Sustainable Living in one of the Harshest Climates in the World

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Think it isn’t possible to live comfortably off-the-grid in the Arctic Circle? Well, think again. Because the Hjertefølgers, a family of six, have been doing it for three years now, and they’re absolutely loving it. What’s more, they live in a geodesic dome that’s paned in glass, so they also have majestic views from their house. The glass isn’t useful just for stargazing though, since it also serves as a sort of greenhouse, which allows the family to grow their own food.

The home is located on Sandhornøya island in Norway, and it is called Nature House. It has three stories and five bedrooms, as well as a rooftop terrace, and it’s all enclosed in the 25 foot (7.6 m) high dome. The home is solar powered, and features a greywater filtering system that creates all the needed water to irrigate the garden.
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It took them two years to design and build the home. It was constructed using a mixture of natural materials, namely earth, straw and sand. The dome is 49 ft (15 m) wide and was built by the company Solardome. It’s made up of 360 panels of 0.26 inch (6 mm) thick single-paned glass, which can withstand the heavy snow loads and winds that are the norm in this region. The frame is made of recycled aluminum and apparently has a structural lifespan of 100 years. It also requires very little maintenance, while the fact that it is dome shaped also led to a 30 percent savings in materials compared to traditionally built houses. The dome also features 11 operable windows, which can be opened for ventilation.

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The interior of the home is cozy and well laid out, and offers both privacy when needed, as well as a way for the family to enjoy their time together. Given that this home is located in a region that only gets about three months of sunlight per year, it is quite a feat in sustainable architecture.

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