lemons, oranges, fig-trees, mangos, etc. You can design a magic place with lamps, and chairs, tables, or a sofa, made from bamboo.

living in a greenhouse
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However, if you don’t open the windows regularly, you will get condensed water that might wet your fabrics. It is important to open windows and doors to ventilate. However, having plants and trees is always good for producing oxygen and reducing carbon, which certainly helps the climate.

Saving Energy

It gets pretty warm in a greenhouse on sunny winter days, but this warmth disappears when it gets darker and colder during the day, so you might need electrical heating to make sure your plants are not freezing in the night. Heat is quickly escaping glass. If you have solar panels combined with a greenhouse, it might save you energy. However, it is more critical for the night and frigid days to switch the heating on, preventing the low temperatures from settling inside the greenhouse.

Many users of an attached greenhouse experience some problems with overheating their glasshouse on sunny days, even in winter. Seedlings have a tough time in extreme heat, while many pests are destroying vegetables and seedlings. It is undoubtedly better to have an automated ventilation control system that helps to keep the programmed temperature in balance, preventing a very hot or icy climate. However, saving on energy is a good investment, keeping the costs lower as usual, especially with solar panels.

Everyone needs to find out what is suitable for them, and investing in a high-quality greenhouse will surely pay off the costs over some time. Having a woodstove inside the glasshouse is not very sustainable but will keep the prices low as reasonably. I know people who own a pellet oven that is well sustainable in use. You need an electrical source, and if you have solar panels, it can be pretty affordable to own a pellet oven. The heat is enormous, and it is very convenient to keep the temperature around 20 *Celcius( 68 Fahrenheit), a temperature that suits our well-being. Warmer might be too much for the body, but of course, we are all different!

Living Inside a Greenhouse

The Swedish houses are entirely built inside the greenhouse, while in the Netherlands, they have developed a project where the greenhouses are attached to the house. You need to find out what you prefer.

I believe that living entirely in a greenhouse, where your house is built under glass, might be a good option for sustainably warming the house. I prefer the attached greenhouse, especially for the condensed water that develops in the glasshouses. Without regular maintenance, the house might get damaged by a humid environment. There is always good ventilation and drainage needed to keep the materials dry and intact and your home livable.

living in a greenhouse mansion
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Of course, if we live in a tropical environment, we use natural building materials like bamboo that is excellent for wet, humid climates. In this manner, I would prefer an attached greenhouse where I use garden furniture made from bamboo. You don’t want to open the windows in a cold area with much snow and ice, so it is crucial to have a high-quality ventilation system inside your greenhouse.

We don’t experience many snowy days anymore in the Netherlands, so it is still an excellent climate to open the windows regularly. But we certainly need a sound heating system that is sustainable and affordable, saving high energy costs.

I love a wood stove; even it is not very sustainable. Still, with all threats these days where we depend on the industry and very rich cooperations, I would try to be self-supplying by owning a wood stove where I can heat my house and cook and bake.

However, solar panels are a great investment, but here in Europe, they are connected to an energy supplying company, meaning, here again, we depend on them for energy supply. A greenhouse that is attached or surrounds the house will certainly take some of these worries away for heating and food supply.

However, if everything usually works and the companies can supply us with energy, water, and food, a greenhouse is still an excellent sustainable investment, especially in cold areas for the winter.

Final Thought

If we are looking for sustainable living alternatives, I would undoubtedly recommend building a house inside a greenhouse or using a greenhouse as an attachment to the house. There are many possibilities to find the right, convenient house for anybody. I know people who have a tiny house, a small greenhouse attached, and they love their home. In the Netherlands, most tiny houses are standing in recreational parks.

Here is a video about a German couple that lives and works in their greenhouse. Enjoy!

If we are looking for future independent, self-sufficient houses, we should certainly look into the possibility of attaching a greenhouse. A high-quality ventilation system is a must if we want to keep healthy, clean air in the greenhouse, for the plants, the house, and for us. I also love the sustainable idea of such a house, helping our environment, planet, and climate recover, and helping us to live a self-sufficient free life.

Do you have experience with such a house? I would love to hear from you, what your ideas are, and what your background is. Please, leave your comment in the comment section!

All the Best,

Sylvie

8 Comments

  • Christine

    Hi Sylvia,

    I have never heard of living within a greenhouse, but I love the idea, and since I still haven’t finished building my house and I don’t know when I will finish it, in the meantime I love reading about all these wonderful ideas and maybe I can apply them to my building project. I live in a desert climate and so I would rather need a greenhouse to grow vegetables that can normally not grow in such hot climates. At night it can get cold here in winter, so even for those nights a greenhouse would be extremely useful. Tomatoes cannot grow all year in this climate, but with a greenhouse they could always grow and I love organic tomatoes.

    • Sylvie

      It is so true, Christine! They are super for growing peppers, tomatoes, and cucumbers all year, but I believe they need heating at night here in the Netherlands. Otherwise, they would freeze and die. For you in Mexico, it is entirely different. I believe you experience warmth all year! Something I would love!:)

  • Randi

    I absolutely loved this article! I would LOVE to live in- or at least attach- a greenhouse! I live in Texas and while our summers can be oppressively hot at times and our winters brief, they can be nonetheless frigid! It cuts our growing time, of course, and as a gardener I get impatient for the warming spring to bring back the life to the garden! Thank you for the tips! I will make sure to use a material like bamboo when furnishing our future greenhouse!

    • Sylvie

      Thank you very much for your comment, Randi! Yes, I believe they are suitable for all climates but need a high-quality ventilation system. For colder climates, these houses are a great opportunity! 🙂

  • SAM

    I’ve never thought of a house inside a greenhouse, its such a smart idea, given the weather conditions of colder countries. I can only imagine how fresh the air will be in the morning?

    Like you mentioned, glasshouse home owners can enjoy saving (lots of) energy, water and get fresh organic vegetables (which means you save on grocery costs too).

    Love the idea of both indoor and outdoor space within the glasshouse so you won’t feel ‘trapped’ in the glass house.

    The humidity during summers and condensations are something that can be easily tackled. Coupled with buying the right furniture materials. I would honestly love to experience living in one. The German couple looked so comfy in their space! Their investment was well worth the spend.

    Cheers,
    SAM

    • Sylvie

      Hi Sam, You are very right! It is fantastic such a house, like having holidays all year long, living with nature, and saving on energy costs. I would love this idea! 🙂

  • Matt Lin

    Hi Sylvie,

    It’s interesting to know that people live in a greenhouse, which I’ve never thought about since I live in a subtropical area. It might be the prototype of future houses due to the drastic climate changes and food crisis, so we all need to build a place to sustain our daily lives.

    My imagination told me that maybe we all have to make a greenhouse that could float on the ocean. That will be another exciting story.

    Cheers,
    Matt

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