For over three years, the Hjertefølger family has been living in this essentially self-sufficient home that boasts a micro-climate thanks to its geodesic dome.
Located on the island of Sandhornøya, 1,000 kilometres north of Oslo, this 3-storey house, called a cob house, is made of wood, sand, clay and other organic materials. But its most unique feature? It’s sheltered by an 8-metre-high geodesic dome, a partly spherical structure made up of see-through triangular-shaped panels. Designed by the British company Solardome, which specializes in these types of constructions, this dome supplies much-needed energy through solar panels, and protects the house from the extreme temperatures and fierce winds common in the Arctic Circle.
In addition to five bedrooms and two bathrooms, this cob house also has a garden. Although it can’t be used for three months during the winter due to the lack of sunshine, throughout the rest of the year, the garden allows the Hjertefølgers to grow apples, cherries, plums, apricots, kiwis, grapes, cucumbers and melons. All thanks to the dome, which simulates the growing conditions required for these crops, despite the northern location of the house. This six-person family also recycles their water, which they use to water their plants, and composts their waste.
More than three years after moving in, the family has become a source of inspiration for other people in Norway and around the world. “Every week I get emails from people I don’t know telling me how much they love the house. The feeling we get as we walk into this house is unique. The fact that it’s almost self-sufficient has changed the way we look at life and we want to share our experience with as many people as possible,” explained Ingrid Hjertefølger. The family plans to hold workshops, classes and tours. They also intend to build additional cabins for visitors.