Family Experiments with Sustainable Living

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Helly Scholten of Holland has been living in an experimental sustainable house with her family since June 2015. The home was created by a team of students and researchers at the Rotterdam University and looks a lot like an oversized greenhouse. The Scholten family will live in it for 3 years in order to experience and explore sustainable ways to live.

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The home is called CHiBB (Concept House Institute of Building and Business Administration) House, and was built as part of the Concept House Village in Rotterdam initiative that was started with the aim of developing innovative solutions to sustainable housing. It measures 1,453 sq ft (135 sq m) and has three bedrooms, an office, and a generous living area and kitchen. There is also a large garden on the roof that the family uses to grow their own veggies and fruits.

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The house features a timber frame, and is topped with a glazed area which looks a lot like a green house. The home does not feature a solar power array, though a solar water heating system is used to provide the hot water. The interior temperature is controlled by opening and closing the windows. The home is equipped with a rainwater collection system, which is made up of six tanks. This water is used for flushing the toilet and irrigating the garden. The home also features a few green walls.

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Helly has decorated the home herself. According to her, living in this experimental home has been a good experience overall, though there have been a few problems too. Since there is no air-conditioning it can apparently get quite hot in the summer, and the heating system does not work, which meant that the family had to wear their coats inside during the winter.

The kitchen was also apparently measured incorrectly and resulted in the family not being able to use all their appliances. To fix it, they put a stove on the terrace, which now acts as a kitchen. Helly regularly blogs about their sustainable living experiment on her website.

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The family will continue living in the home until 2018. After that, the home will be sold for $554,000, while the family is already considering moving into an off-grid home to learn what that would be like.

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