Greenhouses are great for plants, allowing them to live and grow year round, even in cold climates. But how would humans fare living in a greenhouse environment? That question is what an experiment being conducted by Rotterdam University is looking to answer, reports The New York Times.
Students in the university’s Sustainable Building Technology program designed a wooden home and then encased it in a greenhouse, creating a house that could double as a place for a family to grow their own food. The house has a 1,450 square foot rooftop garden, described as an “edible roof,” that supplies the Scholten family (the family who signed up to live in this experimental house) with most of their own vegetables.
Also on the roof are water tanks for rainwater storage that can be used to flush toilets and irrigate the plants.
The house is not with out its issues and kinks that need to be worked out, however. For example, after the family went away on vacation for a week, they returned home to find all of their plants dead. The home got too hot because of the greenhouse, and the plants didn’t get enough water. Regulating the temperature so it is comfortable for its inhabitants, both human and vegetal, can be tricky. Another problem arose when heavy rains washed away some of the loam coating from the house’s walls.
Even with its issues, the benefits that a tweaked and improved version of this type of home could offer are readily visible.