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I am an architect and have started my journey down the rabbit hole of permaculture. My wife and I have been talking about selling our home and building a small (1000sf) home and attaching it to a greenhouse which would also function as our living room. I want to create an environment that will be 60 to 80 degrees in the greenhouse. Develop a list of plants that will work for that environment. Grow enough food to substantially support my wife and 4 kids. Etc.
Have there been others that have done this?
What resources would you recommend?
Concerns about water vapor between greenhouse and home...
 
pollinator
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Location: Toronto, Ontario
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Hi Greg.

My much better half and I want to do this sort of thing, but it's tricky.

What constitutes optimal plant growing conditions and what we consider comfortable aren't necessarily compatible. You could conceivably keep your crops alive in your living space, but they likely wouldn't thrive in the way you'd want for food crops.

An extreme example of this is living in a grow-op. The conditions required to raise tomatoes aren't too different from those required for growing cannabis. Such operations require special ventilation, filters, and are usually kept isolated from living space due to basic incompatibility with preferred living conditions for humans.

What we are thinking about involves a four-season greenhouse added on to the south side of a barn, necessarily tall as we are going to be growing avocado trees. I know. Crazy, right? In the event that we are able to retrofit the barn space to living space, it will be sectioned out with internal divisions that will have their own ventilation and climate control. I am planning to vent the house exhaust to the greenhouse and out so the plants can benefit from our CO2, but I don't really want to be breathing greenhouse air, just because there's a lot going on there in a really small space, and I can't guarantee that I won't, at some point, introduce something I would rather not be breathing into the air.

I also like the idea that is being implemented in some northern European countries that involves putting greenhouses as envelopes around all buildings, buffering the effects of weather and offering more growing space. It makes a great deal of sense, but the air is still filtered, and the people still live in a conventional (sort-of) house.

I must admit that I tried for a bit to come up with a clever definition for the word "anarchitect," because it just sounds cool, except that the only meaning I could derive was a planner that didn't recognise authority, which in some cases would probably lead to dangerous buildings.

Let us know how it goes, and what you decide. Good luck!

-CK
 
pollinator
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Look up Earthships, they have a greenhouse that is an integral part of the home. 

The greenhouse helps heat the home, the thermal mass of the home helps moderate the greenhouse temperature.  The food grown in the greenhouse is only steps away from the kitchen, the grey water from the kitchen goes directly to the greenhouse, etc.
You don't have to embrace the entire concept (they require and incredible amount of work to build), but you might find some ideas you can borrow.



 
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I posted about our attached greenhouses on this post about cheap greenhouses

I would worry that those permanently attached greenhouses on Earthships would overheat in summer, though I visited Ana Edey's home (Solviva) with permanently attached sloping glass greenhouse in August, and her passive solar venting system prevented overheating. But her venting system was more elaborate than I would have wanted.

I like our seasonal attached greenhouses, where in summer you've got a normal vertical south wall of the house and a small outdoor kitchen garden. In winter, we cover the south side of the house with a greenhouse (in our case plastic, but other materials are possible) and that provides the only heating for the house, as well as hang-out space, winter veggies, and relief for greenery-deprived eyes in winter. Our greenhouses are not the only living room and I wouldn't want them to be, because sometimes they're too hot or too cold or too bright, but for most of the winter, in daytime they're great. I love staggering out with a cup of coffee first thing in the morning and staring at the latest bloom or germinated seeds until the coffee kicks in. It really helps wake up and stave off seasonal gloom. Vegetable space and recreational space with kids in your family may be at odds. A good thing is that I find I can do very intensive vegetable growing, I mean, with stupid overcrowding, because the water gets conserved really well, the sun is intense (but I'm only at 34N so you may be different), and I enjoy being in the greenhouse so everything gets doted on. I mulch everything in my personal greenhouse with dry stems, and water with the greywater from my sink and extra water if needed. Actually in winter the water and fertility needs are less (and excess fertility can encourage aphids) so I water with clean water in winter.

Some of my solar-construction friends are moving away from attached greenhouses and building with trombe walls instead, but I wouldn't want to give up my attached greenhouse!
 
pollinator
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building a small (1000sf) home and attaching it to a greenhouse which would also function as our living room.


So an earth ship is 10 feet deep and 100 feet long but the greenhouse is more of a hallway with growing space. But you have to select your location first and design for that location.
 
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