Can you grow grapes in Sweden? The answer is yes - if you grow them in a greenhouse. The climate in a Swedish greenhouse is comparable to the outdoor climate of Tuscany, Italy. That is why houses in Tuscany need less insulation than houses in Sweden. Can you build a house with that little insulation in Sweden? The answer, consequently, is yes - if you build it in a greenhouse.
Anders Axelsson has invested most of his spare time over the last six years in his nature house project in Sikhall in western Sweden. Basically it consists of a very normal log house and a very normal greenhouse. The unusual thing is that one is inside the other. It is a very simple concept that solves a lot of problems - the only obstacle is that it challenges our common assumptions about what a house should be like. The house is not yet finished but it is fully functional and the family has moved in.
The glasshouse reduces heating costs for the log house with 50 % and there are many other ingenious solutions for an environmentally sustainable lifestyle. The goal is maximum self-sufficiency and minimum energy consumption. Very few sacrifices are made in terms of comfort and the advantages are many. The glass protects the wood from rain, wind and UV-radiation and therefore there is no need for paint or any kind of maintenance; good for ecology, good for economy and less work. They also get a 145 square meter roof deck with a very pleasant climate about six moths of the year. In Sweden that is quite unparalleled.
As for the grapes, they have twenty different kinds around the house to choose from when it is time for breakfast.
Sometimes new energy-saving technique is bordering on science fiction. And sometimes it is so simple that the only thing that amazes you is the fact that it has not been used on a larger scale earlier. Intersectional innovation is often simple and accessible; in this case somebody just had to break down associative barriers and use old concepts in a new way.