Belgium’s first greenhouse home was inaugurated on Wednesday in Rekkem, Western Flanders, by the Flemish environmental association Bond Beter Leefmilieu. The association, whose name translates into Union for a Better Living Environment, is organising an eco-builders fair this weekend.
A greenhouse home is a wooden house built inside a glass greenhouse. The one inaugurated in Rekkem was built by architect Koen Vandewalle of the Kaseco Bureau and is the first of its kind in Belgium.
The building is off the grid – linked to no utility network. The water comes from the rain that falls on the greenhouse. Solar panels installed on the greenhouse provide electricity and heating is usually unnecessary since the double covering – greenhouse and roof – creates a micro-climate inside the home. Moreover, everything is built with ecological and recyclable material.
Vandewalle will live and work there from the month of January. “This project offers many possibilities both for private individuals and for municipalities and businesses,” the architect says.
The concept has an added advantage, according to Vandewalle: it is cheap. A traditional 200,000-euro home will have cost 305,000 euros after 35 years, including services, mostly water and electricity. According to the architect’s calculations, the corresponding cost of his greenhouse home after 35 years will be 250,000 euros.